Oct. 29, 2012 at 9:09 AM ET
In a city built on bad behavior, one hotel is hoping to appeal to more health-conscious guests — or at least ease their pain.
On Friday, the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino opened the doors on 42 Stay Well Rooms designed to counter the effects of jet lag, promote better sleep and take some of the sting out of the morning after.
The rooms feature more than a dozen health-oriented amenities, including blue-shaded lighting to counter jet lag, dawn-simulating alarm clocks so guests awaken slowly and air- and water-filtration systems that eliminate toxins and pathogens.
There are even showers that infuse the water flow with Vitamin C — said to promote healthy hair and skin — and a dedicated TV channel featuring a welcome from Dr. Deepak Chopra.
“There is a customer out there that is inspired by this,” Scott Sibella, MGM Grand president and COO, told CNBC. “This is their lifestyle at home so why not bring it to Las Vegas?”
Of course, few would suggest that great masses of people will suddenly view Las Vegas as a health retreat but more visitors are seeking a less toxic experience while in town, says Anthony Curtis, president of LasVegasAdvisor.com, an online newsletter.
“You see lots of people playing slots with their shirts pulled over their mouths or wearing surgical masks,” he told NBC News. “There’s been a real big push lately — non-smoking sections, green initiatives — to accommodate (health-conscious travelers).”
As for the health benefits of MGM Grand’s Stay Well Rooms, only more rigorous testing will be able to ascertain any salutary effects. The company cites the fact that it collaborated for four years with doctors and researchers at Columbia University Medical School, among others, in developing the concept.
Other medical professionals are more skeptical. “It could help but there’s also the placebo effect,” said Dr. Stuart Rose, founder and medical director at the Travel Medicine Center of Western Massachusetts. “When you tell people a treatment will make them feel better, they’ll usually feel better.”
To test that theory yourself, you can book a Stay Well Room at rates that generally run $20 to $30 above the hotel’s standard room rates.
Alas, there’s no word yet on whether the benefits of the in-room amenities accrue to reversing the effects of alcohol, overeating and going bust.
Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.