Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: October 11, 2005

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC) cleared the way for Harrahs Entertainment Inc., to purchase the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino by granting Harrahs request for the early termination of the waiting period during which the FTC and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division normally would review the proposed acquisition. Once the Nevada Gaming Commission approves the transaction, Harrahs anticipates closing on the deal by the end of the year.

THE BLUE MAN GROUP, which ended its run at the Luxor last month, debuted a revamped version of the show last week in a custom-built, 1,760-seat theater at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. The show, which combines music, comedy and multimedia theatrics, marks the propertys first permanent entertainment production. Tickets to the performance, which are daily at 7 p.m. with a second performance at 10 p.m. on Saturdays, cost $75, $95 and $110 each plus tax and service fees. To purchase or reserve seats, call (866) 641-SHOW or (702) 414-7469 or log on to www.blueman.com. For groups, phone (702) 369-9455.

THE ITALIAN-THEMED RESORT, meanwhile, also has welcomed a taste of Asia with the opening of Tao-Las Vegas. The 40,000-square-foot dining and entertainment complex, which cost $20 million, houses a restaurant, banquet facilities, ultralounge and a nightclub. The nightclub and lounge are open from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., respectively, Thursdays through Saturdays; the restaurant is open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight.

MARRIOTT VACATION CLUB INTERNATIONAL opened the first phase of Marriotts Grand Chateau, its first Las Vegas resort, just off the Strip. Located on East Harmon Boulevard, between the Aladdin and the MGM Grand, the property features 126 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, done in red, green and gold with tapestries at the windows, that range in size from 820 square feet to 2,095 square feet. Amenities include fully equipped kitchens with tile floors and granite counters; separate living and dining areas; 42-inch Sony plasma TVs, DVD players and stereos in the living room; soaking tubs and oversized showers; washers and dryers; and Wi-Fi accessibility. Three-bedroom villas can accommodate up to 12 people. The property also will offer for owners and guests a rooftop pool with whirlpool and pool bar; concierge services and valet parking; fitness center with locker rooms and steam rooms; Marriotts Activity Zone Experience; and the MarketPlace convenience store, which is open around the clock. When completed, the resort will feature 895 villas located in four 37-story towers.

OLYMPIA GAMING expects to break ground next fall on the Southern Highlands Casino-Resort. The $750 million resort, which will be located on Las Vegas Boulevard South at St. Rose Parkway, will be bounded to the west by Interstate 15, making it the first major casino-resort property travelers will see when they enter the Las Vegas valley from California. Plans call for the first phase of the 100-acre, master-planned site, which will encompass 50 acres of resort and casino development and another 20 acres featuring a retail and entertainment venue, to include 610 hotel rooms and suites; a casino; a swimming pool complex with a lazy river water feature, a sun deck and main and private pool areas; spa, fitness center and salon; convention and meetings facilities; more than a dozen fine dining and casual restaurants; and a multilevel entertainment venue for headliners and musical productions.

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