It smells like coconut sunscreen as I walk into the new north-facing porte-cochère at the Tropicana. The smell is noticeable for what it is—a pleasant scent that evokes beach towels and bikinis—and what it’s not, that particular blend of stale cigarettes, spilled beer and mold associated with aging properties. Wafting through the property, it’s a barely-there sign of the resort’s new swagger. And ground zero for the revived vibe is Nikki Beach.
From the new entrance, it’s a quick trip upstairs to the club complex’s front door. The Miami-based nightlife brand that’s expanded to destinations like Marbella and St. Tropez opened on the Strip this past week and celebrates its grand opening over Memorial Day Weekend with a Thursday night white party and appearances by DJs Robbie Rivera, Behrouz and Jojo Flores.
Like all nine of the company’s international outposts, the Vegas location is fashioned in white linen and natural wood, with clean lines and a bright, breezy feel even in the 15,000-square-foot Club Nikki. Upon entering the club a small VIP room sits to the left, but where you really want to be is in one of the main room’s Opium Beds. Raised on stilts and carved out of Vietnamese wood, they offer a private perch overlooking the oblong dancefloor lined with more traditional tables and booths. Above, hanging lights stretch towards the ground like icicles, flickering and changing colors for a visual show while bodies dance and tangle underneath. Order a large format bottle of champagne—the club’s beverage of choice—and it comes delivered by the Champagne Muse, a server who descends from the ceiling in a Carnival-inspired feathered getup.
A few steps more and you’re outside with a view of the Nikki Beach amphitheater. Surrounding an undulating pool, the space is divided into various levels and sections, some inspired by other venues and each filled with daybeds and tables all made for sipping and sunning. To the right is Marbella, covered in a canopy of white sheets with tables set along a curving white bench and round daybeds ready for lounging. Straight ahead are the tiers of St. Tropez, square daybeds stretched in a bright, white row. Further out, there are more Opium Beds, a small gaming pavilion and a covered poolside bar delivering a bit of much appreciated shade.
But perhaps the most eye-catching element in the Nikki Beach arsenal is the stretch of 10 teepees lining the far edge of the pool. A Nikki staple (they’re the logo), the teepees are an escape from the party—complete with air conditioning, flat screen TVs and seating. Though, with a sweet soundtrack, plenty of bubbly and a sexy, tropical vibe, why you’d want to escape is beyond me.