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Travel Happiness: Las Vegas Part 2

Travel Happiness
Las Vegas Part 2

[Continued from February 4th's Travel Happiness.]
Famed chef and restaurateur Charlie Palmer is building the Charlie Palmer Hotel on the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, a block west of the Las Vegas Strip. The $400 million, 35-story, non-gaming boutique property will be Palmer's second hotel after Hotel Headlsburg in Sonoma, California, listed in Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List 2005 of "Top Place to Stay." The condotel property will consist of 400 studios, 1-bedroom and penthouse residences that can be booked and all offering spectacular views of Las Vegas. The resort will offer an event venue, nightclub, cigar bar and sky lounge as well as three Charlie Palner restaurants, including his first sushi bar. On the property will be a full-service, express check-in that bypasses the front desk concept, and personalized sommelier service when the property opens in mid-2008.
The two largest projects on the horizon will likely reshape Vegas as we know it: Project CityCenter and Echelon Place.
Project CityCenter is MGM Mirage's way of betting the house on the city's future. As if running more than a dozen of the city's largest and most luxurious properties was not enough to call it a day, the company is well underway in building $7 billion city of its own on the Las Vegas Strip between the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo. For starters, Vegas will see a soaring 60-story, 4,000-room MGM-branded hotel/casino plus two 400-room, non-gaming hotels in the Mandarin Ortiental and a new concept property by Light Group nightclub impresario Andrew Sasson called Harmon. Also part of the plan are 500,000-square feet of retail shops (the area dimensions of the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian for comparison), plus dining and entertainment venues, and luxury condotel units. A view center is opening on the site along the Strip this month while CityCenter awaits a mid-2009 debut.
Meanwhile, the Stardust Hotel is selling off thelast of thememories five decades can muster and making way for Echelon Place, which will be built in its rubble (the Stardust is expected to be imploded early this year) on the 63-acre site along the Las Vegas Strip.
The $4 billion megamodel set to open in 2010 will include the $2.9 billion Boyd-owned and run Echelon Resort that will feature 3,300 rooms in two towers (one a 700-room suite tower), connecting to a 140,000-square foot casino, 25 restaurants and lounges, pools, gardens, a 4,000-seat stadium theater and a 1,500-seat theater for more intimate stage productions.
Not last and certainly not least, Echelon Place will open, own and operate the new Las Vegas ExpoCenter to meet the growing demand for convention and exhibitiion space integrated into large luxury feet of meeting space to Las Vegas, highlighted by over 200 meeting rooms.
In name hotel brands, the Echelon Place brings three name brands in hospitality; the Shangri-La Hotel, Las Vegas, the Delano Las Vegas and the Mondrian Las Vegas.
Shanri-La, synonymous in Asia with luxurious and comfortable hotel accommodations, fine food, and attentive service, will have 400 guestrooms and suites, a 20,000-square feet CHI spa, premium meeting space and two restaurants. Shangri-La will have its own porte cochere and lobby.
The Delano from South Beach has been an international hotspot for glamour, entertainment and sophisticated nightlife and played a catalyzing role in the revival of South Beach. Delano Hotel Las Vegas will include 600 guestrooms and suites, a destination nightclub, lobby bar and an Asian de Cuba restaurant. It will also feature an Aqua Spa with fitness center, private pool and recreation area, and a separate porte cochere and lobby.
The Mondrian's elegant urban resort is a Hollywood haven for both business and nightlife. The Vegas property will include 1,000 guestrooms and suites, a distinctive bar and restaurant, meeting and conference space, private pool and recreation area and its signature Skybar, not forgetting its unforgiving A-list bouncer no doubt, over-priced drinks and vamp-sensing velvet rope.
A retail promenade of 350,000-square feet is planned and will contain a variety of dining, nightlife, and cultural offerings.
If you haven't seen Vegas lately, say...within the past six months...do not adjust your eyes. It is not the wave patterns of the sun. The mirage really is moving.

Written by Richards World Travel, Inc. in Hagerstown.

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