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Luxor says Egyptian theme is getting old

July 13, 2007|Jane Engle | Times Staff Writer

You can take a pyramid out of Egypt, but can you take Egypt out of a pyramid?

The Luxor hotel-casino, whose giant pyramid is an icon on the Las Vegas Strip, is spending $300 million to tone down its sphinx-and-mummy motif and transform itself into a hipper venue.

In the next few months, owner MGM Mirage Inc. said Thursday, the resort will add half a dozen nightspots, including an outpost of Hollywood's LAX nightclub, an exclusive bar and the CatHouse, a "sexy restaurant and European ultra-lounge" where dancers will model the lounge's own line of lingerie.

Next year, illusionist Criss Angel will join Cirque du Soleil in a new theater, and the hotel's 3.4-acre interior atrium will be remade into "an adult entertainment zone," said Felix Rappaport, president and chief operating officer of the 4,408-room resort. The atrium now houses a King Tut exhibit, a showroom and other facilities.

In 2009 the pyramid's guest rooms will be renovated.

Cutesy names with Egyptian themes will go as the resort updates itself and gets away from "over-theming," Rappaport added, but the hotel's name and pyramid shape won't change.

"We don't want people to just stay in the hotel and eat, drink and party elsewhere," Rappaport said. "Competition is so fierce that you have to stay current and get ahead of the curve."

Cutting edge when it opened in 1993 at a cost of $375 million, the Luxor had fallen into the second tier of Strip resorts and become "a little stodgy," said Anthony Curtis, president of lasvegasadvisor.com, a consumer site.

Over-the-top themes are dying out in Vegas and being replaced with big names and opulence, Curtis added.

The former Treasure Island, now known as TI, recently jettisoned its pirate booty in a major renovation.

"These makeovers are going for the younger, moneyed L.A. set with glitz," Curtis said.

What's next? Making over Paris Las Vegas for Paris Hilton?

jane.engle@latimes.com

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