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A traveling band -- of tourists

News, Tips & Bargains

Rock Star Tours take visitors around Las Vegas and beyond in motor coaches made for a luxe life on the road.

March 12, 2006|Jane Engle | Times Staff Writer

DO you want to see Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon National Park like a rock star?

Don your dark glasses and climb aboard Rock Star Tours of Las Vegas, which operates a 45-foot-long motor coach decked out with leather sofas, marble floors, two 42-inch plasma TVs and a high-tech sound system.

Although you won't be alone -- the coach holds up to 27 passengers-- you will travel in a style that's a notch above the usual bus tour.

Joshua Smith, chief executive and founder of the new company, based in Las Vegas, says the MCI coach, about 2 years old, is drawn from a pool of vehicles that were customized for the rich and famous -- including, he insists, some rock stars he won't identify.

The company's first tour, launched March 4, stops at Hoover Dam and the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.

The tour is offered three days a week and lasts about 14 hours. It includes pickup at your Vegas hotel, continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Introductory rates, through the end of April, are $199 per adult and $169 per child 6 to 12; regular rates are $399 and $369. Younger children are not allowed.

There's a $30-per-person surcharge to sit in the coach's more intimate front salon, which holds 10 passengers.

Another itinerary, which was to have begun Friday, stops at Hoover Dam, the western rim of the Grand Canyon and a working cattle ranch. The nine-hour tour, offered four times week, includes Vegas hotel pickup, breakfast, lunch, a western music show, a wagon ride and a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. The cost starts at $399 per adult and $369 per child.

If nightclubs, not the country, are your passion, you can try the VIP Rock Star Party Package.

Through April, for an introductory rate of $149, including club admissions and cover charges, you'll be squired to several Las Vegas night spots. You're picked up at your hotel at 9:30 p.m. and returned at 3 a.m.

Smith, former owner of an investment banking company, has ambitious business plans.

By May, he said, he plans to launch a new company called Millionaire Tours, which will use even fancier coaches, with faucets plated in 24-karat gold, heated granite floors and etched-glass showers.

An onboard hostess will serve shrimp cocktails and other delicacies to up to 15 passengers. For $499 per adult, the itineraries will be similar to those of Rock Star Tours.

Also on the drawing board are nine-hour H2 Hummer tours to the Grand Canyon, to launch later this spring.

Smith said he got the idea of doing upscale coach tours in 1999 on a visit to Las Vegas.

"I was just astonished to find out that no one was doing a luxury product," he said.

After several years passed without anyone offering such trips, Smith said, he decided to grab the wheel and start his own company. A year ago, he moved from Dallas to Las Vegas.

Like so many other Sin City immigrants, he's hoping his gamble will pay off.

For information and reservations, contact Rock Star Tours at (866) 567-8687, www.rockstartoursoflasvegas.com.

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