Of all the hotels that have come and gone in Las Vegas, one hotel holds the title of #1 Hot Spot of all-time, and that hotel is The Sands. The Sands was an early entry to The Las Vegas Strip, opening December 1952.
The Sands with it’s 200 rooms, was built for the then staggering sum of $5.5 million dollars, with the owner Jake Freedman spending $35,000 just for the opening, that included celebrities from all over the world. He hired camels with drivers to pick up the VIP’s at the airport and caravan them to The Sands.
The Sands showroom was The Copa Room, and in later years would become an icon for Las Vegas. All the top entertainers from around the world performed in The Copa Room, however, opening night belonged to Danny Thomas. With Jack Entratter as Entertainment Director, The Sands became THE HOTEL for THE BIGGEST stars in show business. Spending a night at The Copa Room was like spending a night with royalty, the top performers were on stage and in the audience every night. The Sands was Frank Sinatra’s turf and the hang out for his Rat Pack.
The Sands is no longer, but it has a suitable replacement, The Venetian. On May 3, 1999, Sheldon Adelson opened his $1.5 billion dollar, 3,000-room, 35-story Venetian Hotel. To get some perspective, multiply the original cost of The Sands by 300 times and you get the new Venetian. The place reeks of high-grade plastic, but it has style and fits the new Vegas clientele.
Sophie and I were at the Venetian because my friend Frank Bonanno opened an Italian restaurant, The Trattoria Reggiano on the second floor of the Canal Shoppes. The Italian word “trattoria” means a less formal restaurant, and it is, small very charming, there are fresh flowers on all the tables, and pictures of Frank’s family members on the walls that go back many generations. All the waiters wear an apron, and look Italian. As you walk in, there is a beautiful antique cupboard displaying a variety of wines. There are also outside tables, like dinning in a quaint Italian street café.
They feature “Filet Mignon Meatballs” with their pasta dishes, Neapolitan Pizza, a variety of great Italian entrees, and lots of homemade garlic rolls. To top things off, they serve espresso, cappuccino, Italian desserts, featuring homemade Ricotta Cheesecake and homemade Cannoli. In fact, EVERYTHING is HOMEMADE, even the pizza dough, and everything is DELICIOUS.
The Venetian – Canal Shoppes Second Floor
3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV, 89109
Sunday - Thursday, 11 a.m.
- 11 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. - midnight