Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: April 13, 2004

VESTIN GROUP INC. AND MGI, a financial services company and a private development firm, respectively, agreed in principle to acquire the 447-room Castaways Hotel-Casino from VSS Enterprises, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last summer. Officials said they expect the acquisition to close by mid-May.

IT'S OFFICIAL: BARRICK GAMING GROUP completed its $82 million purchase of four downtown properties--the Plaza, the Las Vegas Club, the Western Hotel and the Gold Spike--from legendary casino owner Jackie Gaughan. The four properties combined offer almost 2,000 hotel rooms.

CITING LIGHTER-THAN-ANTICIPATED advance bookings, Allegiant Air cancelled plans to launch service next month between Baton Rouge, La., and Las Vegas. The carrier will contact travelers who reserved seats on one of the four weekly roundtrip flights that were to begin May 10, Allegiant said. They also will be notified that no credit card charges will be incurred.

LOS ANGELES-BASED TRAVELERS now can book a United Vacations Las Vegas package that includes roundtrip airfare via Ted. The plan starts at $174 per person, double, and features a two-night stay at the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino, and VIP seating at Planet Hollywood. The package also offers VIP specials at the Fashion Outlet Las Vegas, including shopping and dining discounts, free valet parking and a shopping tote. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 328-6877, using vendor code UAV in all four GDS systems or by logging onto VAX VacationAccess.

LIFE IMITATES ART AT THE BELLAGIO through May 16. The springtime display in the property's conservatory and botanical gardens includes a re-creation of one of Claude Monet's most famous works, "The Water Lily Pond, 1900." The tribute to Monet celebrates the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art's current exhibition, "Claude Monet: Masterworks from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," which will be on display daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Sept. 13. Tickets are $15 per person. Discounted rates are $12 for students, Nevada residents and visitors over age 65. Tickets can be purchased at (877) 957-9777 or (702) 693-7871 or online at or

THE IMPERIAL PALACE HOTEL & CASINO, will host the Vegas Ventriloquist Festival 2004 April 23 to 25. The festival features lectures, workshops and performances. The grand gala show, Ventastic 2004, will include performances by Randle McGee, Ken Carter and Taylor Mason and will be held at 7 p.m. April 25. Tickets are $10 per person. For more information, contact festival director Valentine Fox at (702) 258-1556 or visit The Imperial Palace can be contacted at (702) 794-3114.

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