It soars 642 feet above the famous Las Vegas Strip. Within its 53 floors, it houses 3000 ultra-posh suites, the world’s most luxurious retail establishments and the chicest restaurants. It also offers the best entertainment in the West. Even its name symbolizes ultimate luxury; its English translation is palace. I must admit this place nearly gave me an orgasm. This $1.8 billion behemoth exhausted my senses in a good way. The place, the building, the resort and the hotel that I’m describing is The Palazzo Las Vegas, the newest lavish hotel-casino on the Strip. I felt compelled to tour Vegas’s newest luxury destination. This is my fragrance voyage at The Palazzo Las Vegas.
I dressed in my shopping best as usual. But, this outfit was more casual; I wanted to feel relax during my tour. I wore Lee blue jeans, a ribbed forest green turtleneck by Perry Ellis, a brown leather Italian cut jacket and a pair of Stacy Adams shoes. Lastly, I brought along my favorite little wallet, the Gucci wallet.
I jumped into my faithful truck and drove to the Palazzo. Parking was a breeze. There was a space waiting for me in its multi-level subterranean public garage, which is a bit unusual for the Strip. Most parking garages on the Strip are large monstrous things that are usually hidden behind the Strip’s more glamorous facades. I thought the Sands Corporation, the owner of the Venetian and the Palazzo, chose a good location for the garage; it gives the Palazzo a more cosmopolitan flair.
I exited my truck and walked into a glass enclosure. I stepped onto an escalator and was whisked to the casino/lobby level. The Palazzo’s casino was like most large casinos on the Strip: thousands of colorful and noisy slot and poker machines and many green-topped gambling tables. I decided to leave the casino and headed towards the Palazzo’s grand lobby. The appearance of the lobby was what I expected. It was elegant and very grand. I saw a beautiful fountain in its center that stood under a large glass cupola. It was surrounded by voluptuous glass naked temptresses, encouraging the patrons of the hotel to live their sinful dreams. It was a very beautiful centerpiece. Since I was intrigued by the architectural influences of the Palazzo’s lobby and the rest of the hotel, I asked the concierge which country or culture influenced the hotel’s architecture. He explained that it was based on the buildings of Continental Europe. However, old world Italian design was the main architectural paradigm. I was satisfied with his answer, and I proceeded to the real part of my fragrance voyage, visiting The Shoppes at The Palazzo.
The first shop I visited was Fresh, the upscale and niche fragrance perfumery. The store wasn’t opened to the public, but the shop’s manager gave me permission to explore it. It was designed like most upscale perfumeries yet with a little twist — very bright, plenty of glass, understated yet very contemporary. The manager told me that Fresh was owned by the luxury conglomerate LVMH, who happened to own Guerlain and Louis Vuitton. She mentioned her company moved to the Palazzo since they were adding stores to many luxury destinations. In other words, Fresh was in a high growth mode.
I asked her about the most popular fragrance among her clients. She mentioned that Sake was the bestselling one. According to Osmoz, this fragrance is “sensual and delicate, it was inspired by Japanese beauty rituals. Blending unusual notes of langsat, an Asian plant, with fruity waves of white peach and Chinese osmanthus blossom.” Other popular fragrances according to the manager were Sugar Lychee for women, a fruity-floral fragrance, and Cannabis Santal for men, an oriental-woody scent. I thanked the manager for taking the time to speak with me and I proceeded on my voyage.
As I walked to my next retail destination, I passed by Tony Burch, the fashion house that is known for creating sophisticated fashion for women at an accessible price point. I also noticed signs for future shops from these notable brands: Chloe, Diane Von Furstenberg, Fendi, Michael Kors, Montblanc, Ralph Lauren, Thomas Pink and Van Cleef & Arpels.
I finally arrived to my next destination. It was Bottega Veneta. Its appearance was what I expected of most upscale boutiques. It had plenty of glass displays and was well lighted. I also remembered its brownish and tan hues. Its most beautiful and precious handbags were placed on glass wall shelving. In the back of the boutique, clothing hang on racks. Very popular and less expensive items were placed on display racks that were scattered through out the store. I was greeted by a charming young woman. I asked her about the brand’s fragrances, but she told me that was not her expert area. I asked her about the handbags. Her face lighted up and told me that Bottega Veneta was well known for its handbags. The most popular bag designs were the Cabat and Veneta. I thank her for speaking with me, and I proceeded to my next retail spot.
I later learned that Bottega Veneta doesn’t make fragrances for humans. It makes a home fragrance, which is a scented candle called Intreccio N. 1. It has notes of cedar, eucalyptus, hay and leather.
The next shop I visited was Coach. I wanted to smell the fashion house’s new and only perfume for women, Coach by Coach. When I entered the brand’s boutique, I asked a young sales woman if I could have a sample of the perfume. She told me that no samples were available. I asked her about the tester, and she pointed towards the middle of the store. It was on a medium-sized glass display table. As I was making my way to the table, I was intercepted by an older Asian Coach expert. I told her that I wanted to experience Coach, the fragrance. She sprayed the perfume on a sample sheet and gave it to me to sniff. Its scent was very luxurious. It reminded me of another perfume that I loved, Tresor by Lancome. The perfume combined amber, genet, jasmine, mimosa, vanilla and woody notes. I might give this fragrance to the women in my life. And, I will purchase it from Coach at the Palazzo.
After my visit to Coach, I headed towards Barneys New York. My visit to the venerable specialty store was the height of my fragrance voyage.
I first entered Barneys through its Shoppes entrance. But, I wanted to have a real first visit experience. So, I raced to the store’s first floor and exited its Strip entrance. Now I was ready for my grand entrance. I threw back my invisible long hair and entered into Barneys from the Strip. The first department that I encountered was women’s accessories. It had almost every upscale brand that I could imagine, such as Fendi, Givenchy, Lanvin, Mac Jacobs, Mui Mui and Prada. After my adventure in the accessories department, I decided to do my real work, visiting the men’s and women’s fragrance departments.
The women’s fragrance department was the first one that I toured. It is located on the first floor of Barneys, towards the back of the store. When I arrived to this section, I immediately spotted a fragrance expert and asked him this question, “Why is Barneys so special?” He responded that the retailer is unique when it comes to fragrances. It carries mostly niche scents. In other words, many colognes and perfumes that are sold in Barneys are available either in the perfume designers’ boutiques or Barneys. His answer impressed me. A few minutes later after I spoke with the fragrance expert, I was swept up by a cute middle-aged blond woman. She became my personal guide in this section and introduced me to the fragrances of Aqua di Parma. Since 1916, the world’s elites and those who desire to join this group have always loved its perfumes. It is still distilled by hand, and its packaging is still hand-designed. I smelled two of its fragrances, and I must admit that they did match my taste. But, if you want to smell like the rich and famous, fragrances from Aqua di Parma is a must-have. According to my fragrance guide, celebrities love it.
After my experience with Aqua di Parma, she took me to the far left of the fragrance department, and showed me a strange machine. It was large and silver; it appeared to be medieval-like. I saw beakers, perfume bottles, tubes and weighing machinery nearby. I looked above the machine and the name Le Labo appeared. According to my guide, this area was known as the Le Labo Lab. This olfactory experience is a Barneys exclusive. Barneys experts can mix various fragrances to create a very personal perfume. This is a must have for perfume lovers and gift givers. Pre-made fragrances for men and women are also sold. One of the “pre-mades” that I tried was Rose 31. It smelled light, which meant that it could be worn anytime and anywhere. Warm, spicy and woodsy notes created this masculine floral fragrance. I might have to add this one to my fragrance wardrobe.
My experience with Le Labo ended, and my guide showed me another niche brand. This brand was called Editions De Parfums by Federic Malle. Monsiuer Malle gathered the top noses in the fragrance industry to create 16 unique fragrances according to another Barneys fragrance expert. These noses created scents for the top Parisian fragrance houses. According to my guide, most Editions de Parfums fragrances are unisex.
Barneys has created a unique sampling experience with this brand according to me guide. She took me to two large metal-framed electric booths that reminded me of the tornado display at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. She mentioned that they were used to sample this brand’s fragrances. She turned on one of them, opened an upper glass door and sprayed a fragrance of my choice in it. It was Carnal Rose, a floral for both men and women. She closed the booth’s door, and a few minutes later, she reopened it and told me to sniff. She explained that the booths gave customers a realistic smell of Edition de Parfums. I thank my guide for spending time with me and proceeded to the men’s fragrance section on the third floor.
When I arrived to the third floor, I noticed something strange about Barneys’ signage. The names of clothing designers were written on the store’s light wooden floors. I thought this type of display was very unique. Suddenly, I spotted the men’s fragrance counter. When I arrived there, I was greeted by a cute and young fragrance expert. She showed me a cologne that was a Barneys exclusive. It was called Bois 1920. This cologne’s history began in 1920 with Guido Galardi. He experimented with perfumes and natural fragrances that had always intrigued him. He eventually opened a perfumery called Bottega Italiana Spigo in Florence, Italy, which attracted many fragrance lovers. Unfortunately, the perfumery closed five years later since his son did not want to continue with the business. In 2005, his grandson founded Bois 1920 and reinterpreted Galardi’s formula. After reading and hearing Bois 1920’s story, I wish I smelled it during my visit at Barneys. It will go on my sniff wish list
The young perfume expert also gave a me a good summary of Barneys New York in Las Vegas. She told me that this retailer is unique. It is cutting edge, upscale and very humorous.
My fragrance voyage at The Palazzo Las Vegas ended. This beautiful hotel with its upscale shopping promenade is a great enhancement to the Las Vegas Strip. I’m sure it will compete well with other Strip destinations. So, when you visit my hometown, make sure you tour The Palazzo and its shops. I can assure you that you will be amazed.