Vegas nightclub aims for VIP feel without VIP price

AP News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2015 9:48 AM
Vegas nightclub aims for VIP feel without VIP price

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Neil Moffitt wants everyone — and he means everyone — to have a good view of his new 75,000-square-foot megaclub inside Las Vegas' Caesars Palace that includes an open-air deck, LED screens rigged with motion sensors and cocktail waitresses who descend from the ceiling to deliver some patrons' drinks.

He hopes his latest club, Omnia, attracts not just VIPs but also regular customers.

Nightclubs — and more recently dayclubs — have become major lures for Las Vegas hotels and an increasing source of revenue as the casino industry diversified to add fine dining and shopping to supplement what it takes in on the gambling floor.

But as the industry has grown, these hot spots have become the definition of the haves and have-a-little-less: Those on the guest list and those not. Those who pay handsomely for a table (and with it, bottles of booze at $350 and up), and those who remain perched on two feet with nothing to prop them up.

Moffitt wants Omnia to bridge that gap. Though it will have a separate entrance for the well-heeled, custom booths for VIPs and you still need to pay extra for a table, the club will offer broad access and a layout that allows for freedom to move and see the action for those paying general admission.

"Here, there's no cheap seats," said Moffitt, the 48-year-old CEO of Hakkasan Group, which has more than three dozen nightclubs, day clubs and restaurants.

Adam Carmer, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor of food and beverage in the school's hospitality program, said the concept of a more cost-effective club experience is ahead of the curve.

"I think there's nobody serving that customer, and certainly no one saying they're serving that customer," he said.

Though Moffitt says he wants regular customers to come to Omnia, it still won't be cheap to get in. Women can expect to pay about $30 for admission, men at least $50 — reasonable by Las Vegas club standards. A beer will cost $10. A cocktail might run $16.

Moffitt's club has 17 fewer VIP tables spread around a larger nightclub space than the company's five-level 80,000-square-foot namesake Hakkasan nightclub, which also includes a restaurant. The company won't say how much Omnia cost.