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Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Update

The Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas

What’s New The Morgans Hotel Group recently bought the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, announcing an expansion that would include 950 guest rooms and a 24,000-square-foot spa. The renovation won’t be fully completed until 2009, but 63 Celebrity Suites have already opened on the hotel’s 11th floor (see below). You’ll find eight-foot-high leather headboards flanked by crystal lamps, and custom-made pool tables.

It’s impossible to stay any closer to Red Rock Canyon than at the year-old Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, just outside the stunning conservation area 10 miles west of the Strip. In the lobby, stacked sandstone brick, backlit onyx, and ebony evoke the aesthetic of the canyon, and chandeliers and light fixtures dripping with more than 3 million crystals reference the glitzy city itself.

Until recently, the Four Seasons was the only high-end hotel in town without its own casino (though it is connected to Mandalay Bay). More luxurious non-gaming properties are coming: MGM Grand has three Signature towers (a covered walkway away from the casino); and Donald Trump will open his own non- casino hotel in the spring of 2008.

What’s Back After classic joints like the Stardust were shuttered this year, Las Vegans had mentally marked the Flamingo Las Vegas—originally opened by Bugsy Siegel in 1946—for doom as well. Instead, its owner, Harrah’s, decided to redo the rooms in an exuberant tribute to its retro self. Shiny, white-vinyl headboards stretch to the ceiling; and green, chocolate, and pink—the Flamingo’s original colors—accent white Midcentury-style low cabinets. They’ve added updates where they count: MP3 docking stations, electronically controlled drapes, and 42-inch flat-screen TV’s. Floors 15–26 are already complete; the rest will be done in 2008.

Best Value A block from Las Vegas Boulevard, the year-old Platinum has 255 rooms, the smallest of which is 950 square feet; all have balconies and full stainless-and-granite kitchens. Rates start at $149, and on floors 6 through 17, you can take in a view that stretches the entire length of the Strip.

The Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas

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