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Venice Comes to Vegas This Week

May 02, 1999

The latest Las Vegas mega-fantasy resort promises to transplant Venice, Italy, to the desert this week. And this time, they say it's not a mirage.

The $1.5-billion Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, which has glided past three announced opening dates, is scheduled to debut Tuesday on the site of the former Sands Hotel. At least most of it. That includes about 2,900 of its 3,036 rooms ($119 to $349 per night), its 586,000-gallon Grand Canal plied by singing gondoliers, its 120,000-square-foot casino, four of its 14 restaurants, and--how could we forget?--replicas of Venice's Campanile, St. Mark's Square and Rialto Bridge.

The Venetian is the brainchild of billionaire Sheldon Adelson--and aimed at "the affluent, high-end traveler," he has said. Hence, the offerings include Joachim Splichal's Pinot Brasserie restaurant, an outpost of the elite Canyon Ranch spas (to open later this month) and retailers such as Mikimoto jewelers. (The 70-odd shops that line the Grand Canal are to open May 14.) Reservations: telephone (800) 494-3556.

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