Harrah’s sprucing up Stateline properties | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Harrah’s sprucing up Stateline properties

Noting the prospect of increased foot traffic from down the street, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is keeping up with additions to its properties on both sides of Highway 50.

The Stateline casinos are planning a number of changes to broaden their attractions and bring in more diverse visitors.

One of the most notable upgrades involves a $8.5 million investment in its buffet. The Seafood Village Buffet, a seafood restaurant due to open in Harveys in May will replace the Garden Buffet.

This eatery, which closed a few weeks ago, is now used as banquet space for groups like Rotary.

Harrah’s and Harveys management have grand designs to accommodate more visitors, with Marriott’s two time-share hotels just opening and Trendwest guests coming to town.

“Our goal is to feed everybody at Marriott,” General Manager Joe Hasson said Friday, strolling the grounds of Harveys. “That’s what gives us the appetite to improve these services.”

The restaurant will serve up hundreds of items to the delight of seafood lovers. To expand the area, some slot machines were taken out.

The casino management still operates the Forest Buffet in Harrah’s.

Management will closely monitor whether the supply of machines will keep up with demand on weekend nights. Harrah’s, Harveys and Bill’s operate about 3,000 machines between the three properties.

Hasson views the space allocation in the properties in relation to current market demands as a game of chess or Stratego.

“Our commitment to improve our products at Harrah’s, Harveys and Bill’s has never been so dramatic,” Hasson said. “We’re putting some significant dollars here.”

Hasson pointed out how the parent company has invested more than $30 million in its Tahoe properties in 2002. Next year, Harrah’s expects to hit the ground running with another $25 million-plus doled out to ventures that “reinvent, improve and maintain” its product offerings.

Upgrades are nothing new — Harvey’s hotel got a $2.5 million upgrade.

Hasson pulled out documents that show a record October for hotel occupancy in which the two lodging properties booked 94 percent of their capacity through the week. There are 1,270 rooms between them.

“We’re excited about what this market is willing to do,” Hasson said.

The casino company plans to open a million-dollar spa and health club in Harrah’s by the New Year’s holiday to give guests yet another outlet to indulge themselves.

And with the draw of seductive advertisements and dance cages, Harrah’s has found its latest hit with the Altitude Nightclub.

The club pulled out the stops this weekend in the South Shore Room, home of Tahoe’s only oxygen bar. The place was decorated for Halloween to offer a haunting atmosphere.

“We looked at the marketplace and found an imbalance of nighttime activity,” Hasson said of the reason to open the nightclub.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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