If you’re a fan of Las Vegas history, the start of the week was likely another in a long line of sad days full of nostalgia. The Riviera Hotel & Casino, which stood as one of the last remaining hold overs from the infamous Rat Pack era of Sin City, closed its doors for good on Monday, drawing to a close a memorable six decade run on the city’s world-famous strip.
The Riviera was the very first high-rise resort on the Strip when it opened in 1955, and it’s seen its share of famous faces over the years. For its grand opening, the resort hosted Liberace, and acts from legends such as Elvis Presley and Dean Martin followed in subsequent years. Additional memorable performances from notable figures including Louis Armstrong, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Barbra Streisand, Orson Welles and even the Village People all played a part in securing the Riviera’s chapter in the illustrious story of the world’s most famous gambling destination.
Despite the resort’s past, the years rolled by and brought in a new wave of more modern, flashier hotels and casinos that made it difficult for the Riviera to compete. The constant turnover of the Strip led to increased competition, but also decreases in foot traffic towards the northern end of the stretch upon which the Riviera was placed. As with other resorts including the Dunes, the Sands, the Sahara and the Aladdin, time wore the shine off of what was once a diamond for the desert destination.
In recent years, the Riviera has remained relevant largely through its long-running topless revue, Crazy Girls. Though the show’s stage has met its end, a move to Planet Hollywood ensures that visitors to Sin City will still have the option of viewing one of the most popular topless shows in history.
So, what are the plans for the Vegas icon? The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the property back in February for $182.5 million in order to expand its plans for a revamped convention center complex. Though the structure’s demolition remains without a date, the future of the resort currently points towards a pile of rubble on the site.
If you’re feeling blue, it’s a great time to grab a piece of the legendary casino’s history for yourself! According to a spokesman for the ownership group, all of the resort’s furnishings, including gaming tables, chandeliers and flat-screen TVs, will be offered to buyers beginning on May 14. You may not be able to experience the Riviera for yourself, but you can always pretend by purchasing an authentic gaming table for your home, right?
As yet another Las Vegas landmark bites the dust, we’re all reminded of the constant evolution of the gambling destination. With new resorts reaching towards the sky with each passing year, it’s only a matter of time before the evolution claims its next piece of Sin City history. Plan your trip now, or you might be visiting an entirely different destination when you decide to go.