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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

A Seneca Showpiece

The striking 26-story Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino sits on sovereign Seneca Nation land in the heart of Niagara Falls, New York. It is outclassed only by what nature has put a short distance away: the thundering falls.

The resort began life in 2002 when the Senecas, under an agreement with the state of New York, converted the city’s overbuilt and struggling convention center into a gambling casino.

Twelve years and millions of dollars later, the resort now encompasses a 604-room, AAA Four-Diamond hotel with 86 corner suites, a spa, 10 restaurants, an entertainment center, a golf course and 36,000 square feet of meeting space, all with a casino attached. Parking is complimentary in a five-floor attached garage.

The casino is western New York’s version of Las Vegas. Revamped this year, it has 3,600 slots, table games, and a poker room. An improved ventilation system clears the air; smoking is permitted there.

A new brand reflects the resort’s new approach.

“‘It’s Time to Play’ is an overarching theme,” said Doni Taube, the resort’s senior vice president of marketing. “We are geared for conferences, with many things to do. We are reinventing gaming.”

The heritage of the Seneca Nation is expressed in public art. A blazing stained-glass window illuminates the casino. A single feather, the symbol of the Senecas, hovers over the building above bright, rainbow-tinged neon that tumbles like a waterfall down 19 stories of the exterior.

Prime time for meetings is April through June and after most touristsleave in September. Niagara Falls, population 50,000, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations with 8 million visitors a year.

A short walk out the resort’s front door and down cobblestoned Old Falls Street leads to the first state park in the country. Niagara Falls State Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for New York’s Central Park.

A multimillion-dollar renovation is breathing new life into the park through landscaping and sprucing up of islands where you can get close to the brink of the falls.

Iconic attractions draw visitors from all over the world. The Maid of the Mist has thrilled poncho-clad visitors from mid-May through October for 150 years by plunging into the misty chaos below Horseshoe Falls. And wooden walkways at the Cave of the Winds take you into the hurricane-like maelstrom of Bridal Veil Falls.