WITH THE OPENING OF the Venetian back in May 1999, Las Vegas was introduced to the concept of approachable luxury. This was a new type of upscale product that wasn't stuffy or garish and didn't make guests feel as if they were peeking into a world in which they didn't belong. In a sense, the Venetian democratized Las Vegas luxury by making it available to the masses.
Now, its developers have opened the final phase of this project: an integrated sister mega-resort dubbed the Palazzo Las Vegas (www.palazzolasvegas.com). Sophisticated, stimulating and stylish, the Palazzo is a gorgeous complement to the Venetian. Instead of creating a heavily themed environment, creators took a modern approach to the design, replacing the more traditional Italian design-markers such as fresco ceilings with understated elements based on a richer, darker color palette.
While there are nods to Italian design throughout the 50-story Palazzo—marble floors and columns, for example—the entire resort is imbued with a more refined and subtle approach to luxury. In fact, the resort has an almost contradictory feel to it: intimate, yet larger than life. It's a theme that carries out from the casino floor to its luxury retail area and into the more than 3,000 suites.
"Palazzo is about grand spaces and soft luxury," says Bradley Stone, executive vice president of Las Vegas Sands Corp., owners and developers of both the Palazzo and the Venetian.
Combined, the two properties have become the largest hotel complex in the world; in all, there are more than 19 million square feet under one roof. The Palazzo itself has 1.8 million square feet of stone and marble, more than seven acres of glass and goes as much as 72 feet below the Las Vegas Strip.
Highlights of the property include the Shoppes at the Palazzo, with Las Vegas' first-ever Barneys New York; Jay-Z's 40/40 Club; the largest Canyon Ranch SpaClub; and restaurants by some of the world's most renowned chefs. Come April, the Palazzo will open Jersey Boys, the hit Broadway musical. The 105,000-square-foot casino has more than 120 table games and nearly 1,400 slot machines ranging from a penny up to $500 a pull.
With a size and scope like that, it's easy to enter the Palazzo and then suddenly realize that it's been days since you've been outside. But that's a good thing, because anything your client wants to do, they can do. It's all inside.
As an all-suite hotel, the standard rooms are some of the largest in Las Vegas. The smallest ones are a generous 650 square feet, and the largest occupy more than 1,400 square feet.
Each suite features a sunken living area. It cleverly breaks up the room by creating two distinct areas, one for sleep and one for play. Each room uses deep cherrywoods and velvety browns to create a distinct modern European flair.
The beds feel downright regal, with mounds of feathered pillows piled atop crisp Egyptian linens from Anichini. The marble bathrooms not only have two sinks but some also have both an oversized bathtub and glass-enclosed shower. There's even a 17-inch flat-panel TV in the bathroom.
Other standard amenities in the room include a full-size sofa sleeper, 32-inch flat-screen TVs in the bedroom and living room, three dual-line telephones, wireless high-speed Internet access and personal fax/printer/copier. Other neat elements include remote-controlled Roman shades and curtains, a master light switch upon entry and residential-style furnishings and fixtures that work to disarm and relax the guest.
A Shopper's Paradise
Boasting the ultimate collection of luxury stores, the Shoppes at the Palazzo features some of the most prestigious designers and retailers in the world. More than 60 upper-echelon retailers are all located in this marble-encased shopping shrine. The centerpiece attraction, a 90,000-square-foot Barneys New York, covers several levels and has its own private street-side entrance. Other stores include Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin, Diane Von Furstenberg, Van Cleef & Arpels, Catherine Malandrino, Chloé, Anya Hindmarch and Michael Kors.
With so many nighttime options already available at the Venetian, it was hard to imagine what new venues the Palazzo could provide. Well, it appears that they looked to the East Coast, since Palazzo has brought a little New York City into the resort.
Opening in April at a specially built theater is the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys (www.jerseyboysinfo.com), a musical tracing the lives and careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This '60s-era lullaby tells the story about how four kids from the streets of Newark, NJ, created a distinct sound and topped the charts. It features such well-known songs as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)."
Downstairs is the 40/40 Club (www.the4040club.com), an upscale sports bar, lounge and nightclub. It's owned by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and named after the baseball milestone of 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season.
There are five intimate lounges here, as well as a large multi-tiered seating area. The lounges feature different decor styles and elements. Rooms may have old arcade games, pool tables and oversized couches with endless numbers of pillows. All rooms have giant flat-panel TVs so you'll never miss the big game. There is also a Latin/soul-inspired menu with tons of tasty finger foods. High rollers will love that there's access here to a private casino, which features just a few table games and four slot machines. Table minimums were $100 a hand when we visited.
The Palazzo has an assortment of cuisines, styles and points of view that should continue to please savvy palates for years to come. There are many respected name-brand-driven restaurants here, such as CarneVino from Mario Batali, Table 10 by Emeril Lagasse, a Wolfgang Puck steakhouse called CUT and the fish-centric Restaurant Charlie from Charlie Trotter. Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro features great indoor and outdoor views of the Strip. Here, you'll get to taste a variety of handcrafted cocktails before enjoying French-accented cuisine. Lamborghini is set to open a café shortly, which will be located in its showroom, featuring some of the world's most illustrious cars.
Rest and Rejuvenate
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub (www.canyonranch.com) is a 134,000-square-foot spa and fitness center. The spa specializes in Aquavana water therapies, including state-of-the-art hot and cold experiences. There is also a hair-and-nail salon and fresh spa cuisine prepared by Wolfgang Puck. Guests must purchase a day pass for the spa, but it sounds like it's worth it. There are a Finnish sauna, Salt Grotto and an Igloo onsite, and the fitness center has exercise equipment, classes and a coed conservatory.
The raised pool deck overlooks the Las Vegas Strip and, when it opens this spring, will feature multiple swimming and lounge pools, several spas, statuary and gardens. There will be dozens of rental cabanas, each with a refreshment center, ceiling fan and plasma-screen TV.