The History of 8 Major Las Vegas Hotels
Caesars Palace Las Vegas is one of the most iconic hotels on the famous Strip, with a history dating back more than 50 years. Hotel founder Jay Sarno began construction of the first tower of hotel rooms in 1962. The name "Caesars Palace" expresses the sentiment that, during their stay, all guests should feel like great Caesars of ancient Rome.
Over the decades, the hotel has changed ownership a few times. However, its lodgings and entertainment offerings have greatly improved since the '60s. Its oldest and most famous entertainment venue was added on in 1962. Originally christened the Circus Maximus Showroom, it was renovated and renamed to become the grand Colosseum at the turn of the 21st century. Acts such as Celine Dion, Cher, Elton John and Shania Twain have had recurring show schedules at this world class theater.
Another famous attraction at Caesars Palace is the Forum Shops. First built in 1992, this shopping mall has grown to include some of the biggest names in the fashion industry and now features over 270 stores, restaurants and other places of interest.
Caesars Palace was born a humble hotel with only one tower of rooms. Since then, it has blossomed into a 4,000 room, six tower resort complete with dining, gaming, and entertainment hotspots. The Las Vegas Strip has grown greatly since then as well, and Caesars has been at the center of that growth. From shopping and gambling to sports and musical entertainment, Caesars Palace has always made the best of the best available to its guests and continues to carry that tradition into the modern day.
“Since opening in 1966, Caesars Palace has set the standard for the Las Vegas experience. Caesars Palace became an iconic brand by continually transforming its hospitality, entertainment and gaming products. Our focus on innovation continues as we look ahead to the next fifty years of industry leadership." - Mark P. Frissora, Caesars Entertainment CEO
Harrah’s Las Vegas has been a notable part of the Strip since it was opened by Shelby and Claudine Williams in 1973. It was originally known as the Holiday Casino, but was officially renamed Harrah's in 1992. A renovation in 1997 allowed the property to increase the number of hotel rooms available to satisfy increasing demand. The grand reopening celebration of this expansion featured many famous celebrities of the '90s, including Harry Connick Jr. Today, Caesars Entertainment owns this famous hotel and casino.
One iconic aspect of Harrah's hotel and casino is a set of huge sculptures created during the renovation in 1997. These six sculptures are made with gold leaf and stand 32 feet high. In addition to fine art and culture, the establishment features shops, a rousing nightclub at the Carnaval Court, and its own spa and salon to serve all the guests it hosts each year in its 2,600 rooms and suites. The property also features a number of intimate entertainment venues that offer patrons a more personalized show experience.
Harrah’s guests also enjoy two golf courses as well as a golf training academy, all located just minutes from the Strip. These golf courses provide a quieter, more serene atmosphere than that of the busiest street in Las Vegas, but guests are still close to all the action. All of these amenities and more make Harrah’s one of the best hotels on the Las Vegas Strip!
There is a rich history associated with the piece of land on Las Vegas Boulevard currently occupied by Planet Hollywood. The first hotel and casino built there was the Tally-Ho, which opened in 1963. Just months later the Tally-Ho changed its name to the King's Crown and went bankrupt. Three years later, the brand new Aladdin Hotel and Casino revitalized this space. The Aladdin had its own nine-hole golf course and was famous for hosting Elvis and Priscilla Presley's wedding ceremony.
Unfortunately, the Aladdin did not stay afloat for long due to shifting ownership and direction. The Aladdin filed for bankruptcy in 1984, despite featuring many famous musical acts over the years such as Neil Diamond, who debuted the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts in 1976, and the first Iron Maiden show in the United States in 1981.
In 1997, a plan was drawn up by new owner Jack Sommer to recreate the Aladdin. The revamped Las Vegas Strip hotspot had its grand opening in 2000, but was bankrupt again by 2003. After a brief takeover by Planet Hollywood and Starwood Hotel, the property was purchased by Caesars Entertainment. It is now a central destination point of the Las Vegas Strip.
Planet Hollywood offers unique residency shows and attractions, including exclusive shows featuring musicians like pop-diva Britney Spears, as well as The AXIS, the largest auditorium for performances on the Strip and one of the largest in the entire country.
It may have taken this piece of property a few tries to find itself, but with over 2,600 rooms for guests to stay in and an array of permanent and temporary shows and attractions, Planet Hollywood is thriving and has become a favorite Strip hotel and casino for many.
The Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, named after one of the most romantic cities in the world, was built in 1999. It has all of the most modern amenities and continues to renovate its facilities to provide the highest-quality service to all of its guests. Owned by Bally's Entertainment until 2005 when it was bought by Caesars Entertainment, the theme of fine French cuisine, culture and world-class accommodations continues to pervade the Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino property, making it one of the top luxury hotels in Las Vegas.
The resort is perhaps best known for the scale model of the Eiffel Tower on the premises. Tourists can take trips to the top of the tower just like they can at the original. Paris Las Vegas also has scale-model replicas of other famous Parisian attractions, such as L’Arc de Triomphe and La Fontaine des Mers. Even the buildings themselves at Paris Las Vegas are stylized to look like famous institutions in Paris, such as the Louvre art museum and the Paris Opera House. The interior of the hotel and casino is meant to evoke a romantic Parisian street complete with wrought-iron street lamps.
Under Caesars’ ownership, Paris has transitioned into a hotel and casino that remains inspired by the European city while focusing on high-quality service, cuisine and entertainment all its own. Like other Caesars Entertainment properties, this hotel and casino offers guests one of the best getaway experiences in Las Vegas.
It may be one of the newer hotels on the Strip, but its buildings and services are always being updated to provide the best that Las Vegas has to offer. While its history may be short compared to its French counterpart, Paris Las Vegas is dedicated to providing guests with a top-notch vacation experience.
The hotel and casino now known as Bally’s Las Vegas was originally known as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. It opened in 1973, and immediately took its place among the largest hotels and resorts on the Strip. Most resorts in Las Vegas slowly scaled up and renovated to have thousands of rooms over time, but the MGM Grand opened with over 2,000 rooms from the start; at that time, the MGM Grand was the biggest hotel in the world.
Unfortunately, one of the most famous events that occurred at the then-MGM Grand was a tragedy. In November of 1980, a fire traveled through a large part of the mega-resort. Most of the buildings were saved, however, and renovations were made that not only improved guest safety but also provided opportunity for expansion.
When it was known as the MGM Grand, the hotel’s theme was movies and the grandeur of Hollywood. As part of this theme, the resort housed the Zeigfield Stage and the Celebrity Room, two of the largest performance theaters on the Strip, which hosted such celebrities as Dean Martin as well as The Carpenters and Barry Manilow.
In 1985, ownership changed hands, and the MGM Grand was purchased by Bally's Entertainment. Subsequently, Paris Las Vegas was introduced and built as a companion hotel and casino, and the name of the mega-resort was changed to reflect the new ownership: Bally's Las Vegas. Today, as a part of the Caesars Entertainment family, this resort features tennis courts, new and old shows that reflect its long and successful history, and more than 2,800 rooms to serve guests.
The Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino has an established place among the top destinations on the Las Vegas Strip. However, it has a long history that includes the mafia ties and intrigue that are a part of vintage Las Vegas history.
In 1945, the famous mobster Bugsy Siegel led the investing group that began building the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Siegel named the mega-resort Flamingo after his then-girlfriend Virginia Hill. Unfortunately, the resort had early financial trouble despite a grand opening featuring huge stars of the day: Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland and Lana Turner were among the Hollywood celebrities who participated in the day's festivities.
Siegel's financial supporters, who had ties to criminal activity across the country, thought that Siegel and others were stealing their money with plans to leave the country. They claimed this money laundering was why the Flamingo was not financially successful in the beginning. As a result of these perceived transgressions, Siegel was slain. Whether he or his girlfriend Virginia Hill was stealing money, Siegel himself still spearheaded the effort to build the Flamingo, and a memorial plaque in his honor sits on the property today near the wedding chapel. The Flamingo also has a 24-hour bar located at the center of the casino named Bugsy's Bar after the deceased founder.
The Flamingo was the third resort ever built on the Las Vegas Strip, and today, it is the oldest resort on the Strip still in use. The resort features four towers and 3,626 rooms for guests. Over the decades, the Flamingo name and the modern theme of a Miami vacation were kept, and it is most famous for the wild flamingos in the garden courtyard. Another site that has grown popular over the years is Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant. Why not pay this truly historic Las Vegas hotel and casino a visit?
The Rio Las Vegas All-Suite Hotel and Casino first opened in 1990 with a Brazilian theme. Named after Rio de Janeiro, it was purchased by Harrah's (now Caesars Entertainment) in 1999.
Some of the permanent attractions include the Penn and Teller magic and comedy show, the Superkarts USA Supernationals race and the World Series of Poker. Penn and Teller present one of the most iconic shows in Vegas, and they are famous worldwide for their comedy and illusionist skills. The SKUSA Supernationals race features famous kart and car drivers from around the world. The parking lot becomes a racetrack, and these professional drivers race on the premises. The World Series of Poker features more than 6,000 professional and amateur poker players at the main event and has a first-place purse of over $8 million.
The Rio’s most famous attraction is its huge wine cellar and tasting room. Featuring over 10,000 different bottles of wine, it is located in Masquerade Village, which allows guests to visit one of the largest public collections of vintage wines in the country.
The hotel has over 2,500 beds, and the hotel building itself is covered in red and purple glass. Stop by The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino to sample new wine and enjoy some of the best and most varied entertainment to be found in Sin City.