My imagination takes me time travelling back to the 1960s to stay in resort casinos like the Algiers, Sahara, Dunes and Sands, being entertained by Sinatra’s Rat Pack and The King, even if he’s overweight and wearing jumpsuits!
While these casinos hit the Nevada desert dirt many years ago, the good news is anyone wanting a nostalgic dose of old school Vegas can still find it amongst the faux Eiffel Tower, Roman Colosseum and New York skyline.
The Flamingo, Tropicana and The Riviera are the only mid-20th century casino resorts left on the Strip. The Flamingo didn’t build on Las Vegas’s Strip, the Strip built around it and its eye-wateringly bright neon pink flamingo feathers shine as brightly as ever as do the sequined showgirls at the nightly cabaret. Punters gamble in the vast gaming room, bells ring, music pumps, cheers erupt around the roulette table and lights flash at the phalanx of slot machine being vigorously put through their paces. And when the gaming and poolside partying gets too much, guests can beat a retreat to blissfully quiet hotel rooms.
Checking into room 18105 at the Flamingo, while a smart interior renovation has done much to remove traces of the good old, bad old days, dashes of Flamingo pink thankfully remain. The infamous Bugsy Siegel, who managed casino construction on behalf of the East Coast mob, thought he’d created “a classy, exotic joint.” And I guess from his standpoint, he has!
At the other end of the Strip, the Tropicana’s Hollywood facelift has made it a new Vegas hot spot for nostalgia buffs and pretty young things who lounge poolside in big cabanas and tiny bikinis. Now under the DoubeTree by Hilton Hotel brand, where else can you play swim-up Blackjack and visit a Mob museum in the basement?
It wouldn’t be Vegas without a themed resort hotel but why are so many French people staying at Paris? Perhaps the ‘privee’ signs on door handles, the Soleil pool located under the faux Eiffel Tower, the Mandara Paris Spa or the boulevard of smart shops and bistrots with French names on the ground floor Promenade make them nostalgic for home.
As for the faux Eiffel Tower standing a respectable 460’ above the Strip, the ride to the top is almost a Dr Who experience. Entering the elevator, you disappear through the ceiling before emerging to panoramic vistas of pulsating neon glamour. French engineer and inventor Georges Claude who gave the public their first look at his new-fangled neon lamp more than a century ago would be amazed at its success……
For more on Las Vegas, go to www.lasvegas.com