The ultimate male fantasy: a 'Maxim' hotel in Las Vegas

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The Independent Online

It is the ultimate macho male's fantasy. Your own casino, offering high-stakes gaming and sophisticated nightlife, all served up by scantily clad croupiers and bar staff.

Maxim, the lads' mag that had its humble beginnings in the UK a decade ago, is about to make it big in Las Vegas, with plans to build a luxury Maxim Hotel and Casino complex at the heart of world's gambling capital.

The magazine is promising to offer its trademark diet of girls, girls and more girls on the Strip, Vegas's world-famous thoroughfare, where casinos vie to outdo each other in the sumptuousness of their surroundings and the extravagance of their entertainment.

Maxim's parent company, the London-based Dennis Publishing, announced yesterday the location of the nine-acre complex, which will have 2,300 hotel rooms and a 60,000 sq ft casino. It is promising the biggest and best swimming pools on the Strip.

Expect busloads of the magazine's "Hometown Hotties" to hit Vegas for the opening, pencilled in for 2010. Do not, however, expect the typical lavish Vegas design for the hotel.

Maxim says it has ruled out a 100ft bronze statue of a female model as the establishment's icon; it is working instead on designs that evoke the "upscale", "cool" and the "modern".

All of a sudden, Maxim is also emphasising its female readership, which, it says, accounts for 3 million out of 13 million in the US. The hotel complex will have spas and shops for her, as much as it has eye candy for him.

"We are not trying to build a giant frat house," says Barry Pincus, the director of brand development at Maxim. "There will be sexy girls, yes, but it will not be over-the-top, more flirtatious really."

The average Vegas visitor is getting younger, according to Maxim's market research. These visitors spend - or lose - more and come back more often. Venues such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and the Palms cater to this crowd, who are unlikely to be wowed by the traditional venues done up in the shape of a miniature Paris. "The Maxim Hotel & Casino is not going to be Disneyland," Mr Pincus says.

The developers, Concord Wilshire, are believed to have paid Maxim about $5m (£2.7m) for the use of the magazine brand, which is aimed at the high-income, high-spending 18-35 male. Maxim will have control over the design and its sister publication, the music magazine Blender, will programme the entertainment. The builders are scheduled to break ground next year.

Maxim was in the first wave of lads' mags in Britain when it opened in May 1995, and now publishes 31 international editions - including two in the US. Dennis Publishing's chief executive, Stephen Colvin, said the casino plan has been two years in the making. "We have received numerous offers to take the Maxim brand to Las Vegas," he said. "Concord Wilshire showed us they have the location, resources, vision and business know-how."