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Miami arrives on the Strip, courtesy of Nikki Beach

Follow the signs: The opening of Nikki Beach bodes well for the Trop.

The Tropicana has undergone a South Beach face-lift in recent months, and it shows the moment you walk in the door. The white walls, marble floors and tropical motifs on the carpet and ceilings add a brightness that transports patrons to Miami—minus the humidity. Adding to that chic vibe: Nikki Beach. With its now-open 24-hour Cafe Nikki and under-construction beach club, pool and nightclub, the Tropicana nightlife complex will introduce Las Vegas to a franchise that’s become a staple in Miami and branched out to locales as far flung as Marrakech, Cabo San Lucas and St. Tropez.

For an early taste of the space, Cafe Nikki’s just-launched South Beach Happy Hour is up and running Monday through Friday, 5-8 p.m. Try the mojito for $5 (regularly $12), festively garnished with a stick of sugarcane, and pair it with small bites like crispy calamari fries and a spicy tuna roll. On Thursdays, the happy hour places the focus on locals with music and events.

And a sweet happy hour won’t be the only reason for locals to flock to the Trop’s new pool club. Nikki Beach offers a complimentary locals VIP card—available to Nevada residents with valid ID at—with benefits like 2-for-1 lunches and dinners Monday through Friday, and discounts on rooms, shows and attractions.

The beach club and 20,000-square-foot nightclub are scheduled to be completed by May, according to Michael Gilmartin, PR director for A5 Group, which manages Nikki Beach Las Vegas and Club Nikki. The early summer opening will be in time for quintessential South Beach soiree the White Party on May 26, for which partygoers dress head to toe in their finest white fashions. “You have three months to look for a pair of white pants,” Gilmartin laughs.

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Don was born in Laos and grew up in Montana. He was Helena High's yearbook and newspaper editor and, after ...

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