Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-Letter: Sept. 23, 2003

VEGAS.COM launched a Spanish version of its site, which can be accessed at www.espanol.vegas.com or through links at www.vegas.com. The launch, timed to coincide with Hispanic Heritage month, also included the addition of bilingual call center employees and e-mail links throughout the site so clients can directly reach a Spanish-speaking VEGAS.com travel specialist. In addition, there's a dedicated phone number, (888) 719-4040, that connects callers with Spanish-speaking operators. VEGAS.com also is undertaking a Spanish-language broadcast and print advertising campaign that is set to begin later this year.

CELEBRATED CHEF MICHAEL MINA will open his newest restaurant, Seablue, next month at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The eatery's menu will include fresh seasonal produce and various types of fish that will be flown in from all over the world and cooked on a free-standing wood-fired island grill. With the exception of desserts, not one of the menu items will be cooked with butter or cream. The restaurant -- which will seat 130 people in the main dining room and 24 people in the private dining room -- will include a three-sided bar featuring two open preparation areas where guests can watch their menu selections being made-to-order. One side of the bar also will feature a display of fresh shellfish while the other side will showcase greens, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dressings that patrons can use to build their own salads. The eatery, which will open for dinner daily at 5:30 p.m., is Mina's second at the MGM Grand -- the Mina Group manages and operates Nob Hill -- and his third in Las Vegas (He serves as Aqua Bellagio's managing chef.). For reservations, call (702) 891-3486.

THROUGH OCT. 4, clients traveling between Las Vegas and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will receive free air for a second traveler when they purchase a Funjet Vacations package. Roundtrip air-only rates from Cedar Rapids start at $299.99 for the first person, while the second person flies free via Ryan International Airlines. The price is valid for four-night Monday departures Sept. 29 to Oct. 13 and for three-night Friday departures Sept. 26 to Oct. 10. The cost is $100 more for four-night Monday departures Oct. 20 and 27 and three-night Friday departures Oct. 24 and 31. Meanwhile, Funjet packages featuring accommodations at the Hotel San Remo start at $539.99 per couple, including roundtrip air via Ryan International, roundtrip hotel-airport transfers plus three or four nights accommodations. The rate is valid for four-night Monday departures Sept. 29 to Oct. 27 and for three-night Friday departures Sept. 26 to Oct. 10 and Oct. 24 and 31. Agents can book Funjet Vacations through VAX VacationAccess, all four res systems using the vendor code FUN or by phone at (800) 558-3050.

AMERICA WEST is adding new routes out of its Las Vegas hub. The service to St. Louis; Billings, Mont.; and Des Moines, Iowa, starts Oct. 26, Nov. 26 and Dec. 19, respectively. The airline will use 737 aircraft for the St. Louis flights; American West Express, operated by a Mesa Air Group subsidiary, will fly 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet aircraft for the Billings flights; and the new 80-seat Canadair Regional Jet for the Des Moines service. The latter RJ includes six first-class seats. For more information or to book, call (800) 235-9292 or vist www.americawest.com.

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