Travel Weekly's Vegas E-Letter June 24, 2003

IT'S OFFICIAL: A FEDERAL BANKRUPTCY COURT judge refused the bids of two groups looking to buy the Aladdin Resort and Casino, clearing the way for a $635 million purchase agreement between Aladdin Gaming and a joint venture. The latter partnership includes Robert Earl, founder and chief executive officer of Planet Hollywood Int'l, Bay Harbour Management, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. As previously reported, under the terms of the agreement, $90 million will be spent to renovate the 2,567-room property, which will be re-themed and renamed Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino, a Sheraton Hotel. Starwood, which will manage the hotel but not the casino portion, also plans to develop a Westin Vacation Resort of up to 600 units at the property. The purchase will not include the adjoining Desert Passage Mall, which is owned by Aladdin Bazaar.

SPEAKING OF THE ALADDIN...that's where a Russian contingent will be this fall. The Kirov Ballet's only U.S. performance will be a two-night engagement at the Aladdin Theatre on Sept. 6 and 7. Ticket prices are $150, $75 and $50 each. In conjunction with the ballet performances, the Aladdin Conference Center on Sept. 5 and 6 will host the Blue Russian Festival, which commemorates the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. The event, which costs $10 per person, will celebrate Russian food, art, culture and tradition. In addition, a VIP black-tie dinner on Sept. 6, which will be held in the conference center's grand ballroom, will feature such guests as Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, and Vladimir Yakovlev, governor of St. Petersburg. Tickets cost $350 and $250 for VIP and general admission, respectively, and can be reserved by calling (702) 732-9010. Tickets for the ballet performances and the festival can be purchased through the Aladdin box office at (702) 785-5000, or Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000 and

CLIENTS CAN SAVE up to $50 per person on Funjet Vacations Las Vegas getaways when they book a stay at one of the MGM Mirage Resorts by July 4 for travel July 6 through Aug. 28. Vacations include hotel accommodations, hotel taxes and roundtrip air via Ryan Int'l Airlines, TransMeridian Airlines or American Trans Air. Additionally, clients can get "value-added" offers such as free meals and beverages, room upgrades, spa admission, and show admission. Agents can access Funjet Vacations through VAX VacationAccess at as well as through all four GDSs using the vendor code FUN. The company also can be reached at (800) 558-3050.

THOSE LOOKING TO CATCH THE PIRATES of Buccaneer Bay doing battle with the crew of the HMS Britannia at Treasure Island have 12 days to do so. The 9 p.m. performance of the original Battle of Buccaneer Bay on July 6 is the show's last--until a new version debuts Oct. 26. The revamped storyline is expected to feature a band of renegade male buccaneers clashing with the Sirens of TI, a group of sexy women who are part muse, part temptress and part pirate.

GOGO WORLDWIDE VACATIONS through Aug. 28 offers three-night inclusive Las Vegas packages from Boston and New York (JFK) that are valid for travel Mondays through Thursdays. From Boston, with transportation via American Airlines, sample package prices run $259 per person with a stay at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino, $329 per person at New York-New York Hotel & Casino and $349 per person at the Aladdin Resort & Casino. From New York, with air via America West, sample prices run $329 per person at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino, $385 per person at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino and $435 per person at the Mirage. Reservations can be made via GDSs and at

CORRECTION: Funjet Vacations' three-night Thursday and four-night Sunday vacation departures from St. Louis to Las Vegas--with travel Aug. 17 to Oct. 30--are eligible for group discounts if booked by June 30. Last week's e-letter had incorrect travel dates.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI