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No Palazzo bookings until after opening

30 November 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The $1.6 billion Palazzo, which had been scheduled to open Dec. 20, is not taking hotel room reservations until Dec. 28.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. officials said Thursday the resort will have a partial opening in late December, but the company is targeting a grand opening event in the middle of January.

During the company's second-quarter earnings release in August, Sands officials said the 3,068-room Palazzo's casino, hotel and restaurants would open on Dec. 20. A check of the Palazzo's Web site, however, shows the earliest date to be able to book a hotel room reservation is Dec. 28.

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese confirmed the hotel portion wouldn't open until Dec. 28, but didn't rule out other portions of the property opening sooner.

"We are planning to have a soft opening for the Palazzo sometime at the end of December," Reese said. "But as a company, we are focused on a grand opening celebration on Jan. 18."

Reese didn't give a specific reason for the delay in opening. The company is planning several different celebrations between Jan. 17-19, including a concert with yet-to-be-named performers.

The Palazzo, which is being built to adjoin The Venetian, will be the Strip's first new hotel-casino since the April 2005 opening of Wynn Las Vegas. The opening is expected to trigger a wave of new Strip resorts through the end of the decade.

Reese said The Shoppes at Palazzo, the property's 450,000-square-foot retail space that is anchored by Barneys New York, will open Jan. 18.

When completed, The Venetian and Palazzo complex will represent the largest integrated destination resort in the world, with 7,128 hotel rooms and 2.3 million square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space.

Because the Palazzo is being operated as an extension of The Venetian, Las Vegas Sands executives have said the company expected to obtain back-of-house and other operating savings of between $40 million and $60 million for the combined complex. The Palazzo's casino is being operated under The Venetian's gaming license.

The Palazzo's more than one dozen restaurants will include locations operated by celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Charlie Trotter. The Palazzo will also feature a Las Vegas version of the 40/40 Club, a New York sports bar and lounge.

The Palazzo theater, which will feature the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Jersey Boys," is expected to open in the spring.