Nikki Beach’s Champagne Muse Makes a Splash at the TropicanaAugust 3, 2011 By: Dave Jacoby
The recently opened Club Nikki Nightclub and Nikki Beach Dayclub at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Las Vegas is the latest endeavor from the international nightlife and hospitality brand. The Vegas venture was designed to incorporate the best elements of each of its sister outposts in South Beach, Fla.; San Tropez, France; St. Barts, West Indies; and Marbella, Spain. The result is a 50,000-plus-square-foot venue, featuring a 65 daybed/tepee dayclub connected to a 55-table nightclub. Tom Recine, vice president of food, beverage and retail for the Tropicana, breaks down the room and its star attraction: the Champagne muse.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): The Tropicana underwent a $180 million property renovation. How much of that was earmarked for Nikki Beach?
Recine: I can’t say exactly, but it was a significant investment. We didn’t spare any expense and, as a result, have some really cool design elements and laid out venue very well.
NCC: Theatrical entertainment is a recurring theme for the Nikki Beach brand. What are the top theatrical elements currently in play in your room?
Recine: I’d count our DJs among them. We do a fun industry night that features a DJ duo called Sex Panther, from Los Angeles. They’re more than DJs; they’re performers. Those guys are a blast. There’s nonstop energy during their sets, and they involve the crowd throughout the evening. Which also leads to Champagne-spraying. We get the girls up to dance and then hose the crowd daily. People get a huge kick out of it. We do this in both the nightclub and dayclub, and there are performers and aerialists and the caliber of talent is great. We have stilt walkers, fire-eaters and more. The guests love it.
NCC: What about your Champagne muse?
Recine: Our biggest theatrical element is called the Champagne muse. It combines two core elements of brand — Champagne and table service — and brings it to the next level. The muse is a woman in a circular chair apparatus that comes out of the soffit and brings a bottle down to the table. It’s very well-lit, and the muse angel is beautiful so it’s a stunning display. If a client purchases a signature bottle — mostly Champagne, but some vodkas or other bottles — for $2,000 or more, and he or she is seated around the dance floor, the bottle will be delivered by our muse. The lighting and music changes, and our dancers have a choreographed routine, which they perform while accompanying the muse to the table.
NCC: Were there any design issues you faced when installing the system?
Recine: We had some technical issues at first, since the muse has to be choreographed and synched with the music and the lighting. It was quite a design, and we’re still tweaking continually to get the timing as best as possible. We need to get these bottles to the tables as quickly as we can, and getting her cued up and out effectively, yet spectacularly, is definitely a big coordination.
NCC: How important are over-the-top bottle presentations to your business model? How important are they to your clients?
Recine: This industry is all about the “wow” factor and making sure our guests get every bit of what they came for, and the bottle presentation is everything. The sparkler thing has been done; there are many different types of ways of presenting bottles. We want to make sure a guest who orders a magnum gets that exact experience — one where there’s nothing else like it. We want the whole room to stop and their mouths to drop. If we can do that, then you’ll feel like you got exactly what you came here for.
NCC: You mentioned sparklers, which are now banned in Las Vegas. Has that affected business at all?
Recine: Not really. Customers do like sparklers; they get attention. We play by the rules and don’t use them and have gone other routes, like the Champagne muse. We also have a Roman type of presentation where four men carry this chariot with a tub in the middle — with the bottle in that — and a really cool presentation with lighting that follows them to the table. It’s not as high tech, sort of a throwback and it’s not new — I’ve seen this presentation elsewhere before — but it is fun.
NCC: How clearly do bottle presentations affect your bottom line?
Recine: It’s hard to say exactly how much and what the psyche of customer is worth in dollars, but at end of day that customer wants to feel like they are the most special person in the room. Bottle service is all about the attention and cache that it brings. You can go anywhere and get table service, and you’re going to pay a significant amount of money for it because this is what we do — we offer theater. We think the better the theater, the better the customer experiences, the better the bottom line. Everyone serves the same bottles, but people always like seeing things that haven’t been done before when they’re given their purchase. And they will pay a premium for that service.