When Las Vegas was going through its period of building hotels in homage to other cities (New York-New York, Luxor, Paris Las Vegas), there was a tendency to create these hotels as more of a caricature of the real deal. Somehow, Venetian managed to escape that campy, kitschy feel; it is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and luxurious properties to come out of that trend.
The exterior, much like Paris Las Vegas, crams a lot of the actual city’s landmarks into one small footprint. There’s the canals and Campanile right at the front, and the Doge’s Palace facade—where the plaza sometimes gets shut down for private, hoity-toity events. Indoors, right at Venetian’s registration, guests are treated to Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, recreated in the type of gorgeous detail that carries through the rest of the property.
St. Mark’s Place is another masterful fake, an actual square within the Grand Canal Shoppes, ringed by retailers and restaurants with “patio” seating. Wandering minstrels treat crowds to live performances. It’s a nice nod to the city, with less worry of pickpockets.
Both Venetian and Palazzo are proper all-suite hotels, with the smallest rooms starting at a generous 650 square feet. The suites are bi-level, with sunken living rooms that have full-size sleeper sofas on request, and even enough room to fit in two more comfortable chairs and a dining table with three seats. Colors are rich and royal, the entire space has a warm, relaxing glow, perfect for when you fall into one of the plush beds tucked with soft, high thread count sheets. Bathrooms are downright palatial, complete with deep, marble-encased Roman tubs, separate enclosed shower, and double vanities. Three TVs—one each in the bedroom and living rooms, and of course one in the bath—make sure that you’re always entertained.
Venetian also has boasting rights in the culinary realm: its arsenal of restaurants has more James Beard Award-winners (Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Mario Batali and Daniel Boulud) than any other property on the Strip, as well as celebrity chefs such as Buddy Valastro and Emeril Lagasse.
The Grand Canal Shoppes meander between the Venetian and Palazzo, featuring faux canals which snake through them, complete with singing gondoliers. The Palazzo’s atrium features seasonal floral displays, as well as a waterfall. The Chinese New Year display is often one of the most elaborate on the Strip (the year of the dragon featured a giant, mechanical, fire-breathing one). Created with feng shui in mind, guests are encouraged to walk around it three times, clockwise, in order to bring good luck for the lunar new year.
- Rick Garman