Travel Weekly's Vegas E-Letter: August 19, 2003

THE OPENING OF PROJECT X SKY, the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower's thrill-ride-in-the-making, has been delayed until October-- but with good reason. The attraction, which originally was supposed to send riders in an open, floorless vehicle 27 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere tower's outdoor observation deck, has been extended. The ride now will catapult participants 31 feet over the edge of the tower, which rises almost 900 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. The huge structure, being built by Interactive Rides in Logan, Utah, will be hoisted up the side of the Stratosphere tower next month by commercial helicopters. But, will that extra 4 feet really make a difference? "An extra 4 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere Tower will seem like a mile," said Bobby Ray Harris, the property's senior vp-operations. Yeah, we thought so, too.

THE FOURTH ANNUAL LAS VEGAS ODYSSEY, which celebrates food, wine and the arts, will be held Nov. 6 to 9 at the Las Vegas Hilton and the Lake Las Vegas Resort. Billed as a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure that is known for its intimate venues and personal experiences with famed chefs, this year's schedule includes a few new events, including the Culinary Art Show, the Hamptons-Inspired Luncheon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the lobster bake and beach party. Much of the odyssey will be held at the host property, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, which will offer event-goers discount room rates during the weekend. Tickets can be purchased through the Odyssey Web site at www.lasvegasodyssey.com, www.odysseylifestyle.com or at Odyssey Lifestyle headquarters, 2121 Industrial Road, Suite 215, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89126. Ticket packages also are available for multiple events. A four-day VIP package includes a helicopter ride and admission to the private VIP Martini Tasting, which will honor Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, while the Weekend Getaway package features admission to five events. Individual tickets for each event also are available.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES VACATIONS and the Mandalay Resort Group teamed to offer discounted packages that feature four popular properties: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Luxor Las Vegas, Excalibur Hotel-Casino and Circus-Circus Hotel-Casino. Reduced rates are available from all of Southwest's scheduled origin cities when packages are purchased by Sept. 5 for travel through Oct. 7. Bookings can be made at www.vaxvacationaccess.com and in all four GDSs, or by calling (800) 423-5683.

AMERICA WEST VACATIONS is offering inclusive packages to Las Vegas from Philadelphia and San Diego that are valid for booking through Dec. 11 for travel through Dec. 19. Prices start at $292 for a two-night stay at Circus-Circus and air from Philadelphia, while San Diego plans start at $102 for roundtrip air and a two-night stay at Fitzgeralds. For more information or to make reservations, call (866) 225-5298 or visit www.americawestvacations.com.

FOUR NEW DIRECTORS were appointed to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's 13-member board, which sets policy for the LVCVA, operates the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Cashman Center and markets worldwide southern Nevada as a meetings and leisure destination. The new board members include Larry Brown, a Las Vegas councilman; Michael L. Montandon, mayor of North Las Vegas; Mike Pacini, a Boulder City councilman, and Anthony Sanfilippo, western division president for Harrah's Entertainment.

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