View From Vegas: Run Away with the Cirque(s)

Meeting Planning

In this monthly column, we offer up a round-up of tips and ideas about meetings in Las Vegas. Got a comment, question or a tip on a horse? Contact Lucky Chuck at chuck@smartmtgs.com.

Cirque du Soleil
Following the recent announcement that a fifth Cirque du Soleil production, LOVE, will be coming to the Vegas Strip, now might be a good time for a quick summary of what a planner can choose from. After all, when you’ve got half your group shouting “Kà! Kà!” and the other half saying “O! O!”, it may start to feel like you’re in a Zu(manity). Below, we debunk the Mystère:

  • LOVE, the newest Cirque show, opens at the Mirage in June. It will use the Fab Four’s songs as inspiration for the company’s one-of-a-kind melding of circus performance and art theater. LOVE premieres June 30 in a custom-built theatre. Thurs.–Mon. 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.
  • KÀ, at MGM Grand, combines martial arts, puppetry, multimedia and pyrotechnics to tell the epic saga of imperial twins separated by an evil, long-haired warlord. Don’t even try to follow the plot, though; this one’s all about the amazing tilting stage and bungee-cord battles. Tues.–Sat. 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.
  • Mystère at Treasure Island, is described as a “vibrant kaleidoscope of powerful athleticism, high-energy acrobatics and inspired imagery.” This show is classic Cirque, with lots of balancing, high bar and bungee action, and it even has a weird “jumbo baby” as part of its cast of 75. Wed.–Sat. at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., Sun. at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
  • O at Bellagio, uses water as its theme and as the backdrop to acrobatics, synchronized swimming and showmanship. O pays tribute to the beauty of the theatre, from the simplest street performance to the most lavish of operas. Wed.–Sun. 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.
  • Zumanity at New York-New York, is an adult-themed cabaret-style production with a Cirque du Soleil twist. Expect writhing near-naked figures and sensual imagery. Not for the prude of heart (or anyone under 18). Fri.–Tues. at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Ticket options include cabaret stools, theater seats and duo sofas.

Tickets to Cirque shows typically range between $69–$150. With the exception of O, Vegas Cirque shows offer 10 percent to 15 percent discounts to groups of 15 or more. Possible tie-ins include
customized invitations, show programs or music CDs, or pre-show receptions. Contact Michelle Sharples, group sales manager, at 702-352-0197 or e-mail LasVegas.Sales@cirquedusoleil.com.

Restaurant Guy Savoy
The original Restaurant Guy Savoy overlooks the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The new Restaurant Guy Savoy overlooks the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Resort and Casino in Las Vegas from the second floor of the Augustus Tower at Caesars Palace.

What did it take to get one of the world’s top chefs to open his first restaurant outside of France smack dab at the intersection of faux and gauche?

A few years ago, Mark Juliano, then-president of Caesars Palace, fell in love with a particular soup served at the Paris restaurant. “He said to Guy, ‘I would like to have this soup every day! Why not open a restaurant in the States?’ ” relates Laura Savoy, banquet manager for the newly opened Restaurant Guy Savoy Las Vegas.

Savoy is the daughter-in-law of Guy Savoy (pronounced “Ghee Sah-Vwah,” by the way); her husband, Franck, is the general manager.

As she explains it, Juliano persisted and eventually invited Savoy and his family to Vegas.
“He went with his wife and he was very surprised by what he found there,” Laura Savoy recalls. “He started thinking, if all those luxury brands are there, there must be potential.”

Even in Vegas, Restaurant Guy Savoy could hardly be more French. Every table has a goutte, a teardrop-shape glass vessel for butter, salt, pepper and candles. And Vegas patrons will likely twist their tongues over dishes like Côte de gros turbot à l’oeuf en salade et soupe, a salad of steamed turbot, spinach and a poached egg nestled on a slotted platter over a soup bowl with warm fish bouillon garnished with garlicand potato.

“The restaurant was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the same designer as the Paris restaurant,” she says. “It has the same feeling and atmosphere; it’s intimate, with a warm design in wood, leather
and stone.”

The menu, too, will be familiar to those who have dined at the Parisian original. “We’re creating the
signature dishes of Guy Savoy that he created over his life,” says Savoy. “We’re serving the French recipes, but with local products.”

Local? To Las Vegas? “Well, we are trying to work with products we find in the States. But it’s a challenge,” she says. “That’s the fun part of trying to recreate what we have done before.”

The total capacity of Guy Savoy Las Vegas is 125, with the main room capable of holding 75 people, plus three private dining rooms capable of holding 8, 12 and 30 people. An enclosed patio can also be used for pre- or post-dinner cocktail parties, as can the fireside wine and champagne bar (for up to eight people). At this time, group events at Guy Savoy do not count toward the Harrah’s food and drink minimum.

A total buyout of Guy Savoy starts at about $40,000 (including food and wine), and is possible on Monday and Tuesday, when the restaurant is closed, though buyouts will not be common. “It’s something we will try to keep exclusive. We want it to be something special,” Savoy says.
As a nice incentive prize, consider buying a gift  certificate for a menu prestige, a seven-course menu, which runs about $210 per person (not including wine). For more information, call 702-731-SAVOY (702-731-7286).

VIP treatment by Harrah’s
Need a little star treatment? Las Vegas Meetings  by Harrah’s Entertainment—the recently reorganized, group sales arm of the multi-property corporation—has launched a new “Meeting Planner Recognition Program.”

Through the existing Diamond Program, meeting professionals will receive priority treatment at any of the company’s six Vegas properties (Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris and Rio), which together have about a million square feet of meeting space and 18,000 guest rooms.

The program piggybacks on Harrah’s existing VIP program, “Total Rewards,” and affords group planners the treatment lavished on someone who, for example, spends $100,000 per year on video poker.

By flashing their Diamond Card (which can be used like a credit card or worn as a badge), the bearer can get bumped up in lines at restaurants, given access to business centers and have a key to Diamond Lounges, facilities located at each property with free fruit and pastries, Internet hubs and other services (varying by location).

The program even has a warm and fuzzy touch: at the conclusion of a conference, meeting professionals can choose two Harrah’s individuals who they feel provided them with above-and-beyond service. Recipients receive a $100 gift certificate for one of the company’s restaurants. They also are entered into a quarterly drawing for an all-expense-paid vacation for two. Harrah’s expects to give the certificates to roughly 10,000 team members per year. For more, call 888-669-3840 or visit lvmeetingsbyharrahs.com.

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