Ostensibly, the curvy bronze hotel tower among Technicolor gardens could be its Vegas predecessor, flown in and plopped onto the Mystic River shores. Yes, it’s a bit more compact—671 rooms in the tower versus 2,034 in Encore Las Vegas. But do a deep dive into Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor (encorebostonharbor.com), and you’ll find that it’s much more than a pocket-size version of the original. In fact, in some ways, this resort comes out ahead (see also: waterfront views and luxury harbor yachts). Here’s our ultimate luxe itinerary.
EAT SOME TRUFFLES AND GOLD AT RARE
When we visited in June, we got a peek (and a taste test) of the kitchen, courtesy of executive chef Taylor Kearney, who’s not only serving the only certified A5 Kobe beef in Massachusetts, but also Ideue from the Kagoshima Prefecture, and Sanuki olive beef from the Seto Inland Sea. (You’ll notice that “Rare” is a play on words, referring both to the temperature and to the singularity of the menu items.) Like SW Steakhouse in Wynn Las Vegas, the open dining room is all creamy tones and gorgeous waterfront views. Love the idea of the most decadent lobster roll ever? It’s here, in the form of butter-poached Maine lobster stuffed into a brioche roll and studded with black truffle, caviar and gold flakes.
TAKE A SELF-DIRECTED ART TOUR AND CRUISE
There are the obvious stars of Encore’s art collection, like the $28 million mirrored stainless steel “Popeye” by Jeff Koons and the three 10-foot-high Jaume Plensa sculpture portraits of women on the Harborwalk, but Encore is a treasure trove of fine and decorative arts. Ask the concierge for a guide to the collection and take yourself on a tour. Don’t miss a stunning 19th-century Italian giltwood mirror in the buffet, Charles Arnoldi’s “Billion 1” mixed-media piece behind the front desk and art deco elevator doors from the Mayflower Hotel in Ohio, now suspended close to the resort elevators. Walk out the front door and down a few steps, and you’ll be transported to a waterfront idyll on a piece of shoreline that was uninhabitable for 100 years. When we were there, we walked past a man doing tai chi at sunrise in the pine-scented gardens—not a scene you’d see in Las Vegas. From there, hop on one of Encore’s plush, leather-upholstered harbor yachts to Seaport World Trade Center and walk to The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. It’s our favorite hassle-free way to take in art and a view.
WAKE UP TO ROOM SERVICE
You’re not a breakfast person? Think room service breakfast is a needless extravagance? This is where you’ll want to spring for it because no one does in-room dining like Wynn. Look for its green juice, Purify, which you can also find at Garden Café. Paired with a goat cheese omelet, it will virtually reverse whatever mischief you got into last night. Wynn also tapped Rhode Island-based artisanal brand Chumley’s for mini bottles of its maple syrup-sweetened ketchup.
AFTERNOON OYSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE
The evening lines at Oyster Bar, which doesn’t take reservations, were fierce when we visited (reminiscent of Neptune Oyster, whose chef John Ross now helms Waterfront and Oyster Bar). And deservedly so, since the 19-seat counter is turning out gorgeous platters of tartares, ceviches, oysters, clams and shellfish all caught off the northeast coast, and seriously delicious mini lobster roll trios with brown butter mayo. Come in earlier in the day and you can have the same experience without (as much of) a wait.
CASINO AND SPA, IN THAT ORDER
Unlike in Las Vegas, you could easily bypass the casino altogether here, but you won’t want to. The double-floored room is connected by a curved staircase and drips with red Murano chandeliers (that coordinate with the Jacques Garcia-designed carpeting). A second-floor poker room features Jim Thompson draperies and Evans & Brown custom murals. You can survey the entire scene from the mezzanine, or from Juliet balconies in the high-limit rooms (a first for Wynn’s casinos). And don’t miss having a drink right in the center of it all, at the base of the gilded staircase at Center Bar (we love the Black & Blue lemonade, made with house-infused and handpressed Triple Eight blueberry vodka, plums, blueberries and lemons. Beer drinkers should try the Project Baccarat IPA made exclusively for Encore by Lord Hobo). Schedule a break for late afternoon in the gorgeous Encore Spa, whose golden tones and glowing lanterns will remind Vegas denizens of the original—but on an intimate scale we love. Go truly indulgent with a Four Hands massage (95 minutes for $500). Just as the name implies, two therapists work you over simultaneously. It’s a Vegas favorite, too, because it is that relaxing.