Venetian Hotel Casino – Las Vegas

At the North end of the Strip lie the Venetian and its sister property, the Palazzo.  As is the norm for Vegas both are gigantic and beautiful, actually making the combined property the largest hotel and casino in the world.  This is doubly impressive considering that the rooms are all suites and double the size of the average Vegas hotel room.

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Bar on the shops level

As you pass the front of the property you see a mock Italian main square complete with clock tower and pool full of gondolas.  These gondolas are more than decoration.  You are able to ride in them complete with a beautifully singing driver, rower, guide, or however you wish to call them.

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Front of the Venetian

As you pull into valet you are greeted with more beauty, class, and excellent service.  Leaving your car and luggage you are whisked inside where a lovely foyer opens in front of you.  A sunlight garden with statue commands the center of this area.  You proceed past this to the reception.  Here a bank of employees are busy checking guests in.  After being well taken care of you proceed towards the elevators.  This is a short walk by Vegas standards through a massive hallway that opens up on the casino.  Dazed by the bright flashing lights from the slot machines you continue straight through to another hallway and the elevators.  Showing a security guard dressed in Italian style your room key you proceed to your elevator and up to your room.

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Lobby of the Venetian

All has been classy and beautiful so far and this continues as you roam the hallways on your floor looking for your room.  Finding your room you open the door and are greeted with a huge space ending in a massive window overlooking the Strip.  Inspecting everything you begin by staring out the window and enjoying your commanding view of this desert city.  The Mirage casino hotel looks back at you from across the road.  At night you are able to watch their free show from your room.  You take in your work desk with printer, couch for about 100 people, big screen television and huge and comfortable bed.  You carefully eyeball the mini-bar while holding your breath as the prices are outrageous and charged by touching them as they sit on sensors.  God save you if you move one of the items.  Extremely satisfied you move to the bathroom where a large bathtub, beautiful shower with unbelievable pressure, and even a make-up table greet you.  The toilet is in a separate room.  Some items show age but all is well.

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View of the Strip

Well, you didn’t come to Vegas to sit in your roam so lets roam around this city of a property.  Your first stop should be the casino.  Here you have a wide array of slot machines and table games.  Take a seat at a machine, order a drink from the beautiful cocktail waitresses(who are employed as models and not employees so they can be fired if they get pregnant, old, or ugly), and enjoy some lights and sounds.  When this bores you move over to a table game.  Here the dealers are not as friendly as in Reno but Vegas is quite an impersonal place, so no worries.  When you get tired of throwing your money away you have a decision to make.  Try one of the pricey restaurants, the cheaper food court, get drunk, go dancing, see a show, hang out by the pool, or browse the shops.  You will get to all of these so only the order matters.

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Foyer between Venetian and Palazzo

The restaurants are spread all over the property so you should consult a map for which cuisine you feel like or ask any of the helpful staff.  Many of them are located in the connecting hallway to the Palazzo.  Here there is also located a large foyer which is decorated to current events. Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, an more.  After enjoying their decorations you ride the escalator up one floor to the shops and gondola.  Here is a shopping mall with an Italian town facade flanking a canal where the gondolas roam and sweet songs echo.  Enjoy a ride and the window shopping.  Get an ice cream in the center and sit under a painted sky.

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Gondolas on the shop level

After a full day of walking you head out to the pool to relax.  Or more correctly to the ten pools that are available.  Roaming through them all and finding one to your satisfaction you camp out for a few hours and relax.  Enjoy the drink service, quality chairs and towels, and clean water.  If you feel like partying don’t worry, there is a pool for that.

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The party pool having a Maxim event

Come night you make your way to one of the bars for a few drinks and quality conversation.  Perhaps you will watch one of the shows on offer in the many theaters or just maybe you feel like going clubbing.  Do as you wish as both the TAO club and the shows are some of the best in Vegas.  Have no fears of enjoying yourself and staying up to sunrise, as you have that incredible room to pass out in when you need to recuperate.

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Painted sky in the main square of the shops level

All in all the Venetian and Palazzo are probably the best places to stay in Las Vegas if you can swing it, and judging by the riff-raff roaming the floors, you can.

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Just a giant mask in the front of the Venetian

Las Vegas High Roller

Las Vegas is a city of extremes and its Ferris wheel is no exception.  At 550 feet(167.6m) it is the tallest in the world.  It opened in 2014 as the anchor of a new tourist area called The LINQ, which like everything else is located on the Strip.  There are twenty-eight large cabins, each capable of holding 40 persons except for when they change to a bar layout.

Walking into The Link from the Strip is like stepping into a towns main pedestrian street.  There are pubs and restaurants lining both sides of an immaculately clean and crowded pedestrian walkway.  Towering over the background is the High Roller.  During the day it is a massive white bicycle wheel spoke and at night it transforms into a stunning neon alien hula-hoop.  After sitting down for a meal and refreshing beverage you carry on towards the Ferris wheel, stopping to laugh and pose at the cupcake ATM.  IMG_1110.JPG

Like all tourist attractions you want to avoid the High Roller at peak time unless you enjoy standing in a queue for hours.  Time it correctly though and you can walk through the maze of twists and turns and escalators without so much as slowing down.  Shortly before getting to the boarding area there is a lobby with toilets and a bar, which are nice if you do get stuck in a queue.  At the boarding area you will be split into two groups depending of your ticket.  One for those with, and one for those without, the drinks package.  Thirty-eight of the cabins do not have a bar so there is usually a very short wait.  Being only two drinks cabins you have to wait fifteen minutes for one of the cabins to arrive, as it takes thirty minutes for a full rotation of the wheel.  While waiting you can get to know your fellow riders or, more likely, just stare as the massive wheel slowly spinning next to you.  When it is your turn to hop on you simply walk onto the cabin as it slowly glides by.  The High Roller does not stop or change speeds.  Do not be afraid of falling to your doom as there is a net below the loading area for those that have had one too many and have difficulty either seeing the cabin or controlling their legs.  IMG_1116.JPG

Once on board you can sit down if space allows or more likely stand so you can get a better view and view all sides. There are television screens above your head spouting out information about the journey.  Things are a bit different in the drinks cabin as the bar takes up a decent amount of space.  There is no order to the drinks ordering so it will depend on how pushy you are and how friendly your traveling companions are.  The one bartender will be overwhelmed at first but the drinks are well made and you will get yours faster than you think.  During the full rotation you could possibly pound quite a few if that is your thing but most people will just get through two drinks.  As the drink cabin is crowded, sticky, and noisy, and expensive, I would recommended drinking before and after the journey and just enjoy the rotation in the normal cabin.  Unless of course you are there to drink as much as you can then the drinks cabin may be worth it to you. IMG_1120.JPG

The view during the rotation is fabulous.  You will have excellent 360 degree views of the city and will tower above most of the giant hotels.  The television screens will announce when you reach the top, and then it is fifteen minutes back down to the bottom.  The whole ride is perfectly stable and uneventful.  The cabins are largely windowed so those with a fear of heights may be quite uncomfortable.  Once at the bottom of the rotation you simply step off your cabin and walk down a long ramp back to The Linq.  Again the safety net covers all open areas where you may feel a desire to walk off an edge.

The High Roller is a fantastic addition to the hundreds of other tourist attractions of this city.  Save some money from the gambling and prostitutes and instead go for a ride on this Ferris wheel.  Perhaps even purchase  a cupcake from a machine on your walk there.