I arrived at the Venetian valet at 3PM on a Sunday and the line was about 10 minutes at the Front Desk. Once getting up there, I was told that a smoking room wasn't ready but they were being cleaned and it would "20 minutes tops." She offers me a room in the Venezia Tower. 2 elevator rides and a 1/4 mile walk every time I leave my room? No thanks. She offers a room at Palazzo. Not a bad choice normally but me, my luggage and my car are at the Venetian. She then offered to call my cell phone once the room was ready. No problem, I can wait 20 minutes. After eating a quick lunch and wandering around the lobby for 45 minutes, I go back to the front to inquire about the room and am told it still isn't ready and once again given the Venezia/Palazzo options. Apparently annoyed that I didn't like those options, she snips "Then we will call you when its ready!" Another half hour passes and I go back and unfortunately I end up with the same person. She immediately asks "Did we call?!?!" No, you did not and it's now an hour and 15 minutes to clean a room. She starts clicking and says "Oh it's ready. Are you sure you didn't miss the call?" Nope, I had my phone in my hand the whole time Tweeting about my experience! An hour and a half later, I am finally in my room - a "Luxury Suite" on the 29th floor overlooking the Venezia Tower and south Strip.
All of the standard rooms at the Venetian are mini-suites with a bedroom and seperate sunken living area, which is definitely the best part of the room. The bedroom space is a bit cramped with a king bed, 2 night stands and a armoire squeezed in but it's hardly noticeable with the large sitting area by the window. There is a big sectional couch that can easily seat 4 or 5 and a coffee table. Also a work desk and small dining table with 3 chairs centered around a TV Stand/mini-bar/safe. This is clearly where you will spend the majority of your time while in your room. The bathroom was the prototype for every other hotel bathroom built in Vegas over the past 10 years. Dual-sink vanity, seperate shower and tub, a toilet room plus enough open space that 4 of your drunken friends could sleep in it.
The amenities and details are what you would expect from a luxury hotel - DVD player in the living area, seperate make-up vanity with mirror, the snazzy assortment of bath products, comfortable mattress and it was all nice enough. Barely. The room was just on the cusp of officially hitting the "tired" state. Nothing most people would even care about, just some little things that added up. The couch was a bit saggy, the wooden furniture was a little roughed up and the bathroom fixtures were screaming old. However, by far the worst part of the room was the lack and difficulty of getting to a power outlet, especially at the desk. With the amount of devices people now travel with, they need to do something about it. Traveling solo, I have at least 4 devices to charge. How many does a family of 4 have? The new rooms at MGM, they got it right with an outlet in every lamp.
Outside of the room, The Venetian/Palazzo complex probably has the best collection of restaurants and shopping in Vegas. There are well over 30 places to eat between the two places with everything from fast food to top-notch gourmet in just about every cuisine. For the non-gourmets amongst us, I highly recommend the coffee shop - the Grand Lux Cafe. I had one of the best burgers ever on this trip but I have never been disappointed with anything on the giant menu. Run by the Cheesecake Factory people, this might be my favorite coffee shop in Vegas.
In the casino, I actually ended up playing a lot more than I planned. When you put in cash and don't lose it, it makes it hard to walk away. I gave them easily 6 or 7 hours of play and walked basically even. As for the service, I can only assume that the new standard for drink service on the Strip is outright crappy. This has been a consistant trend in every place I have placed over the past year or so from Bellagio to Riviera to Venetian. Did the Food & Beverage guy at the Palms send out a memo or something?
After getting off to a rough start at check-in, the stay at the Venetian overall, was pretty good. You can beat the size of the standard room with the seperate living area. Having a couch is such a bonus over a normal room if you plan on hanging out in it even the shortest amount of time. Aside from the huge room, the list of amenities downstairs is almost reason alone to stay there. The seemingly endless amount of restaurants, top night clubs, the Canyon Ranch Spa and huge pool deck plus a decent location make it an ideal choice for just about any Las Vegas visitor. However, if pure luxury is what you are looking for then you may be somewhat disappointed. Between the state of the room and the pure massiveness of place, it just doesn't exude that 5-star feeling. It certainly won't be mistaken for the Wynn next door, where it's ass-kissing and pretentiousness from the valet to the toilet. If that's not you want from your hotel but still want everything else a luxury hotel offers, the Venetian is a good pick. You can even get an almost identical experience in a fresher room at Palazzo and it's usually at the same price. While definitely not my favorite hotel in Las Vegas, there is a lot to like about the Venetian and I am sure I will be back in the future.
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