Friday, May 27, 2011 | 1:20 p.m.
Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
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Nikki Beach grand opening
Nikki Beach fireworks
Everybody wore white! The guests, the owners, the presidents, the managers, the bartenders and the chefs. Only the cocktail servers wore the briefest of orange lingerie under see-through white wraps. It was a sea of shining white.
Celebrity guests including Wayne Newton, Andre Agassi and Rita Rudner wore white. But surprise guest Halle Berry was in a different shade, and tall comic Brad Garrett wore dark slacks with his white shirt, telling me, “They simply don’t make white for my height.” Even our reporting team of yours truly, esteemed Editor Don Chareunsy and Johnny Kats wore white.
It was the grand gala opening White Party of Nikki Beach and Club Nikki at the transformed Tropicana (to the tune of $180 million), and a minute after I’d told Tropicana head honcho Alex Yemenidjian, accompanied by wife Arda, that I didn’t recognize his hotel anymore, Michael Jackson director and Wynn wedding choreographer Kenny Ortega told Senior Editor Johnny the same thing!
The sprawling nightclub, pool and daylife complex was a winning wow from the moment the first of the 4,000 guests and gatecrashers arrived. The large daybeds, the signature intimate Tiki tents and the comfy couches all spell sophisticated luxury. A pre-White Party sneak peek of Nikki Beach was posted yesterday.
Guests raved about the lavish and luxurious all-white playground and wondered why it had taken so long for the worldwide empire to finally open in Las Vegas with the largest of all its clubs. It was the perfect glittering, glamorous gala to kick off the Memorial Day Weekend festivities and usher in the hottest new beach club of the summer season. This is the new winner in town based on elegance alone.
Other celebrities and VIPs in attendance included comedy legend Dan Aykroyd, Tropicana headliner and music legend Gladys Knight, Jeff Timmons, Olivier Martinez (accompanying Halle), Rick Harrison, Amber Lancaster, Cassie Scerbo, Peepshow singer Josh Strickland and Peepshow star Holly Madison, who was on the reporter’s side of the white carpet rope as the Las Vegas correspondent for Extra.
I had a surprise reunion with good friend NBC anchor Giselle Fernandez looking movie-star sharp in her elegant white cocktail dress. Also there drawing a lot of attention was Sabrina Robinson, the new host of Nikki TV, and I recognized her from when she first arrived here seeking fame and fortune less than a year ago as a waitress at the Hard Rock Hotel. She’s on her way!
Jack Penrod, the founder and creator of the Nikki global lifestyle empire of clubs, hotels and spas, was there with wife Lucia. Son Jack Jr. moved here to open the newest party hotspot in the worldwide collection. I told him that I was so bowled over by the club’s beauty, I was reserving Bed 1 for the rest of the summer. I fell in love with the pop-up frozen drinks served as alcoholic popsicles. My favorite? The pina colada drink. There also was free-flowing champagne and mojitos everywhere you turned.
Wayne told me that he’d often visited Nikki Beach complexes on his far-flung travels and said that at one wild party in St. Tropez in the South of France, he was “kidnapped” by 10 admirers who found him while at lunch there on a week’s cruise along the jet-set Cote d’Azur. Wayne had to leave the party early because of a crack-of-dawn flight today to Atlantic City. He’s there for the Memorial Day Weekend reopening of Resorts International, with a show tomorrow night and two private, high-roller events.
Andre told me that despite all of his world travels playing championship tennis, he’d never been to Nikki Beach before. “I was just this kid playing tennis all the time and then coming back home to a much smaller Las Vegas back then,” he said. Incidentally, Andre, who will undergo shots today for back pains in his nerve endings, said he’s slowly begun playing tennis properly again to get ready for the pro tournaments he’ll resume in October. “I’m worried about the back pain. It flares up every now and again, and it’s bad. Very painful. But I believe everything will be fine when the time comes. We’ve got a few months!”
Thanks to photographers Tom Donoghue, Scott Harrison, Erik Kabik and Glenn Pinkerton for the wonderful photo galleries and to Christopher Rauschnot @24kMedia for his YouTube videos of the party and fireworks spectacular. Also check out Kats’ report of the evening in The Kats Report.
There’s no doubt that with the arrival of Nikki Beach and Club Nikki, the fun with a capital F is back at the Trop. Hotel President Tom McCartney told me: “We couldn’t be happier. We’ve seen increasing occupancy and rates, increasing casino play and customer spend since we began the total makeover of the property.
“Tonight’s opening of Nikki Beach completes Phase 1, and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved. Now we enjoy the summer and get ready for Phase 2 in the fall.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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