The canals, the gondola rides, the gelato! Is it any wonder that the Venetian, the resort that sits smack in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip and since its 1996 opening has become a paragon of luxury and style, is one of our favorite hotels? Yes, the resort offers a hat tip to the actual city of Venice, but in so many ways it outshines its Italian counterpart. Here’s why we’ll take the Venetian, Las Vegas (and sibling resort the Palazzo) over Venice, Italy any day. (Not that we don’t love you, Venice.)
Every guestroom is a suite
Venice, we love you; your accommodations, not nearly as much. It’s not that a nice room can’t be had in Venice; it’s that sometimes size does matter and at the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, every guestroom is a suite. To put it into perspective, the most affordable rooms at either resort start at 650 square feet and all contain king beds, separate living areas and Roman tubs. That’s not including the inevitable Las Vegas optional upgrade—the Strip View. Additionally, both resorts offer 700-square feet bella suites with sunken living rooms and bathrooms with flat-screen TVs. From here, the suites only double in size!
One word: CrazyShake™
Trust us when we say that Venice, Italy contains nothing this delicious. Among the many stellar restaurants at the Venetian (Yardbird Southern Kitchen and Table is our current fave), nothing better induces a sugar coma than a CrazyShake at newbie eatery Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. These outrageous dessert confections are milkshakes on steroids. We’re not even a little bit ashamed to admit we devoured an entire Sweet N’ Salty (peanut butter ice cream and chocolate-frosted rim with chocolate gems and PB cups topped with a sugar daddy, pretzel rods, chocolate covered pretzel, whipped cream and chocolate drizzle) entirely on our own and can’t wait to do it again.
Two more words: Thomas Keller
Lucky is the city where Thomas Keller, the legendary SoCal-born super chef, has made his mark. Those destinations currently include Yountville (home to the celebrated French Laundry), New York City and Las Vegas, which boasts three Bouchon Bakery outposts and Bouchon Bistro—all within the Venetian. Sure, the macarons, viennoiserie (sweet pastries) and Thomas Keller Oreo cookies at Bouchon Bakery are to die for, but the real culinary star is the evolving menu of classical French at Bouchon Bistro perched on the 10th floor of the Venezia Tower. Venice, you call us when Keller opens up a canal-side version of Per Se.
The Venetian offers better odds
If you made the bet that the Los Angeles Dodgers would claim a World Series win over the Houston Astros in 2017, go ahead and wager that a trip to Venice is more cost effective than a trip to Las Vegas. Despite getting tripped up over horn bets at the craps table, a Vegas vacation is dollar for dollar a better value. Recent flight searches between NYC and Vegas on Travelocity.com, for example, averaged about 70% less than crossing the Pond to Venice. Room rates offer a similar comparison. We’ve seen high-season weekday rooms at the Venetian and Palazzo for as little as $134/nightly at Travelocity.com; best of luck finding a 650-square-foot Venice hotel for that little dough.
You can swim in the water
Arrive during Venice’s acqua alta (Italian for “high water”) and you may find yourself unintentionally wading through water (see below). The truth is, Venice isn’t really a beach town (try nearby Lido for that), whereas Las Vegas was built for swimmers and sun seekers. The Venetian and the Palazzo offer 10 pools and five hot tubs spread across 1.2 acres, including clubby Tao Beach and bespoke throwback pool the Aquatic Club. Sprinkle in numerous cabanas, daybeds, cocktail bars, poolside service and both in- and outdoor showers and the result is that Venice equals soggy while the Venetian/Palazzo equals sublime.
The Venetian isn’t sinking
It’s true that Venice has sunk 23 centimeters over the past century, but the real problem Venice faces is submersion due to flooding. Rising tide levels inside the Venice Lagoon (which is connected to the Adriatic Sea) are causing Venice and surrounding islands to become flooded more often. Meanwhile, the only thing sinking at the Venetian, Las Vegas are the spirits of any gambler foolish enough to make the tie bet at the Baccarat table.
Better proximity to Paris, Rome and the Middle East
Just imagine, you could stroll across one of Venice’s many enchanting canals and in minutes be throwing a penny over your shoulder at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, sipping an espresso at a Parisian cafe and gawking at an Egyptian pyramid all in one afternoon. In Vegas that’s all possible via taxi, monorail or a quick walk thanks to Caesars Palace, the Parisian and the Luxor, respectively (and that’s not including other themed resorts like the Rio and Mardi Gras Hotel & Casino). In Venice, you’ll have no such luck. (Although a train can you get you to Slovenia in like, 7 hours).
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