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Economy-Busting $40,000 Motel Rooms in Las Vegas

A library with dark, wood-paneled walls and a bookcase filled with leather-bound books sits adjacent to a regal living room at Caesars Palace’s Octavius Tower. You’d almost forget you were in Las Vegas if not for the tanning pool patrons outside the window. 

The antique-looking books in the library are seldom used, but they add to the villa’s residential illusion. So does the formal dining room that seats 12 and the media room with movie theater-style seating. 

The centerpiece of each villa is the patio overlooking the pool area. The villas opened last fall, but the new Garden of the Gods pool just began to welcome summer visitors. 

The three massive villas are the newest suites at Caesars Palace. With nearly 10,000 square feet of space, they’re some of the most opulent and largest suites on the Las Vegas Strip. The villas are on the second floor of Caesars’ unfinished Octavius Tower and are part of the resort’s long line of over-the-top suites.

 From the private elevator to the 24-hour butler service, everything about the Octavius villas feels exclusive, including the price tag. The cost for a night is $40,000. The price isn’t recession-friendly, but their patrons aren’t exactly struggling in today’s economy. 

The Octavius villas feel more like miniature mansions than hotel suites. Caesars spent about $15 million on each villa – a total of $45 million – to accomplish that goal. The villas are a collection of eclectic furnishings and faux artifacts, giving the feel of a collector’s well-kept home. 

Wilson & Associates designed each suite with an individual identity — an opulent Grecian palace, an Old World Spanish home and a Parisian luxury apartment.

The design firm is responsible for other suites at Caesars, as well as the fantasy suites at the Palms and the rooms and lobby at The Venetian. 

At 9,930 square feet, the Greek-style villa, which Caesars Palace dubs “Constantine,” is the largest of the three. The four-bedroom villa is far from subtle, but it’s subtly Greek with its fake marble columns and terracotta painted vases. 

After stepping off the private elevator into the marble foyer of the Greek villa, guests will find a formal sitting room, a grand Steinway piano and working fireplace. On the other side of the hall are rooms with a pool table, a restaurant-sized bar and a theater. 

Down a long hallway there are four bedrooms, each the size of a large hotel room, with walk-in closets and their own bathrooms. With custom marble and mosaics, no two bathrooms in the three villas have the same stonework. 

Inside the Greek villa, the master suite’s bathroom is almost as large as the bedroom itself. The bathroom is covered in green and beige marble and features his and her toilets, sinks and vanities. It also has a steam shower, towel-warming racks and flat-screen TVs, among other amenities. A marble-topped tub with gold-plated fixtures is the centerpiece of the lavish master bath. 

As trivial as they seem, the toilets are often the talk of the suites.  They’re controlled by remotes, function as bidets, have heated seats and the lid opens as guests approach. There’s never a reason to touch the toilet seat. 

The villas are filled with quirks galore: mirrors that turn into TVs, pianos that play themselves and chairs that massage to the beat of an iPod’s song. A networked system allows the butler to control every device in the villa. 

Though the three villas have different design schemes, they have similar amenities. The French villa is light and airy. The Spanish villa is designed with distressed wood throughout the main rooms. 

Off each living room is the patio that overlooks the pools. Each patio includes a fire pit, dining table and a private Jacuzzi. 

The view of Flamingo Road is less impressive. Those views are reserved for penthouses and other suites higher than the pool level. The resort’s two 10,000-square-foot penthouses in the Forum Tower are still the largest suites at the resort. Caesars Palace now has 11 villas, 11 penthouses and about 200 suites.

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‘Stripper-Mobile’ Putt-Putts Back to Las Vegas

The creator of the “stripper-mobile” plans to bring it back to Las Vegas but officials say they’ll try to enact a permanent ban on the traveling nudie show. 

Larry Beard, the creator of the innovative truck featuring strippers dancing in the back in a lighted Plexiglas box to advertise local strip clubs, said he wants to bring it back after their national “tour” to participate in Las Vegas’ April 30 Pride Parade. 

The truck debuted in November 2009 with dancers from the Deja Vu and Little Darlings strip clubs, but when Clark County commissioners complained, Beard took it off the streets. 

Since then, the truck has gone to New Orleans for the National Football Conference championship game, then to Miami for the Super Bowl. It also spent some time in Tampa Bay and St. Louis. 

“I’d like to run it up and down the road {in Las Vegas} a couple times,” Beard said. “If I get half a chance, you know, I will.” 

Clark County Commission members say they want to rewrite an existing law to keep the “stripper-mobile” off the Sin City streets for good.

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Thousands of people expected at Laughlin, Nevada motorcycle rally

Thousands of bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts are arriving now in the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin, Nevada and will be there over the next few days for a weekend motorcycle rally. 

The 28th annual Laughlin River Run is one of the largest ride-in motorcycle rallies in the western U.S. 

Attendance last year was 33,600, but in past years crowds have topped 60,000. 

The weekend rally was marred by a fatal biker gang shootout in 2002 when three people were killed and more than a dozen were injured in a brawl between Hell’s Angels and the Monogols at Harrah’s Laughlin.

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Las Vegas Tapped for World Travel and Tourism Summit

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has selected Las Vegas as the host city for its 2011 Global Travel & Tourism Summit, following an endorsement from local tourism organizations. Earlier the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) had voted to invest $1.5 million in the event, which is scheduled for May, 2011.

With heads of industry and government from around the world expected, the Aria Resort & Casino has been selected to host the prestigious event.

WTTC chief executive Jean-Claude Baumgarten told the Associated Press recently the group had selected Las Vegas in part because the city is symbolic of tourism in the United States.

“We cannot choose a better place than Las Vegas,” Mr Baumgarten explained. “The whole economy, all of what we are seeing, all the impacts of travel and tourism on the economy, on jobs, on the future and investment make Las Vegas a better choice.”

Approximately 244,000 people are employed in the leisure and hospitality industry in Las Vegas – more than 30 per cent of Las Vegas’ total work force – according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

The so-called Sin City is famous for gambling as much as tourism.

This year’s WTTC summit is scheduled to begin in Beijing, China on May 25th.

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Virgin Atlantic Plans to Increase Flight Service between U.K. and Las Vegas

British air carrier Virgin Atlantic has announced on April 7 it will increase its service between Las Vegas and the United Kingdom next year, launching twice-weekly flights from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Manchester in England. 

The additional flights, which will start in April 2011 and are planned to operate on Thursdays and Sundays, will give Virgin Atlantic nine direct flights a week between Las Vegas and England.  

Virgin Atlantic has been flying between London’s Gatwick Airport and Las Vegas since June 200 and has carried almost 2 million passengers on the route.

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Sinners: Worship & Swim in God’s New Garden in Las Vegas

God has a new garden in Sin City?   Yep.  Scantily clad – or wearing nothing at all – Las Vegas sun gods and goddesses have a a whole new worship retreat at Caesars Palace. 

Caesars Palace has just opened its newly refurbished pool area.   Coined “The Garden of the Gods,” the complex has been completely and extravagantly redesigned by Allard & Conversano into three levels of aquatic wonder featuring eight unique and lavish pools inspired by the Roman Gods that encircle a five-acre pool complex. 

The area includes a swim-up blackjack pool, a European style pool, a family friendly pool, and even a guests-only, butler-served pool area. 

Each pool is named for a god or goddess and has its own special bells and whistles. The Fortuna pool, for example, features an 18-foot waterfall and a swim-up blackjack table. The twin Bacchus pools have butler-staffed cabanas which are, alas, for invited VIPs only. For maximum sun exposure, get over to Apollo — it’s strategically positioned to get your tan on.  And, unlike many of the other adult-oriented pools, Garden of the Gods also caters families with its Temple pool designated for young swimmers. 

At one of the pools, chocolate will be available not just as a snack or dessert but in the form of a 30-foot chocolate waterfall (good for dunking strawberries — sold by the bucket) that cascades into a 3-acre pool filled with the stuff only Willy Wonka could dream of. 

The Sokolati pool (greek for “chocolate”) is new to the Las Vegas scene and is the first swimming pool comprised entirely of chocolate. Depending on the season, you may find Sokolati filled with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or caramel.

There pools are nestled among 44 new luxury cabanas, each stocked with plush furniture, flat screen TVs and wireless Internet. 

Caesars Palace has also added a whirlpool retreat area and garden wedding venue to provide a total pool experience. 

The pool complex is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.. 

Check it out- you may just feel like you died and got a heavenly reprieve.

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Rocker Vince Neil is Higher than a Kite- Legally!

The aging but still high-energy rocker Vince Neil, apparently believes that if you don’t reinvent yourself you’ll die- or at least slowly wither away.  He’s once again onward and ever upward, this time in a unique way:  he’s launching his own mini air force! 

Neil, a Las Vegas resident, is helping people fulfill their dreams of having the opportunity to travel like a rock star.  The Motley Crue frontman is in the midst of launching Vince Neil Aviation to be headquartered in the private terminal at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. 

The first three planes in his new fleet are a Hawker 700, a Lear 35 and a Gulfstream. 

“The planes are now all finished, they are all tricked out exactly how you think a rocker’s tour plane would be, complete with painted flames on the fuselage and the zebra-striped interior furnishings!” Vince laughed. 

“The Hawker holds eight people and makes the trip to New York from Las Vegas nonstop. The Lear 35 holds seven and goes nonstop to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Aspen and into Mexico and Canada, but cross country to the East Coast requires one fuel stop,” says Neil. 

“I even took the third plane — the Gulfstream — hopping through South America on my most recent solo tour there, and we stopped in Aruba on the way home to Vegas for a four-day-weekend vacation. I’ve booked it myself next week for concerts in Mexico,” says Neil. 

Neil says that he’d started his new airline company to primarily complement his other entrepreneurial enterprises that include his imported tequila, his Dr. Feelgood’s chain of rock bars and his Vince Neil Ink tattoo shops. 

Shortly, his new Web site VinceNeilAviation.net will be up and running with rates and all the other information on his charters. 

The rocker loves all his toys — a black 2008 Lamborghini, a 1932 Ford hot rod and his special Count Kustom chopper — that’s when he’s not working at his Tattoo Shop at The Rio or the Dr. Feelgood’s Bar & Grill on West Sahara in Las Vegas. 

Neil also will release his new solo single “Tattoos & Tequila” on April 6, and his new CD Tattoos & Tequila follows in May.  Check out an advance download sample, the video and his screensaver at VinceNeil.net.

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