AARON GARCIA / HAKKASAN GROUP
James Algate, vice president of music at Hakkasan Group; Nick McCabe, president, Hakkasan Group; Shawn Sullivan, partner and studio manager, Rockwell Group (the designer of new nightclub Jewel at Aria); and Derek Silberstein, executive vice president of operations at Hakkasan Group take part in a panel discussion Tuesday, April 26, 2016, outside Jewel.
By Don Chareunsy
Friday, April 29, 2016 | 2 a.m.
The main takeaway from the hard-hat tour Tuesday afternoon of the new nightclub Jewel, the latest nightlife offering by Hakkasan Group scheduled to open May 19 at Aria, is that the venue will be intimate.
If one can call a 24,000-square-foot nightclub intimate, but consider this: Three Jewel nightclubs could fit into Hakkasan at MGM Grand, now 3 years old, and 1-year-old Omnia at Caesars Palace, mega-clubs also owned by Hakkasan Group.
Before the hard-hat tour of the former space of Haze nightclub, media took part in a panel discussion and Q+A with James Algate, vice president of music at Hakkasan Group; Nick McCabe, president, Hakkasan Group; Shawn Sullivan, partner and studio manager, Rockwell Group (the designer of Jewel); and Derek Silberstein, executive vice president of operations at Hakkasan Group.
Here are questions and highlights:
McCabe said Jewel will be a departure from the behemoth nightclubs. “It’s a single room, so there will be a level of intimacy, like a house party.
“People can interact with everyone in the room. Jewel will not be entirely DJ driven, but rather artists who create a great party as a host. These are artists you want to be up close to in a nightclub.”
What is the idea behind Jewel?
Sullivan said the arch of the design was to create a really intimate room. “Every guest is close to the performer. It feels very different than any recent club, where the intimacy is really extraordinary, and we host the guests in all ways.”
Jewel has a capacity of 1,923 and 50 tables.
Who will be the clientele? How will it be different than Hakkasan and Omnia?
McCabe said, “I don’t know if it’s drastically different. Every table is the center of the action. There is no bad seat in the house.”
He said that he understands that customers might be put off by the price tag and size of mega-clubs and that Jewel offers an alternative.
Silberstein said, “The nightclub complements Aria and its target audience. The music is open format, not one dedicated genre, to appeal to a wider audience. It’s intimate in place of intimidating.”
What is the challenge in standing out with Intrigue at Wynn Las Vegas opening this week?
McCabe said, “We get the saturation question all the time. We know our portfolio. We’re confident in our product. We know our end goal. Las Vegas continues to grow. It’s not about glitz and glam but the level of service.”
How does Jewel and Hakkasan Group plan to stay ahead?
McCabe said, “We’re not just a poster with a DJ on it. That’s only half the battle. It’s about what happens inside the doors. It’s about the experience that we deliver.”
Talk about the technology elements.
Algate said there are new elements that haven’t been done before — the latest technology, immersing the audience, design elements, lighting design. “We’re learning lessons from what we didn’t get right so that we will deliver an unparalleled experience,” he said.
Sullivan reiterated creating an intimate space. “The dome is the centerpiece, it becomes part of the overall experience. How do we make mezzanines great spaces? Even the arrival is a dramatic experience with technological elements.”
Themed VIP suites?
Sullivan said, “We don’t think this has been done recently. It’s a collection of rooms that feels really different.”
Is Jewel a total redevelopment?
Silberstein summed up, “You won’t recognize it as Haze. This has been a great project with the designers and our partners at Aria and MGM Resorts. We are aiming to exceed customer expectations.”
Other notes about Jewel
There will be three entrances — VIP, tickets and GA — for a more streamlined experience than Haze.
There will be five, themed VIP skybox suites on the mezzanine level (along with a bar and GA area — and no VIP tables): The GOAT (Greatest of All Time) for sports, The Prestige for luxury, The Gallery for photos, The Blind Tiger speakeasy and The Studio, as in recording studio, but nonworking.
Celebrities announced so far at Jewel: Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx on opening night, Jason Derulo and DJs Steve Aoki, Steve Angello, Lil Jon and The Chainsmokers.
Jewel at Aria opens Thursday, May 19, with Foxx. Hours: Thursdays through Saturdays and Mondays, 10 p.m. to close. $30 men, $20 women most nights. More: JewelNightclub.com.