Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: November 22, 2005

LAS VEGAS will return to its cow town roots Dec. 2 through 11, when the 2005 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo rides into town. This is the 21st year that the city has hosted the event, which features the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. The rodeo will be held in the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus starting at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 2 through 9, 5:45 p.m. Dec. 10 and 1:15 p.m. Dec. 11. The NFR Cowboy Christmas show, the only official gift show of the Wrangler National Final Rodeo, will be free and open to the public from Dec. 1 through 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show features more than 400 vendors. For more information, visit www.NFRexperience.com or www.prorodeo.com.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES VACATIONS is offering special rates on Las Vegas vacation packages booked by Dec. 8 for travel taken through Feb. 16. Packages include roundtrip air via Southwest Airlines, hotel accommodations ranging from two to 14 nights, Rapid Rewards credit and 24-hour traveler assistance. Sample prices for a two-night plan with Monday and Tuesday departures run $84 for a room at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino from Los Angeles to $189 for two nights at the Aladdin Resort & Casino with air from Salt Lake City. Blackout dates are Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. In addition, travelers can save $100 per reservation when they book a vacation package by Dec. 8 that includes at least a three-night stay at Bellagio, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, the Mirage, TI-Treasure Island or New York-New York Hotel & Casino. Travel must be taken by Dec. 27. For more information, visit www.vaxvacationaccess.com or call (800) 754-4761.

VISITORS WHO HAVE NOT yet had the opportunity to catch Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Tropicana Resort & Casino can take heart. The show, which has surpassed original attendance projections, has been extended through Jan. 31. The exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; last admission is at 9 p.m. Ticket prices are $16.95 for ages 12-61, $15.95 for those ages 62 and older, $13.95 for Nevada residents and $9.95 for children ages 4 to 11. Group rates are available. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (702) 739-2411.

AAA RECOGNIZED SEVERAL LAS VEGAS restaurants and resorts with its Five Diamond award. Alex at the Wynn Las Vegas received its first such designation along with veteran Five Diamond award winners Le Cirque and Picasso, both located at Bellagio. Properties that were named award winners include the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas in Henderson as well as the Bellagio and the Four Seasons.

VISITORS TO VILLA REALE, located in The Forum Shops at Caesars, can rub elbows with royalty later this week when the store, which specializes in hand-forged lighting, furnishings, home accessories, artwork and antiquities, welcomes the great-great-grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His Royal Highness, the Archduke Geza von Habsburg, one of the leading authorities on the works of Peter Carl Faberge, will be at the shop from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 25 through 27 in connection with a showcase of the largest collection of Faberge imperial egg reproductions in the U.S. as well as other Faberge reproductions done in sterling silver, crystal, Limoges porcelain, enamel guilloche and semi-precious stones.

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