One might say all sorts of clichéd things about Las Vegas, its loud, trashy, cheap, too much bling all over, sparkling lights, glamour, people in search of that one big win. Yet people flock to las Vegas for those fun weekends, parties & weddings. The newer hotels and resorts along the Strip have slowly taken a turn for the better, wallowing their guests in luxury and glamour, far from the days of yesteryear with tired old casinos and their trashy surrounds. These Casinos have become an architect’s dream come true. Design school dreams have come to life here in Las Vegas. Now there aren't just casinos but city like resorts complete with an entire experience of vacationing, entertainment, shopping, dining, nightlife, and the inevitable gaming floors, transporting visitors into a glamorous world of different world cities and experiences that one might have only dreamed of doing.
The venetian resort may be, just one of that clichéd hotels, with critics saying a lot of unkindly things about its theme park like architectural features. But for some like me it was a veritable fantasy come true; of blue Venetian canals(without the dirty canal smell I might add), Venetian palazzo facades on the canal, gondolas, St marks square on the inside and the tower outside, and of course the dreamy Rialto bridge. The entire hotel experience was not only magical from its luxurious rooms to its equally luxurious main shopping and entertainment areas, but it was truly a sublime interlude to be savored forever.
From the time we got down below its beautifully frescoed portico to the sights that awaited us inside, I felt like I never wanted to leave. We were beautifully greeted by a red striped gondolier in the reception lobby who regaled us with our traditional music. Charmed we certainly were! On passing thru the lobby we were equally awed by the magnificence of the gilt clad interiors. I truly felt that we were in an Italianate palazzo, half expecting maybe Romeo or the Doge himself to walk by us..... The casino floors were in the centre of it all, but their surprising mutedness did not intrude on our travails thru the resort and not having gone there for the gaming, this was certainly a blessing in disguise. Though it would have been even better, not to have to cross it to go to our hotel towers......at least we wouldn't inhale the smoke. Our rooms were equally luxurious,(so much so that the kids didn't even want to venture downstairs). The first experience I was dying to try out was the Gondola ride and it was truly a lovely experience to glide down these manmade faux canals surrounded by charming little bridges and facades showcasing all the designer brands you would get only in Paris, Milan or NYC. And a plus was being serenaded by an Italian gondolier- Amore Mio!..............True venetian style. It was truly amazing to see how they had recreated the famous canals of Venice, with its quaint bridges, that too on the second floor of the resort. Alighting at St. Marks square, we were treated to a wonderful orchestra ensemble and venetian court dressed dancers. The square held many more delights in terms of delicious authentic gelato stands and quaint Venetian shops. You didn’t need to go to Murano to buy a glass vase, you could buy one right here. One of the other enjoyable experiences was having the Phantom of the Opera show and the Blue man show right here at the Venetian. How appropriately fitting for them to showcase the Phantom here and they have even built the theatre specially for it, magnificently outfitted with THE chandelier from which the phantom jumps-oh no! shouldn't have let it out-that was the wow factor in the show along with its beautiful stage sets. Well if you have seen it, then you will know what I am talking about. Fantastic seats made the experience even more enjoyable. One of my favorite things to do was to go in the elevators, because they played the musical score for the Phantom of the Opera, totally elevating. The Blue man show was zany, crazy and totally unlike anything else we had seen. Can’t imagine why they didn’t feature the Merchant of Venice with Al pacino as its star attraction, would be a crowd puller certainly. Maybe a Romeo and Juliet too, also Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp waltzing in the richly appointed ball rooms would be tres Bella. Ah! now I digress………………………
Another beautifully appointed nightclub was the Zen like TAO which was pretty famous judging from the number of people waiting to enter and its celebrity party like atmosphere. Restful interiors with great music being played made it The place to go to. There were other restaurants on site all equally good. The hotel's Italian fountain like swimming pools made it a lot of fun for the kids to enjoy; they never wanted to get out. The hotels other tower was the Palazzo with even more luxurious shopping arcades. Going outside the hotel entrance, the Rialto bridge connected you to the sidewalks of the Strip where you could walk to the neighboring casinos like Wynn Wynn (another haven of pleasure); Paris Paris and further down Caesars palace. The few days we spent here were spent in carousing thru the recreated alleyways of Venice, browsing the shops, sipping lattes, eating gelatos and pastries and enjoying all the sights and sounds of Las Vegas luxury at its best. This was a place meant to be stayed in, relax and enjoyed fully. One didn't need to step out to find other sources of entertainment, you had all you wanted right here. And whilst the Venetian of course cannot be compared to the real thing(having been there a couple of times myself to Venice), it is still, a place meant to revisit again. Glamour reinvented one might add.