The success that the people in charge of Tao nightclub found in their first three years in business made it clear they knew what they were doing. So when those same people started to plan Lavo, you had the feeling that it would be equally successful -- and it has been.
Two years later, Lavo has established itself as the perfect complement to Tao. While it is heavily influenced by a cultural theme much like its sister property and has a lounge and restaurant in addition to the nightclub, the comparisons between Lavo and Tao end there.
The beauty of Lavo's Moroccan bathhouse theme can be seen before you reach the actual club. After climbing the first set of stairs you are swept away to another world as you walk across a catwalk over the restaurant/lounge area where there are 16 sinks with brass faucets continuously flowing water. (Tip: The sinks are meant as decoration, not to wash your hands so don't bother looking for the soap when you put your hands in.)
Going up the last set of stairs you see one of the only two painted walls in the entire club. Both walls (the other is located on the back wall of the club) feature paintings of nude women similar to what might be seen in a bathhouse.
When you get to the top of the stairs you instantly gain a view of the entire club. You will see intricate tile work from the floor to the ceiling, leather walls and chandeliers that are similar to the ones found in the Moroccan royal family's house.
The walls are mostly black with the exception of several mirror-like tile displays that help balance the light in the room. The chandeliers in the back of the club give off an orange glow and the dome over the middle of the dance floor can emit a number of colors or graphic displays, giving a touch of technology to an otherwise classic theme.
The size of Lavo is small in comparison to Tao, but that is part of its appeal. Many patrons begin the night at the restaurant downstairs, then head over to the lounge or the patio area earlier in the night. And when the club opens, some people will start the party at Lavo before heading over to Tao or go to Tao first and come to Lavo.
Lavo does a great job of mixing things up too. The events and special appearances at the club make it a popular destination and are part of the reason why it is one of the few nightclubs on the Strip to be open six days a week. Lavo is also the spot where Joaquin Phoenix made his rap debut (see the horrendous display on Youtube).
If you can, order a bottle of Dom Perignon. The presentation of the champagne is epic: a man dressed in a Superman outfit is "flown" out to the table by a host of burly men to deliver the bottle while the movie's theme song plays.
Many clubs have tried to emulate the style of Lavo and Tao, but few have succeeded. The clubs have set the bar and until you have tried them, you can't say that you have truly experienced the best Vegas has to offer.
-- Review by Justin Lawson