One myth that seems to come up frequently is that Vegas is fake, and its grandeur is just a façade. If any one place (or places) can completely buck that myth, it’s The Venetian Resort and its counterpart The Palazzo.
In 1999, The Venetian brought an ornate and over the top architecture to the Strip that hadn’t been seen before. Inspired by its proprietor’s honeymoon locale, The Venetian isn’t simply a model of its namesake, it was constructed of Italian materials and painted by Italian artisans. This includes using green stones from the Alps and Botticino marble in the main colonnade’s columns. When The Palazzo joined the party in 2007, the ample resort became complete (save for the St. Regis Residences, but that’s a story for another time), married by the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Today, The Venetian and Palazzo are beloved among locals and visitors alike, providing a full resort experience for its guests with everything from fine art and kitschy museums to high end shopping and of course, gaming. Read on to learn a few lesser-known morsels about our favorite Italian bastion.
The Honorable Rat Plaque
Admittedly, there’s a ton to see as you enter The Venetian, from its intricate Renaissance-inspired architecture and hand painted ceilings to the tranquil canals, it’s a lot to take in. But one detail that is worth looking down for is an understated tribute near the main entrance. Commemorating Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop – aka The Rat Pack and their Las Vegas reign, five sets of footprints mark the approximate location where the beloved collective posed for a famous picture in from of the former Sands marquis.
Think Like a Local: If you want to relive some of their ‘60s reign, check out “The Rat Pack is Back” at The Copa Room at Tuscany Suites.
Keeping the Gondolas Afloat
Gondola rides are an integral attraction of The Venetian. In fact, more than 500,000 visitors ride on the gondolas each year, and a single boat makes 40 trips a day. That’s a lot of rowing. To keep the gondolas up to the job, they are maintained and checked daily. When one of the vessels requires a repair, they make the journey to the gondola workshop, located inside the Palazzo self-parking garage. But what makes this essential service worthwhile for visitors, is the window into the shop to allow curious onlookers to watch the repairs in real time.
Think Like a Local: Let’s not forget who really makes a gondola ride worthwhile, the hardworking locals, of course. Twice a day, the striped gondoliers march and sing as they make their way to and from their boats. Witness the tradition at 9:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. daily.
An Armillary Sphere with Altruistic Motives
The captivating gold, mermaid-adorned sculpture that resides in The Venetian lobby is hard to miss, with good reason. The beautiful replica of an Armillary Sphere is modeled after a device used to study the sky and stars for centuries. The surrounding fountain, which is full of coins, isn’t just your typical wishing well. Periodically the coins are collected, counted, and matched dollar-for dollar in a donation to the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research.
Think Like a Local: Toland Grinnell, the creator of the Venetian’s Armillary Sphere, integrated an “easter egg” in his work. By toggling a hidden switch behind the head of one of the topless mermaids, her breasts swing open showcasing a 3D diorama of the canals of Venice. The spectacle was documented in this 2014 article, but as far as we know, her “treasure chest” remains closed to the public.
Strip Views and Private Entrances
Strip views are always a coveted amenity, but even more so when those panoramas are exclusive. Located on the 23rd floor of the Palazzo tower, with its own private check in and elevator, the Prestige Club is a private lounge for guests with a Prestige upgrade. Take in the views while sipping Prosecco (or another handcrafted cocktail), dining on complimentary continental breakfast or afternoon coffee or tea.
Think Like a Local: Speaking of special entrances, the famed French eatery, Bouchon has several. The typical (and usually busy) elevators and main casino can be bypassed when heading to the 10th floor eatery by going to the furthest elevator in The Venetian self-parking garage or from just to the right of the check-in desk. Thinking like a local always equals efficiency.
The Waterfall Atrium Changes with the Seasons
Constant reinvention is what keeps Las Vegas as a top destination. Every visit will give you something new to explore. In The palazzo tower’s Waterfall Atrium, the seasons are reflected in its floral décor. From celebrating the Chinese New Year and other holiday decorations to celebrating gondolas of the past, the atrium display is always offering a new, photo-friendly backdrop.
Think Like a Local: Challenge yourself to see all the seasonal displays. Parking is free, after all.
Apertivo Hour at Brera Osteria
Whet your appetite for the evening ahead with happy hour drinks and light bites at Brera Osteria. A nod to Milan’s Brera neighborhood, the artsy restaurant’s aperitivo hour is available Friday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Located amidst the hustle and bustle of St. Marks Square, you can take in prime people watching with your pasta and cured meats.
Think Like a Local: Happy hours are hard to come by on the Strip, and this one is to die for.
Savor Reinvented Moon Pies at Moon Palace
Ok, this may not be a secret, but it’s still worth mentioning. When you want to pick up a meal to go, want something to nosh on while navigating the casino or while lounging poolside, Moon Palace is the place. Chef David Chang’s casual compact restaurant features Tastys, Half Dips and Hot Chips, which are best enjoyed all together. Order a Tasty (available vegetarian), which is a burger with American cheese and caramelized onions between two King’s Hawaiian rolls. Hot Chips seasoned with salt and/or honey butter and a Half Dip comprised of two pancakes filled with marshmallow fluff and dipped in chocolate.
Think Like a Local: We love David Chang and he loves us back. If you really want a glimpse of the culinary mastery he can cook up, head to Majordomo Meat & Fish (in the Palazzo) for exotic takes on familiar classics.
What’s Your Zodiac Sign…Cocktail?
After you try your hand at the secret menu, order a drink that aligns with the stars. The newly crafted Zodiac cocktail menu features 12 drinks tailored to characteristics of each of the signs. Catering to the friendly, emotional, and artistic, the Aries cocktail features Campari, Mezcal, aged rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, ginger syrup, and ginger candy. Explore the full list of Zodiac cocktails and order one at Rosina, Electra Cocktail Club and The Dorsey.
Think Like a Local: After you’ve had a few Zodiac cocktails, make a point to see Atomic Saloon Show. You’ll need to be loosened up to make it through the raunchy humor and awkward audience participation. If you have a choice, avoid the on-stage seating unless you love being a part of the show.
Where the Buffalo Roams
Adored by locals and visitors alike, Buffalo Slots are on their way to becoming a gaming icon. Catering to the game’s rabid fans, The Venetian and The Palazzo have added Buffalo Zones to their casino floors, ensuring the fast-paced and high energy game is easy access.
Think Like a Local: “Buffaloooo!”