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

HOFBRAUHAUS LAS VEGAS will open in a couple of weeks, giving local folks and visitors a taste of authentic Bavarian cuisine. Located on Paradise Road across from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the 66,000-square-foot facility is a full-scale reproduction of one of Munich's most famous attractions, even down to its roof, which is composed of 75,000 original imported Bavarian beavertail tiles. The restaurant will feature the "schwemme," or main beer hall, which will accommodate approximately 380 people and includes columns and painted ceilings. The "biergarten," or beer garden, will seat 430 people and, while it, too, will be enclosed, it will be designed to resemble an outdoor setting with touches like a ceiling painted to look like a white-and-blue Bavarian sky. The menu will offer imported Bavarian beer and Bavarian pretzels. For entertainment, the Hofbrauhaus will feature various oompah bands that hail from--you guessed it--Bavaria.

AMERICAN CASINO & ENTERTAINMENT PROPERTIES, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Real Estate Partners, will acquire the 258-room Arizona Charlie's Decatur and the 303-room Arizona Charlie's Boulder gaming properties from Carl Icahn for nearly $126 million. Icahn is the chairman of the board of directors of American Real Estate Partners. The transaction is subject to certain conditions, such as obtaining the necessary gaming approvals. Once the acquisition is complete, American Real Estate Holdings, a subsidiary of American Real Estate Partners, will transfer 100% of the common stock of Stratosphere Corp., which owns the 2,444-room Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower, to American Casino. When all is said and done then, American Casino will own and operate all three gaming properties.

THROUGH SUNDAY, AGENTS CAN EARN 13% COMMISSION on MGM Mirage Vacations' inclusive Las Vegas packages booked via VAX VacationAccess. The offer excludes vacations using Southwest Airlines.

MGM MIRAGE VACATIONS also is offering discounts for group bookings to Las Vegas made through Feb. 6 for travel Feb. 1 to Aug. 31. Groups can receive $20.04 off per person for hotel-only reservations or they can receive that per-person discount plus free shuttle bus transfers and bellman services for inclusive packages. Groups are defined as at least 10 people traveling together using at least five hotel rooms. For more information or to book, agents can contact the MGM Mirage Vacations group department at (800) 417-3325 or they can request a price quote at

FIAMMA TRATTORIA, located on the MGM Grand's Studio Walk, began daily lunch service Monday. The new lunch menu--consisting of such signature items as truffle pizza, braised short rib-filled ravioli with a Barbera wine glaze, and Fiamma salad with grilled chicken, crisp pancetta and gorgonzola cheese--will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (702) 891-7600.

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