This evening will be fun and exciting. Tonight the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority is taking us to dinner and a tour of the beautiful Palazzo Resort, the top rated resort in Las Vegas, which connects with its sister, the Venetian Resort, and then we will see the musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” While I am not normally a big musical fan, Priscilla is an exception.
When we arrived at the Palazzo, we were greeted by Brenda Klausmann, one of the sales directors for the Palazzo & Venetian resorts. Brenda told us that this summer will be one of the best times to visit the Palazzo because: a) it is the top rated resort in Vegas, b) the lobby is decorated for Carnevale, c) Priscilla Queen of the Desert is playing through August 18, 2013, d) there are exceptional low summer rates starting around $149 for a suite, and, e) “Restaurant Week” is coming during the end of August.
We’ll cover all of these great events in a minute. But there is another reason to visit the Palazzo because it, its staff like Brenda, have been working hard to attract and support the gay community.
During the summer, it is Carnevale at the Palazzo. This second annual event brings Italian summer festivals full of street performers, decorations, and fun to the Palazzo and Venetian. You’ll notice the theme as soon as you walk in where you will find carnevale masks and characters parading throughout the lobby. Don’t be shy about asking for a picture with one of the characters, they are more than willing to mug for a camera shot.
The Palazzo is an elegant property and the elegance continues into their suites. The entry level luxurious suites are about 720 sq. ft. each with a King bed, a sunken living room featuring an HD TV, a sectional sofa which opens into a queen bed, an in-room printer/copier, wireless Internet, and a Roman tub, oh yes, and remote controlled Roman shades. The resort fee is $25/night. What is amazing is that these incredible rooms start at only $149/night. If 720 sq. ft. is too small for you, try the Fortuna Suite at 940 sq. ft, or why not just jump to the two bedroom Lago Suite or Lago Media at 1,943 sq. ft.
Special Tip on Room Reservations – Think “Prestige”
The Palazoo has a few floors that are not available through on-line travel agencies like Expedia or Orbitz, and are not even included in most travel agency systems, but we can get them for you! These floors are the “Prestige” floors designed to give guests special treatment from the moment they arrive.
You bypass the regular lobby check-in area and are whisked away to the 23rd floor for a private champagne check-in. Special amenities and privileges include:
- Personal concierge assistance from 7 am to 9 pm
- Continental breakfast from 7 am to 10 am
- Afternoon coffees and teas from 10 am to 4 pm
- Hot & Cold Hors D’oeuvres from 5 pm to 7 pm
- Complimentary Cocktail Reception from 5 pm to 8 pm – (What gay doesn’t love a free happy hour? And it includes hor d’oeuvres. I am ready to move in.)
- Business Center access with copying, printing and internet availability
- Access to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub fitness facility
- Daily newspaper delivery
- Complimentary local, 1-800 calls, and internet access
- Packing and unpacking services upon request
All of these services are available for an additional $100 per night based on double occupancy, but this includes the $25 resort fee, so the net cost increase is only $75 per night. When you consider a Las Vegas continental breakfast can cost from $12 – $20 (or more) per person per day, and add in that complimentary cocktail reception three hours each evening which includes fantastic hor d’oeuvres (We saw them! They were incredible and are made by the restaurants on site.), the value you receive from the “Prestige” rooms is probably greater than the extra cost of the room.
Restaurant Week (August 23 – August 30, 2013)
If you are a foodie, and I certainly am, this is an event you shouldn’t miss! You’ll get to sample great food at special prices, plus it benefits “Three Square” which feeds 100,000 men, women, children and seniors in need each month. Last time, some 70 restaurants participated including some of the areas top restaurants. During this event, each restaurant offers a prix fixe menu (a complete meal at a fixed price) ranging from $20.13 to $50.13. For instance, the “Honey Salt” offered caramelized sea scallops with charred cauliflower, vanilla bean cauliflower puree and truffle sauce for $30.13/lunch and $50.13/dinner, while “Biscayne” offered pan-seared snapper with black pepper spaetzle, smoked bacon, spring peas and watercress pesto for $40.13/dinner. How about one more. “Sushi Roku” offered the trio of appetizers with American Kobe meatballs, Albacore sashimi and garlic aioli, tuna “Nikiri” sashimi and Roku “Signature Sushi” ume with tuna, yellowtail, salmon and Albacore a four course dinner for $50.13. Get the point – great meals at an incredible bargain. The August offerings will be announced August 8th on the Three Square website.
Through Brenda and other staff members, the Palazzo reached out to the gay community by manning a booth at Gay Days in Orlando to promote the Palazzo and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” which is playing at the Venetian through August 18th (more about that later). Over dinner and cocktails including luscious appetizers, specialty martinis, a main course of marinated beef kabobs and perfectly cooked and seasoned lamb at Sushisamba in the Palazzo , Brenda talked about the great times she had meeting a variety of gays and lesbians attending Gay Days Orlando. Her only disappointment was when she looked up and saw a plane flying overhead pulling a banner warning the public that gays would be in Disney World. She was horrified, shocked, and saddened. Although she is only an honorary member of the gay community (she is a married mother), she has witnessed some of the pain many of us have experienced such as when she watched a hospital refuse to allow a woman visit her gravely ill long-time partner. She saw just how cruel the face of discrimination can be. But most of our conversation was about how the Palazoo could reach even more gay people to let them know they are welcomed and appreciated at the Palazzo, and to reinforce that, the Palazoo/Venetian have a “Commitment Ceremony” available for gay couples.
Probably the crowing highlight of the evening was seeing the touring production of “Priscilla.” It’s marketing company had given us prime seats near the front of the house for this incredibly funny and touching production. As we left Sushisamba, we gather for group pictures in the middle of the Palazoo shops. You should have seen us with our boas and gift bags in front of a LARGE stiletto. The people pointing at us with smiles and laughs just added to the fun of the moment. Just outside the theater lobby, we ran into the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Now their costumes put our boas and bags to shame, but it was touching to see people going up to them and asking to have their picture taken with them.
Finally the time had come and we entered the theater. We had a great time. The colors, the music, the drag were wonderful. I was swaying and bouncing in my chair all the while trying not to bother my adjacent seat mates. I was wondering how they were going to manage the ping pong ball episode, but it was handled perfectly. (Brenda even found one of the ping pong balls, printed with the Priscilla logo on it, and gave it to me afterwards.) Hearing the old songs (It’s Raining Men, Like a Virgin, etc.), listening to some of the touching lines, and getting into some uplifting messages of the play made this one special night for all of us. Afterwards the Sisters and our group of gay travel agents were invited to meet the cast which was an incredible extra touch.
Special Opportunity to Save & Enjoy
The suites at the Palazzo are large, warm and incredible. With summer rates starting as low as $149/night, Priscilla playing through August 18, Restaurant Week coming the end of August, and “Commitment Ceremonies” available year round, this is the best time to take a mini or full vacation to Vegas. Better yet, call and ask for a “Prestige” room and get treated like a Queen (pun intended).
Written by Brian Raymond
Brian owns Out Destinations, a premier gay travel agency featuring gay & mainstream cruises and tours. Out Destinations also offers group travel, and social organization fundraising opportunities. For a free consultation, contact him toll free at 866-217-2341 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.