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Vegas, king of giant resorts, welcoming smaller, artsier boutique hotels

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The newest casino on the Las Vegas Strip isn't a glassy 4,000-room megaresort, but a playfully designed, 188-room boutique hotel that prides itself on details like in-room hair straighteners and backgammon boards.

The Cromwell hotel officially opened to the public Wednesday.

General manager Karie Hall says the property aims to avoid the "transactional" feel of big-box hotels by streamlining the check-in process and offering amenities such as coffee and niche-brand toiletries for free.

The Cromwell will be the Strip's first stand-alone boutique hotel, but it joins several small hotels-within-hotels in Las Vegas that aim to give customers more personalized experiences.

Frances Kiradjian of the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association says they reflect a shift in customer taste away from "cookie-cutter" hotels and toward properties that are "a destination unto themselves."

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