Vice free in Vegas

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Las Vegas is flying high, and boasted its busiest year ever in 2005 with 38.6 million annual visitors, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The mega resorts get bigger and flashier, and the crowds keep pouring in.

So I was caught off guard by the relatively low-key opening, last week, of a new player in the Vegas hospitality game, The Platinum Hotel and Spa, a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts and managed by Marcus Hotels and Resorts.

Not only is the 255-suite property worth noting as just the second condo hotel to open in the city (the first was Signature at MGM) itâ€â„¢s being heralded by its promoters for outright rejecting two very Vegas vices—gaming and smoking. Thatâ€â„¢s right, The Platinum is nongaming and nonsmoking…and proud of it. Itâ€â„¢s also betting, (of course), that many potential guests will embrace it as "a wonderful alternative for Las Vegas business and vacation travelers," according to Vice President and GM Peter Rockwood.

The upscale, amenity-rich Platinum is targeting a demographic of 35-65-year-old sophisticated travelers whoâ€â„¢ve been to Vegas several times previously and have had their fill of the kinetic gaming resort scene.

That would include, me, for certain. I travel there maybe twice a year, on average, and Iâ€â„¢m past being mesmerized by the Stripâ€â„¢s sensory seduction. Iâ€â„¢d welcome a scaled down, intimate, yet full-service alternative. The neat thing about the Platinum is, guests are just a block from the Strip and all its attractions, should one get an itch to place a bet, or light up a smoke.

Speaking of condo hotels, keep an eye out for the November issue of Lodging Hospitality, which will feature a package of stories focusing on the condo hotel phenomenon.

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