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Come inside, it's an oasis.

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A smoker's paradise in parking lot.

A smoking oasis pops up in Pfister parking structure


Leave it to the beautiful Pfister Hotel to make smoking in a parking structure "sexy."

As we were leaving the hotel after breakfast at the café on Sunday morning, I noticed something new -- a "smoking oasis" in the parking structure. Intrigued, I checked it out and went to hotel staff with some questions.

Since November, the hotel and its restaurants have been 100 percent smoke-free, so the hotel needed a comfortable place for guests and diners to light up. Not wanting to send them out to the street, it built an "oasis" in its parking structure.

As a non-smoker, I must say that this new smoking area looks pretty nice. Compare it to those smoking corrals that you see at airports and bus terminals, this place is smoking heaven.

"The space is used daily -- our guests have been pleased to have a spot out of the elements to smoke in, protected from the wind, rain and the snow. Our guests attending functions on the seventh floor in the ballroom have also embraced the space, as it gives a convenient location to step outside of catering events as well," said Joe Kurth, general manager at The Pfister Hotel.

One of the benefits, I think, of the impending statewide indoor smoking ban will be increased opportunities for creating inviting outdoor patios and spaces for eating, drinking and smoking. When designed well, they can enhance streetscapes and increase business by welcoming passersby.

Look at most states with bans -- people expect now to smoke outdoors.

"Our travelers expect to smoke outside, as all of the surrounding states already have this in place. We have consistently heard from the visitors from New York, California, Florida and Illinois how surprised people were that we had allowed interior smoking," said Kurth.

Having an inviting space to smoke outside actually increases business inside.

"We have been very pleased to see the increase in visitors in Blu and Mason Street Grill since converting to non-smoking, as the 80 percent of non-smokers have been thrilled and passing the word that we were eight months ahead of the state mandated deadline."

The Pfister's smoking oasis is located in the Mason Street parking garage.


Talkbacks

oystershooter | Jan. 15, 2010 at 11:36 a.m. (report)

Agreed but..... July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10 July 10

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yvonne8753 | Jan. 15, 2010 at 10:09 a.m. (report)

July 10th has nothing to do with this.

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oystershooter | Jan. 15, 2010 at 8:44 a.m. (report)

July 10.

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llpierce | Jan. 13, 2010 at 10:40 p.m. (report)

Gee, I smoked (quit 4 years as of April 19) for 20 years and I never had sallow skin, stained fingers or cuffs. Also, my car smelled fine, as I didn't smoke in it - never did like the smell of stale smoke; and I'd regularly air out the house (even when 20 below) so that it wouldn't smell. And, as mentioned, it IS an addiction and very difficult for most people to quit. I don't know why they just don't make tobacco illegal if the govt doesn't want folks smoking anywhere.

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yvonne8753 | Jan. 13, 2010 at 4:43 p.m. (report)

To Self Deluded- I am glad you are such a tolerant person and will pass this trait on to your children.

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