Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian
The first thing you wonder when you get to the second floor of the Venetian is if you took a wrong turn. The shops here are made to look like outside Venice on a warm spring day. The illusion is complete with an azure sky above and gondola rides around the hotel. A boatman will serenade you while you take a lazy stroll down the river. You may even meet a famous Venetian while you are here. Marco Polo may discuss his travels or Casanova exerts his famous charm to the ladies.
The boat ride ends at a replica of St. Mark’s Square which is a central landmark in Venice. You can also listen to strolling musicians, opera singers, or watch glass blowers make their vases. It is the normal hustle-bustle activity of a Venice marketplace.
The Shoppes themselves are directly accessible from the outside so you don’t have to try to navigate the casino. Walking through the casino is taking the long way around, but you do get to view the fabulous artwork on the ceilings and in the lobby. Even the floor of the lobby is eye-catching.
The Venetian recently added another tower to its structure called the Venezia. This building will adjoin the shoppes at the far end to St. Mark’s Square. Thus making it easier for guests to get back to their specific tower and making it easier for visitors to find their way around.
The shops themselves are medium to high-end brand names such as Jimmy Choo, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Rockport, and a Venetian glass and paper shop. They have a food court at one end of the shopping mall and the other end leads to Tao, a nightclub where you must be 21 to get into.
The Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s Palace
The Forum Shoppes have been described as a little bit of Rome married to Rodeo Drive and painted with Spielberg and you have an elegant retail space to shop. You enter through a forty eight foot archway. They have also painted a Mediterranean sky that the light changes as the day goes on. A goddess of fortune welcomes you under the central dome.
Opened in 1992, the Forum Shoppes are a 250,000 square foot shopping paradise. The architecture takes us back to between 300 BC to 1700 AD. There are animatronic statues of Bacchus, Venus, Pluto, and Apollo playing the lyre. It is a seven minute show with dancing water and a laser-light show. An extension was added in 1998 called the Roman Hall. This hall houses a 50,000 gallon circular aquarium that includes shows involving fire (it does get hot, so stand back), dancing water and animatronic figures that tell the story of the rise and fall of Atlantis.
They have many shops in the Forum. There is a shop for every taste and interest. Just to name a few: Houdini’s, Louis Vuitton, Ann Taylor, Gucci, Versace, Antiquities (a movie memorabilia place), Fendi, Armani, and FAO Schwarz (a toy store). In addition to shopping, there are several restaurants to get a meal and take a break in. Perhaps the most famous is Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois. There is also a Planet Hollywood and a Cheesecake Factory.
There was a second expansion that opened right onto the strip. They added a three story glass entrance and 175,000 more square feet of retail stores. The shops are open until 11 PM on Sunday through Thursday and 12 Midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Take a whole day here just to browse or see the animatronic shows. This place has a lot to offer and the aquarium has seats nearby so you can just sit and relax watching the fish after an exhausting day of shopping.