The Spectacular New Las Vegas CityCenter

By Stuart J. Faber

The new CityCenter sparkles at night on the Las Vegas skyline. (Photo courtesy of MGM Mirage)So long as you have a spare $8.5 billion, why not build a new compound of hotels and shopping centers?  Well, that is exactly what has happened in Las Vegas. Just 10 minutes from McCarran Airport lies a 67-acre, 18 million-square-foot complex which includes a 500,000-square-foot luxury shopping mall named Crystals along with three hotels, a casino and a hefty number of restaurants. This conglomeration of six shimmering, sleek glass and steel towers is a joint venture between MGM Mirage and the folks from Dubai World.

Opened in December 2009, this complex, designed by such architectural notables as Cesar Pelli, Daniel Libeskind, David Rockwell, Sir Norman Foster, Art Gensler and Rafael Vinoly is the largest development on the Strip – well, adjacent to the Strip. The development houses a host of celebrity chef restaurants, five nightlife venues, elaborate water displays, high-roller suites and VIP gaming areas, plus a $40 million collection of art.   I attended the grand opening of CityCenter, enjoyed the fireworks display, sampled the offerings of most of the restaurants and snooped through the rooms, suites, casino and meeting space of the three hotels.

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Let's Meet in Scotland

By Stuart J. Faber

Edinburgh Royal Mile (VisitScotland Business Tourism)

Recently, I returned from a voyage to one of my favorite destinations. Later, I will explain why I am so fond of Scotland. What I find curious is that, whenever I return from a trip, one of the first questions I am asked is, “How was the weather?”

Even with locals, weather seems to be a primary topic of discussion. On a warm, sunny day, I was met with: “We selected this weather just for you today.” On a cold or rainy day, “We apologize for the weather.”

As pilots, of course, weather is always a primary component of our decision either to launch or keep the ship in the hangar. As far as travel on land is concerned, weather is of minimal importance to me, with some exceptions. For example, icy roads will keep me off the highways. A rainy day will not keep me indoors, but will prompt me to take along a raincoat.

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