Club of the Moment: Drai's in Las Vegas

 Michael Cervin

Victor Drai seems to have the appetite to take over the world.

A man obsessed with creating theatrical spaces and a successful film producer (Weekend at Bernie’s, The Man With One Red Shoe), Drai has been behind trendy hotspots like Drai’s After Hours in Las Vegas, and Rare on Sunset. But his latest offering, Drai's Beachclub + Nightclub at The Cromwell, Las Vegas’ newest boutique property (with rooms from $179 a night), outperforms them all.

Positioned atop The Cromwell on the 11th floor, Drai’s reigns over what is arguably the busiest intersection in Vegas. During the daytime it’s a beach pool party on steroids; in the evening it morphs into an upscale high-voltage nightclub.

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The dayclub embraces north-facing views including the Red Rock Mountains in the distance and the Bellagio fountains across the street. A central pool is flanked by palm trees and a white edifice with pink curtains covering the 15 second-floor cabanas outfitted with HD TVs — but with all the hard bodies dancing to the tunes of a live DJ it’s doubtful anyone will be watching much television. The nightclub, a two-story indoor space facing the dayclub pool, is all shiny black semi-circular booths and a horseshoe DJ station surrounded by columns festooned with postage stamp-sized mirrors.

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"I designed this club inch by inch," Drai tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I wanted a different scale and scope." He’s certainly achieved that. The two-story nightclub has seven control table operators behind the DJ for unsurpassed visuals on the 270-degree wraparound video wall and the first-ever ceiling video panels, so it’s a constant stream of optical illumination. VIP tables and booths ring the dance floor and match the second-floor private balcony areas, all of which are upholstered with black imitation crocodile coverings highlighted with pink and orange. The sound system is off the charts, and the music will rattle your very bones, making the nonstop flood of sound, vibration and light a near-primal sensation. And if lighting off your very own fireworks show has always been a dream, Drai’s will make it a reality starting at $10,000 — detonator included.

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The Cromwell by contrast is downright sedate. There are the standard casino gambling offerings of course, but the property has just 188 rooms, tiny by Vegas standards, and that’s exactly the point; it’s a boutique property in a vast sea of sameness. The 169 standard rooms are augmented by 19 suites ranging from 723 to 2,550 square feet. The rooms, with six-foot burgundy padded headboards, dark hardwood floors and tables that look like old-school luggage, feel nostalgic, with a kind of speakeasy charm reminiscent of vintage Paris. Full-length smoke-tinged mirror in the rooms actually looks into the showers. 

The interior hallway carpets are printed with phrases in English and French such as, "You cannot desire what you do not know." The other draw? Celebrity TV chef Giada De Laurentiis has opened her first restaurant here, a sign that Drai’s and The Cromwell will leave a lasting mark for foodies, partygoers and gamblers.

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