Thursday, August 9, 2007

Stratosphere Hotel

The Stratosphere Las Vegas is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, owned by American Casino & Entertainment Properties which is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Real Estate Partners. The hotel offers 2,444 rooms and an 80,000 square foot (7,000 m²) casino. The Stratosphere tower is the tallest observation tower in the United States.

The Stratosphere is the northernmost of the major Strip casinos and the only one actually in the City of Las Vegas, as the rest of the strip south of Sahara Avenue is in the suburbs of Paradise and Winchester. Following its completion in 1996 it was initially less popular than first envisioned due to its location on the extreme north end of the strip, far away from the most popular hotel casinos. But its low room prices and unique offerings eventually ensured its success. While many tourists consider its location to be inconvenient, others feel the location is an advantage since it is equidistant between the more popular strip casinos and the downtown area (which includes the Fremont Street Experience).

The Stratosphere Tower, at 1,149 ft (350 m) tall, is the tallest free-standing structure in Nevada ( the guyed BREN-Tower is taller) and the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United States west of the Mississippi River, after the Kennecott Smokestack in Magna, Utah.

The top of the tower has an observation deck, revolving restaurant, a Starbucks (which is known to be the highest location for a Starbucks in the world)[citation needed], and the following rides:

* The Big Shot at 1,081 feet (329 m) is the highest thrill ride in the world;
* Insanity the Ride, opened in 2005, at 900 feet (274 m) is the second highest thrill ride in the world, it dangles riders over the edge of the tower and then spins in a circular pattern at approximately forty miles per hour. Since its public opening, the ride has stopped twice with passengers onboard (upwards of an hour each time), due to high winds that trigger a "safety mechanism" which shuts down the machine immediately without bringing the passengers back to the loading dock. The hotel is currently being sued by the first set of passengers who were trapped on the ride dangling over the edge.
* XSCREAM at 866 feet (264 m) is the third highest thrill ride in the world. This ride also "drops" people over the edge, and has also stopped while people were on it, though it is not clear what triggered this ride's failure.

* The High Roller at 909 feet (277 m) was the second highest ride in the world and the highest roller coaster. It was closed on December 30, 2005 and dismantled to make space for a new attraction.

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