Las Vegas: Where Vastness and Compactness Meet

The vastness of Las Vegas struck me once again as my plane paralleled the Strip, touching down a stone's throw from some of the largest meeting and convention facilities on Earth. Arriving a few minutes later at The Palazzo, I entered a surprising new world for the next few days—exploring a monster facility that is actually very manageable. It is amazingly compact, given the breadth of facilities under a single roof: The Venetian, The Palazzo, and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, now jointly marketed to the meetings industry as the Las Vegas Sands MegaCenter. With the opening of The Palazzo earlier this year, the MegaCenter menu includes 7,093 suites, more than 2.2 million sf of meeting and trade show space, 33 restaurants, 120 shops, and four theaters and showrooms.

I literally wanted to applaud as I toured the new center and discovered that everything really is within easy walking distance. Following a master design, The Palazzo connects directly to The Venetian, with the meeting facilities forming the bottom part of the Y complex. As a result, meeting attendees staying at either hotel are equidistant from their meeting or trade show—about a five-minute walk.

Playtime options are also close at hand. While at the MegaCenter, our group of journalists dined on The Palazzo pool deck overlooking the Strip, as well as at hip places like Wolfgang Puck's Cut. We also enjoyed a private sky box at the perennially "in" Tao nightclub and checked out two of the most popular shows on the Strip—Blue Man Group and Jersey Boys. After working hard and playing hard, we all enjoyed soothing treatments at the famous Canyon Ranch Spa, which has an expansion set to finish in the fall that will bring the facility up to 134,000 sf.