Travel Weekly senior editor Amy Baratta recently stayed at the
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Her report follows:
LAS VEGAS -- There's an old saying that Rome wasn't built in a
day. Neither, apparently, was Venice -- or, at least Las Vegas'
version of the ancient Italian city.
Seven months after its shaky debut last May, the $1.4 billion
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino is on track to become one of this
city's premier attractions.
From the outside, which includes replicas of such Venetian
landmarks as the Campanile Tower and the Rialto bridge, the
property does indeed resemble a small city, hustling and bustling
with thousands of sightseers and guests.
Inside, the pace is just as frenetic, but it is eclipsed by the
grandeur of the resort's reception area. Marble floors and frescoed
ceilings command the attention of guests entering the hotel's doors
for the first time.
The opulent decor flows right into the property's
120,000-square-foot casino, housed inside the replicated facade of
the Doge's Palace, where guests can try their luck at any of the
2,500 slot machines or 122 table games.
From the casino, sightseers can wander down a sort of restaurant
row, where about half of the property's dozen eateries are
I can recommend Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse, where I
lunched, and Stephan Pyle's Star Canyon, where I had a fantastic
Although the meals were not inexpensive, the food and the
service at both establishments were top-notch. Reservations,
especially for dinner, are recommended for most of the
To walk off my evening meal, I headed up an escalator to the
Grand Canal Shoppes retail complex. Overhead, the ceiling had been
painted to resemble a seemingly endless pale blue sky punctuated by
fluffy white clouds. The store facades, meanwhile, were constructed
to look like the narrow buildings that crowd Venetian streets.
The complex is composed of approximately 65 upscale retailers,
among them Mikimoto and Movado; approximately half a dozen
restaurants, and a 1,200-foot reproduction of the Grand Canal,
where visitors can take a gondola ride for $10 each. Reservations
are required for the ride, which comes complete with singing
Of course, a souvenir photograph is taken before each gondola
heads out; by the time the last romantic note has been sung and the
gondola has returned with its cargo, the photos have been put into
cardboard frames and are on sale for $10 apiece.
The Grand Canal Shoppes also features a replica of St. Mark's
Square, where, as in many areas of the resort, street performers
entertain passersby with their antics.
This fall, the retail complex began hosting a weekly "Sunday
with the Arts" program that showcases arts and theater groups. The
free performances begin at 2 p.m.
After wandering around the area's cobbled walkways, I made my
way back to my room, which was a suite. No, I was not a VIP guest;
all of the Venetian's 3,036 guest rooms are suites.
The room was standard size -- meaning it offered somewhere
around 700 square feet of space -- but its features were not
Each suite offers a minibar, a practically unheard of amenity in
this city, as well as three telephones with data ports and a
private fax machine that also functions as a copier and computer
The in-room safe also is unique, featuring a light and enough
space to accommodate a laptop.
Each suite also has a sunken living room, two televisions and a
130-square-foot bathroom accented with Italian marble. Perhaps the
best features of the room were the two reading lights above the
For clients -- especially business travelers who find themselves
in hotel rooms more often than not -- it is these features that