WHAT’S IT LIKE? The all-suite Palazzo hotel opened in December 2007, next door to its sister property the Venetian, at a cost of US$1.9 billion. This huge hotel has 159.5 acres of floor space over 50 storeys (although floors four, 13 and 14 do not exist), a 9,800 sqm casino and 4,249 parking spaces in the underground car park, and it is covered with 30,000 sqm of glass.
The hotel is not nearly as gaudy as many of the properties on the Strip – in fact, it is positively tasteful. The grand entrance is up a sweeping driveway and takes you into a high-ceilinged cream-coloured marble lobby, with a water feature in the centre – complete with illuminated umbrellas hanging upside down – and a row of reception desks to the right.
Although there was a bit of a queue to check in, it was well organised with someone to welcome you, take your name and then inform the desk clerk who you are before you get there. After checking in, you have to walk through the casino floor to get to the lifts that take you to the bedrooms. My only criticism would be the perfume pumped into the public areas – in the corridors it is almost unbearable to breathe.
WHERE IS IT? On the Strip (also known as Las Vegas Boulevard South) opposite Treasure Island. McCarran International airport is a short drive away just off the southern end of the Strip – it takes 15-30 minutes depending on traffic. The hotel has valet parking for US$xxx as well as a free self-park option at the underground car park to the right of the entrance.
ROOM FACILITIES My spacious Palazzo Bella suite (one above the lowest category) on the 45th floor had fabulous views of the Strip and the rocky desert in the distance. At the far end of the room, next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which had electronic blinds, was a lounge area with a L-shaped gold crushed velvet couch, a dining table, and a neat workdesk with a printer, scanner, fax and phone next to it. Wired and wifi internet access is available for US$9.95 for 24 hours.
At the other end of the room was the sleeping area with two queen beds footed by sea-green chaises, and a marble bathroom with a walk-in shower, a separate bath, an LCD TV above the twin sinks, robes, slippers, and a vanity table. The suite was decorated in inoffensive creams and browns, with dark wood furniture and a couple of 32-inch flatscreen TVs on the walls. While there were no tea and coffee-making facilities, there was a minibar with plenty of drinks and snacks (and a previous guest’s mouldy banana), an iron and ironing board, a DVD player, a safe, and air conditioning (essential as you cannot open the windows).
Higher category Concierge suites offer guests a full-service concierge team, private check-in and access to the 23rd floor Concierge lounge, which serves free breakfast from 5am to 11am, has an open bar and serves hors d’oeurves from 5pm to 9pm, and also has a DVD library and business centre services.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS If you wanted to eat in a different restaurant every day in the Palazzo, you would have to stay for more than two and a half weeks. Of the 17 eateries on offer, there is a good selection of cheaper casual dining options, such as Dos Caminos, which serves Mexican fare, and Canyon Ranch Grill, which dishes up healthy gourmet cuisine for breakfast and lunch. There are also more expensive fine-dining venues, including Carnevino steakhouse, open since January, and Sushisamba, fusing Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese flavours from 11.30am to 2am depending on the day of the week.
I ate dinner at Lavo, an Italian restaurant on the ground floor just off the lobby, which has a 100-seat outdoor terrace and a nightclub accessed by a glass-walled bridge overlooking the dining room. (Lavo, in keeping with its name, also features some unusual basins in the washrooms – the water flows into them from a jet in the ceiling.) The atmosphere was buzzing but intimate, with funky music and fiery lighting from Moroccan lamps.
While the waiting staff were chatty and happy to make recommendations, my main course arrived before I had finished my starter, which meant that it started to get cold. The meal, however, was delicious and served in generous portions. I chose roasted beetroot salad with chickpeas, pistachio and ricotta (US$15), followed by rigatoni and shrimp with tomato, basil and crushed red pepper (US$24). The “Ultimate” pizza with roasted lobster, truffles, boschetto cheese, crispy potatoes and caramelised onions (US$34) also looked extremely good.
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES The Palazzo, along with the Venetian and the Sands Expo and Convention Centre located behind the hotels, are all part of the Las Vegas Sands Megacentre, a 1,881,000 sqm meetings and events venue catering for up to 50,000 people. The Venetian and Palazzo Congress Centre occupies five floors and is comprised of 22 designated spaces, including the Palazzo ballroom, which has a capacity of 7,500 delegates for a reception. Guests also have access to a business centre , complete with faxes, PCs, office equipment rental, and a package centre. (When I went to collect a small box, there was a long queue and a charge of US$4 for collection.)
LEISURE FACILITIES The 12,500 sqm Canyon Ranch Spa Club (open 6am-8pm) was extended last year to serve both the Palazzo and the Venetian next door. Guests can make use of state-of-the-art treatment rooms, a 12-metre indoor rock-climbing wall, a cycling gym, pilates studios and Aquavana, a relaxation suite with thermal spa cabins, “experiential showers”, a wave room and a salt grotto.
The hotel also has a vast outdoor pool deck (open seasonally) on the third floor with seven pools, four hot tubs and 41 cabanas. As well as an on-site casino with more than 120 table games, 1,400 slot machines and free 24-hour gaming lessons for black jack, baccarat and craps, the Palazzo features a Lamborghini showroom (US$10 to enter), and a 42,000 sqm luxury retail centre called the Shoppes. This houses everything from Barneys New York to Bauman Rare Books. You can also catch a show – Jersey Boys is currently showing at the Palazzo’s own theatre.
VERDICT A classy new luxury hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, perfect for the business traveller – it has everything from extensive meeting facilities and fully equipped suites to great places to dine and unwind. Very good value for money.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 3,066 suites across eight categories (Palazzo Luxury, Bella, Fortuna and Siena, and Concierge Luxury, Bella, Fortuna and Siena) with floor space ranging from 65 sqm to 118 sqm.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The amount of space and the views of the Strip were definite plus points, as were the printer/fax/scanner, which meant I didn’t have to leave my room to go to the business centre.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in June started from US$184 for a Palazzo Luxury suite.
CONTACT The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino, Las Vegas Blvd South 3,325; tel +1 702 607 7777; palazzolasvegas.com