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Harrah’s remodeling complete

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe put the finishing touches on a $12-million remodeling job two weeks ago , which is part of a larger effort over the last few years to upgrade the property.

The casino remodel, which took 16 months to complete, was broken into three sections.

The California Bar area on the south side was elevated to give patrons a grand opportunity for people-watching. The bar has also been a hot spot for “Dueling Pianos,” a show in which the two entertainers play off each other’s humor.

Recessed lighting, crown molding and chandeliers were added to all the sections to give an “elegant, comfortable kind of feeling,” Harrah’s spokesman John Packer said Friday. Even the surveillance cameras appear to be decorative pieces.

A major goal since Harrah’s purchase of Harveys, the tunnel between the two properties was also designed to be easier to find and more inviting to use. Once drab and uninviting, the thoroughfare is referred to as the “concourse” by the properties.

“It was a tough 16 months because it would be partially done, and we had construction walls up,” Packer said.

He equated the mission of casinos keeping up with improvements to the ongoing job of painting the Golden Gate Bridge, where workers start another job as soon as they finish the last.

“It’s important because we constantly need to have a fresh product,” Packer said.

Tahoe is no Las Vegas, of course; but it doesn’t want to be, either. Instead, the mountain resort town relies on a natural treasure as its main attraction — the lake, he stressed.

“But once they’re here, we want to give (the patrons) the kind of amenities and attractions they would expect from a first-class resort,” Packer said.

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, and now Harveys Resort Casino, compete with 24 other properties in the Harrah’s Entertainment chain for capital dollars.

“In this case, Harrah’s Entertainment has invested a lot in the Tahoe property,” he said. “That’s the board of directors saying we believe in this market.”

Before the $12-million casino remodel, the property underwent a major make over in all its hotel rooms over the last four years.

Between 1999 and 2000, Harrah’s invested $13 million in Friday’s Station and the Forest Buffet and the kitchen between the two 18th-floor restaurants.

On the 16th floor, the summit suites received a $7.7 million face-lift two years ago.


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