Off-Strip elegance

Vegas' Red Rock hotel features a casino, pools and lots of crystal

The Smart Traveler

April 30, 2006

OK, so it didn't cost $2.7 billion -- the price of the opulent Wynn Las Vegas that opened a year ago on the Strip. But at $925 million, the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa will weigh in as the costliest off-Strip destination yet, its operators say. And it comes fully loaded.

The resort, which opened last week in Summerlin, 10 miles west of the Strip, will offer a casino with 3,200 slot machines, a 25,000-square-foot spa and salon, nine restaurants and a trendy nightclub by entrepreneur Rande Gerber.

MADE IN THE SOUTHWEST: A SHOPPER'S GUIDE TO THE REGION'S BEST NATIVE AMERICAN, HISPANIC AND WESTERN CRAFT TRADITIONS

Universe Publishing / Rizzoli International / $24.95

According to author Laura Morelli, the American Southwest -- Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, southwestern Colorado, southern Nevada and Utah and west Texas -- has the oldest craft traditions in the country. Some of the indigenous craft traditions stretch back more than 1,000 years, Morelli says. Part I of the book is an armchair traveler's guide to the major craft traditions of the Hispanic, Native American and Anglo cultures of the region, while Part II describes (by state) artisan shops and retail outlets. Among the crafts and products represented are furniture, textiles, jewelry and beadwork, pottery and cowboy boots.

JUNE SAWYER

WEST VIRGINIA

Building history in America

The historic district in Charleston, W.Va., has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. There are more than 100 buildings in the district -- examples of the evolution of American architectural style between the 1870s and the 1940s. One of the grandest buildings is the Kanawha Valley Bank Building, a 20-story "skyscraper" built in the late 1920s. The city's oldest church, the Kanawha United Presbyterian Church, was built in the 1870s and 1880s and is considered an excellent example of High Victorian Gothic architecture.

[Associated Press]

GEAR & GADGETS

Pet crates and cages can get uncomfortably warm and stuffy in hot weather, whether in transit or in a non-air-conditioned room. The 7-inch-diameter Crate Fan clips onto standard cages via retractable hangers. The self-contained blue plastic unit runs for up to 100 hours on two D batteries (not included). The blades are enclosed within a protective grid to keep curious paws from getting entangled. The fan has high and low speed settings, both of which are fairly quiet. Cooling Fan for Crates (302737) is $13.99 from PetsMart. 888-839-9638 or petsmart.com.

JUDI DASH

PACKAGE TOURS

Breaking the 'Code'

Banking on the success of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's best-selling novel, and anticipating even more interest when the movie is released next month, travel companies are putting together summer packages that trace the fictional trail of the novel and visit real landmarks featured in the book. Globus (globusjourneys.com) is offering a 15-day Secrets of Da Vinci tour in August and September that starts at $2,899. It visits Milan to see Da Vinci's Last Supper, discussed at length in the novel, and the Louvre Museum in Paris, where the story begins. For die-hard fans, a 253-page Fodor's Guide to the Da Vinci Code ($14.95) hit bookstore shelves last month.

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Bid Luciano goodbye in style

If you long to hear Luciano Pavarotti's farewell concert in Washington, D.C., on June 21, the newly renovated Park Hyatt Washington, which reopens next month, can get you in tune. The Pavarotti VIP Package includes floor-level VIP tickets for two to the performance at the Verizon Center, including the reception before the show; private sedan transportation to and from the concert and transportation to and from the airport, if necessary; an overnight stay in a one-bedroom suite; breakfast and a gift of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, the legendary tenor's hometown. The package costs $4,000, including tax and gratuities. Call 202-419-6633.

THE BOSTON GLOBE

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