Wednesday 29 October 2008

Hole in the Wall Keeps Lobby Toilets at the Venetian from Reaching Perfection

The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV USA

Where is it?

Get to the main lobby first, which will require a bit of travel time depending on where you enter this mammoth hotel (rumored to be the second largest in the world). Following the signs to the lobby will help you get to this destination, however it will be hard for you to stay on track, considering the many elegant design distractions you'll come across along the way.

Once in the lobby, face the reception desk and make a complete about face, turning 180 degrees. When you do, you'll see a arched hallway there with the words "Restrooms - VIP Lounge" etched into the plaster (or is it marble?). Head down that hallway and you'll find the toilets.

What's it like?

The interior to this hotel has always been one of my favorites in Vegas -- right up there with the Wynn (which is the most ornate -- and has the best bathrooms in the world) and Caesar's Palace (review coming soon). I've always been wowed by the ornate ceilings of the main hall, which look like cleaned up versions of the Sistine Chapel, and the shopping mall here (which mimics the look and feel of St. Marks Square, only cleaner and filled with gondola drivers who speak perfect English) -- and those are just a few of the main attractions here (which also include great dining options and terrific rooms).

These bathrooms, at least on the surface, are top-notch. The floor is covered in an elegant marble pattern of black, maroon, white and beige tiles. The walls are covered with more beige tile that look like ancient building blocks found in ruins (something like what you'd see on the floor at the Luxor or the Lost Continent toilets at Islands of Adventure, believe it or not). The room is small for a lobby bathroom but is well spaced and always feels roomy.

The overall feel is elegant and modern with some ancient touches -- a lot like what you'd find at McCormick and Schmick's Orlando or Philadelphia's Davio's, just with a more cave-like and expensive feel to it.

There are four urinals (white porcelain) along the left wall, with the far one being the kiddie urinal. Opposite that are three spacious stalls with white porcelain toilets, with the one closest to the back wall being the handicap stall. Heavy, dark wood dividers separate the commode stalls and urinals, and while the dividers don't go to the floor (as they do at the Wynn), the material they are made of is thick enough to intimate a greater sense of privacy than what's actually achieved.

The vanity, at the front of the bathroom, features a sprawling green and white mix marble counter with gold-plated chrome automatic faucets and automatic soap dispensers and gold-plated chrome towel holders (they kind of look like elegant napkin holders, really) set in between the individual white porcelain sinks (three of them). A huge stretch mirror with gold frame is mounted behind the vanity.

As expected, it's immaculately cleaned and smelling of flowery perfume, making for an elegant visit indeed. The minimalistic framed paintings of various greenery mounted above the urinals and other spots on the walls add to that impression.

The only flaw I found was in one of the mount brackets for the urinal dividers. It looked like the bracket -- or the divider -- had fallen down at one point in the past, but instead of fixing the tile and mounting properly and setting the divider back up cleanly, the repair person seems to have taken a shortcut and just stuffed the screw back into the original hole and fortified it that way. As a result, anyone stepping to that side of the barrier will find himself facing a noticeable hole in the marble -- which certainly takes away from the high-end look and feel of the location. The whole thing reminds me of the falling wallpaper in the Caesar's Palace toilets I visited -- which also achieve a similar ill effect.

Marks out of 10:

8. Almost a 9, or even a 10, save for that shoddy repair job, which essentially drops it down to the quality of McCormick and Schmick's Orlando or Philadelphia's Davio's -- not that those are bad bathrooms to be compared to, mind you. Just expected more from the Venetian, considering how over-the-top the rest of the place is.

Comments to the Management:

Patch that hole up correctly please and perhaps we'll put you on par with some of the other great Vegas bathrooms after that.

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