Justin Swinney, Sin City VIP’s resident nightlife expert and VIP host, sat down with us to talk best Vegas stories, insider tips, and what the VIP experience is all about. Justin is a Sin City native, who knows the nightlife industry inside and out, having been involved in hosting Las Vegas nightlife tours since 2009.
What are your best Vegas stories?
I have a lot of great Vegas stories I enjoy sharing with my guests, but the challenge with Las Vegas, of course, is keeping those stories PG. A story I can share here involves one of my groups during Electric Daisy Carnival. They asked me questions about the easiest way to get to the festival. I advised them they could take Uber, a limo, or a party bus.
They responded, “That would take too long with traffic. Is there a faster way?”
I said, “Absolutely… in a chopper.”
To my surprise, they shouted, “Done. Let’s do it!”
I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences in my time hosting for Sin City VIP, but flying from the Strip to the festival in a private helicopter was by far the coolest. Nothing shouts VIP like arriving at a music festival in a helicopter.
What are the elements of a great VIP experience?
A great VIP experience involves having the experience of being taken care of, not having to worry about anything going wrong, and knowing you are getting the best value, while having the best experience possible, through the knowledge and connections of your host, as well as perks like not waiting in line. It’s pretty fun to watch other people’s faces who have been standing in line in high heels for hours when they see you breeze past them to the front of the line. You definitely feel important.
What makes your VIP experience different?
It is very important to me that all of my guests have the time of their lives, and that starts before they ever arrive. When I am planning your stay, I always stay within my guests’ stated budget, or even lower if possible. We tailor all of our experiences to you and what you are trying to achieve, from the type of music, to the type of crowd.
I am extremely responsive when my guest contact me. You want to feel as though the person you are contacting cares about the ideal experience you are trying to achieve, and that’s what we do.
The gaming control board license I hold separates the true professionals, who are doing this 24/7/365, not just getting back on a plane, like out-of-town tour operators.
In the last four or five years, a lot of individuals have started trying to do what we do, so, now, it’s harder for visitors to find a reputable company, like Sin City VIP. There are a lot of options for someone to choose from. The only way to stand out is superior service.
Do you feel like you have a better pulse of the city being a Las Vegas local? Do you feel it makes you a better host than someone who has only been in Las Vegas for a couple of years?
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, so I have a great love for this city, which I have seen this town develop in many ways. The skyline of Las Vegas is, of course, constantly changing, but one of the most significant changes I have seen is the change in music in the last decade, and the rise of mega-clubs. Hip-hop has been largely phased out, and Vegas’s electronic music scene now rivals that of Ibiza. On any given weekend, club-goers can find performances by their favorite DJs. Big holidays, like New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day Weekend, and Labor Day Weekend are the stuff of legends.
I know the type of music that every club plays, and the artists who play at those venues. I am able to provide the expertise to execute the exact experience our guests are trying to achieve. I know how this town operates, and I have been able to build the contacts that someone new may not have. We have been able to develop relationships with everything from restaurants, to transportation, to zip-lining operators, and even next-day hangover IV treatments.
What was the hot club when you started and now?
When I first started, the hottest clubs were XS for house music, and now-defunct Pure Nightclub at Caesar’s Palace. Today, if you want hip-hop, the hot spot is, without a doubt, Drai’s Nightclub at the Cromwell. For EDM, there are so many amazing options it is hard to choose. We have some of the best clubs in the world here, in Las Vegas, but, for my guests who are looking for the best clubs to experience EDM, it is a three-way tie between Omnia at Caesar’s Palace, XS at Encore, and Hakkasan at MGM.
Which is your favorite, nightclubs or pool parties?
My personal favorite nightclub is XS, because there is no experience quite like it. The design of the club is flawless, and they took so many small details into account when they designed the club that its experience it unrivaled.
They have both indoor and outdoor portions of the club. When you need to take a break from the thumping music and go talk to your friends, you are able to recharge and go back fresh. Unlike some of the other clubs with indoor and outdoor areas, though, they do not make it feel like two separate parties; you still feel like you are part of the excitement.
The interior design of the club is not only beautiful, but well laid-out, giving my guests the ultimate vantage points to see their favorite artists. Every table has a good view of the DJ.
The best pool party, in my opinion, is Encore Beach Club, hands down. The layout is prime. They have two sections of the venue with pool spaces that provide very unique poolside real estate. One of their signature locations is called a water lily pad, which allows someone who wants to be in the party—but also be near the pool—the opportunity to be on the water. It is a circular bed that looks like a lily pad resting on top of the water, with your feet dangling in the water. People can swim up to your location and swim away. It is simply amazing, unlike any other I have experienced.
Swinney’s attention-to-detail, responsiveness, and expertise make him highly sought-after. His motto is, “We do all of the work, so you can do all of the play.”