Hollywood Casino St. Louis in Maryland Heights has completed a $7.3 million renovation of its hotel Sunset Tower, with the total renovation of 277 hotel rooms, including 14 suites. The project follows on the heels of the $4.5 million 2016 renovation of the Rodeo Tower's 211 rooms, including 33 suites, bringing the 20-year-old hotel fully up to date. Local contractor AJ Brown, Inc. completed the renovations and Hollywood Casino worked with Overland Park, Kan. firm Yeager Architecture on the design. The Sunset Tower remodel includes the following updates in every room: ·      Upgrade of two double bed rooms to two queen bed rooms ·      All new furniture (bed, desk, wardrobe, easy chair) and Royal Plush mattresses/box springs ·      New wall coverings, light fixtures, window treatments and artwork featuring iconic St. Louis locations ·      Increased connectivity for charging mobile devices, including headboards with outlets and USB ports ·      Wall-mounted flat screen TVs with over 80 HD channels ·      Wood look plank flooring ·      Completely remodeled baths featuring walk in showers and barn door entry ·      Relocation of closets to open up entryway ·      Tower corridors updated with new carpet, paint and light fixtures Each room also provides a coffee/tea maker, bottled water, mini-refrigerator, laptop compatible safe, iron and ironing board, and blackout shades.   “While Hollywood Casino and Hotel has long been the leader in the market when it comes to our casino floor product, the improvement of our second hotel tower is just one more step in elevating our non-gaming offerings," said Michael Jerlecki, VP and General Manager for Hollywood Casino. "The complete renovation of the Continue Reading

Trip to space with Leonardo DiCaprio nets $1.5 million in Cannes Film Festival charity auction

A trip to space with Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio raised 1.2 million euros ($1.5 million) for charity at a glitzy fundraiser at the Cannes film festival on Thursday. At the 20th annual event organized by amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, DiCaprio emerged as the mystery guest to accompany the winner on a Virgin Galactic flight into space. DiCaprio stars in the film "The Great Gatsby," which opened the 66th Cannes film festival. Actress Sharon Stone said the winning bidder would spend three days in training with DiCaprio in New Mexico before blast-off. "You don't get to go to outer space every day with a handsome movie star," said Stone, dressed in a tight-fitting white dress with a gold snake trim down the back. The bidding started at 1 million euros ($1.29 million). The auction brochure for the star-studded gala held at the five-star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France, near Cannes, said DiCaprio and the winning bidder would be among the first 1,000 people to leave the planet. The winner, Vasily Klyukin, 37, a Russian living in Monaco, said he had always wanted to go into space. "I want to be a bit daring," Klyukin, who works in real estate, told Reuters. "I will have to give up smoking now for sure!" After the successful bid from Klyukin - who also bought a gold and diamond necklace for 400,000 euros ($517,000) - Stone announced two other tickets were available on the flight. They raised another 1.8 million euros ($2.3 million). The auction raised 25 million euros ($32.3 million), more than double last year's sum of 11 million euros($14.2 million). The amfAR gala is the biggest fundraising event at the world's largest film festival. The benefit was first hosted by Elizabeth Taylor. The list of stars attending Thursday's event included DiCaprio, Cannes jury members Nicole Kidman and Christopher Waltz, singers Kylie Minogue and Janet Jackson, and actors Adrien Brody, Jessica Chastain and Continue Reading

Cannes Film Festival heist! $1 million in jewels  stolen from hotel room

Amid the glitz of the Cannes Film Festival, thieves pulled off a score straight out of a silver screen script early Friday, making off with $1 million in jewelry by ripping a safe out of a wall in a Cannes hotel. The heist had all the hallmarks of an inside job pulled off by professional bandits — the room in the Novotel hotel had been booked by a representative of Chopard, a Swiss jewelry and watch maker. At the time of the break-in, about 2:30 a.m. local time in Cannes, the room was empty because its occupant, an American, was attending a swanky gala at a 5-star hotel across town that was being hosted by Chopard, one of the sponsors of the film festival. “Apparently this (hotel guest) was someone who was targeted because it wasn’t someone who had been seeking attention,” Cmdr. Bernard Mascarelli, a police spokesman from the nearby city of Nice, told reporters. “There must have been either an inside complicity, or people who were in contact with this person and knew that the person had jewels.” In a coincidence of timing that would make a good Hollywood director smile, the thieves pulled off the well-planned caper shortly after the film festival had screened “The Bling Ring,” Sofia Coppola’s drama about celebrity-obsessed teens in Los Angeles who break into stars’ homes and jack their jewels while they are off on the red carpet. The real-life thieves pried the safe from the hotel room’s wall and then carted it out through an adjoining room at the Novotel, Cannes police told The Hollywood Reporter. Mascarelli said investigators were sifting through hotel security camera footage in a bid to recover images of the crooks. They were also interviewing hotel employees and guests, hoping someone saw something suspicious. “It seems pretty unlikely to us that it was just one person,” Mascarelli added. Authorities did not immediately reveal what types of Continue Reading

Struggling teens hurt by Star Jones’ no-show

The bottom line in the latest Star Jones mess is that teenage girls struggling with their weight and self-esteem say they were hurt by Jones' no-show.The former "View" host wanted $25,000 to speak to 1,500 overweight girls and their mothers, members of the Detroit nonprofit Full and Fabulous, in February of last year. According to director Sharon Dumas-Pugh, Jones took their $17,000 deposit, two air tickets she upgraded to first class on their dime, and a suite in a five-star hotel - but never showed up for the event at Detroit's Martin Luther King Jr. High School when Full and Fabulous couldn't come up with the rest of the cash. Instead, she went to the Super Bowl (which was being held in Detroit) and a fashion show, and arranged her own book-signing at a Borders.Eighteen-year-old Ethel McIntosh posted on the Full and Fabulous Web site, "We worked hard and sold dinners and fruit smoothies to help raise the money to bring you to Detroit. When I become successful, Ms. Jones, I will not forget where I came from, like you seem to have done."I am very disappointed that you decided not to support us, especially since most of us looked like you before your tremendous weight loss. We chose you because you were one of the few black women who became successful regardless of your weight. But now I truly wish we had chosen someone else."Dumas-Pugh told us, "I have girls 14, 15 years old who are 350 pounds who don't believe they can do anything. [Jones] was right here, and she still refused to do it."We prayed, we tried to get the rest of the money. Almost all of these are low-income kids. On Thursday night, some of the mothers and I went around to the Super Bowl parties asking for donations. "She is just so selfish. The travel agent told her if she and her husband could arrive at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., it would save us $800. The agent told me, ‘Star had a temper tantrum and said, ‘Nobody tells me when to travel!'"These kids had bake sales and washed cars to Continue Reading

Nine Santa Monica hotels for a sunny SoCal experience

When many out-of-towners start California dreamin’, they’re likely imagining the sun, sand and surf of Santa Monica. From the iconic Santa Monica Pier to the abundant shopping and dining options on the Third Street Promenade, this SoCal jewel has long attracted families, couples and entertainment-industry stars. The high-end hotels and elegant coastal retreats have also played a major role in luring travelers. And while Santa Monica offers dozens of solid properties to pick from, here are nine that have particularly captured our attention. Casa del MarSurprising as it may be, Casa del Mar is one of only two hotels in Santa Monica that are located directly on the beach. This rare real estate is further enhanced by a pool with beach views, full-service spa, and opulent rooms with huge jetted tubs and tasteful decor. Another reason it one-ups other hotels in the area: In 2015, Obama White House designer Michael Smith gave the property a major makeover, resulting in a luxe atmosphere with loads of beachy details. But its story dates back much further than that. Originally built as a glamorous beach club in the 1900s, Casa del Mar has been a place where Hollywood A-listers and well-heeled locals have rubbed elbows for a long time (and now you can join the cool club, too). Oceana Beach Club HotelIf you’re searching for a Santa Monica hotel that’s a bit less of a high-powered hideaway for Hollywood hotshots, check into the relaxed and intimate Oceana Beach Club Hotel. A small number of rooms (70) means that staff has the time to offer personalized care for each guest. Expect a porter to take your bags upon arrival, a doorman to hold the door, and everyone to be trained to act as a concierge. Plus, rooms are airy and spacious, with homey touches like coffee-table books and potted plants. It’s this sort of welcoming atmosphere that compensates for the lack of on-site amenities (you won’t find a spa here, and expect to walk 10 to 15 Continue Reading

List: All of the Hollywood power players accused of sexual assault or harassment

The rapid fall of media mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey following reports of sexual harassment and assault shook the entertainment world — and has prompted the airing of allegations against other Hollywood power players.Here are the Hollywood men who have been accused of sexual assault or harassment since the Weinstein scandal broke:Ben Affleck, 45, known for Argo and Good Will Hunting, was accused of groping MTV host Hilarie Burton during a 2003 appearance on Total Request Live. He issued an apology on Oct. 11, tweeting, “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.” His apology came a day after he condemned Weinstein’s behavior towards women.Scott Baio, 57, former star of Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi and Charles in Charge, and one of Hollywood's few supporters of President Trump, posted a 16-minute video on Facebook Live on Jan. 27, 2018, denying a claim made by his former Charles in Charge co-star Nicole Eggert that something inappropriate occurred between them when she was a minor. Baio said he and Eggert had a consensual relationship when she was 18, in response to a series of tweets by Eggert starting with: "Ask @scottbaio what happened in his garage at his house when I was a minor. Creep.” Baio said he chose to use Facebook Live to deny the accusation "because no one can edit me. This is the truth.” He held up documents he said proved Eggert was over 18 when they had sex, and he posted his full statement on Twitter refuting what he called "false charges."Mario Batali, 57, a celebrity chef, was accused of sexual harassment and groping by multiple women. Beginning with an Eater article published on Dec. 11 that detailed multiple allegations against Batali, the chef stepped away from operations at his Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group and was fired from the ABC cooking show, The Chew, with the Food Network Continue Reading

5 not-so-obvious spooky road trips in Arizona

When it comes to extraordinary abilities, piercing the veil separating life and death has to be up there with inventing the airplane or proving the Big Bang theory.So why is it that those who have allegedly returned to Earth post-death do the most mundane things?Many of Arizona’s visitors from the great beyond seem to take delight in tipping over glasses, dimming lights or lurking about in ways to make hairs stand on end. With pranks more humorous than hellish, the less-than-spirited spooks hardly inspire the kinds of chills Hollywood tends to embrace.Still, the harmless specters are not without their unearthly charms.RELATED: Just in time for Halloween: Spooky Arizona movies, hotels | Halloween pumpkin patches in metro Phoenix | Most haunted places in ArizonaYou’ve probably heard stories of wraiths said to roam such earthly portals as Phoenix’s Hotel San Carlos, Prescott’s Hassayampa Inn, and nearly every freestanding structure in Jerome.In the Halloween spirit, we journey along the paranormal path less taken. Here are five not-so-obvious, yet still fascinating, places known to get metaphysical.This historic hotel has become a noted stopover for those traveling between this world and the next.  Among the documented immigrants from the spirit realm is a man in cowboy hat and duster, spotted years ago by the manager during a power outage.But those staying in Room 333 have the best odds of entertaining a ghostly guest. Lights have flipped off and on without human interference. The spiritual centerpiece is a chair that can rock itself. Unless it’s just a draft. Sure, tell yourself that it makes you sleep better.Unfortunately, the Gadsden may become a ghost of itself. It’s been reported the hotel is for sale, and if buyers don’t materialize soon, the spirits may be the only guests.Details: 1046 G Ave., Douglas. www.thegadsdenhotel.com.With nearly 100 years Continue Reading

IT’S KNOT A DREAM! TomKat wed in lavish star-studded ceremony

THEY DO! Surrounded by fairy-tale splendor, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes wed yesterday in a medieval Italian castle as dozens of police patrolled the fortress' ancient walls to keep hundreds of fans and gawkers at bay. Holmes, 27, looked radiant in a jewel-encrusted dress designed by Giorgio Armani as she and Cruise, 44, who wore a dark Armani suit, exchanged vows inside the 15th-century Castello Odescalchi overlooking Lake Bracciano, about 25 miles north of Rome. As hundreds of candles flickered throughout the castle and rose petals floated through the air, the couple swapped Italian-made rings and heartfelt vows in a Scientology ceremony - believed to include a pledge to never go to bed without resolving the day's problems. The couple's 7-month-old baby, Suri, and Cruise's older kids - Connor, 11, and Isabella, 13 - reportedly took part in a blessing during the ceremony. The ritual's end was marked by the ringing of bells in the castle tower. The glitzy A-list guests included Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, Kirstie Allie, Brooke Shields, and British soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham. Also on hand were famed Tuscan tenor Andrea Bocelli, "Mission: Impossible 3" director J.J. Abrams, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Cameron Crowe, "JAG" star Catherine Bell, actress Jenna Elfman and "King of Queens" cutie Leah Remini. Cruise's mom, Mary, and Katie's parents, Martin and Kathleen, were beaming. After the ceremony, guests dined in the castle banquet hall on a lavish feast catered by Cruise's favorite Roman restaurant, Dal Bolognese. The four-course meal included mozzarella and parma ham, pasta with a choice of sauce, an entree of either fish or beef, and tiramisu for dessert. Champagne and Italian wines flowed. A multitiered wedding cake capped the meal. The couple could afford to splurge on the menu because they Continue Reading

SUN SCREENS. From the super to the scary to the silly, here’s what Hollywood will be shining into multiplexes this season

HE PICKS, SHE PICKS. Our movie critics weigh in on the season's latest crop of top-name flicks JACK MATHEWS: I would like to say I'm looking forward to "Mission: Impossible III," the summer's first blockbuster, but after the leap on Oprah's couch, the verbal attack on Brooke Shields, the round-the-world courtship of Katie Holmes and the nine-month birth watch, I have a serious case of Cruise fatigue. So, topping my list of most anticipated summer movies is Ron Howard's "The Da Vinci Code. " Novelist Dan Brown assures us the movie plays like an audiovisual copy of the book, and with a cast filled out by Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Jean Reno, it may be a two-tub popcorn movie. I look forward to "Superman Returns" with sadness, remembering how perfectly the man of steel was played by the late Christopher Reeve. But advances in special effects and the film's $180 million budget suggest it will be an eye-popping adventure. When Pixar's "Cars" was announced, it sounded terrible. An animated feature with talking roadsters, four-doors, vans and tow trucks? But the trailer is a sensation, the voice cast (Owen Wilson, Paul Newman and George Carlin among them) is perfect, and the story is ... well, it's from Pixar. Speaking of Owen Wilson, he also appears, in the flesh, as well as voice, in "You, Me and Dupree," a comedy about a Wilsonesque goofball who ­insinuates himself into the home of newlywed friends Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson and begins to destroy their marriage. "You, Me and Dupree" opens on the same weekend as last year's "Wedding Crashers," the comedy hit starring Wilson and Vince Vaughn. That's no coincidence. Filling out my top five of summer hopefuls is Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion. " It's a fictionalized account of the last of Garrison Keillor's folksy ­radio shows, with many of the show's regular characters represented. The radio program, which I have long enjoyed, seems a perfect subject for Altman's ensemble style. Continue Reading

SUPER STARS. A look at the moments to remember & those to forget

The Super Bowl celebrates its 40th birthday next Sunday. It has come a long way from the opening act between the Packers and Chiefs played on Jan. 15, 1967. Tickets were priced at $6, $10 and $12, but there were about 30,000 empty seats at the Los Angeles Coliseum. This year's game between the Seahawks and Steelers at Ford Field in Detroit is priced at $600 and $700, and tickets are treated as gold. There have been so many memorable Super Bowl moments. Here are our top 40: 1. GUARANTEED Super Bowl III Jets 16, Colts 7 Joe Willie Namath stood before the Miami Touchdown Club three days before the game and set the standard for pregame bravado. He said the AFL's Jets, 17-point underdogs, would beat the mighty NFL Colts, who lost only once all year. "I guarantee it," Namath said. A legend was born when he led the Jets to the most stunning upset in pro football history. Namath didn't put up big numbers. He was 17-of-28 for 206 yards with no TDs or INTs. His longest completion was 39 yards. But he managed the game perfectly and was on target with the guarantee. "I asked Joe what possessed him to do such a thing," Jets coach Weeb Ewbank once said. "I said, 'Don't you know Shula will use this to fire up his team? ' Joe said, "Coach, if they need press clippings to get ready, they're in trouble. '" 2. WHAT A BOOB Super Bowl XXXVIII Patriots 32, Panthers 29 When Justin Timberlake sang at halftime to Janet Jackson, 'Let's do something, let's make a bet, 'cause I gotta have you naked by the end of this song,' he wasn't kidding. Then came the infamous "wardrobe malfunction," when Timberlake pulled a covering off Jackson's right breast to reveal, well, her right breast. The NFL was repulsed, despite scantily clad cheerleaders on some of its teams' Web sites. 3. HEY, IT'S JOHN CANDY Super Bowl XXIII 49ers 20, Bengals 16 Before Joe Montana took the first snap on an 11-play 92-yard game-winning drive, the greatest in Super Bowl history, Joe Cool Continue Reading