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Treasure Island Rebooted and Ready to Wow

July 23, 2007 By: Glenn Haussman Travel Agent

Renovations, hot dining and entertainment options

Before Las Vegas became the major destination it is today, the city's casino resorts were still trying to decipher the most effective formula for attracting guests. Back in the early 1990s, the mega-resort concept was still brand new, and developers didn't have an accurate handle on what the city's personality really was and what feelings its resorts should evoke.  Cirque du Soleil's Mystère at Treasure Island

It was the start of something new, and it was then that
Steve Wynn started to develop a follow-up to his massively successful Mirage.
Originally conceived to appeal to a broader family audience when it debuted in
1993 at a cost of $450 million, Treasure
has gone through a massive re-branding effort during the past few
years. The casino resort has successfully shed its overtly family-friendly
image for a more sophisticated and sexy persona.

Formerly located in a no-man's land at the very end of the
Las Vegas Strip, Treasure Island's
redevelopment by current owners MGM-MIRAGE Corp. coincides with a wellspring of
new projects getting built right around the property. Not only has the Mirage
next door been completely redesigned, but also a new 3,000-room mega-resort
dubbed Palazzo (sister to The Venetian) opens adjacent to Treasure
later this year.

Meanwhile, Wynn Las Vegas, which opened across the street
two years ago, is building a new resort dubbed Encore. Several other upscale
properties are also being planned in the immediate vicinity, making TI—as it's
nicknamed—one of the best and more affordable locations on The Strip.

At TI, the resort has everything on site, so for those not
wanting to leave the property, there are plenty of entertainment and dining
options right there. It's also connected to the Mirage via tram.

TI's "elegant Caribbean
hideaway" theme has been toned down significantly, successfully shedding
its Pirates of the Caribbean-like
heritage in favor of a more modern flavor. There are still plenty of dark rich
woods and island flair throughout, giving TI a definitive sense of place, but
it's no longer an overtly obvious approach to design.

Suites are currently being renovated while Deluxe Rooms will
get a complete overhaul set to start before the year is out. When booking a
reservation, ask for a newly refurbished room; since there are 2,883 rooms,
more completed rooms are being put back into inventory regularly.


The only element of the resort that hasn't really changed is
Mystère, which debuted in December
1993 and kick started the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil entertainment revolution.
Now ubiquitous, when this show opened it was an entirely new concept for The
Strip. Mystère features 72 performers
in an acrobatic show filled with miraculous feats of strength and agility set
to a New Age soundtrack. It plays twice nightly at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday to Saturday and at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Reservations can
be made up to 90 days in advance by calling 800-392-1999 and tickets are $60,
$75 and $95 per person, including tax.


The pedicure spa at Treasure Island's Wet

The centerpiece of the resort's entertainment is Sirens of TI, a reconceived version of
the old swashbuckling adventure that features a seafaring battle between two
tall ships. Originally developed as a way to lure tourists into the resort with
some free entertainment, the show—although definitely edgier—is still okay for
a younger audience.

Combining stunts, pyrotechnics and a host of scantily clad
"sirens," the show runs several times a night weather permitting.
Note though that the show is cancelled frequently due to high winds. If your
clients must see this attraction, recommend they first try to view it earlier
in their trip.


Hovering over the lagoon in front of TI is Tangerine Lounge & Nightclub.
Smaller than some of the other mega-clubs on The Strip, Tangerine is more
approachable in the sense that you don't have to be freakishly gorgeous to feel
like you fit in. The club features an indoor lounge and an outside deck,
affording great views of The Strip, and injects revelers with a dose of high
energy. To heighten the scene, there are burlesque dancers performing
throughout the night and a DJ specializing in combining rock and dance.

The more subdued Mist
evokes the spirit of the corner bar. Watch sports or music videos on the
oversized screens while sipping a specialty cocktail.


Perched above Tangerine (to which guests can get VIP
access), Social House is a great place to enjoy sushi, sake and some great outdoor
dining with views of The Strip. Tip: Make reservations 30 minutes before the Sirens of TI show for unobstructed
views. If not eating sushi, suggest highlights from the Pan Asian menu such as
citrus peel miso marinated cod. Dinner is available nightly from 5 p.m. until
11 p.m. and until 4 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Also try Isla Mexican
Kitchen and Tequila Bar
. There are several tequilas stocked, and the food
is light and tasty. Signature items include grilled Mexican spiced chicken
breast with corn dumplings and pico de gallo and crispy red snapper with cactus
salad and citrus epazote vinaigrette.

Francesco's is an
upscale Italian eatery with an open kitchen. There are fresh pastas, antipasti
and Mediterranean-style seafood, while The
Steak House
features top cuts of beef and fresh seafood.

The Social House's terrace

More casual options include Canter's Deli, a version
of the acclaimed Los Angeles
Jewish delicatessen. And at the tropically themed Kahunaville, clients can relax amidst dancing waterfalls and a lush
garden-like atmosphere and choose from a Caribbean-inspired menu.

Chill Out

There's a tropical pool with private cabanas, lounge area
and an oversized hot tub that accommodates up to 50 people.

Its spa, Wet, is
a full-service facility offering a variety of treatments and services. Although
Wet closes at 8 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, it's open until 10 p.m. Thursday
through Saturday.

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