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Hollywood off to Vegas via England

Promoters, hoping to bring L.A. scenesters to that other strip, open Body English.

June 17, 2004|Steve Baltin | Special to The Times

LAS VEGAS — So this is what you get when you take Tinseltown to Sin City: England.


That's the feel inside Body English, the glitzy new club on the lobby level of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. After its splashy opening last weekend with the Maxim magazine "Hot 100" party, the two tastemakers responsible for the venture, Hard Rock owner Peter Morton and L.A. uber-promoter Brent Bolthouse, have the club scenes in both cities abuzz.

"From a promotion and marketing standpoint, I didn't want to rely on a typical Vegas approach to it, and Brent's a cool, iconoclastic dude who I thought would work well in Vegas," Morton said on a night Body English entertained the likes of Paris Hilton, Shannon Elizabeth and husband Joe Reitman, Matthew Perry and Adrien Brody. Snoop Dogg capped the evening with a surprise 2 a.m. performance.

The talk of the night, though, was the elegant space, which was designed by Kelly Wearstler. The palatial multilevel venue, highlighted by a Baccarat chandelier over the dance floor, features 40 booths, all with Tuscan leather interiors, and marble troughs and gold-plated fixtures in the restrooms. It's perfect for the odd clubgoer who orders the $2,000 martini that includes a diamond and ruby swizzle stick.

"The thesis behind the club was an English rock star's disco in his own house," Morton said of the design. "Hence the mirrors, the iconic columns, which embody English architecture."

Kim Smith, the magazine's July cover girl and costar of the upcoming film "Catwoman," was impressed just from an afternoon walk-through. "I got a tour the other day, and it was amazing in the day," she said before heading inside.

Said actor Shane West: "The lighting and sound were unlike any club I have ever been in ... especially for Vegas."

But it is distinctly for high rollers. All 40 of the booths are bottle service and require a minimum order of $300 per four people -- easy when the priciest bottles run close to $2,000 each (champagne) and the cheapest is a $160 wine.

The presence of Bolthouse, as well as sound and lights from John Lyons (who co-owns L.A.'s Avalon), is intended to attract the L.A. crowd. "We hope to start a real trend of hard-core Hollywood events in Vegas," Bolthouse said. "I bet in the next few years you'll see movie premieres in Vegas. You'll see more and more things happening on a bigger scale."

Of course, Bolthouse's reputation is what he and Morton are counting on to entice scenesters.

Said Hilton, who's a regular at the promoter's functions: "This was the best weekend in Vegas ever."

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