VEGAS ‘08: Thoughts on the Palazzo Las Vegas

image Ah, the Palazzo.  I’ve never stayed here in all the time it’s been up despite having the opportunity to do so several times.

THE ROOM
Let’s get this out of the way:  Sheldon Adelson has completely trumped Steve Wynn when it comes to room amenities at the Palazzo.  Adelson’s definitely got class and understands his customer base – the conventioneer or business traveler.

The bed is better.  It doesn’t move when you get into it, thus not waking up your partner if you’re coming in to the room hypothetically at 4AM after hitting the tables for a long stretch.

There are no power outlets near the office desk.  This is a really WEIRD oversight considering how much time has been spent figuring out how to make the business traveler feel accommodated.

The wireless is LOCAL i.e. it seems to be driven off the same wired tap that you connect to your PC.   This is a really interesting concept – the idea of having your own personal router in the room, ensuring that you get dedicated bandwidth instead of sharing an access point with a hundred other people.

The room safe has a really nice amenity that did not escape my wife’s & my attention:  It has a power outlet inside it.  Why?  Well, if you lock up your laptop, you can charge it in the safe.  Nice.

Oh – by the way, the $20 trick works at the Palazzo.  Be sure to hand your driver’s license to the registration desk clerk along with a $20 bill under it and ask for ‘any upgrades’ available to your room.  We got a fantastic view of the strip as well as the Las Vegas skyline.  We also got a view directly in front of the Treasure Island pirate show which includes fireworks.

One crappy point:  Verizon Wireless phone reception really blows from where we were at.  I could barely maintain a signal compared to the Wynn.  It might have been just our orientation in the building but nonetheless it was annoying.  Also the phone in the room is a piece of crap compared the Wynn’s wonderful Avaya business phone.  It might have been VOIP based but I didn’t check.  Heck – may be that’s why the Wynn’s network didn’t work and the Palazzo’s did.  (The Palazzo’s Internet connectivity was spot on.)

The TVs are generally better than even the Wynn which has a really nice 42” Sharp LCD display.  If you’re, say, watching the Olympics, there are 3 LG Plasma flat screen TVs in the Palazzo suite, including a large one in the bathroom.

The Palazzo suite is clearly designed to double as a hospitality suite for business guests.  There’s enough meeting space, coffee table room, an wet bar amenities to make it a great place to discuss business.  There’s a DVD player there along with a 3 seat meeting table as well as a reaaaaaally nice sectional sofa & love seat wrapped around a coffee table.  Basically, it’s like a Venetian room on steroids.

The thing that really sets the Palazzo room apart in my GEEKY opinion is the fact that the printer is an all-in-one design with both a fax line as well as copier/scanner capability and…<drumroll> a USB cable to hook it up to your laptop to act as a personal printer.  Want to print out your flight passes in your room?  No problem.

Last but not least, the overall furniture and design of the rooms are just plain awesome.  The drapery & blinds all open & close automatically, driven by a remote control and the attention to detail is just stunning from the carpet to the crown molding to the dark woods of the table tops.

THE HOTEL
Something that bugged me more than I thought it would was the lack of availability of a 21 & over or topless pool like the Wynn had.  The reason for this is that the pool at the Venetian and the Palazzo has an inordinate number of kids.  And it’s just downright hard to enjoy yourself once you’ve experienced the calm of the Sunset pool at the Wynn.  And for the record, it’s not like the Sapphire Pool at the Rio:  It’s an actual mature and non-stripclub-like atmosphere for real adults that just want to relax and chat with other adults, away from the tweeners and toddlers with floaties.

And in general, there were long lines for women’s bathrooms nearly everywhere we went.  The Wynn didn’t have any problems with bathroom lines.  Clearly, the Palazzo & the Venetian pools are ‘at capacity’ for women, but then again, that’s to be expected I guess with Tao Beach going on.

Tao Beach is the “day club” booming in the background of the Venetian side of the house.  It’s a raucous party going on all day in the pool and is 21 and over only.  You need to bring your ID for certain.

The spa & the workout facilities has a big plus and big minus to it.  The Palazzo spa & facilities aren’t quite built out yet, so they encourage people to walk through a passage all the way to the Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa which is probably the best workout facility in Las Vegas.  They’ve got everything you need using top notch equipment and they have a great spa available to soak in afterwards.  The only problem is that you have to walk a few minutes just to GET there from the Palazzo, but all in all, it’s worth it.

Incidentally, there is a deal available called the “Resort Package” (http://www.palazzolasvegas.com/resortpkg.aspx) which I highly recommend.  It’s a deal that goes for $29/day and must be purchased for every day of your stay but what it provides is:

  • Spa & Workout Facilities access daily for TWO people (worth $70)
  • One dining voucher for each day good for $20 off any bill at 1 of 15 participating Palazzo/Venetian restaurants (worth $20 daily)
  • Two tickets to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (worth $50)

No, we didn’t use the spa/workout facilities every day but we used it twice and we used virtually all the dining vouchers along with the wax museum tickets which incidentally was definitely worth the visit much to my surprise. $270 in usage for $120.  Not bad.

THE RESTAURANTS
We went to both “Woo” & “Zine”, two Chinese cuisine restaurants that are separated by a philosophical difference.  “Zine” is more like a the quick dish joint with a really large menu whereas “Woo” (which has it’s originations from the famed Mayflower restaurant locally in Las Vegas) has a small menu with very carefully selected & prepared tasty dishes that will always please the palate.

image Hands down:  “Woo” has become a favorite restaurant of ours in Las Vegas.  The shrimp dumplings and the Kalbi Ribs on rice were two of my favorite dishes while in Las Vegas last week and we’ll definitely be back.  It sort of reminded me of Kevin Wu’s old Dim Sum restaurant at the Venetian called “Royal Star” which has since closed much to our dismay and disappointment.  And if you ask nicely, you can order “off the menu” and ask for basically anything.  The chefs are skilled in creating virtually anything you want but I’d try what’s on the menu first.  This is the best Chinese food I’ve eaten in Las Vegas without a doubt.

One dark spot:  Wolfgang Puck’s “Cut”.  While the food was decent, it was nothing to write home about.  What really bugged was the service:  We were left waiting with only a moderately filled restaurant at 9:30PM just to get some bread.  After two hours, I can say that our experience was not even close to being worth the $300 price tag that the meal had.  I would have preferred to go back to “Woo” or eaten at Delmonico Steakhouse over at the Venetian.

THE CASINO
Alright – now this is where it gets hairy.  In a sentence, the Palazzo has the SINGLE WORST TABLES & SLOTS… EVER!

We fed $200 into the Palazzo slots at $1 machines playing max bet and got almost zero returns, zero bingos, and zero fun.  We were astounded by how poor the payout was on the machines and how fast the cash got sucked in.  The machines ate our bills in under 3 minutes of play.  Disgusted, we left to go inspect the tables.

…Only to find that the Palazzo ONLY PLAYS $25 8 DECK SHOES with 70% penetration, no surrender, dealer hits on S17, DD on any two cards.  They supposedly have double deck games but they’re played 6-5.  Every day, I would walk through the casino and exclaim out loud, “Why do you people play here?!?  WHY?!?” 

I instead would walk over to my old haunt, the Venetian, and play my money there.  There they have 2 friendly double deck games with lousy 65% penetration granted but at least it’s a $25 game that’s playable.  (Incidentally, I managed to get the penetration expanded to around 70% with some rather heavy tipping of reds throughout the night)  For the record, I love the Venetian and it’s tables, despite having lost overall during my trip there.  I like the action and the atmosphere regardless of what Vegastripping says.  Their games aren’t bad and it’s nice and close to the eatery which includes Cocolini – the gelato shop which is where I end every night at the Venetian.

Incidentally, the cashier was horrific at the Palazzo.  I’m sure glad I didn’t need to go there but there was constantly a line trying to cash in chips there with a lot of annoyed people waiting.

THE COMP SYSTEM
The comp program – Club Grazie – is awful.  Only the most loyal players seem to get rewarded when they shove a TON of money into slots.  I couldn’t dream of actually numerically getting anything through slot points.

That being said, the invites from table play are AWESOME.  My last invite was $200 in match play, 4 nights at the resort, $50 in dining credit, and a 2 for 1 pass for the spa.  And the best part is the invite is unlimited for this season.  I plan on calling in another trip next month.

SUMMARY
Y’know, I love the Palazzo’s rooms and “Woo” is fantastic for a quiet and delicious restaurant that clearly has pride in what it serves and how it serves it.   The casino invites for the Palazzo are probably the best on the strip for moderate green/black chip players like myself and the amenities merged with the Venetian makes it a winner in many areas… other than the casino.

Despite my love for the Venetian, I think I’ll prefer to stay in the Palazzo… then get some exercise and walk over the the Venetian whenever I want to hit the tables.  I hope that’s okay with you Mr. Adelson.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: