Viva the New Las Vegas: Luxury Abounds at The Palazzo
They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and I’m sure that’s true in more ways than I’d ever dare to imagine. But with the Strip’s increasingly luxurious resort hotels, intoxicating nightlife, and fanfare-worthy entertainment, Las Vegas is becoming the vacation destination that you can’t help but tell everyone about. Why have the time of your life in one of the most daydreamed-about places on earth, and not boast about it to your buddies?
Case in point: Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of staying at The Palazzo, a brand-new, all-suite resort hotel and casino nestled between The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas. Now, I’m not the most ardent Vegas vacationer out there–I generally just tag along for the odd bridal shower or birthday. But I soaked up every second of this trip, and left yearning to return as soon as possible.
When I stepped off the plane at the Las Vegas airport, I was slightly frazzled from a rather bumpy flight. Much to my delight, a long, sleek limousine was waiting to convey me to the airport. I learned that The Palazzo has its own limousines, as well as a private airport shuttle. (Its own limousines? I was already in heaven. What else would there be in store for me?)
Fast-forward several hours, during which I settled into my lavishly furnished suite, complete with sunken living room, work area, marble-appointed bathroom, three giant plasma TVs, and king-sized bed with plush Anichini linens. I tried to imagine the range of accommodations this 50-story hotel provides: Its 3,066 suites range from 650-square-foot rooms like mine to 10,000-square-foot poolside mansions. The Palazzo is also the largest “green” building in the world, holding a Silver LEED® Certificate from the U.S. Green Building Council. Pools are heated by solar panels, and even room temperature deregulates automatically when you leave your suite. Who knew luxury could be so eco-friendly?
Difficult as it was to extract myself from my room, I ambled out for cocktails and dinner at CUT, a gourmet steakhouse with a modern twist by Wolfgang Puck. Being a vegan, I was expecting anything but the royal treatment at this carnivore’s haven. You can imagine my surprise, then, when the head chef came out, respectfully inquired about my dietary preferences, and offered to prepare whatever I desired. He ended up concocting a medley of delicious, custom-made dishes that included garlic mashed potatoes, seared spinach, and delicately seasoned cauliflower.
Happily, I was to encounter this same treatment at the other restaurants I visited: Jade Noodles Dim Sum Restaurant, Dos Caminos, and Emeril Lagasse’s Table 10 each sent out chefs for dietary consultations. Joy of joys–I had unknowingly stumbled into some secret vegan foodie heaven! No wonder they call it The Palazzo, I kept thinking. After all, it is Italian for “The Palace.”
I spent the next day devoted to an in-depth discovery of the hotel premises. Some Las Vegas hotels are impossible mazes of slot machines and poker tables; at The Palazzo, everything is centrally located and easy to find. Directly below the lobby is hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club, an ultra-chic sports bar complete with a 24-karat gold- and platinum-tiled dance floor, 85 plasma TVs, and mouthwatering Latin-soul cuisine. At lobby level, you’ll find an array of restaurants grouped around the 105,000-square-foot casino. Hang a left past the lobby, and you can watch a performance of Jersey Boys, the Tony Award-winning story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
The Palazzo’s third floor is definitely the place to go if you’re looking to unwind, as I was on my third day there. Its 134,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, the largest to date, offers comforting massages, stylish manicures, and soothing thermal baths. It also harbors a large fitness center complete with 40-foot-high rock climbing wall (although you do have to maneuver through a series of corridors to get there). Adjacent to the spa is The Palazzo Pool Deck, a primo spot to catch some rays and enjoy a great view of the Strip.
Since no trip to Vegas is complete without a day of shopping, I also checked out The Shoppes at The Palazzo, 60 luxury boutiques situated between the hotel and its neighbor The Venetian, and connected to the latter by a series of waterways and walkways. The eye-catching displays of indulgent, high-end products immediately floored me. In addition to the 85,000-square-foot Barneys New York, the first in Vegas, there are also a variety of fine jewelry boutiques, posh clothing shops, and my personal favorite, the palate-pleasing Double Helix Bar and Boutique. What other bar or restaurant lets you enjoy a vast array of hard-to-find fine wines by the glass–then purchase your favorites by the bottle? It was the icing on an already heavenly cake. I was in love.
So while I know that they call Las Vegas “Sin City,” and that what happens there stays there, I’m throwing in the comfortable, oversized bath towel on the secret keeping, and taking my friends and family back to The Palazzo as soon as I can. After all the boasting I’ve been doing, they don’t really have much choice. Viva the New Las Vegas!
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