Want one of the best rooms in Las Vegas? These are among them. The title of best keeps going to the latest Strip joint, but the Venetian holds its own and does a decent job updating what it has. Conventioneers pack this place, as do high rollers. It leaves us low-rollers feeling so left out.
Coupons Available for The Las Vegas Venetian:
$25 free slot play for new club members, many two-for-one and discounts at the small eateries. (Click Here For More Info.)
Room Quality: These are big, fancy, show-offy rooms. Want to impress your parents? Hole them up here. Want to impress a romantic interest? Just check in here and send faxes right from it while he/she watches in awe. Enter the 650 square feet standard room through a marble foyer to see a sunken living room complete with writing desk, fax machine/copier, a flat-screen TV, table, an in-room safe, mini-bar and almost enough chairs for a baseball team. Since you'll be exhausted walking all the way across the living room, the drapes are electric. Then, in the bedroom area, there's another big flat-screen TV (bigger in twin queen rooms), canopied bed and another phone. But wait! We haven't gotten to the bathroom, which is bigger than our living rooms and has yet another, smaller flat-screen TV. Relax in the huge tub or separate shower. Chat on yet We'd spend so much time breaking stuff in the room that we'd never make it down to the casino. A roof-top garden awaits you if you want to just relax. There is not a lot of difference between the Venezia and Venetian Towers, but the hotel claims the Venezia is the quieter, more elegant of the two.
Service Quality: If you need something, anything, they will have it. If you need something and you spend a lot of money in the casino, they will have it more quickly. The hotel caters to conventioneers, so the emphasis is on business services and they have them in spades. The Canyon Ranch Spa is enormous.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: Oh, man, if you use it all you'll be attacked by bees thinking you're a big flower. Shampoo, conditioner, lotions, sewing kits and more. Our advice is to bring a big toilet kit or purse to haul all this booty home.
The rich and the wannabe rich. Actually, the Bellagio
draws most of the wannabes, and the Mandalay Bay
draws the newly rich, so this place is left with a late-thirties to senior citizen folks with either loads of money or lots of credit. As we said, the emphasis is on the business people, so you'll see lots of monkey-suited, straight-faced executives looking for a corner of the joint where they can get good cellular reception.
How's the Pool? Five acres of pool deck with a couple pools and hot tubs. While it's mostly plain old concrete, it's still plenty of swimming. They're not the best, but they're pretty to look at. It's also a great place to buy an overpriced cocktail.
Resort Fee: (What is this?)
$17 per night. You get internet access, fitness center access (gym area only), daily paper and local and toll-free calls.
Table Games: Tons of tables, with about half working at the slow times, and most all during peak hours. It's swanky gaming that feels mostly like every other casino's gaming once you're playing. Craps is the standard 3x4x5x odds you find on the Strip. But, the blackjack games are fair, and you can find single zero roulette for the high roller. They also have Let It Ride, Pai gow, Caribbean Stud andsome oddball games.
Bet Minimums: $10-$15 and up for blackjack and $5-$10 for craps, expect even higher on weekends. This place is often among the highest minimums in town during peak times. A "High Limit Salon" is available for those bored with losing their money slowly.
Machines: Thousands of machines, from pennies to $500, to serve you with robotic glee. All the machines are in great shape with a good mix of the latest. They have very few or no full-pay video poker. There is a high-limit salon to separate the common slot-playing trash from the rich slot-playing trash.
Cocktails? Poof-a-doo! Those are some some strong and tasty drinks served occasionally by hotties. Remember, tip accordingly, and once you're drunk, tip way more than accordingly and ask the waitress to marry you, then get sick.
Who Gets Comps? They say no comps for regular players. That doesn't mean limited comps, it means none. High-rollers will still get suites, food and airfare, but anyone playing the slots orte tables at moderate amounts will get absolutely zero. And by moderate, we mean even people betting a couple hundred per hand.
Aquaknox: They promise California-inspired Seafood, which means your crabs will be asking "What's up, Dude?" They make a big deal about the seafood being fresh. They also serve traditional "gourmet" grub like butternut squash soup and your typical expensive slabs of beef. Dinner only, with appetizers starting in the afternoon.
Bouchon: It's a French Bistro with a "casual" atmosphere. But holy cow! The prices aren't anything casual at all. The entrees are mostly meat, with lamb, beef, steak and the usual fare, only this time with fatty French sauces and lots of pretty vegetables. A good restaurant for those with dough. Try it for breakfast sometime and it won't cost as much, plus the French toast is tres fantastique!
B and B Ristorante: Mario Batale is the signature chef here. Sure the prices suggest you get a little Mario in every meal, but you actually don't. Not literally. What you get is some interesting twists on traditional Italian in a restaurant that wants to be so casual it's hip. That means you can wear jeans or eat at the bar.
Canaletto: The fine folks who created the excellent Italian restaurant Il Fornaio now bring you Canaletto. It features the food and wines of Venice without the putrid smell of the polluted canal. Wood-fired grills cook up tasty and expensive beef, seafood, game and poultry.
Delmonico: After conquering Cajun food, Emeril Lagasse has set his sights on prime rib and steak. It's some fantastic food, for sure, and if you have money to spare, you won't regret dining in the elegance. Expect to pay $150-$200 for two, more if you plan on getting some fancy wine. We bring in our own hooch, but be forewarned they will charge a corkage fee, even if the bottle you bring in has a screw-cap like ours does. Also, make reservations or be prepared to wait for hours in the expensive bar.
Enoteca San Marco: An Italian joint by Mario Batali. You know what that means? Good meats and cheeses, especially the cured meats like prosciutto. The menu is simple, with shared appetizers and entrees like pizzas, pork chops, crispy duck and a handful of pastas. Prices are unsurprisingly high, outside of the meat and cheeses the food is just okay, and and the atmosphere is decidedly casual and noisy. You can do better for less and many local joints.
Grand Lux Cafe:
This place is too fancy to have a plain old coffee shop, so instead you eat coffee shop food dressed up to look better than it is. It's by the people who do the Cheesecake Factory, so you should expect enormous portions that are light and fresh. And it can easily cost $15-$20 a plate. If you want some fancy eats, go for it, but if all you want is ham and eggs, we suggest heading over to the Denny's at the Casino Royale
next door for a $2.99 Grand Slam. You can spend the money you saved on a souvenir for us. Also, service has been reported slow as of late at the Grand Lux.
The Grill at Valentino: This is a more casual Italian restaurant. It's designed for a less involved meal than the more expensive places here at the Venetian. Grilled pizzas and other traditional dishes are served.
Noodle Asia: You know what culinary item lots of Asian countries have in common? Beef! Oh yeah, and noodles, which is what they specialize in here at this casual joint.
Pinot Brasserie: It's supposed to feel like a genuine French cafe, except it seats 250 people. The food is great, but the atmosphere is not very intimate or personalized, no matter how many French knick-knacks they've thrown on the walls. Famous chef and presumably wise businessman Joachim Splichal has plastered his name on this place to give it extra credibility.
Postrio: This casual seafood place actually proves to be a decent value and quite good food. It is, however, an eclectic mix of seafood and other items, so you might not get a cohesive meal, but you'll find something you like. It is one of Wolfgang Puck's creations. They also have steak and fowl, all prepared with deluxe sauces and fattening side dishes. We say, before you consider eating at Rosewod Grille, home of the giant lobster you see on billboards all over Vegas, try here for a much more subtle and enjoyable experience. Lunch is the best bargain.
Tao: This Pan-Asian joint gets no credit for knowing biology since they label their menu as "noble gifts from the sea" which includes the seafood and "from the sky" which includes chicken. Yeah, there's a lot of chicken in the sky... From the land includes the meats. A little surprising because pigs fly too, don't they?
Taqueria Canonita: Continuing in the Italian theme, the Venetian has opened a Mexican eatery. It's quick, pretty greaseless Mexican. Portions aren't as big as we would like, but at least this place isn't wildly overpriced.
Valentino: Very high-end Italian and quite delicious. This is perhaps the most expensive and fanciest of the joints in town celebrating Italy. There is a lot of steak and seafood on the menu along with risotto, gnocchi, mascarpone and burrata. Just expect to pay for an appetizer what a good entree costs at home.
Zefferino: Fancy pants Italian seafood, including a wide range of shellfish in creamy and cheesy sauces. This is pretty amazing food, actually. It's ranked way up there with the best, but like everything else in this dang Venetian, it doesn't qualify as cheapo. The lunch special costs $20, or apprximately what we pay for a week's worth of Mac and cheese. The adjoining bistro "Tintoretto" has meals as low as $11 and "outdoor" seating.
The Venetian is too fancy for a buffet, or so they claim. There are loads of good, overpriced food court choices like pizza, sandwiches coffee and other meals. Also, there is a cafe inside the spa.
Blue Man Group: If you don't know already, this show features men in blue doing somewhat avant garde, nearly mimi comedy and music. They play silly instruments, make a mess, clown around and are generally very popular.
Canal Shops: This mall is as fancy as the Forum Shops at Caesars. There are dozens of high class shops for you to browse. It's all indoors and there's a canal where you may take a gondola ride for a small bundle. Or, walk under a fake sky, marvel at fake architecture and be annoyed beyond belief by little theatrical performances by over-acting dramatists in rennaissance garb. It's spectacular enough to be worth seeing once.
Madame Tussaud's Interactive Attraction: You don't interact with any real celebrities (thank goodness -- we hear celebrities all have drinking problems and would probably throw up on you or try to pick a fight), just lots of wax statues because this is a gussied-up wax museum. Want to spend time looking at big, human-shaped candles? If mannequins in the shapes of stars are not your thing, walk on by.
Phantom of the Opera: Look, you already know whether you like the bombast, soaring vocals and melodrama of Andrew Lloyd Weber's musicals. So, you already know if you want to see this show. Although, this version of the musical is billed as "The Las Vegas Spectacular", presumably because of a 45-minute blackjack scene. Our thinking is, if you did you already had loads of opportunities to see it, and will have more when some touring production comes through your town. So, maybe you should look for something new as long as you're on vacation.
Rita Rudner: The comedienne brings her pretend ditzy character that focuses on the way men and women think differently to the Venetian only two weeknights each week. So, plan accordingly if you want to see her show. It is pretty clean and generally funny, if a bit old.
Smokin' Hot Aces Nightclub: The hipster nightclubs in town have t have a bottom and this is about it. Rock music from deejays and juke boxes, go-go dancers, a pool table, a patio and a signature drink with dry ice in it all come together to make one powerfully trite nightspot.
Tao Nightclub and Beach: The Tao nightclub is ultraswanky and features live DJs and loads of paid celebrity appearances. On the roof is Tao Beach, a dayclub with the same high prices, but this time with water, deejays during the day and plenty of snooty caba�as and daybeds.
Number of TVs: About 41 total including those in a side area, with half of them for sports and half for the ponies. Three of the screens are big'uns, the kind that are bigger than our house. Thirty-six seats have individual TVs, but we don't think you can watch Powerpuff Girls on them.
Number of Seats: About 150 seats. The seats are quite comfortable and this is a good spot to park your butt for a day of sports. Or, if you're like us, the comfort of your butt is less important than access to hooch and you sit at the nearby bar.
How Many Betting Windows? Eleven, backed by big electronic signboards for odds and scores.
Free Drinks? Sure, you get one free drink for every $50 or larger bet. So, that means it would take us about $800 in wagers to get blotto.
Snack Bar? No snack bar, but a good noodle shop next door. Get loaded on carbs before the big game.
Minimum Wager: $10 sports, $2 for racing
Other Notes: This sports book is a quiet room off the main casino. It's swank and we felt out of place in here, but it is also too small for a resort this size.
Number of Tables: There are 50 tables in this mammoth room, but can expand for special events. They have a sand-colored felt and a tan leather padding around the edges. There are also some nice sitting areas in the poker room with coffee tables and sofas. You know where to find us sleeping on our next trip to Vegas.
Comfort of Chairs: The chairs are all right, about average. Certainly not as nice as you'd expect from this joint, though.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? It's a room, but it's not really closed. It has a half wall separating it from the dirty, dirty slot players in the regular casino. It's not too noisy, but it can be if someone hits a jackpot.
Game Spreads and Limits: Look for Hold'Em starting at $4-$8 and up, and $1-$2 up to $10-$20 for no-limit. So, this is a mostly low-limit room overall, but they do have a separate high-limit area. They also will deal stud and Omaha if they can get the players, but mostly look for the Hold'Em.
Beginner Games or Classes? They offer classes, but not formally. Ask the poker room manager or find an open table with a dealer sitting at it and ask. Your best bet would be in the morning.
How Crowded is the Room? This is a nice room, but there are nicer, and there are cheaper in terms of rake. So, it doesn't really fill a niche so much as address the popularity of poker. Expect a short wait, like a half hour, on weekends, or a longer wait if you are focused on a specific table. Their wait management system is pretty good.
Comps? Expect nothing.
How Good Are the Players? They deal some games at high enough limits that you'll see more sharks than fish. At the lower limits, the rake is gonna eat you up, but the players are loose, passive and bad. The fixed-limit games at $4-$8 are the weakest in the room.
What Else Do I Need to Know? Look for some decent daily tournaments. The room has some flat screen TVs showing sports, but they are pretty far from some tables. Also, check out the high-roller room with the luxe chairs and country club vibe. Pretty swank.