SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS November 2007 A number of initiatives among the resort communities within a short drive of Las Vegas are providing new and refreshed opportunities for meeting groups looking for a more affordable home off the Strip.
MGM MIRAGE recently sold Laughlin's largest casino hotels, the Colorado Belle and the Edgewater, which sit next to each other. The new owners, Marnell Sher Gaming LLC, have just completed a $22 million casino upgrade and have a renovation of the 2,535 guest rooms at the sister resorts in the works.
Two other Laughlin properties have also made changes: Renovation of the 1,900 rooms at the Aquarius is expected to finish in December. The property, which was the Flamingo until last November, has the most meeting space of any single property in Laughlin (30,000 sf). The Ramada Express officially became the Tropicana Express in July, spending $11.5 million to renovate its 1,500 guest rooms. A new tour offered by Extreme Mini-Rails, takes up to 14 people on an excursion in ATV-like vehicles along the shore of Lake Mojave.
The 536-room JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, in Summerlin, has just introduced two new activity options for groups: The Red Rock Canyon Vitality Trek among the rock formations of the nearby national park and the Executive Insight program, a teambuilding event that uses the Aquae Sulis Spa's Integrative Art classes.
The Solstice Resort is under construction in Mesquite and scheduled to open its first components in 2009-a 156-room boutique hotel with some meeting space and a spa, and the majority of shops and restaurants in a 400,000-sf shopping complex. The next phase of the resort will include a 1,200-room hotel-casino with 80,000 sf of meeting space, a seven-acre pool complex, and 600 private homes.
In Primm, MGM MIRAGE sold its three resorts last February to Herbst Gaming Inc., which is planning top-to-bottom exterior and interior renovations at the 1,242-room Buffalo Bill's Resort & Casino, the 624-room Primm Valley Resort & Casino, and the 777-room Whiskey Pete's Hotel & Casino.