Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: Dec. 2, 2003

SHINING STARS: For the first time, Le Cirque at the Bellagio received the AAA Five Diamond Award. The restaurant joins two other Las Vegas eateries, Picasso--also at the Bellagio-- and Renoir at The Mirage, that were recognized with the distinction. In addition, the Bellagio resort--which two years ago became the first Las Vegas hotel and casino to be given the AAA Five Diamond Award--received the award for the third consecutive year. The property also is the only resort in the country to house two Five Diamond restaurants.

THE KING AND DIAMONDS: Speaking of diamonds, Song and Diamond.com joined forces to launch a diamond engagement ring giveaway. On Thursday, all Song passengers flying to Las Vegas from the carrier's four originating cities--Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, New York and Orlando--will be given a "How to Buy a Diamond" kit, a $20 gift certificate toward purchases at Diamond.com and Ashford.com and a CD single of the remix of Elvis Presley's "Rubberneckin'" from RCA's "Elvis 2nd to None." One lucky passenger, however, will receive a diamond engagement ring valued at more than $4,500.

FULL HOUSES: And speaking of promotions, Harrah's Entertainment, which owns and operates 25 casinos and casino-hotel properties nationwide including Harrah's Las Vegas and the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, teamed with the host of A&E's "All Year Round with Katie Brown." They and retailers Calico Corners, Bed Bath & Beyond and Lowe's will offer the gaming company's customers and Web site visitors opportunities to win prizes, including home makeovers, home-improvement gift cards and cash, all valued at more than $1 million. Harrah's "Home Makeover Giveaway with Katie Brown" began last month at select casinos and will include 24 of the company's casino properties by next month. Highlights will feature a Dec. 14 drawing hosted by Brown at the Rio; 240 participants will win up to $500 each. In addition, three people will win home makeover packages, valued at $15,000, $35,000 and $50,000, respectively. On Feb. 22, Brown will host a second event at the Rio, during which a $100,000 makeover package will be awarded. No casino play or purchase is required to enter the promotion, but casino patrons can obtain multiple entries for the drawings by playing slot machines or video games and using their Total Rewards card at participating casinos.

NEW EXPERIENCE: Fremont Street Experience named Joseph R. Schillaci, a 35-year veteran of the hospitality, travel and transportation industries, as president and chief executive officer of the $70 million downtown attraction. For 17 years, Schillaci, whose appointment became effective Monday, worked in the theme park business, most notably serving a six-year stint as president of California's Six Flags Magic Mountain. He replaced Mark Paris, who resigned in September. The Fremont Street Experience is undergoing a $17 million construction project to transform its 90-foot-high, four-block-long electronic canopy into the world's largest LED screen, which will allow the attraction to present more sophisticated and dynamic light-and-sound shows.

WHAT WERE WE THINKING?: In the Nov. 25 Vegas E-Letter, we wrongly identified Treasure Island's new outdoor production. The correct name is "The Sirens of TI."

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