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July 24, 2014

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nightlife:

Lavish bathrooms are the life of the party in Las Vegas clubs

At trendy ultralounges, vast, opulent restrooms strive for sex appeal - and prove to be a big draw for ladies seeking sanctuary in club scene

Image

Leila Navidi

The bathroom at the Moon nightclub at The Palms Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

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Las Vegas Restrooms

The main entrance to Vanity nightclub inside the Hard Rock Hotel's HRH Tower Thursday, February 25, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Vanity's Restroom

At about 2,000 square feet, Vanity's restroom is more of a lounge than a loo. "We had an idea to do a bathroom that wasn't just a bathroom," says Cory McCormack, managing partner of the Nightlife Group at the Hard Rock. Adds Charles Doell of Mr. Important Designs, "I wanted to do something that is very much about glamour and also a space that women could use."

First came casinos. Then lounges. More recently, swish nightclubs and ultralounges.

What's the latest overindulgence in nightlife decadence?

Step into the nightclub bathroom.

These restrooms are elegant and chic, a place where women hang out, doll up, sip their cocktails, talk freely about guys — and maybe spy on them through special mirrors — and even, on occasion, use the facilities.

For this, much credit goes to Charles Doell. His California firm, Mr. Important Design, specializes in nightclubs and restaurants, but the big buzz is over the bathrooms inside those places.

"I'm doing a restaurant in Florida now and they're like, 'We want people to say they want to have sex in this bathroom,' and I'm like, 'OK, I'll try,'" Doell laughed.

There may be no higher concentration of eye-dropping restrooms than in Las Vegas, each with its own defining qualities. Walk into a bathroom stall at Mix, on the 64th floor of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, and you're greeted with a panoramic view of the Strip. At Rumjungle at Mandalay Bay, peekaboo spy windows allow a foggy view into the opposite sex's restroom.

Doell's contribution to the Vegas bathroom scene is the recently finished king (or in this case, queen) of Las Vegas loos, at Hard Rock's newest club, Vanity. It sprawls over nearly 2,000 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot nightclub, like some giant, exclusive refuge for women. They enter through a foyer with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a large, cushion-topped round sofa beneath futuristic glass globe chandeliers.

Sure it has only 11 stalls and six sinks. But that's not the point. Most of the space is dedicated to primping and gossiping. It is, says Doell, an extension of the nightclub itself — and to some people, making a visit to this girl's room may be their nightclub highlight.

At Vanity's restroom, instead of one large mirror where everyone is compared against everyone else, Doell brought in individually lighted vanity mirrors and red-velvet, cushioned seats, continuing the club's self-important theme. The designer flanked the walls with two larger-than-life photographs by Miles Aldridge — an eye and a pair of lips, both dripping in gold paint.

Gold-plated faucets were cut from Vanity's budget, Doell said. Tough times bring tough sacrifices.

But on the other hand, Vanity operators plan to take the concept of a bathroom attendant one step better, hiring makeup and hair teams to offer touch-ups to clubbers in distress. Vanity Managing Partner Cory McCormack said it's all about catering to the wants of 25-year-old women, even if it means they're spending less time at the bar. They brought in three-way mirrors to combat wardrobe malfunctions and every girl's best friend, great lighting.

"It turned out to be a real place to hang out," Doell said.

And because patrons spend so much time in there, cocktail waitresses duck in to the bathroom to take orders.

To distinguish the restrooms at Palms, the design firm 555 International covered both the men's and women's bathroom walls with photos of Playmates spanning decades; stall doors give a full-frontal and backside view of girls photographed specifically for the space.

Karen Herold, vice president of design for 555 International, said bringing the risqué images into casinos that have long banned nudity wasn't easy, but the design team toned it down by printing the photos on mirrored doors and applied glass beading on others.

Upstairs at Moon nightclub, the design firm used stainless steel fixtures and used clear glass on the exterior side of the stall, far above the sidewalk below, to sate anyone's desire to be an exhibitionist.

"It was all about the idea that you're in a bathroom with a full glass window. No one can really see you — but there is that fear," Herold said.

She won't say what these kinds of bathrooms cost, but hinted that they're more expensive than one might imagine. Such is the cost of adding another layer of luxury to the nightclub experience.

"The bathrooms are the most important part of the club," Herold said. "It's a surprise element. Everything you do with design in there really pays off."

Designers say the U.S. has lagged behind Europe in developing exquisite public restrooms.

For Doell, demand from his clients came after designing a restroom at a club called Mercury in San Francisco in the late 1990s. In the women's room, Doell created a stall that opened up to secret bar area rather than a toilet, where girls could spy on their unknowing dates on the dance floor through a two-way mirror.

"After that, I did other projects for a while that didn't include bathrooms and then it all came roaring back," Doell said. "People want it. They want to have a fun, weird experience in the bathroom."

Jon Sparer, principal at YWS Architects, says such bathrooms "are calling cards. They set you apart."

When YWS helped design the bathroom at the Flirt Lounge at the Rio, next to the Chippendales showroom, it included a gossip pit — purple leather couches and vanities in the bathroom's entry — at the request of women polled by the designers.

"They've got all the eye candy from the guys out there, and then they can come back and compare notes in the gossip pit," Sparer said.

If the bathroom business sounds a little sexist, that's because it is. All it takes to keep men pretty happy is to put a TV screen on the wall above the urinals, designers say.

"It's for the same reason men get charged cover and women don't," Sparer said. "You want to cater to the women because the men will be there anyway."

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  1. Talk about making an impression! These bathrooms are incredible!

  2. Don't they have a song dedicated to this room?

    Something like "I'm sitting on top of the world"

    Sonething like that!

  3. "Walk into a bathroom stall at Mix, on the
    64TH FLOOR <-(wrong, THE HOTEL is about 45 stories max)
    of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, and you're greeted with a panoramic view of the Strip."

    ********************************

    Size matters so much in Vegas that nearly every hotel tower is listed as higher than it really is.

    Example: The Trump Tower is claimed to be 63 stories when it's only 51. This creative math is achieved by missing floors 6 - 15, plus a couple more like #40 because that's a bad luck number to the Chinese.
    Aria at City Center, same thing -- the bad luck 40th - 49th are not there which makes it a "63 story" tower.

  4. LastThroes, we are saying that you access the Mix Lounge at THEhotel from what the hotel calls its 64th floor. If we were to say something more like "go to the 45th story of the hotel, which the elevator actually calls the 64th floor, you can then get to the Mix Lounge" it would just unnecessarily complicate the story. Regardless of how tall the hotel is or isn't, you're still going to have hit the button in the elevator that says 64.

    However, you do bring up a fun idea for another article: How tall are hotels on the Strip, what do their elevators say, and which have 13th floors and which don't? But this isn't that article.

    dodgerchuck, the Las Vegas Sun has a wide audience of readers, especially on the Internet. Some are interested in our in-depth analytical and investigative stories. Some follow our breaking news stories that are published primarily online, and others like reading our web-only sports and entertainment coverage.

    And lots of people visit our newspaper's site to read about the latest and greatest in Vegas overkill.

    Well-rounded news organizations offer a wide variety of content. In regards to this story, when one of the newest (and most elaborate) nightclubs in town dedicates nearly 15 percent of its total space to a women's bathroom with tons and tons of thought obviously put into it, it's interesting.

    If you think you've seen it all now, give us a chance to find something even more outlandish to write about. My vote is for the Bait & Tackle billboards. We can only hope for a photo gallery with 37 images to go with that story.
    :)

  5. Over 60% of the people do this with their shoes when in a public restroom...

    ...Flush the toilet.

  6. rob,
    Thanks for the input. Definitely do an article about storygate. It'd be fun to show the great length resorts go to to seem bigger and better.

  7. Ah-HA! Something I can answer that Mr. Sun doesn't know! :)

    The number 4 is considered VERY unlucky in almost all Asian cultures, because it actually sounds like the word "Death" in several languages. In Asia it's not uncommon to skip floors in High-Rises that have the number four in them I.e. 4, 14, 24, 40-49, etc.

    Given the large influx of Asian Tourists that come to Las Vegas, all new hotels omit the 40 series of floors completely. Remember how MGM had to remove the old lion from the corner of Trop & LVB? Same thing. Even in Macau patrons refuse to use the front entrances of Casinos fearing monks who've cast blessings upon the businesses may have invoked spells that will strip all patrons who pass through the front doors of their fortune and they'll automatically loose. Very profitable, albeit superstitious demographic...

    Interesting Facts:

    Las Vegas Hilton has a 13th Floor.

    Wynn tower has a room 666.

    Speaking of fancy bathrooms, why didn't the SpaceQuest Men's room make the list? Rows of lights illuminate on the back splash when the faucets turn on, and when you use the Urinals you get prerecorded video messages that pretend to analyze your urine and tell you how lucky you're going to be when gambling.

  8. DMCVegas -- Great post! I think SpaceQuest probably didn't make the list because it's not a nightclub. But that's just a guess. Still, that doesn't matter to me ... I know which bathroom I'm using the next time I'm at the Hilton.

  9. Most important thing is the flush water pressure.I recommend the Ferguson 2000 in white.

  10. I'm sooooooooo loving these beautiful bathrooms. I'll take the one at Vanity please! :)

  11. Lord,the pessimism and negativity coming from some of you (I'm eyeballin' you environprotector) is astounding. This isn't a story about budget cuts or joblessness, it's a nice fun fluff piece for those who come to this site and want some interesting info about Vegas, which for most people is a place that holds positive and fun attributes. Newsflash - the rest of the world sees Vegas as a fun, brash, loud and over the top place - so yeah, maybe the fact that you can pretty much sit on a 24K thrown in no other place in America than in Vegas may be of amusement and interest to someone! If you don't like the image of Vegas as over the top maybe you should send your nastly scribes to the Vegas Visitors and Convention authority? Otherwise? Shut up, and sit down in the bathrooms at The Mix - which I did last fall, and let me tell you - it's a pretty damn grand feeling to be sitting there with a floor to ceiling view of the Strip!! For someone like myself who's afraid of heights it was quite the spectacle.

    Like Rob (staff) said - a well rounded news organization will have all types of angles. Can't you just not moan when there's a kind of fun and frivolous one? Sheesh!

  12. Burrittobandit2 -- Great question. We're just guessing here, but we think they don't offer reading materials in the stalls. I do know we'd offer up free copies of Las Vegas Weekly and the Sun if they'd like. Of course, if you have your cell phone with you, the Sun is a very enjoyable and informative reading experience on a mobile device in just these types of situations.
    http://m.lasvegassun.com/