Historic Las Vegas Hotels that Have Stood the Test of Time
Known as the world’s ultimate entertainment hotspot and party playground, Las Vegas attracts an average 45 million people each year who come to join in the fun. Thousands of hotel rooms and casinos line the city’s street, boasting their services and attractions with contemporary, flashing neon lights.
However, you may be surprised to find out that a special few of those structures have seen a lifetime of visitors and events. The Entertainment Capital of the World is also extremely rich in architectural history. Check out a few of Las Vegas’ oldest hotel buildings that have stood a long test of time.
The Golden Gate (1906)
The oldest hotel in all of Sin City, the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino has been accommodating locals and tourists alike since January of 1906, back when it was known as the Hotel Nevada. It’s proudly known as the first hotel ever built on Freemont Street and is home to the iconic 50 cent shrimp cocktails, which were served without fail from 1959 all the way up to 2017.
Although visitors nowadays may not be able to sip on the classic beverage inside, they can still visit the hotel and 12,243 square feet of casino space, the oldest in Las Vegas which still operates today, and still the smallest with only 122 rooms. If you’re looking for all the modern glam and glitz of Las Vegas, but also would like to take a quick trip back in time, the Golden Gate is the place for you to stay.
El Cortez (1941)
Situated just a block from the famous Freemont Street is El Cortez. Opened a whopping 78 years ago in 1941, the hotel was built by Marion Hicks, J.C. Grayson, and John Kell Houssels and was, at the time, the city’s first major downtown resort. A few years later in 1945, the property was bought by a notorious group of local mobsters which included Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Gus Greenbaum.
Although many renovations have been made to the structure’s interior and exterior since then, El Cortez remains an important historical point of reference in Las Vegas, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nowadays, tourists and locals alike can stay in one of the hotel’s 364 rooms, with some “vintage” room options that have been preserved up until this day.
The Golden Nugget (1946)
Originally opened in August of 1946, the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino is one of the larger historic buildings on the list, with over 2,400 rooms and 38,000 square feet of gaming space. Also with ties to the mob, the infamous Guy McAfee was crucial in the hotel’s beginnings and even dubbed the name “The Strip”, a term that has stuck for over 70 years, defining one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world.
Also the foundation for billionaire Steve Wynn’s success, the businessman first bought a stake in the hotel in 1973, which led him to become the youngest casino property owner in all of Las Vegas. In 2000, the hotel was sold to the global hospitality giant, MGM Enterprises, and remains a flashy symbol of Las Vegas’ old days.
Flamingo Las Vegas (1946)
Caption: Visitors that stay at the Flamingo today can still notice its retro-chic design which represents itself in various pink colors
Perhaps the most famous and well-known hotel on the list, the Flamingo Las Vegas was constructed with the help of The Hollywood Reporter owner Billy Wilkerson in 1945, and was later opened in 1946 by gangster Bugsy Siegel. If you’re looking to your Las Vegas activity itinerary, it’s definitely one to visit.
The hotel is extra special to Las Vegas because it was the first of its kind to go with a more glamorous art deco-inspired style rather than a ‘Wild West’ image. Unfortunately, there are no remnants today of its original parts after dozens of renovations over the years, but guests can still stay in one of its 3,460 rooms or visit the casino’s 27,299 square feet of gaming and entertainment space.
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