Las Vegas is one of the world’s most renowned touristic destinations, including a large number of enormous hotels and casinos that attract visitors from any part of the world. Some people might ask: since when is Las Vegas a touristic destination? Even though Las Vegas is an old city, the boom that catapulted it into worldwide fame (the Las Vegas we know today) occurred in the 40’s. Now, in order to earn such fame, there were many historic establishments that contributed to this purpose, especially hotels and casinos, or a mix of both. Considering the importance that the historic hotels had in the fast growth of the city, let’s analyze some of them and what they offered.
Historic Las Vegas hotels
What most people consider as Las Vegas (where all the famous hotels are) isn’t really Las Vegas; in fact, it is actually part of Winchester, which limits with Las Vegas. The place that is known as “Las Vegas” in Winchester is the Las Vegas Strip, the specific area where all the prestigious hotels and casinos are located.
- El Rancho Vegas. This hotel was the first hotel built in Las Vegas Strip. It was opened in April 1941; yes, it is almost 80 years old. El Rancho Vegas started an enormous legacy of hotels in the Las Vegas Strip. It counted with 110 rooms, which made it the largest hotel in the area. By the time it was opened, it was a very spectacular place that had no match in Las Vegas. The El Rancho Vegas offered horseback riding, a big swimming pool and high-quality shows in the Opera House (another name for its theater). Its dining room was the largest in the city. Plus, it had a casino that consisted of 4 table games and 70 slot machines.
The casino was completely destroyed by a fire in 1960, and was never rebuilt. In its place, another hotel called Hilton Grand Vacations Club was built on top of a great portion of the land that the El Rancho Hotel occupied. Another large portion of the area where this hotel was located is now occupied by the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, built in 2015.
- New Frontier. Formerly known as Last Frontier and The Frontier, this hotel was officially the second hotel to be built in Las Vegas Strip. Its opening occurred in October 30, 1942. This Western-style hotel had 986 rooms. Originally, it was a nightclub which was called Pair-O-Dice. It was rebuilt under the name of Hotel Last Frontier. This hotel hosted Elvis Presley’s first appearance in the city in 1956. The hotel was opened until 2007, and was demolished the same year; now, a new hotel called Alon Las Vegas will occupy its place.
- Tropicana Resort & Casino. The Tropicana was opened in April 1957, and the most interesting part is that it’s still operating. Few resorts of its time have maintained until our days. When it was inaugurated, it was very amazing. The former “Paradise Tower” was built in 1979 and had 21 floors. Other buildings were added to the resort, and it progressively increased in size and fame. It offers 1878 rooms distributed in its area, along with a casino that comes with 61.000 square feet of gaming space. Until our days, the Tropicana is still considered as one of the best hotel & casinos in the Las Vegas Strip, and still offers high-quality entertainment in several interesting and fun shows.
- Flamingo. The Flamingo was one of the first hotels to be built in the Strip. It was opened in December 26, 1946, promoted as “The West’s Greatest Resort Hotel”. It was the first luxury hotel in the Strip. Originally, the resort counted with 105 rooms. In the next years, it passed through several major changes. The last part of the original structure was demolished in 1993. Even though it has suffered many important changes, it is considered as the oldest hotel in Las Vegas Strip still opened. The actual structure enjoys 77.000 square feet of extension and a respectable number of 3.626 rooms. Plus, in honor to its name, it has a courtyard habitat that includes flamingos. Its actual owner is the Caesars Entertainment Corporation.
- Sahara. Formerly called the Sahara Hotel & Casino, this hotel was opened in October 1952. It counted with 1.720 rooms in 85.000 square feet of land. Originally, the site was a casino called Club Bingo in 1947; later on, in 1952, the owner at that time decided to replace the site with a hotel & casino, called “Sahara Hotel”. Even though it was closed in 2011, it is still remembered as one of Las Vegas Strip’s oldest and historic hotels. In 1963, a 24-floor tower was included in the hotel; after it was completed, it was known as Las Vegas’ tallest hotel building. The Sahara Hotel &Casino was a major attraction for tourists and celebrities as well.
- Riviera Hotel & Casino. This hotel was the ninth hotel in the Las Vegas Strip, but was known as the first high-rise hotel, thanks to the 23-story building it disposed of. The Riviera is remembered as one of the Las Vegas’ most famous landmarks. It was opened in April 1955. It was closed in 2015, and completely demolished in 2016. It had 2.100 rooms, most of which were located in the 23-floor building we mentioned previously. “The Riv”, as it was colloquially known as, even modified the standard of hotel designs until the moment by presenting a innovating design in the Strip until that time, that were motel-like structures; the Riviera had a much more modern look that attracted thousands of visitors.
- Flamingo Capri Motel. Formerly called the Flamingo Capri Motel, this place cost $2 million when it was built, back to 1959. It had only 180 rooms, but it progressively started increasing in size, capacity and fame as well. It is actually called “The Linq”, and now counts with 2.640 rooms and a casino of 118.000 square feet.