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Las Vegas Reinvents Itself for 2010

In true Las Vegas style, Sin City is tackling the new decade with bigger, better, more, more, and more.

New, new, and new hotels

In late 2009, the first phases of the massive, 67-acre CityCenter opened, unveiling the all-suite, no-gaming boutique Vdara Hotel & Spa, the 47-story Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, the new Aria Resort & Casino, and Crystals, a high-end retail district. Around the same time, the Golden Nugget Las Vegas opened its new Rush Tower, with 500 new guestrooms, and a new restaurant, pool, and shops. Just in time for New Year's, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, opened its new all-suite HRH Tower, and Planet Hollywood Towers debuted 1,200 vacation villas and additional penthouse suites.  Think that would be enough new hotels? Not in Vegas. Late this year, expect to see The Harmon Hotel & Spa, another addition to CityCenter, and the Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino, with almost 3,000 hotel rooms.

All this growth at the same time will likely be a boon to travelers, since all that new competition may drive prices down, particularly at higher-end hotels. So if you've been waiting for a good time to splurge in Las Vegas, 2010 is it.

Oooh, Ahhh, and Oooh

It's not just hotels taking center stage this year. New shows, attractions, and ways to relax enliven the Las Vegas experience.

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Looking for some classic Vegas? Wayne Newton is celebrating 50 years of entertaining on the Strip with an all-new show at the Tropicana. And, Cirque du Soleil has opened its new Viva Elvis show at the Aria Hotel & Casino. Meanwhile, Garth Brooks has come out of retirement to perform a series of special engagements at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Want a new angle on Vegas? The Cloud Nine balloon is the largest helium-filled, land-tethered balloon in the world, and it's just across Las Vegas Boulevard from Mandalay Bay. Passengers rise 500 feet in the air to get 360-degree views of the city.

Are spas the new casinos in Vegas? As more hotels opt to add "& Spa" instead of "& Casino" after their name, it's certainly a possibility. And when Las Vegas does spas, it doesn't go halfway. Aria's new 80,000-square-foot spa offers 62 treatment rooms, a fitness center, and an infinity-edge pool. Vdara Health & Beauty's two-level spa has three relaxation lounges, features organic herb treatments, and is the first Las Vegas spa to be a member of the Green Spa Network. And the Spa at Mandarin Oriental is a 27,000-square-foot Shanghai-inspired space with a Hammam and a spa menu based on Eastern and Western techniques.  

Is Las Vegas in your travel future? Or, have you already gotten a chance to check out what's new there? I'd love to hear about it! Please submit your comments below.

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