At The Venetian in Las Vegas, the new Venezia hotel tower opened in June with 1,013 luxury suites. (The original all-suite tower has 3,036 suites.) The Venezia tower also features a pool deck, a wedding chapel, and an exclusive concierge level (the top five floors on the west side of the tower, with 122 suites) featuring a private lounge and a restaurant by Thomas Keller. By room count, the Venetian now claims to be the third-largest hotel in the world. It has 18 restaurants, a convention center, and art museum all under one roof.
Meanwhile, at Vegas' Sands Expo and Convention Center, a recent renovation project has seen the expansion of the customer service center by 200 percent, the addition of three meeting rooms, and a permanent new coffee shop in the upper lobby. All concession areas in the exhibit halls have also been enhanced.
Westin made an entrance November 1, opening its first hotel in Las Vegas. The 825-room Westin Casuarina Hotel & Spa, at the site of the former Maxim Hotel just off the Strip, will have 15,000 square feet of meeting space, including five contiguous meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 470 people, one meeting room for up to 350, and two boardrooms. The hotel will have a spa, a pool, and a 20,000-square-foot casino. More than $75 million is being invested.
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas opened The Park at MGM Grand in May. This outdoor event venue is adjacent to the hotel and to the MGM Grand Conference Center. Located on the former site of the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park, the 10-acre facility can host groups of 350 to 7,000. The Park's five themed streets, including Western and Mardi Gras, can be used as event venues.
Although a firm opening date has not yet been set, Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. has received a license from the Bahamian government to operate a casino at the Westin and Sheraton Our Lucaya Beach & Golf resorts. Present plans a call for a December 2003 opening of the 35,000-square-foot casino. The property is divided into the Westin at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort and the Sheraton at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort, encompassing 372 acres and two 18-hole golf courses. There is 90,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space at the resorts, plus a 40,000-square-foot conference center.
Slated to open in April 2004 in Hollywood, Fla., is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, with 500 rooms and a 130,000-square-foot casino. Meeting space will total 25,000 square feet and include a 16,000-square-foot ballroom. Also set to open next April is a 12-story, 250-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, with 12,000 square feet of meeting space and a 90,000-square-foot gaming complex.
Opening in 2004, the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico will add 264 rooms, bringing the total to 900, and a casino.
A $225 million expansion to the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, set to open in spring 2004, will add a new 502-room tower, bringing the total number of guest rooms to 2,127. The expansion includes 45,000 square feet of new meeting space.
Atlantic City's Showboat — the Mardi Gras Casino has added a 19-story tower to house more than 500 hotel rooms. The Showboat has also completed a $5.3 million high rollers' lounge and a $17 million restaurant complex.