Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 | 12:28 a.m.
Shaquille O’Neal at Azure
It was double-duty weekend for retired NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.
First up was playing host at Lavo on Friday night. The evening included Shaq jumping into the DJ booth for an impromptu set, and Olympic champion Ryan Lochte, in town for his belated 29th birthday weekend, and comedian and actor David Spade joining in the fun.
Shaq also played host at Azure Luxury Pool on Sunday afternoon. Greeted by cheering fans, Shaq playfully answered questions, shook hands with fans and posed for photographs.
The buzz about Lochte’s swimming-challenge tweet to Shaq was addressed on Azure’s blue carpet, to which he quipped, “Who is Ryan Lochte?”
Affectionately known for his big personality on and off the court, Shaq mingled with star-struck fans and pumped up the jam (yes, another impromptu DJ set) for Azure guests. Mark Shunock, “Lonnie” in “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian, and the resort’s resident drummers also made an appearance.
The DJ kept the crowd moving with hip-hop and summer favorites as Shaq and company partied in a VIP cabana. The group enjoyed fresh fruit, fish tacos, a veggie pizza and cocktails.
Thanks to Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery and Richard Corey for his video posted on YouTube.
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
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With top accommodations, first-rate entertainment, high-end shopping and a slew of acclaimed chefs, the Palazzo has positioned itself as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Strip.
More than 3,000 all-suite rooms start at 740 square feet and are decorated in a modern, yet classic, Italian style. Each room features a sleeping area, with a king or two queens, and a sunken living room area with floor to ceiling windows.
A cathedral ceiling tops the Palazzo casino, while a second 80-foot dome brings natural light to the property's lobby. The 105,000 square foot casino features more than 2,000 slots and 80 table games but lacks the stale smell of cigarettes, as the property is LEED certified with smoking off limits in most of the Palazzo — including 50 percent of the casino floor.
Dining at the Palazzo is among the best of the Strip, starting with Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Chef Simon To serves up authentic Chinese cuisine at Zine, while Sushisamba combines Brazilian and Peruvian flavors with Japanese techniques. At LAVO, club-goers can dine on Mediterranean dishes before heading upstairs to the bath house-inspired nightclub.