The Cromwell, Las Vegas’s newest “boutique” hotel, is set to open the doors of its brand new beach club and nightclub named after nightlife mogul Victor Drai. Victor built his reputation in Hollywood and Las Vegas with a string of successful restaurants and after hours venues, some of which are still open, most of which bear his name. Recently, he was responsible for the rebranding of Tryst and XS, two award-winning cornerstones of todays Las Vegas nightlife scene. Since being bought out of his stake in the two super clubs, he has refocused on building his new self-named venue that occupies the two highest floors of Las Vegas’s newest 11-story hotel.
With a 65,000 square foot layout and a 5,000-person capacity, the first logical comparison would be Ibiza’s Ushuaia, which is identical in capacity. Compared to other Vegas party pools, it has been declared the only one with unobstructed sunlight from dawn to dusk. In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Drai proudly proclaims, “It’s going to look like the most beautiful club ever made. This is the first one I have designed and created from square one, and I think it will be my best one ever… I’m not only building the best nightclub in Las Vegas, I’m going to usher in a new era for nightlife and daylife in Las Vegas…”
Surprisingly, in contrast to the “super club” modus operandi, he states, “You won’t come to Drai’s and stand there holding your camera phone above your head aimed at a DJ a football field away. Instead, you are going to be in the middle of the biggest dance party on the Strip.”
Hopefully, Drai’s years of experience and new attitude will bring some of the clubbing culture of Chicago, New York and Miami, which Las Vegas has always lacked in favor of “EDM” laden clubs. He even carries this attitude on to the talent he has booked, stating that its resident performers were chosen with the goal of avoiding talent that will overshadow the venue itself. His goal is to create a club experience, not a concert experience.
While this is certainly a refreshing ideology in Sin City, there’s also the possibility that it’s a consequence of skyrocketing DJ fee’s in the cities casino funded mega clubs, or an attempt to avoid the resident DJ arms race taking place that is currently being dominated by Hakkasan. Additionally, if he wanted to keep the focus off of the DJ’s, why not book residents renowned for their talent and not their service fee? We’re thinking of the deep house, techno and minimal guys that appear high on Resident Advisors Top 100 who are fully capable of playing wonderful tunes, without overwhelming the party. Instead, he has chosen to book B-list DJ’s that are likely to play many of the same tunes to the big name DJ’s down the street, and he appears to be charging a comparable ticket fee. One cant help but wonder if the whole “no concert” philosophy is merely business tactic – a play on the notion that attendees don’t really care who is performing, as long as they hear the same music. When you see the bottle menu that was leaked, the wonderment makes the accusation seem more like a logical conclusion.
There is no arguing that the venue caters to the elite. With 150 VIP tables available each evening, and 10 VIP bungalows plus 15 cabanas at the upper level pool deck, there is no shortage of real estate for those looking to spend their winnings. Each of the said cabanas features a private pool, bathroom and shower. And if you can’t make it to the upper level, there are 40 daybeds available on the main pool deck below. The rooftop venue is the first of its kind to offer 360-degree views of the strip, something Drai says he has always dreamed of. If flying to Las Vegas in a private 737 with 50 friends, to be greeted with 100 bottles of champagne and a private, self controlled fireworks display is something you’ve always dreamed of, Drai is ready to make that happen. It doesn’t even have to be a special request; it’s listed on the menu.
The diamond in Drai’s proverbial rough resident lineup is none other than Eric Prydz. After wrapping up his successful Black Dice residency at XS and Surrender in 2013, the Swedish mastermind will be returning to the Nevada desert to host a number of shows at the towns newest venue. It’s tough to imagine that his presence won’t create a concert-like atmosphere, as he is known for his talent and ability to take a crowd on a journey through his sets. But we would be very disappointed if Prydz, who is arguably the only non-EDM act represented in Vegas’ clubs, didn’t return for a sophomore year.