Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 31, 2007

UPDATED: Palazzo Opens Just to Spite Me

Posted by Hunter

Well, Palazzo's casino and some other public spaces are open.

We got back from Las Vegas on Saturday - I was really hoping to see the insides myself. So much of the exterior needs work but I guess they were just determined to start the cash meter.

Update: Thanks to Mark for sharing some exclusive photos with us. You can see them here:

Updated Again: I just booked two nights over the opening weekend so we'll be reporting on the full Palazzo experience.


Read archived comments (37 so far)
December 31, 2007 9:42 AM Posted by steve

The Palazzo looks Amazing!

December 31, 2007 9:58 AM Posted by steve

Does any one know if there is a Sportsbook at the Palazzo and are there any pictures of that?

December 31, 2007 10:01 AM Posted by Hunter

Isn't the 40/40 Club, the Jay Z thing, a sports book?

December 31, 2007 10:06 AM Posted by steve

I am not sure you could bet at the 40-40 club yet.

December 31, 2007 11:09 AM Posted by detroit1051

I think Steve is right. If the club isn't owned by LVS, I doubt they'd be allowed betting. It sounds more like another high-end club based on the website:

December 31, 2007 12:12 PM Posted by doc_al

40-40 wouldn't have to be owned by LVS to take bets - subcontracting out the book is Leroy's is all about.

However, from what I've read, this is supposed to be a sportsbar for the club-going set.

December 31, 2007 1:05 PM Posted by Steve_TheStrip

Hey guys - i did NOT see a sportsbook while I was over there. I have to go back (but not today, NYE, unless I'm insane) because the venetian sportsbook was closed and, lord above, i actually won my bet on the Giants covering the spread the other day.

The 40/40 Club is NOT a gambling venue. I declined the opportunity to go inside because the focus of my story was the outside, but I am certain it is, essentially, a sports nightclub. I'll have pix of the red carpet up shortly at

December 31, 2007 1:09 PM Posted by GG in LV

So 40/40 club is a nightclub meets an ESPN zone and will have no gaming. The Palazzo does not have a sports book. Does anybody else feel like the Palazzo took some shortcuts and bad decisions in the details? I'm referring to the fake flowers and ivy, the zebra bar and the 80' s statue in the lobby! Not knocking the hotel just looking with a fine eye.

December 31, 2007 7:01 PM Posted by steve

I sent an email to the Palazzo and they said there will be a sports book.

December 31, 2007 8:02 PM Posted by Mark D

They handed out a map of just the casino level at the opening yesterday. I don't see a sports book and I also walked all the way around the casino and didn't see one. Maybe it's on a different level or something.

January 1, 2008 10:46 PM Posted by Mike T

My roommate and his other half stopped by the Palazzo today, and my roommate said he was very underwhelmed. I told him that's about what he should expect from Las Vegas Sands. IMO the Venetian is one of the most poorly designed hotels in town, so I am setting low expectations for the Palazzo. I will reserve final judgment on the Palazzo until everything in it is open.

January 1, 2008 10:51 PM Posted by Hunter

Me too, honestly.

It's not really fair to judge the half open hotel, though it is perfectly fair to judge the (IMHO bad) decision to open the hotel before it is done.

From what I have seen in photos, the lobby honestly looks pretty stunning to me. I'm interested to see it in person but I admit I am impressed by the photos.

The casino looks boring as hell, even worse than The Venetian, which is one of my least favorite casino floors. David Schwartz's blog has a funny post on the casino design, especially so for anyone that has shelled out a couple hundred bucks for a certain book.

I'm trying to plan a trip for late January and might even try to stay at The Palazzo. Then I'll weigh in.

Some of the restaurants do sound pretty interesting. We'll see.

January 2, 2008 12:39 AM Posted by MGK

Aside from the fake bushes and some other fake plant life, the lobby area and the atrium area with the reflecting pools and waterfalls between the casino and the mall are really pretty. However, I found the casino floor to be a bit unusual, which I'm guessing is because of that wierd lighting system that casts a purple-ish toned glow over the main walkways. IMO, the palazzo isn't quite the bellagio, but it's more of an improvement over the Venetian in terms of interior design (casino floor aside).

January 2, 2008 8:05 AM Posted by Mike T

IMO opening a hotel before it is finished is simply stupid. I have to question the intelligence of anyone who thinks the way the Venetian opened, or the way the Palazzo is opening, is preferable to the way Bellagio, Wynn, Paris, etc. opened. The Paris is arguably the model of how to open one of these joints out here. The building was completely finished nearly two weeks before opening day. Steve Wynn is no slouch when it comes to opening hotels either, with his places also being completely finished before opening the doors, although Bellagio came right down to the wire. I was installing light bulbs the day before we opened that place. At least we could house and feed our guests though, which is more than I can say for the Venetian when they opened.

January 2, 2008 9:37 AM Posted by Pikes

Has anyone used the parking garage? I'm curious to see if it works better than the Venetian's mess.

January 2, 2008 11:35 AM Posted by detroit1051

The LV Sun's Jeff Simpson doesn't believe LVS' piecemeal opening of Palazzo will have any negative effect on the success of the property:

January 2, 2008 12:37 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Oh I agree. In six months or a year, it won't matter. It just shows me their lack of class, and it really shows me their true colors. LVS is all about the dollar, and nothing else. The guest experience is so far down their list, I can't even tell you. This hotel don't look bad, but from the few pictures I saw, the casino itself looks terrible. That's the one single thing they really needed to improve on with Ventian, and it looks like they screwed this one up as well. There is nothing inviting about this casino whatsoever. I just don't see people ploping down there, and wanting to spend hours playing.

January 2, 2008 4:23 PM Posted by Tom M

Opening the casino when it is ready is just a good business decision, get the cash flow started. I think they made the right decision to pospone the hotel opening until it is ready. I don't equate good business decisions with a lack of class. To me that is just piling on somebody that you don't like. You can absolutely criticize LVS for a series of bad designs et al. but this guy is a GREAT businessman.

January 2, 2008 10:22 PM Posted by Mark D

I didn't notice if the plants and flowers were fake or not, I'll have to go back and touch them. They do look fake because they are so finely manicured, but most of them are under the glass domes and should get sun light, so I don't know why they would use fake plants.

January 3, 2008 2:04 PM Posted by dstanley

I see nothing wrong with opening the casino a week or two before everything else opens. The employees earn a paycheck and the public is getting to explore the casino already. I do think it was absurd that no one knew for sure when this soft opening was going to happen and a Sand Corp. executive said we would know it was open when people were inside. From the pictures that I have seen it looks very nice to me. However, I think we need confirmation on whether or not the flowers and ivy are fake because if they are fake that would be just ridiculous and completely low class.

January 3, 2008 3:22 PM Posted by GG in LV

Well I can confirm the fake ivy (its so obvious) the flowers around the glass domes are fake too ( 90 percent sure) and all the trees in the connecting atrium are too! I' ok say it again... Its Bellagio with Forum shops meets Sunset Station! Serious let down!

January 4, 2008 11:29 AM Posted by Steve_TheStrip

While Jeff Simpson is probably right in general, he also errs in that piece by alleging the Venetian Macau was a soft opening. Even Wynn said in my most recent chat with him that they went balls-out with the big grand opening in Macau.

I agree with Hunter that the casino is a little unusual -- it just feels a lot bigger and the lighting is brighter.

I did NOT use the parking garage or the valet on 12/30 when I went because there were guards in front of the driveway and I couldn't tell who was supposed to be allowed to use it. I didn't feel like stopping north-bound Strip traffic to get into a chat with the guard, so I figured I'd just go to the normal parking thing and worry about it another day.

January 4, 2008 4:32 PM Posted by Mark D

In my career, I've participated in three "play days" at resort openings, where you act like a guest and break the place in and run the employees and dealers through their paces before it actually opens to the public. It's a hell of a lot of fun. Everything's brand new, no tourists to deal with, you get a room for a couple nights, eat anything you want for free at any of the restaurants without even having to tip (they won't let you)and get a big wad of fake money to gamble with at the tables. I don't know whether or not LVS had "play days" in just the casino, and then do it again separately for the restaurants and hotel? At least it doesn't seem it would be as much fun doing it that way.

January 5, 2008 7:45 AM Posted by bonk!

Thanks for the photos, Mark! In that first shot, looking up at the inside of the Palazzo dome... what is it that I am apparently seeing on the other side of the glass dome?? These don't appear to be just reflections from the inside of the lobby atrium...


January 5, 2008 2:29 PM Posted by Mark D

I don't really know what's making it look like that. It was at night, and you can see part of one of the buildings on the pool deck lit up, but the rest might be weird reflections because the glass is angled and there's some sort of screen mesh over the glass.

January 6, 2008 10:35 AM Posted by detroit1051

Did 40/40 Club's license application get bumped to the head of the line at the expense of other applicants? Yes, these things happen, but after listening to the audio tape, it confirms the power of LVS over an individual who wants to open a Mexican restaurant.

January 6, 2008 2:22 PM Posted by GregoryZephyr

I know this won't make me popular but whether a few trees are fake or real is of little consequence to me. What I care about is ROI and if someone can prove that the cost and upkeep of live plants adds to profit, I would be all for it. Let's face it, Palazzo is like a Hilton--good for mid-level business travelers but I wouldn't expect them to rival Ritz or 4S. And as for opening the casino ahead of the hotel, why wouldn't you do that if it adds to revenue as soon as possible? Letting the space sit empty for several weeks would be dumb. By spring no one will care what the opening schedule was like. (Except for us nitpickers!)

January 6, 2008 9:32 PM Posted by Mike T

Everyone who was in town back when the Venetian opened remembers what a disaster it was. Debacles like those set the tone for the reputation your company will have, and to this day LVS has not lived that down.

January 7, 2008 10:05 AM Posted by dstanley

In regards to the above comments by GregoryZephyr. I do agree that a lot of visitors won't care about fake flowers, even though I think it is absurd. However, I have to disagree with your statement, "Let's face it, Palazzo is like a Hilton--good for mid-level business travelers but I wouldn't expect them to rival Ritz or 4S". I have vacation at the end of April and checked rates for 3 nights at Palazzo and the Bellagio. The rate at Palazzo was $349 per night where as Bellagio was $229. For those rates, especially in comparision to Bellagio, I would expect attention to detail. It seems to me that the Palazzo is not trying to position itself as a mid level resort but rather as the top end resort in las vegas, especially with regards to some of the impressive restaurants they have lined up, but it's the lack of attention to detail that makes it look so bad compared to a place like the Bellagio or Wynn.

January 7, 2008 6:11 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I thought the hard feelimgs toward LVS were because they stiffed some of their sub contractors on the Venetian, claiming any varitey of issues. Some of these companies were forced into bankruptcy, and the state of Nevada changed the law so these type of shenanigans could not be used to avoid payment anymore. Am I correct on this?

January 7, 2008 6:15 PM Posted by Hunter

Ok, I just booked for the opening weekend. Hopefully fun.

January 7, 2008 8:10 PM Posted by mike_ch

dstan, I think Greg doesn't expect Palazzo to be a 4S or Ritz because it's a big megaresort. For all the positive press they get, there's little on the Strip that competes with the true luxury resorts in many other cities.

Palazzo charges as much as they do because they can, presumably. Their product might be in the same industry, but not really the same type of product. Similar to how your hometown amusement park is in the same industry as Disneyland, but it's not the same.

January 7, 2008 9:33 PM Posted by Mark D

The Palazzo's proximity to the Sand's Expo might effect its room rates if there is a big trade show going on there, while other hotels might not get that business.

Jeff, I remember some stuff about contractors not getting paid for the original Venetian construction. Don't recall exact details though.

January 8, 2008 3:35 PM Posted by Mike T

My roommate and I went to CES this morning, and after that we stopped at the Palazzo. I realize not everything is open yet, but the Palazzo is a big disappointment IMO. It is nothing special at all. The casino is very plain I thought, especially the main casino bar. The flow from the front desk to the guest elevators is a tremendous improvement over the Venetian, and I am sure the Palazzo's guests will appreciate that. The lounge with the zebra motif is hideous, and horribly out of place. The property displays no originality at all. My roommate said it best: large scale mediocrity.

I would like to check out the 40-40 Club though.

January 8, 2008 3:51 PM Posted by Jeff Simpson

Correcting a comment by (usually accurate) reporter Steve Freiss on Jan. 4, my LV Sun column referred to LVSands willingness to open its parties piecemeal, in advance of a "grand opening."

I wrote: "Most resort companies don't do it the way Sands does, preferring to open the entire property with a big splash, a method that worked well at Red Rock Resort and Wynn Las Vegas, among many others.

"But Sands prefers to avoid making clear when it will open its properties, and it is hard to criticize the company's decision, given its eventual success with the Venetian in 1999 and Venetian Macau last summer."

The Venetian Macau had a soft opening before its blowout grand opening.

January 8, 2008 9:24 PM Posted by Hunter


Thanks for participating in the discussion. I think most of us read your columns on a regular basis and appreciate your contribution.


January 9, 2008 1:38 PM Posted by Steve_TheStrip

Sorry, Jeff, but I just spoke with Ron Reese, the LVS spokesman. The Venetian Macao was not in any form or manner a soft opening. Nothing at all was open on the property before the grand opening date. Said Reese: "In a place like Macau, there's no way to do a soft opening. The minute you open, you're overrun by 50,000 people."