The Venetian Casino: A river runs through it
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The Venetian Casino: A river runs through it
Las Vegas
Mar 22, 2000, 17:32
By M. Wilson Staff

With a fine Italian hand, Sophia Loren smashed a bottle of champagne on a gondola May 3rd. A hundred white doves flew upwards, a ribbon was snipped, and the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino was open, showing the world what Las Vegas does best: the fantastical and splendid. Built on the site of the original Sands Hotel and owned by parent company Las Vegas Sands Inc., the $1.5 billion complex offers visitors the spectacle of spectacles. Here, in the Las Vegas desert's heart, is a Grand Canal and lagoon. You can drift along on a gondola and gaze off at the Campanile Bell Tower with its Statue of Peace, back towards the casino, modeled on the Palace of the Doges, float under the Rialto Bridge. Venice in miniature? Very nearly -- but the real Venice lacks the backdrop of the enormous, 35-story hotel monolith.

Each new hotel-resort project in Las Vegas has become more unbelievably ambitious than the last dreamed of being. The Venetian has more rooms than any Vegas hotel before, with 3,036. In fact, you cannot get a room at the Venetian; they are all suites; 318 of them are special luxury accommodations. The casino (the Doge's Palace), comprising 120,000 square feet, holds 122 table games and 2,500 slot machines, including the popular linked progressive games offering megajackpots. The hotel connects directly to the Sands Expo Center. The hotel's amenities include: 24-hour room service, 24-hour valet parking (complimentary), a safe in each suite, full-service business center, travel bureau, in-house laundry service, and secured safe deposit boxes on the premises. Every suite has two tv's, three dual-line speaker/conference telephones, a fax machine and copier with its own phone line; coffee table, desk, and game table; a convertible sofa, a couple of upholstered chairs as well as an armchair; sunken living room/salon, and spacious bathroom finished in Italian marble.

And the Venetian is beautiful. The Great Room and check-in area has a feel of the Sistine Chapel, with a trompe l'oeil ceiling featuring a false opening to the sky where angels alight. The casino has marble floors, handpainted frescoes adorn the walls. Architectural features such as these, the 315-foot Tower, and the Palazzo are modeled on Renaissance Venice's originals. The Venetian Hotel has actually formed an alliance with The Forum for the Venice Lagoon, an organization devoted to protect and redevelop the real Venice Lagoon in Italy. Venice, it is said, held the world's first casino in history, and it seems fitting that Las Vegas should contain a monument to that city.

All this simply Phase I. Later, the Venetian's building plans will actually double the number of hotel suites to 6,000. The Venetian has signed 6 major trade shows to multiyear contracts to convene at the Expo Center and Congress Center.

Visitors may contact the Venetian online not only for accommodations at , but also to receive more information about gaming or slots, or to fill out a credit application.

A major emphasis has been on providing luxurious dining: 13 fine restaurants are built into the complex, and are all independently owned and operated, as they are run by famous restaurateurs of Italian, French, Southwestern American, Chinese and creative American cuisine. Emil Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse, Kevin Wu's Royal Star, and Piero Selvaggio's Valentino restaurant are some examples. The Canyon Ranch Cafe is associated with the Venetian's Canyon Ranch Spa Club, and serves health-conscious spa cuisine.

For fun, don't jump in the canal. Guests can enjoy any of the hotel's 5 swimming pools, take gondala rides, watch the performance of masked Carnivale players in St. Mark's Square. For other entertainment, Madame Tussaud's Celebrity Encounter has a permanent spot at the Venetian. The Theaters of Sensation offer high-tech simulator rides, and Club C2K is where nightly headliners and special events will take place. After midnight, it turns into a dance club. For the millenium New Year's Eve, Sheena Easton will be performing.

The Venetian also offers several wedding packages in a highly scenic setting.
venetian living room

venetian suites

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