Entrepreneur Steve Wynn has opened a new $2.3-billion resort and casino in Las Vegas called Encore, with an Italian restaurant themed on the late crooner Frank Sinatra.
The restaurant, which is named for the singer, has Sinatra memorabilia and photos of him on display.
Sinatra's daughter Tina said the family had rejected similar plans from 12 restaurateurs. She said they agreed to Wynn's proposal because "he was his friend, and he loves and protects us."
Wynn and Sinatra worked together and were friends in the early '80s, when Sinatra sang for Wynn at the Golden Nugget hotel-casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J. The public caught glimpses of the pair's relationship through a series of humorous commercials promoting the Nugget casinos. Wynn was usually the butt of jokes, treated as a bellhop or other low-level employee by Sinatra.
Details at www.encorelasvegas.com.
Want cheap digs? Go hostel
Hostel bookings by North Americans increased 20 percent in 2008 on Hostelworld.com, the Web site reported.
One factor in the increase is the economy, as hostels typically provide lodging at well below hotel room prices. But another factor is the upscaling of hostels and the variety of accommodations, with the majority of hostels these days offering private rooms and family rooms as well as dormitories.
Some hostels also offer inexpensive meals and most have kitchens that guests can use to cook their own food, and others even have swimming pools and hot tubs. Hostels also offer plenty of unusual accommodations, from lodging in tree houses to castles to former prisons.
Cool sands in Dubai
Dubai's newest hotel in the making, Palazzo Versace, is two years away from opening on the shores of this popular city-state and its developers are considering a quirky new gimmick to attract guests: an artificially cooled beach so they can sunbathe in scorching summer heat.
The beach is to be part of the $609-million, 12-story luxury hotel and residence complex being designed by the Milan-based fashion house. It is slated to be finished in 2010.
Palazzo Versace's public relations office has been vague about the mechanism that will cool its Dubai beach.
However, officials have suggested that air-conditioned exhaust air could be diverted from the hotel and residential building that will house 169 apartments and 213 hotel rooms. The developers also said that the beach might be cooled using heat-deflecting materials and landscaping that would provide shade.
Yellowstone in winter
To allow visitors to experience the quiet magic of Yellowstone in winter, the park keeps Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel open through March 8 and Old Faithful Snow Lodge open through March 15.
Single or double, winter room rates at Mammoth start at $85 without private bath and $115 with, while at the Snow Lodge rates start at $94 for a Frontier Cabin with private bath. Tax is extra.
The "Winter Getaway Packages" at both facilities, running until closure, with the popular "Trail of the Wolf," offer three nights' lodging, daily breakfast, a guided snowmobile tour and a Lamar Valley wildlife excursion, for rates starting at $389 per person, plus tax.
Other packages concentrate on ice skating, snowmobiling and Nordic skiing. For more information, call toll-free 1-866-439-7375 or go to www.travelyellowstone.com (click on Packages/Specials, then Winter Packages, then Getaway Packages).
Web deals for upcoming travel
Here are some of the more interesting deals and Web sites that came across our desk last week:
• The Air Hop Package at Bimini Bay Resort in the Bahamas provides free private air fare for two with a four-night stay in a two-story Treehouse villa for $1,600. Go to www.biminibayresort.com/rates-special-vacation-packages.htm.
•The Historic Hotels of the Rockies Web site includes lodging from bed-and-breakfasts to urban hotels and ranch resorts, all constructed between 1862 and 1939. Details at www. historic-hotels.com.
• For pop-culture-themed tours of Japan, check out www.popjapantravel.com.
• Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging, 22 miles from the national park, has yurts that can accommodate as many as five people for only $29 a night in winter. Go to www. yosemitepinesrv.com/yosemite-lodging-camping-specials.html to learn more.
• Sleigh rides with elk in the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyo., are just one of many activities at our national wildlife refuges. Details at www.fws.gov/refuges.
• Head to Anchorage for the Northern Lights Snowball Dinner tour, which takes guests 113 miles out of town for dinner at the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse. After the meal, you'll snowshoe out to see the Northern Lights before the drive back to Anchorage. Go to www.salmonberrytours.com.
Compiled from Times wires