Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: Feb. 3, 2004

POSTER FINANCIAL GROUP completed its purchase of the Golden Nugget Hotel-Casino properties in Nevada -- one in downtown Las Vegas and one in Laughlin -- from MGM-Mirage. Plans for the two Golden Nuggets include improving their entertainment, dining and gaming options and infusing them with an "old Vegas" atmosphere, according to Tim Poster, chairman and CEO of Poster Financial Group. The company is owned by Poster and his partner, Thomas Breitling, who founded and later sold the travel Web site to Expedia.

THE HISTORIC MOULIN ROUGE HOTEL & CASINO, the city's first integrated property that was damaged last May by an arsonist's fire, has been acquired for $12.1 million by the Moulin Rouge Development Corp., a minority-owned company specifically established to revitalize the 49-year-old west Las Vegas property. Although it remained open for just five months after its 1955 debut, the Moulin Rouge housed black entertainers such as Sammy Davis, Jr. and Harry Belafonte who were barred from staying in the Strip properties where they headlined. In 1960, the property was the site of the signing of an agreement to abolish segregation on the Strip.

PLANS CALL FOR the new Moulin Rouge to offer 500 hotel rooms and suites; 20 corporate suites with a private registration area; a 40,000-square-foot casino with 1,000 slot machines, 40 table games and a sports bar; a showroom replicating the original Tropican-can Room; a replica of Club Rouge; a Motown Cafe; a nine-screen movie theater complex; and a 117,000-square-foot events center. In addition, the Moulin Rouge Museum & Cultural Center will showcase the property's history through art, photos and other memorabilia gleaned from, among other sources, the property's previous owners and the Nevada State Museum. Construction on the property -- which is being financed through a consortium of private lenders and investors -- is expected to cost approximately $200 million and is slated to begin during the third quarter this year. The Moulin Rouge's grand opening is tentatively scheduled for December 2005.

VEGAS CONNECTIONS: The next couple of months will be busy ones for America West as the carrier increases airlift to Las Vegas from various cities in the U.S. and Canada. On March 1, the airline is set to begin daily nonstop service between Las Vegas and six new markets, including Cleveland; Austin, El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; and Edmonton and Vancouver, Canada, while on April 4, it will add another flight to its Phoenix service. Starting April 23, the airline will add new service to Burbank, Calif., using a 124-seat Airbus A319. Also on that date, the carrier plans to add one flight each to its Boston and San Francisco routes. Several Elvis impersonators last month helped America West initiate additional service between Las Vegas and these nine cities: Los Angeles, Oakland, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Reno, Nev., and Phoenix. The flights all are part of the carrier's 2004 growth plan for a 10% increase in capacity, according to America West officials. For more information, agents can call (800) 235-9292 or log on to

LEGENDARY PACKAGING: A new package offered by the Imperial Palace features a ticket to "Legends in Concert," the property's 20-year-old celebrity tribute that boasts impersonators, dancers and a live orchestra, as well as dinner at either the Sea House or the Rib House, both restaurants at the property. The plan, priced at $54.95, is available for both the 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. shows. Tickets can be obtained only through the hotel's show reservations desk. For more information, call (800) 634-6441 or visit the resort's Web site at

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