Condé Nast Traveler editors work undercover jobs in travel and leisure to report their experiences. The magazine claims editors and reporters pay the same prices as regular customers and receive no special treatment or recognition.
They travel unannounced and are free to report their findings with no conflict of interest.
Monica Kim recently reported on her temporary job as a cocktail waitress at the Marquee nightclub in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan is located on Las Vegas Blvd and is a 60,000 square foot venue containing seven different bars and three rooms — the main room, the Boom Box, and The Library — each with a distinct musical experience.
Marquee caters to corporate events and ultra expensive parties, and offers a full range of food services, from hors d’oeuvres to buffet style dining, beverage options, and bottle service, in which patrons buy full bottles of liquor at outrageous markups — Marquee’s most profitable income stream.
Marquee is way too expansive to be as exclusive as some claim, but it remains a popular clubber destination.
“Once the broader public knows about a club and tries to get in, it’s kind of on the outs,” says Lauren Rivera, an assistant professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
“It loses cachet. But Marquee has branded itself through its association with celebrities. The Chateau Marmont has been around forever, and people know what it is, but it has a strong celebrity presence and so it still has cachet.”
Marquee’s Main Room features a state-of-the-art sound and visual system with a 40-foot LED DJ booth and projection stage in conjunction with 32,000 subwoofers and full range speakers.
Overlooking the Main Floor is the Library room, which has a fireplace, billiards table, and vintage books. On the lower level of the nightclub is the Boom Box room, with views of the strip and a separate DJ and sound system.
“What I’ll never forget about my night as a Las Vegas nightclub cocktail waitress is how a stranger’s neck sweat dripped onto the hem of my dress and stuck to my legs,” writes Kim, “or how fake our smiles grew with each passing second.”
Kim describes being laced into the Marquee cocktail waitress uniform, a skintight velvet dress that corsets up the back and front with black ribbons. “It was sparkly, soft, and suffocating, and Robbie, the thirtysomething waitress I would be shadowing that night, laughed as my face turned as purple as the dress.”
Most of the girls wear dark, crimped hair, heavily rouged cheeks, and bright red lips. Because the club is open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays, most of the waitresses see it as a side job: “Some are in school, others are running businesses, but all of them are rolling in tip money—from $500 to $1,000 a night.”
Around ten o’clock, before Kim’s table had arrived, she says a group of eight former frat boys in their thirties wearing polos ordered a few bottles of Grey Goose for about $450 apiece, and it was time for the first bottle presentation.
“We marched in a line, waving light wands above our heads, and climbed all over the booth, dancing and smiling in a spectacle designed to say, ‘Hey, look over here! See how much money these people are spending?’”
Slate’s Seth Stevenson comments that with its carefully choreographed lightshows, and consistent product, “Marquee seems like the first brand with real potential to do for nightclubs what Starbucks did for coffee shops.”