Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Venetian

I applied vacation together with Hogan from March 23-27 and it was a fantastic experience with him. After 17 years, I once again took a look of how Macau had developed from how it was back then. And I really felt bad that we went there while the land was graced with rain showers and strong winds. We took the Turbo Jet going to and fro. And there was a lot of blessings in disguise that we had during this trip. The best one was when we rode the Turbo Jet. (Cheung Wan station holds the Turbo Jet pier - Cheung Wan is one station away from Central).... The economy fare costs HK$148 and we were surprised when we were priced HK$244 each when we were on our way back to Hong Kong. After staying overnight in the very wonderfully designed hotel of The Venetian, we wanted to go back home to Hong Kong as fast as we could so, upon reaching the Macau pier at 2, we decided to take the 2:15pm trip. We were surprised of the price on the way back, thinking that the increase might be due the bad weather, only to find out that it goes with a full meal... Hahahahaha!!!! That was cool.... thinking you get more than what you expected.

The Venetian is the first property to open on the Cotai Strip, the area is currently under heavy, heavy development and is likely to feature upwards of thirty casinos, entertainment complexes and hotels when completed. Openings are slated throughout 2009 and 2010. The Venetian itself is surrounded by a manmade lagoon-like lake(seen in the foreground), on which gondola rides are offered halfway round the huge complex. During the summer, the various plazas are also inhabited by various period performers, who help keep the ice-cream eating crowds entertained. The whole complex has been designed, as with its sister complex in Vegas, in the image of Venice. Tacky to some, but undoubtedly impressive, the renaissance design would be unlikely to fool Michelangelo or anybody else, but it is faithful recreation of Venice. The casino even boasts large-scale replicas of major Venice landmarks such as St Mark’s Square, Campanile Tower and the Doge’s Palace. It is perhaps the scale that is so impressive. This is no model village, and many of the streets and buildings are as big as you would find them in their home town.

Inside, the Venetian theme continues with a system of canals, which, amazingly, have been built into the second floor. Just like in their Italian namesake, the gondoliers can also sing, and several have actually been shipped in from Italy.

The casino boasts three separate canals, as well the lagoon outside, and while it may lack the pungent smell of Venice, it is about as close to the real thing as you’ll get without flying to Italy.

They haven’t stopped there, they have even attempted to recreate the Venice sky(in summer), so even if it’s raining outside, you can still stroll by the canals. The faux sky, with outside air and smells also pumped in, really is breathtaking, and it can take a few seconds to realise you haven’t stumbled outside.

The Venetian is also styling itself as a shopping destination, and with over 1 million square feet of retail space, the biggest in either Macau or Hong Kong, it is certainly attractive. The shops are a high class mix of international clothing retailers and sky-high priced jewellers, all set around the winding canals. Several of the shops, as well as the wining and dining establishments, are unique to the casino in Asia.

Let’s not forget the gambling. At over 550,000 square feet this is the largest gambling floor in the world, and it’s well executed. Spacious and brightly lit, the floor is less intimidating than many in Macau, and much more similar to the sprawling complexes in Las Vegas. On the other hand, it is incredibly easy to get lost inside this behemoth.

870 gaming tables and 3400 slot machines offer ample opportunity to pour money away, yet despite its size and being open 24 hours the floor is perpetually busy, particularly the gaming tables. This buzz of people contributes to that uniquely exciting Casino atmosphere. Around the sides are numerous restaurants, often transplanted from Hong Kong, as well as several entertainment shows and cabarets – the casino has already been hosts to the Black Eyed Peas and a tennis match between Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.

1 comment:

Rising from my Ashes said...

Don't think we have met! Your blog is very interesting and I love it. Please bring me back here? I think we share an interest in James Browns fever?