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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Where Romance and Childhood Dreams Come Alive: Winter in Venice, Las Vegas

Written by Lesley Carter
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IMG 9213The Venetian and The Palazzo, the world’s largest Five Diamond resorts, magically transformed into the most majestic winter surroundings Las Vegas has ever seen, creating Winter in Venice. An outdoor wonderland complete with a skating rink, charming string lights, brilliantly lit trees, holiday music, holiday treats, and displays set the scene. We were greeted by colorful characters wandering the property, spreading good cheer; we were dazzled by a spectacular light show performance; we were blessed with Santa's presence during the Santa Story Readings; we indulged in chocolate chips cookies and milk; we relaxed at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub; and we gazed into our future together while being serenaded by a gondolier. Winter in Venice made romance and our wildest imagination collide during our four night stay at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Located in the front of the resort, Doge's Palace offered plenty to see and experience. Surrounded by 30 larger-than-life snowflakes, ranging from 48 to 72 inches in diameter, more than 2,000 festooned lights hung over the majestic skating rink, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree, the area included entertainment like stilt walkers, puppets, jugglers, and real-life-human statues. Carolers and gondoliers singing holiday classics also set the tone and filled the air with joy.  We happily held hands as we strolled by awestruck children, smiling families, and enchanted couples.

Once the sun set, the Nightly Holiday Spectacular & Tree Lighting Ceremony began. Our attention was drawn to the Rialto Bridge as three tenors and a hip hop violin duo performed holiday hits and classics. When the music lulled, a stunning angel gracefully appeared from the Rialt0 Bridge and lit the 65-foot holiday tree across the way. It was as if Norman Rockwell created the scene as his holiday masterpiece.

An outdoor skating rink added even more holiday spirit to our vacation. Located above the hotel's outdoor Grand Canal, we, along with skaters of all ages, glided around the rink and enjoyed views of the canals as well as holiday displays. Watching my husband, who played ice-hockey fall to his butt, encouraged my childish laughter and playful nature. Although a toe-pick is a new concept to most male skaters, it was still uplifting to watch as he was the first skater to hit the rink, literally. With all the ambience of winter surrounding us, it was impossible not to feel like a child again.

IMG 9173Our gondola ride heightened the romance and magical wonder. No trip to Venice, or The Venetian, would be complete without a graceful and romantic glide down the Grand Canal in an authentic Venetian gondola. Floating beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies, and through the vibrant Venetian streetscape, our authentic, Italian, singing gondolier swept us down the Grand Canal for a ride like no other.

In addition to the festivities outside of the resort, The Waterfall, Atrium, & Gardens also featured hand-designed snowflakes suspended mid-air in the three-floor-high atrium. Ice branches and 20-foot frosted birch, pine, and glittering trees complemented the picturesque waterfall and crystal ice ponds as majestic hand-crafted white and pearl peacock statues overlooked guests. The winter gardens also featured red beaded ornaments, pinecones, and fresh poinsettias.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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