Trademark attractions: luau, car exhibit

LAS VEGAS -- You can't really talk about the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino without mentioning two attractions that are nearly synonymous with the property: its Hawaiian luau and its antique auto collection.

The luau was instituted seven years ago after general manager Ed Crispell and his wife returned from a vacation in Hawaii.

"We were kept up all night [where we were staying] by the sound of the drums," he said. "When we looked to see what was going on, we saw all these people gathered around the pool for a luau."

Inspired by what he had seen, Crispell brought the idea back to the Imperial Palace, which now hosts the seasonal event at the Shangri-La pool deck every Tuesday and Thursday from April through October.

Clients interested in attending a luau during their Las Vegas visit should book it as soon as they know the date.

"Usually by noon on the day of the luau, space is gone," he said.

Admission price to the luau is $29.95 per person for adults and $16 for children between the ages of 4 and 12.

Tickets include the seafood dinner buffet with unlimited mai tais and pina coladas for adults and nonalcoholic fruit punch for children, followed by the dance revue.

For reservations, call (888) 777-7664 or (702) 794-3261. Tickets also can be purchased in advance at the Imperial Palace show reservations booth.

One place where space isn't a problem is on the fifth floor of the property's parking garage, where the Imperial Palace's auto collection is kept.

Formerly a showcase for Model-T's and sedans dating from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, the auto collection has been modified to appeal to a changing demographic. "We saw the age bracket of the Las Vegas guest changing to a younger audience that really does not appreciate the 1930s Studebakers or DeSotos," Crispell said. "All they understand are muscle cars and T-birds."

In late August or early September, Crispell said, the property will open a British car collection with 25 different vehicles."We are going to use this as a marketing tool to bring more people from England," he said.

The auto collection is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $6.95 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children between the ages of 3 and 12; there is no admission for children under 3.

For more information, phone (800) 800-2981. -- A.B.

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