Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: Feb. 10, 2004

COAST CASINOS entered into a definitive merger agreement with Boyd Gaming Corp. worth $1.3 billion, under which Coast will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boyd Gaming and will operate as a separate unit run by current Coast management. Under terms of the deal, Boyd will pay Coast shareholders $495 million in cash and 19.4 million shares, or about $325 million, as well as assuming $460 million worth of Coast Casinos' debt. The merger will create a casino company with 17 casino entertainment facilities nationwide -- Boyd Gaming operates the Borgata, a joint venture property in Atlantic City that it owns with MGM-Mirage -- as well as two in the works. Boyd is in the process of acquiring Harrah's Shreveport, La., while Coast is expected to begin construction on South Coast Hotel and Casino, its fifth property, just south of Las Vegas, in the second quarter of this year. Coast Casinos' other Las Vegas properties are the Barbary Coast, located on the Strip, as well as the Gold Coast, the Suncoast, and the Orleans. Boyd Gaming's presence in Las Vegas includes the Stardust, located on the Strip, and Sam's Town, a long-time locals landmark.

MARCUS HOTELS AND RESORTS and Diversified Real Estate Concepts formed a joint venture, Platinum Condominium Development, LLC, to build a luxury condominium-hotel property just off the Strip. Plans call for the Platinum Suite Hotel & Spa to offer 255 condominium units, featuring 245 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom units; a luxury spa; indoor and outdoor swimming pools; 8,440 square feet of meetings space, including a 4,500-square-foot rooftop terrace overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard; a restaurant; a poolside lounge and a lobby cafe and an upscale bar. The almost-two-acre site is located at the intersection of Koval and Flamingo streets, one block east of the Strip near the Bellagio, Bally's and Caesars Palace. A sales center and model unit is expected to open this month at 211 E. Flamingo Road; the project is tentatively scheduled to open in early 2006. For more information, phone (702) 365-5000 or visit www.platinumlasvegas.com.

THE HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO LAS VEGAS and Hollywood nightlife promoter Brent Bolthouse teamed up to open a new nightclub at the property this spring. The as-yet-unnamed nightspot will replace Baby's, which closed its doors last week. In addition, the property just installed high-speed Wi-Fi technology, allowing guests to access the Internet while lounging at the pool.

INTERSTATE HOTELS & RESORTS, the nation's largest independent hotel management company, was selected to manage the 548-room Renaissance Hotel Las Vegas, which is slated to open early next year.

THROUGH FEB. 29, travelers can save $50 per reservation on Funjet Vacations Las Vegas packages. A three-night minimum stay and a $500 minimum reservation are required. Travel must be completed by Dec. 15. The packages are bookable via VAX VacationAccess using the promotional code AASAVELAS.

THE TRICK ART MUSEUM OF LAS VEGAS, one of 17 worldwide, opened at the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower. The museum showcases a unique brand of art, which originated in Japan, which uses various techniques to transform flat, two-dimensional paintings into "living" three-dimensional works of art. At the new attraction, which is located in the Tower Shops on the second floor, people can see, touch and photograph the more than 30 paintings on display.

MOVE OVER, "Airline." Production is expected to begin this spring on "The Casino," touted as an unscripted drama that will provide an around-the-clock, behind-the-scenes glimpse of life at the Golden Nugget hotel and casino and the efforts of entrepreneurs Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling to bring the downtown property back to its "old Vegas" glory. The 13-episode series is slated to air on the Fox network this summer.

THE BAR AT TIMES SQUARE in New York-New York Hotel & Casino is the place to be for live radio. "Las Vegas Wired," a new one-hour weekly comedy, broadcasts in real-time before a live audience every Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Locally, the show airs in real time on KNUU 970AM; however, it also is scheduled for syndication on a number of radio stations across the country. For more information, visit www.LasVegasWiredRadioNetwork.com.

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