TRAVEL BY LORI
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As a travel writer whose only focus is hotels and resorts that fall in the “Luxury” category, I have had the opportunity to stay in many beautiful hotels. There are a few, though, that are graced with such stunning details and are designed with such symmetry, quality and obvious expertise, that admiring them is an absolute joy. The Palazzo hotel (sister to the Venetian) on the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the most exquisite ultra-luxurious hotels I have had the privilege to review.
If you are visiting the strip for the first time, you may notice the resorts are built to inhuman scale. Here an average-sized hotel looks tiny, a baby nestled among the giants. The same idea can be applied to the grandiose trappings of luxury Strip resorts. Everything is over-the-top here and the Palazzo is no exception. It is unquestionably five-diamond quality.
I immediately noticed and appreciated the decorations hung in celebration of the Chinese New Year upon my arrival. Gigantic paper lanterns and Chinese coins a foot or more in diameter adorned the lobby fountain and added color to the mostly monochromatic color scheme of shades of white and beige. Just beyond the entry to the connected Shoppes at the Palazzo stood a sixteen-foot rabbit marking the Year of the Rabbit. As I marveled at his size and the texture of his fuzzy grey fur, the rabbit winked at me, causing me to gasp and a passerby to laugh. Nothing is under-done at the Palazzo.
Bauman Rare Books
Of express interest to me in the Shoppes at the Palazzo is a Las Vegas gem that is proof that there is more to Vegas than neon and larger-than-life entertainment. Bauman Rare Books houses an impressive collection of rare and valuable books and documents as well as some drawings and photographs. Every item is for sale, but the personable and knowledgeable staff members are just as gracious to those looking to browse in awe as they are to the serious collector.
While I wandered the store and during my lovely tour by Greg Hicks, I came across such books as “Tender is the Night,” signed by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a surveying document signed by George Washington in the year 1752, a first-edition collection of the four Winnie the Pooh books by A. A. Milne, and a first edition of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain. I oohed and ahhed throughout the store, but actually clapped at the discovery of my favorite book of all time, “Where the Wild Things Are.” The book is a first edition, signed by Maruice Sendak and in its original dust cover. Words cannot express the thrill! I would have purchased it instantly if only I had an extra $25,000. The prices on many pieces, however, are surprisingly within reach for many beginning collectors. I highly recommend a stop in to Bauman Rare Books, if only to experience a completely different and undiscovered side of Las Vegas.
The rooms in the Palazzo are as beautiful as you would expect from the opulence of the rest of the hotel. I’ve no doubt that the suites (the Palazzo is an all-suite property) played a vital part in securing the first position in Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Awards of 2010. Each suite is beautifully decorated in subtle warm shades. Crown moldings frame the room while the furniture and bedding depict a style that is not glitzy, but classic. “Upscale,” does not do this hotel justice.
Bathrooms in the suites have double sinks, a deep tub, a flat television, a separate vanity for applying makeup and a scale. Nearly all of the comforts of home are here. The only other item one could possibly wish for is a clothes hamper, but to be fair, precious few hotels offer one.
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub is a charming and spacious spa that offers a few extras along with standard luxury spa amenities. A forty-foot high rock climbing wall greets guests as they emerge from the long and colorful hallway that connects the Spa to the Palazzo. A healthy café is also nearby. The highlight of this particular spa experience though, in my opinion, is the oasis near the center of the facility. The room oozes relaxation and the textures give interested eyes plenty to look at while losing all track of time. This is the place to get away in Las Vegas.
Prestige at the Palazzo
Another unique feature of the Palazzo is Prestige, a club and business center that pampers. Palazzo offers Prestige-level rooms that allow a guest access to all Prestige services. The club has drinks and food available at certain hours, gorgeous lounge areas with large TVs and a DVD library, business services, meeting space, and a few unusual perks, such as a custom-designed pillow menu and bath menu. For an extra charge, the pillow menu allows guests unheard of options, such as an anti-snore pillow, to be delivered to their room. The bath menu features a “Phantom Bath” inspired by “The Phantom of the Opera,” (which plays at the Venetian) and a “Yellow Ducky Bath,” which comes with a plate of warm cookies. Now that’s service.
The Palazzo is an opulent, not-to-be-missed Las Vegas experience. I recommend it as the best place to stay on the Strip and bestow upon it a very rare five stars.
Examiner’s Note: My warm appreciation to Richard Hudock for arranging my visit with wonderful courtesy.