You’ve got to check it out
For $2.6b, a bit of high-end Vegas in Everett
HERE’S SOME TIDBITS picked up on a media tour inside Encore Boston Harbor on Friday.
This is a unique place, with lots of local flavor, but if you’ve been to either of the two Wynn Resorts properties in Las Vegas a lot will feel familiar – the flowery décor, the serene spa, and the heavy emphasis on personal attention. My guide said he previously worked at the Hard Rock Café in Atlantic City, which had 2,000 rooms (versus 671 at Encore Boston Harbor) and an even bigger casino floor. But he said the Hard Rock had 3,500 employees, while Encore Boston Harbor has more than 5,000 as it heads to the target level of 5,800 employees. Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said the facility’s payroll is $300 million.
The casino floor at Encore Boston Harbor is 210,000 square feet with 3,100 slots and 231 table games. There’s a separate, upper level for the high-stakes games. My guide said the casino floor at Encore Boston Harbor is bigger than the casino floors at both of Wynn’s properties in Vegas combined.
The rooms at Encore Boston Harbor are similar to those at Wynn in Las Vegas. The standard room is 650 square feet, the largest in New England, and features a large bathroom with separate bath and shower. Most of the gadgets in the room, including the TV and the window drapes, are controlled by Alexa or an iPad next to the bed. The room rate is $650 to $695 a night weekdays.
I also visited one of the 5,800-square feet, two-story villas on the top floor (26th for those counting) featuring three bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, a game room with pool table and TV, an exercise room, and a massive great room. I was told the villa goes for $15,000 to $25,000 a night.
The ballroom, which doubles as a convention center, is 37,000 square feet, which is apparently the largest in the city. It can be configured for just about any type of event, from weddings to professional boxing. The view at one end of the room of the Mystic River is quite stunning, even on a rainy Friday. There are plans to put up tents outside on nice evenings, and I’m assured the artificial grass is designed so it will stand up to and support women in high heels.
The all-you-can-eat buffet wasn’t serving food when I visited, but it looked a bit more interesting than most buffets. Chef Sidney Semedo of Roxbury said the buffet has everything from sushi to New England clam chowder to gelato. The current price weekdays is just under $30 for lunch and $45 for dinner. Weekend rates are still being formulated.
At Rare, the steakhouse, they’re asking for trouble with the white leather chairs. They even had little white leather chairs stashed around a corner that I thought were booster seats for children but are actually used for holding women’s purses.
Big Night Entertainment Group, the local restaurant and nightclub operator, is placing a big bet on Encore Boston Harbor, opening a dance club called Memoire and a restaurant called Mystique at the property. Both venues are pretty cool. Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is the DJ at Memoire on the 27th. General admission is $40 or you can get a private table and prepare to pay a lot more.
Ed Kane, a principal at Big Night, showed us around Mystique, which would appear to be a great place to have a drink or something to eat. Kane said Mystique is Big Night’s 29th place, and he believes it’s the best project he’s ever done, in part because he learned so much from the Wynn Resorts people. He said the arrival of Encore Boston Harbor has “broken the entertainment ceiling” in Boston.
“I don’t see it really,” he says.