Earth Hour 2009

imageThis Saturday, cities all around the world are participating in a little thing called “Earth Hour“. From 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, the lights are going out. Restaurants are serving by candlelight, hotels are creating entire packages around the event, and monuments like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower will go dim for the 60-minute tribute to promoting awareness about climate change.

In New York, the Empire State Building, the Coca-Cola Billboard in Times Square, and NYU are just a few of the businesses participating. In Los Angeles, Border Grill, O-Bar, and Ciudad will be participating in an hour of darkness. Las Vegas is stepping it up and turning off the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and dozens of hotels, including the Wynn, Four Seasons, Golden Nugget, Paris, and Bellagio are hitting the off switch as well. So if you find yourself sitting in darkness this Saturday, don’t panic; just make sure to pack a flashlight.

Industry Insiders: Seth Schorr, Vegas Showgun

Vegas native and owner of the newly opened Lucky Club Hotel & Casino Seth Schorr on the future of Vegas nightclubs, early memories of Steve Wynn, and what’s keeping him at home most nights.

Where do you hang out? My wife and I are homebodies these days. Growing up in Las Vegas, I spent my teenage years and early 20s frequenting every club and bar in town. But when we do get the urge to watch other people get intoxicated and listen to loud music, we visit Tryst or Blush at Wynn Las Vegas.

What openings should we know about? I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of XS at Encore, and it will once again raise the bar for nightlife in Las Vegas. It is quite possibly the most sophisticated club in the world. The club has both an indoor and outdoor experience as the walls around the dance floor open, giving access to the pool. There are outdoor lounges and even a gambling area that is incorporated into the club. Minimalism is an adjective that would not be used to describe anything at Encore, which in my humble opinion, makes this property and its retail outlets stand out amongst its neighboring properties. The bold use of colors and the variety of fabrics used throughout the resort is testament to an army of designers lead by Steve Wynn and his lead designer Roger Thomas. Encore is a “category killer” that will also raise the bar of the Las Vegas resort.

Where do you eat? We are partial to dinners at Wynn Las Vegas and eat with my folks at Stratta or local favorites like Lotus of Siam. Also, the restaurant Tokyo in the underrated and antiquated Commercial Center Plaza. We also recently discovered a new Japanese restaurant that’s off the beaten path called Raku. This 25-seat restaurant has the most authentic Japanese food in town for half the price of food on the Strip. Although they do not serve sushi, one can enjoy grilled robotayaki or tsukune.

Who do you admire in Vegas hospitality? My admiration for Steve Wynn is quite obvious. The fact that this man after 40 years and billions of dollars in earnings still works 6.5 days per week is one of his most admirable qualities. But he is also a no-bullshit type of guy. He demands the most out of his employees. He is short on false sincerity and constant encouragement. However, if you can hold your own, you will have the opportunity to work with the best team in the business.

I admire my father, Marc Schorr. My father has worked for Steve Wynn for 30 years and is responsible for making many of his visions a reality. At the end of the day, someone has to focus on the nuances of the operation and make sure these multi-billion dollar machines run effectively, and every detail is scrutinized.

And Bruce Deifik is a one-in-a-million type of guy, who is not only one of the sharpest and best negotiators around, but more importantly is one of the most honest and likable guys you’ll ever meet.

What’s something you like seeing in Vegas hospitality these days? A lot of people have their hands in the hospitality game in Las Vegas. There is more unknown and mystery today than ever before. There are currently three multi-billion-dollar projects in mid-construction, while another half-dozen more are on the drawing boards. Sure, some will stand above the rest, but there is anticipation and excitement about what good qualities each will have of their own. The consumer will also benefit from the economic conditions we currently live under, as they will be able to enjoy these resorts built for the rich and elite at a value. So come one, come all to Las Vegas, where you can stay in the world’s nicest hotel rooms for a buck fifty nine.

Anything you see that you dislike? I do not understand the concept of the condo-hotel. Personally, I think if one spends millions on a condo, they will ultimately not want others to stay in it. Either buy a condo or stay in a hotel. Don’t try and do both.

What was it like growing up in Vegas? Does it mess a lot of kids up? I think kids who grew up in New York City turn out much more messed up. The best part was the late night munchies that any teenager could afford. The negative was that it was too hot to play outside many months out of the year.

Any early Vegas memories? The path that lead me to owning a casino is a long one, starting in 1984, when I first moved to Las Vegas and moved into the Golden Nugget. I was 7 years old and shared room #1027 for about a year with my little sister. The school bus picked me up under the porte cochere, and nightly dinners were held at the buffet. I had the opportunity of meeting celebrities like Paul Anka and clearly remember taking a schvitz with Alan King at the spa.

I watched my father and Steve Wynn schmooze customers and always talk about design and development of the next project. I have a vivid memory of flying on the Golden Nugget DC-10 to New York around 1986. I loved that there was a large glass bowl filled with peanut M&M’s. Steve Wynn showed us a drawing on a napkin of what soon would be known to the world as the Mirage. The idea of a three-pronged building that shared one elevator shaft was novel, and of course having a “live volcano” in front seemed like an incredible fantasy.

What is something that people might not know about you? I am an amateur photographer and videographer. I edit movies using Final Cut Express. I do all of my own in-house promos for the Lucky Club.

You have a background in art history. Who are your favorite artists? My favorite artists are Modigliani and Vermeer.

Any dreams for the future? Kids! I can’t wait. It’s also a great excuse to have sex on a daily basis.

What are you doing tonight? Working on making those dreams come true. We just got back from the opening of Encore. It never ceases to amaze me to see the masses come in droves to check out a new property for the first time. I saw a lot of jaws drop tonight.

Las Vegas: Top 5 Party Hotels

imageWhere the fun never stops.

1. Planet Hollywood (Strip: Central) – New bars, new clubs, new restaurants, new rooms: All share the same sleek décor and LA-glam vibe. 2. Hard Rock Hotel (Off-Strip East) – Still the favored hang for rockers and aspiring rockers. Nonstop scene in the bar, perpetual parties by the pool, and concerts in the parking lot. 3. TheHotel (Strip: South) – Mandalay Bay’s in-house boutique hotel is also where House of Blues acts stay: You never know who you’ll meet in the elevator.

4. Golden Nugget (Downtown) – Even without the shark tank pool, the cooler-everyday Fremont St. location means a new party is always within staggering distance. 5. The Palms (Off-Strip West) – Maybe the Palms is just a glorified clubhouse for those wild Maloof boys. A clubhouse with gourmet restos and trendy clubs, where NBA stars and Playboy bunnies to hang out.