The Plaza Hotel: At 30 plus, it still has that zing

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LAS VEGAS -- Clients looking to stay in the city's downtown area because they want a change of scenery or, perhaps, a less-expensive hotel bill may want to check out the Plaza Hotel & Casino.

Located at the top of Fremont Street, the 1,037-room property offers an 80,000-square-foot casino -- downtown's largest -- as well as views of the Fremont Street Experience, an area landmark.

When the property was built in 1971 by Jackie Gaughan and his then-partners Frank Scott and Sam Boyd, founder of Boyd Gaming, there was just one 500-room hotel tower and a train station in the hotel for the Amtrak train that stopped twice a day there, said general manager Mike Nolan.

The station was closed a couple of years ago, Nolan said.

The Plaza Hotel & Casino has seven penthouse suites.In 1981, a second 500-room hotel tower was added, prompting the relocation of the swimming pool to the fifth floor between the towers.

A sports deck then was constructed that features a jogging track and tennis courts; they may be used free of charge by hotel guests.

In addition, below the sports deck, 23,000 square feet of meetings and convention space was added, although it is used more for leisure travel group functions like family or military reunions, Nolan said.

Roughly 90% of the property's guests are leisure travelers and most are repeat clients, he added.

The total number of guest rooms includes seven penthouses, three oversized suites, 84 two-bedroom suites and a variety of one-bedroom suites.

Standard room rates range from $30 to $35 on weekdays up to $65 on weekends, Nolan said. The property also offers room packages. Room rates and packages are commissionable at 10%, and group rates are available through the property's tour and travel department.

The Plaza's casino, which was the world's largest when it was built more than 30 years ago, now features the largest downtown race and sports book, a 400-seat bingo center, a live poker room and a keno lounge as well as a growing number of cashless slot machines.

For more information about the property, phone (800) 634-6575 or log onto www.plazahotelcasino.com.

Sales pitch

• Organize a co-op marketing arrangement -- including posters, newspaper ads and direct mail -- with local fitness and workout centers that stresses the Plaza's sports deck. Physically active clients should be intrigued by the free tennis and jogging track.

• Contact church groups, labor unions, small business associations and affinity groups to promote the hotel's leisure travel-oriented meetings and conventions facilities. Smaller groups should like the break they get on the room rates and the meetings facilities.

• Identify clients familiar with the Strip and sell them on the glitzy Freemont Street Experience, the sound and light show visible from the Plaza. What do you tell them? The Freemont thing is fun, free and family-oriented.

To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected].

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