For Those Who Prefer Culturedness and Elegance In Vegas

If elegance is a necessity rather than a desirable commodity, look no further than the Venetian. I have looked at all the major theme hotels in Las Vegas in search of the ideal hotel, first on the internet and then by visiting in person. Clearly, the Venetian was the winner.


For Those Who Prefer Culturedness and Elegance In Vegas

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by PDJ on May 7, 2003

The Venetian alludes to the most romantic city in Italy with all of its prominent landmarks— the Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square, and more. Most were replicated with such accuracy in both form and scale that if you take photos of them and tell your friends that you had been in Venice, only experts might be able to discern the difference.

The interior of the hotel is equally impressive. Stately marble and stone columns support lofty ceilings with hand-painted replicas of Venetian art. Although none of the art is from the Vatican City, you may think you are walking into the Sistine Chapel decorated by Michaelangelo. Even if you couldn't care less about whose paintings were replicated in the Venetian, you will be overwhelmed with elegance and grandeur that makes you feel special.${QuickSuggestions}

To arouse a sense of appreciation for its architecture and art, I have written separate journals to discuss both the exterior and interior with impressive photos (the word "impressive" being attributable to the subjects of the photography and not the photography itself). Even if you don't stay at the Venetian, I recommend you to spend a day there for a cultural experience you will not get anywhere else except in Venice of Italy.

You don't have to gamble till you scramble or shop till you drop to spend a whole day in the Venetian. You can visit Guggenheim Hermitage Museum which displays art from various centuries, the Grand Canal where you can take a gondola ride with gondoliers who sing Italian songs, or the St. Mark's Square where you can dine while being serenaded by musicians. I cover some of these activities in other journals. The elegance of the hotel doesn't come cheap, but if you are interested in how to get great deals on the rate, see my journal on accommodations.${BestWay}

Many should be familiar with Las Vegas already, but for first-time visitors, if you are arriving by air, various services including taxis, limos, and shuttles are available for drop off at the Venetian. (There are no exclusive hotel shuttles though.) The cheapest are shuttles which charge about $7.50 for a round trip. If you avoid busy days, such as Friday through Sunday and around a holiday, you may end up being the only passenger on those shuttles. You may also opt for rental cars which I hear are very cheap in Las Vegas. For those arriving by car, self-parking at the hotel is free.

It's possible to get around without renting a car or taking taxis. CAT, the city transit system, costs two dollars each way and one dollar for senior citizens. On the Strip, many just use their legs.


The Venetian Hotel Resort & Casino

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by PDJ on May 7, 2003

The Venetian boasts that all of their rooms are suites and larger than an average hotel room in Las Vegas. Even in smaller suites, iron railings divide bedrooms from living rooms which are sunk by a couple steps, creating a sense of separation. Moreover, spaciousness creates the ambiance of an apartment or a condominium. SUITE OPTIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS Luxury Suite – 650 Sq. ft. with a king size bed
Bella Suite – 750 sq. ft. with two queen beds
Rialto Suite – 1100 sq. ft. with two queen beds and sitting area in the bedroom
Piazza Suite – 1456 sq. ft. with two queen beds, formal dining area, and an extra restroom.
Suites as large as 5000 sq. ft. are also available for Donald Trump types.

All suites have a marble entry, canopy drapes over beds, a sofa bed, and a Venetian floral entertainment center and armoire with a TV each. Bathrooms have double door entry and glow with shiny marbles and brass fixtures. Their gorgeousness actually makes going to bathroom a pleasure rather than a chore.

Cable TV is available with limited channels but abundant choice of pay-per-view movies, including some movies in theaters. Also included are adult channels with all-day programs for a higher fee as an alternative to compulsive gambling, I think.

For business travelers, the suites also provide a personal fax/printer/copier, high-speed internet access (you must have your own computer, and usage costs $10 per day), meeting/game table with four chairs, and a mini bar which automatically charges your room when a bottle is removed or even touched (they warn you about this). REGULAR AND BARGAIN RATES The rate varies depending on when you travel and how far in advance you reserve. As of 2003, for a somewhat slow season, the regular daily rate was $289 for weekend and $189 for weekdays, at two month’s advanced reservation for a Bella Suite. At Expedia.com, the same cost $30 less per day. However, when the hotel is nearly booked due to special events or holidays, the daily rate can be as high as $900 regardless of the day of the week. But there are cheaper ways if you are willing to take some risk.

I was able to get a Bella Suite at $189 for weekend and $149 for weekdays by calling the hotel reservation and asking for the best possible rate. The only catch was that the reservation must be prepaid and could not be canceled, refunded, or transferred. Also, I was not guaranteed the Strip view at the check in. I could have also gotten the smallest suite at $119 for weekdays if I wanted. Venetian.com advertises such low rates at Special Suite Offer! section.

While the bargain price is still more than some regular prices at Luxor or Paris, it is very reasonable for a hotel of this quality, especially if one is booking for a special occasion such as a honeymoon or wedding anniversary.

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 414-1000

Canaletto

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by PDJ on June 12, 2003

Canaletto is not the finest but the most romantic place to dine in The Venetian. It occupies the most prominent location in The St. Mark's Square, which has the ambience of being outside with simulated sky that changes with the time of the day. Although it is spacious inside, I found the "outside" seating particularly pleasant. At lunch time, you could be enjoying Italian songs sung by a group of opera singers, and at dinner time, you could be serenaded by a trio of strings.

The restaurant is distinctly Italian, serving the authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Chef Luigi Bomparola is known as a master of the rotisserie and grill, but I found his seafood dish, which was almost like a soup, quite delightful (don’t ask me what it’s called). He complements the meal with freshly baked breads from Il Fornaio's nearby bakery and a list of Canaletto’s distinctive vintage.

Although I could not speak for all the waiters, the one who served my table was truly enthusiastic about the chef and the food he prepared. He could ramble on and name various dishes as well as the places of their origin and what made them special. The wine he recommended was the closest anyone has ever matched my taste buds.

The restaurant is open from 11:30am to late evening hours. It does not get extremely crowded but if you have an important date to please, a reservation may be a wise thing.

Canaletto
Venetian Hotel Casino - 3355 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 733-0070

Touring Landmarks of Venice in Vegas

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by PDJ on May 7, 2003

It would be pitiful for visitors to come to the Venetian and merely acknowledge that they are at a hotel that looks like Venice. Take some time to know what landmarks of Venice have been replicated and why they are famous, and you will appreciate the Venetian much more.

It is said that the hotel planners photographed and scaled the actual landmarks in a painstaking effort to replicate them with accuracy. I checked it out and it is true, with exception of St. Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal, which could not be replicated exactly due to its large area. It is also said that the planners replicated all the major landmarks except St. Mark’s Church for a good reason—well, just imagine a casino inside a church, although, having a 24/7 cathedral in the middle of the Strip might not have been a bad idea for those who need to make immediate confessions after gambling and sinful pleasures.

Among many, I have listed some of the most famous landmarks as a brief preview:

Doge’s Palace: A palace built for the Doge, the civic leader of Venice. Destroyed by fire four times and rebuilt. Later, it became the seat of the government and residences of many other government officials. Now a museum with incredible works of art and decoration, which should not be missed if you ever visit Venice, Italy. The façade replicated in the Venetian was completed in 1424 in Italian Gothic style. In the Venetian, it serves as a façade for entrance into the casino and shopping center.

Campanile Tower: The Bell-tower of St. Marks Church. The current form designed in 1496, built and rebuilt numerous times. The tallest structure in Venice collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt in 1912. In the Venetian, it stands 315 feet tall (as does the one in Venice) at the entrance of the hotel.

The Grand Canal: Original settlers of Venice built the city on tiny islands and lagoon to fend off invading Huns led by Attila in the 5th and 6th Centuries. The canal divides the city into two major halves. In the Venetian, there are canals inside and outside not connected to each other. You can take a gondola ride in either one.

The Rialto Bridge: Just remember one thing about this bridge. Legend says if you kiss your lover on the bridge, your love will last forever--a good excuse for guys to kiss their girlfriends. In the Venetian, it connects the hotel and Campanile Tower over the hotel driveway.

St. Mark’s Square: A large plaza near St. Mark’s Church and Doge’s Palace. In the Venetian, it is located within the covered shopping center, but you can look up and still see a sky.

To get a detailed explanation of these landmarks and many more, check with the concierge if a self-guided tour is available. If you think going to Italy is out of your reach, visiting the Venetian may just be the next best thing.

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109

Splendid Art In the Venetian Hotel

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by PDJ on May 7, 2003

When you come to visit or stay in the Venetian, make sure you enter through the main hotel entrance where some gondoliers with black and white stripe shirts with red satin belt greet and open doors for guests. You are about to witness one of the most impressive sights—an interior built with marble floor and columns, and its ceilings decorated with fresco paintings of famous Venetian Renaissance artists, the splendor of which is only surpassed by those of cathedrals like the St. Mark’s Church and palaces like the Versailles.

The first thing you will notice is a sphere of golden rings held by mermaids and lions in a fountain. This is a large replica of an apparatus known as Armillary Spheres which was used as a navigational tool.

Above the Armillary Sphere is a domed ceiling with Giambattista Tiepolo’s four heroic episodes from Greek mythology, painted around 1725 for Palazzo Sandi. The characters portrayed there include Orpheus, Bellerophon, Minerva, and Mercury.

To enter the hotel casino and suites, you must pass through a long, splendid hallway decorated with marble floor which appears as stairs in three dimension. It is an exact replica of the Church of Gesuiti of Venice built in 1728.

Above, on the ceiling, are four fresco paintings, replicas of paintings by four different artists—Tiepolo, Rici, Pellogrini, and Bambino—of 17th an 18th centuries. The photo below is the "Infant Cupid with Jupiter and Juno" by Sebastiano Ricci, painted in 1705. It is easy to mistake these for frescos of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michaelangelo because of their similar style.

Past the casino floor, two escalators lead up to the shopping center on the second floor. As you go up one of the escalators, you cannot help but notice a huge fresco painting on the ceiling—a replica of "Apotheosis of Venice" by Veronese. It is said that this replica took over one year to complete.

Again, knowing these works of art are not the original, I was nevertheless awestruck to have a cultural and aesthetic experience of being in Venice without going to Venice.

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109

Italian Music & Performances

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by PDJ on June 11, 2003

In St. Mark's Square of The Venetian Hotel, musical and other performances begin as early as 10am and last until 10pm. The local artists perform various acts and musical pieces with classical elegance that is rare in Las Vegas.

Artisti del Arte: Opera singers in Renaissance Italian costumes sing Italian favorites such as "O Sole Mio" and "Santa Lucia" every forty-five minutes or so beginning 11:30am. A Juggler's act precedes the presentation.

The Venetian Living Statues: A statue of a lady stands under a spotlight in the middle of the square. One would think the statue is of white marble until it suddenly jerks its arm. Children seem to like this show the best. The show begins at 10am and the statue changes every two hours or so.

The Venetian Trio: A string trio serenades listeners with Latin favorites such as "La Spana" and "Besamé Mucho" with such passion that one may feel like dancing to them Tango style. Performance begins at 6:20pm and repeats every hour, ending at about 10pm, every evening except Monday and Tuesday. Time your dinner in a cafe or a restaurant nearby out in the square and you are bound to have a very romantic dinner with the music in the background.

Special Performances: Sometimes performers who perform nightly in The Venetian theater will give a preview as an advertisement. When I was visiting, "The Lord of The Dance" was being performed. These occur every hour after a solo in the evening.

The best thing about these performances is that they are free of charge for visitors and shoppers—no tickets or drinks to buy to view or listen. However, viewers and audiences tip them during or after performances, especially the Living Statue (perhaps out of compassion?).

Italian Music & Performances
St. Mark's Square (The Venetian Hotel)
Las Vegas, Nevada

Gondola Ride In The Venetian

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by PDJ on June 12, 2003

I know of few places where tourists can experience a gondola ride outside of Venice, Italy; one is Newport Beach, California, and the other, The Venetian of Las Vegas. In Newport Beach, California, guests can share a bottle of champagne while riding a gondola. In The Venetian, they enjoy Italian songs sung by gondoliers.

The Venetian of Las Vegas offers two canal routes: one inside that runs through St. Mark's Square and shopping center and the other one that runs along palaces outside the casino. Both offer nearly authentic experiences of riding a gondola through the canals of Venice, Italy. I say nearly authentic because in The Venetian, the canal water lacks floating garbage and distinct smell that comes with it —- a trademark of genuine Venetian canal water.

Each ride lasts about fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on how fast guests board the gondola. Once the guests are on board, gondoliers steer through the canal along which shoppers and tourists watch and take pictures of them as if they were the Venetian nobles and courtesans who are the subjects of gossips. So if you plan on riding one but would feel shy about onlookers, make sure you choose earlier part of the day when less people are around. However, if you are a newlywed couple who are dying for public attention, keep your wedding suit and dress on and choose the prime time to find the most crowd to greet you -—early evening on a weekend. You are guaranteed to be treated like Prince Charles and Princess Di when they were just married. You will see flashes on cameras go off one right after another even if no one had contacted the media for any publicity.

To purchase tickets, you must go to the end of the canal in St. Mark's Square. In the afternoon and early evening, you will find that getting a gondola ride is like waiting for a ride in Disneyland. Expect to see a long line. The cost is $12.50 per person with four people sharing a gondola or $50 for the whole gondola, as of Spring 2003. The gondoliers are trained vocalists and have a fairly good repertoire of songs; so don't be afraid to request your favorite Italian song, but be prepared to pay a little tip.

The Venetian Gondola Rides
Grand Canal at The Venetian
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(877) 883-6423

The Swimming Pool and Spa of The Venetian

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by PDJ on June 12, 2003

The Venetian has an extravagant, five-acre, rooftop pool deck with an Olympic-size swimming pool supplemented by a smaller pool, which is still large by comparison. What distinguishes the swimming pool in The Venetian is the exquisite surroundings of the pool designed like an affluent Venetian garden. (Sorry, it isn’t the gorgeous bodies in swimsuits.)

Against the magnificient backdrop of The Venetian tower, the entrance to the pool area opens up to a plaza-like patio followed by a fountain with lions spouting water from their mouths. Along the patio and the main pool are booths guests can rent, probably for a price, furnished with lounge chairs and tables for private use. I imagine the pool does get crowded in hot weather, but there seemed to be plenty of chairs to relax on.

Canyon Ranch Spaclub is located near the entrance of the deck. Besides the spa, which offers various therapeutic treatments and massages, it has exercise equipment and a 40-foot climbing wall with personal trainers and wide array of classes. It also houses a café, a clothing and boutique shop, and a hair and nail salon. If health and beauty are in your mind, this is the place to be.

Canyon Ranch SpaCLub and the Venetian Swimming Pool
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 414-3600

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