Hotels & Casinos

10 Forgotten Las Vegas Hotel Gems

10 Forgotten Las Vegas Hotel Gems

The rich history of Vegas is unmatched, and hotels play a great part in it. Each hotel has its own story, and like Vegas, they have gone through ups and downs.

One of the well-known historic hotels in Las Vegas ones is the Golden Gate.  It opened in 1906 and is still thriving.

Initially, it was Hotel Nevada. But it changed its name in 1955. It was the first Las Vegas Hotel. It is symbolic of the history of the city and has a vintage character.

There are many other hotels, however,  that have not been as lucky as Golden State. Despite being landmarks, many of them, opened before the 90s, are now closed and forgotten. Below, I will remind you of a good number of these once great establishments.

#1: The Frontier

This was the second resort in Las Vegas. It was built along Highway 91 on the Las Vegas Strip. Opened in 1942 as the “Last Frontier,” the hotel hosted Elvis Presley in his first Vegas appearance. It also hosted the Supremes for the last time with Diana Ross as their lead singer.

The Frontier passed ownership over the years. After 65 years in business, it was finally closed in July 2007.

#2: Desert Inn

Wilbur Clark, a hotel and bar operator from San Diego, opened this establishment in April 1950. He faced a lot of financial struggles before this great success. It was the first hotel in Vegas to use falling and rising fountains set to illuminated colored lights and recorded music.

Steve Wynn bought it in 2000. However, after failing to make a profit, he closed it in August 2000.

#3: The Sands Hotel and Casino

This was the seventh hotel to open on the Strip in December 1952. It became the center of entertainment in the city. Many famous entertainers like Frank Sinatra and Rat Pack spent their free time here.

In the 50s, Las Vegas was highly segregated, and when Nat King Cole came to the Sands in 1955, he brought with him some limited integration. He stayed and performed in the hotel, and it was a powerful moment.

Harry Belafonte also made history by becoming the first African American man to play cards in the Strip when he did so in this casino.

It was closed in 1996, and the Venetian took its place.

#4: The Riviera Hotel and Casino

10 Forgotten Las Vegas Hotel Gems

The Riviera was the first high-rise resort of its kind in the city. Its long-running show, Crazy Girls, featuring topless women, inspired “Crazy Girls Undercover,” a 2008 film starring Clive Robertson and Eliset Lobato.

The hotel opened in 1955 and closed in 2015.

#5: The Dunes

The Dunes was the 10th hotel to open on the Strip. It was themed after Arabian Nights, and nicknamed The Miracle in the Desert. Fun fact! The hotel opened its doors three weeks after the Riviera in 1955, but closed down in 1993 after experiencing low revenues.

Today, the Bellagio, the New York New York, and Park MGM all sit where the Dunes used to be.

#6: The Stardust 

10 Forgotten Las Vegas Hotel Gems

The Stardust opened in July 1958. It was the first hotel of its kind to house a drive-in theater and an Olympic-sized pool.

Its neon lights could be seen three miles away.

It was permanently closed in November 2006 in a grand ceremony that was full of explosives and fireworks.

#7: Algiers 

This hotel opened in 1953 and became a playground landmark for adults. It was most popular among people who wanted to relax and retreat. It was closed in August 2004.

#8: The Barbary Coast 

Beloved by visitors because of its lavish displays of stained glass, glittering chandeliers, and beautiful Victorian decor, the Barbary Coast Hotel opened in 1979. It was a first-class resort for hospitality services.

The Barbary Coast closed on March 2, 2007. Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon replaced it.

#9: Bourbon Street 

When this hotel opened in 1980, it was called the Shenandoah Hotel. It later adopted the name Bourbon as a marketing strategy.

Bourbon Street closed in October, 2005.

#10: Castaways 

Castaways was called Showboat Hotel when it opened in 1954. It had the largest championship bowling center in the country with 106 lanes that were equipped with state-of-the-art Brunswick Framework. The hotel was home to the most prestigious bowling tournaments in the world.

Castaways closed on January 29, 2004.

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