If you’re an avid puzzle lover, you owe it to yourself to try an escape room. They offer a one-of-a-kind adventure, and are a great group activity. Last summer, PanIQ Room, an international escape room franchise with multiple locations across the U.S., Europe and Pakistan, opened a Las Vegas outpost inside the Grand Canal Shoppes. The Weekly recently checked it out.
Before heading into our potential demise, my group and I sat down in one of the PanIQ Room’s plush booths and enjoyed a cocktail. PanIQ’s cocktail menu includes a number of playful libations whose themes correspond with their seven themed escape rooms, ranging from wizards and zombies to a casino heist and time travel.
We chose to be trapped inside the “Haunted Manor.” I ordered the Haunted Spirits cocktail, which mixes gin, lime, mango and ginger ale. It’s topped with a dried lime—very on brand—and has a flavor profile similar to a Moscow Mule, with the same refreshing taste. I also tried one of the most popular cocktails on the menu, the Magic Potion, which corresponds to the Wizard Trails escape room. This cocktail includes vodka, orange liqueur, vanilla, strawberry and lime, topped with a spring of thyme. The drink itself looks like it came from a witch’s lair, but it’s anything but wicked; it has a candy-like sweetness.
Drinks down the hatch, a hostess lead us to our room, which resembles the inside of a lavish, gothic manor. A voiceover from the curator explains the situation: “Items move without reason, strange sounds and voices can be heard in the halls and everyone around is scared out of their mind.” He implores us to put a stop to the madness by finding and restoring the long-lost family portrait to its rightful place.
We began by looking around the room, taking a mental inventory of its contents and reporting our findings to one-another. There are lots of potential clues and puzzles packed into the small quarters—an old grandfather clock, a mirror, shelves laden with random items like books and flowers, two rows of candles and other items.
For those who dislike horror or jump scares, it’s worth noting that nothing in this escape room is too scary, and of course, you’re not actually locked in; you can leave anytime you like. But you might not want to leave. Haunted Manor offers neither simple clues nor obvious puzzle pieces; it’s a trickier escape room than others I have tried in the past, and we needed to request a few hints, which are freely available.
As the one-hour clock ticked down, we worried we might be bested by the spirits. But my group was persistent, and we escaped the manor … with 17 seconds to spare! PanIQ Room presented a true challenge, and we rose to meet it. I would definitely return for more cocktails, to try out one of the other themed rooms and to defend my title.
PanIQ Escape Room & Lounge $39-$49 per person, hours vary. Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian, paniqescaperoom.com.