he 160 shops and restaurants of this meandering mall are divided between the Venetian and Palazzo, though one side is definitely more ornate than the other. Wander through the Venetian part and you’ll see that the meticulous attention to detail given to the hotel’s recreation of an Italian village is carried through here, including a ceiling that’s cunningly painted like a cloud-dappled sky. Canals flow through the mall, complete with gondoliers who will take you (for a fee, of course) on a slow float on the water. An extra tip will ensure that your captain serenades you as well, from classic opera arias to vintage Rat Pack tunes. Pick up the gondolas near St. Mark’s Square, entertainment central with wandering minstrels, living statues, and more opera singers. The Venetian stores include such affordable choices as Kenneth Cole, Ann Taylor, and Victoria’s Secret. For food, we recommend Mario Batali’s pizza and wine bar, Otto. There’s “outdoor” seating on the faux patio, so order some antipasti and a glass of wine and watch the world go by, like you’d do in Italy.
The Shoppes at Palazzo aren’t as exciting, partially because their setting is elegant but bland, and partially because the Palazzo houses crazy-expensive retailers like Barney’s New York, Jimmy Choo, and Cartier, along with Bauman Rare Books (possibly the only bookstore on the Strip). Navigating from one mall to the other isn’t exactly intuitive, so you may have to ask for directions if you have a specific destination in mind. The shops are open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 11pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to midnight.
- Rick Garman