From the Print Edition:
maduro issue, Winter 93/94
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In an earlier incarnation, the suite served as the residence of a hotel mogul played by Tony Curtis during the taping of the Vegas television series.
"Our Wimbledon accommodations are as fine as any in the world," says Dan Cassella, Desert Inn president and COO. "They are reserved for our best casino players, those whose credit lines often run into the millions. These customers are used to the finest things in life, and we want their stay with us to be one of them."
Those wanting to occupy the same space that Howard Hughes used during his four-year occupancy at the Desert Inn in the early 1970s may want to try the Howard Hughes Penthouse in the St. Andrews Tower. Not surprisingly, it has been totally remodeled since the reclusive billionaire made it his horizontal headquarters.
VIP guests also have complimentary access to the Desert Inn's European Spa, the best-equipped facility of its kind in Las Vegas. It includes a lounge, locker rooms, massage rooms, a tanning bed, loofa/salt glow room, sauna, therapy pools, private whirlpools, weight-training room, a large open gymnasium for various classes and a jogging and fitness track.
There are 10 Fantasy Suites at Caesars Palace, all located in the 23-story Olympic Tower. With 4,500 square feet, they are often used by two couples, a family with servants or a business with an entourage in tow. The rack rate of $7,500 has been charged on only one or two occasions.
Teemed in Roman, Egyptian or Pompeian decor, the Fantasy Suites feature elaborate electronic displays that immediately alert guests that these aren't common quarters. As Caesars guests arrive on their interior balconies, they are greeted by a laser show, while overhead, fiber optics re-create the night sky as it is believed to have looked on the evening of the birth of Caesar Augustus. The fantasy sky subtly changes the colors of twinkling stars, with occasional shooting stars flashing over the atmosphere.
The laser shows highlight each apartment's sophisticated audio system, which, in unison with multiple video screens, provides a unique sensory experience. Comprising an entire wall of one sitting area are five video screens, two compact-disc players, two audiocassette machines, two radio receivers and a karaoke machine. Each is linked to a master control panel that regulates musical programming to the various rooms, so younger visitors can listen to rap music in one bedroom while adults tune to news programming or relax to more melodic strains in a separate master suite.
Each of the two master sleeping rooms includes a custom-designed, giant whirlpool bathtub with adjoining bath and dressing areas and a sitting area with writing desk. Each master bathroom also has dual European-style sinks, a separate vanity area with dainty makeup sink, a steam room, a spacious shower, and a walk-in closet with guest-room safe.
Complimentary amenities include fluffy bath pillows, hair dryers, plush bathrobes and slippers, small refrigerators stocked with assorted beverages, plus French-milled soaps and other toiletries and gifts of Caesars fragrances.
Roman and Egyptian suites on the higher levels of the Olympic Tower provide a spectacular view of the Las Vegas Strip. Pompeian suites on the lower floors feature a large, living-room Jacuzzi tub.
The Fantasy Suites were reconstructed from duplex suites that were originally built in 1979. Demolition and remodeling took place in 1989, with the new suites, at a cost of $1.25 million per unit, opening in January 1990.
Among the most in demand is the Ramses Suite, where Tom Cruise taught Dustin Hoffman to slow dance in the Oscar-winning film Rainman. Furnishings were custom-designed for Caesars Palace, from the hand-loomed area carpets at $25,000 a piece, to the golden-winged "Isis" statue that was sculpted by Claude Boeltz, who was an assistant to Salvador Dalí for 13 years. Painter Michael Radzamaz of Beverly Hills created frescoes for the rough-plastered walls.
As always, the stakes are going up in Las Vegas. Caesars Palace is currently building two 11,000-square-foot suites that are scheduled to open in January 1994 and promise to set a new standard for pomp and elegance. And with the three major new hotels that have opened in the past few months--Treasure Island, the Luxor Pyramid, and the MGM Grand Hotel & Hollywood Theme Park--it's certain that Caesars won't have bragging rights for long.
To what levels of opulence are Las Vegas hotel and casino owners willing to go with their luxury suites? About as far as the dreams of the world's biggest gamblers. And that is a game without limits.
Jack E. Sheehan is a free-lance writer of screenplays and nonfiction.
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