Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Changing Vegas - Nostalgic For The Past, Looking Towards The Future

The old Landmark kind of looks like the lost son of Stratosphere in this picture!

I was thinking how I have been in Vegas long enough to see some phenomenal changes.

Soon the Stardust will be gone, and I remember seeing the mini-baccarat game there for the first time. I hardly ever see that game anywhere. I remember their ceiling over the casino had lights that looked like stars.

I used to swim and buffet at the Hacienda Hotel, which is now the Mandalay Bay. I stayed there for a month waiting to start my first job in Las Vegas in 1983.

There seems to be some kind of long-term curse on the Aladdin property - I'm not sure anybody can keep that property for long without selling it for some reason or other. I liked the old Aladdin's decor and theme; and they also had some great restaurants.

The Dunes was where my mother stayed on her first trip to Vegas, what a thrilling adventure that was for her! That property is where the Bellagio now sits.

The Sands was the home of the showroom that where the Rat Pack entertained before my time - but I saw some shows there, like the Association (who are they?). I remember that they were the first to offer craps free odds bets greater than double odds (I think it was triple odds!) It is, of course, now the Venetian.

I remember eating at the Desert Inn which land is now part of Wynns.

The Landmark's 23rd floor Chinese restaurant was once the best in Vegas. ( Landmark is pictured above. )

I spent many hours at the El Rancho ( the former Thunderbird Hotel, not Bugsy's place! ) eating at their coffee shop and swimming upstream against the 5 MPH artificial current for exercise, at the adjacent Wet 'n Wild water park's circular "lazy stream".

When I first started visiting Vegas, my favorite place to stay was at the Maxim hotel on East Flamingo, across from the old MGM Grand, where Bally's now sits. Not to be confused with the new proposed Maxim hotel. ( How confusing. ) They had a small, intimate casino, and were known for catering to the public with personal service - something you only find in the more luxurious hotels ( I'm hoping ) now.

I'm sure I've forgotten a few, but the heart pangs of nostalgia are too overwhelming to continue this discussion.

It will be interesting to see what new gigantic luxury hotels replace the smaller, unique properties that now are quickly fading away. It just seems that in the new hotels, one has to walk great distances to pay high prices for food and entertainment. I'm not sure I like the idea that Vegas is becoming a more expensive place to visit - I used to accept $30 a night as a decent price! Granted, that was back in the early 80's - those days are really gone! Add a zero to the end of the 30, and that's more likely what you will be paying soon ( if you aren't already ) for a night's stay in Vegas.

Related article from Vegas Pop:

"That Was Then: Vegas Entertainment Through the Years"

"Old School Vegas Makes A ... Comeback"

Also check out:

Leaving Las Vegas

Early Vegas


Post a Comment