Travel Weekly's Vegas E-Letter: March 11, 2003

LAS VEGAS -- actually, Nevada -- is set to welcome its first Westin hotel on July 1. Located in the former Maxim hotel and casino, the 825-room Westin Casuarina Hotel & Spa, which is undergoing a $75 million renovation, will offer a 21,000-square-foot casino with 400 slot machines and 10 table games, an 11,000-square-foot spa and 14,310 square feet of meetings space. Room rates have not yet been set, but they will be commissionable to agents at 10%. In addition, the property will offer discounted rates for agents and will host fam trips. For more information about the property, which is not taking room reservations yet but is booking meetings, agents can call (702) 836-9775.

THE RITZ-CARLTON Lake Las Vegas is a 349-room hotel -- the first Ritz-Carlton in the Silver State -- that opened last month as part of the Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, just 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. One section of the hotel that spans the lake is a three-level bridge modeled after the Pontevecchio bridge in Florence, Italy. It contains 77 hotel rooms and links the property to the MonteLago Village, a mix of retail shops and restaurants set to open in May as well as the 40,000-square-foot Casino MonteLago, which will open in April. The hotel also features two restaurants, 36,000 square feet of meetings and event space and the 30,000-square-foot Spa Vita di Lago. For more information, call (800) 241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com.

THE LAS VEGAS CONVENTION and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is spotlighting the cultural diversity of the city's resorts and attractions through a 60-page multicultural guide. The publication highlights seven groups -- African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, European, Hispanic, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Native American -- and includes a calendar of ethnic and cultural celebrations held in the city through August. It also includes contact information for area ethnic organizations and attractions. The guide is available for free at LVCVA visitor information centers and at travel trade shows or by calling (702) 892-0711.

PALMS CASINO RESORT, a 430-room property, now features two 1,200-square-foot "playpen suites," designed for private parties, with retro 1960s' color schemes, custom fabrics, a stripper pole, a king-size Murphy bed, mirrored walls and ceilings and a wooden dance floor. The suites also offer a connecting bedroom with two double beds and two full bathrooms. Packages, which include limousine transfers to and from McCarran Airport and a $150, one-time room service credit, run $1,000 per night mid-week and $1,500 on weekends. The suites are commissionable on a case-by-case basis. For more information, phone (866) 725-6773.

THE PALMS, which has a 14-screen Brenden Theatres complex, will host the CineVegas Int'l Film Festival June 13-21. In its fourth year, the 2003 rendition will feature screenings of independent films, conferences and workshops as well as a celebrity blackjack tournament. Ticket prices range from $50 for a student pass to $650 for the Sands Pass, a ticket package that allows full access to all festival events. For more details, call (702) 368-2890 or visit www.cinevegas.com.

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