Famed Tropicana Las Vegas resort closing


One of Las Vegas’ longest-standing and most historic hotels is shuttering its doors after nearly 67 years to make room for a new Major League Baseball stadium.

Tropicana Las Vegas closed on Tuesday, just shy of its 67th. anniversary.

Demolition is slated for October to make room for a $1.5 billion Major League Baseball stadium.

The hotel, which opened on the iconic Las Vegas strip on April 4, 1957, was nicknamed the “Tiffany of the Strip” for its opulence. 

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Tropicana

In this March 28, 2007, file photo shows the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. (AP)

When it was built in the late -1950s, the Tropicana cost $15 million to build. It was three stories with 300 rooms split into two wings, creating a footprint shaped like the letter “Y.”

Later, the Tropicana underwent two major hotel expansions: The Tiffany Tower opened in 1979 with 600 rooms. 

It was renamed the Paradise Tower. In 1986, the Island Tower opened with 800 rooms.

Rhonda Fleming

In this May 20, 1957 file photo, Actress Rhonda Fleming blossoms out as a singer and dancer in the first nightclub appearance of her career at the New Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Smith, File)

Behind the scenes at the opulent Tropicana opening, the hotel had close ties with famed mobster Frank Costello. 

Weeks after Tropicana debuted, Costello was shot in the head in New York. He survived, but police found in his coat pocket a piece of paper with the Tropicana’s exact earnings figure. 

Tropicana

In this April 14, 1997, file photo, showgirls perform one of their acts during a dress rehearsal for the new edition of “The Best of the Folies Bergere…Sexier Than Ever” show at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, file)

The note also mentioned “money to be skimmed” for Costello’s associates, according to a post on The Mob Museum’s website looking back on the Tropicana’s storied past.

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By the 1970s, federal authorities investigating mobsters in Kansas City would charge more than a dozen mob operatives with conspiring to skim nearly $2 million in gambling revenue from Las Vegas casinos, including the Tropicana. Charges connected to the Tropicana alone resulted in five convictions.

Tropicana Hotel

Stained glass covers the ceiling at the Tropicana Resort & Casino on Wednesday, March 28, 2007, in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

In 1959, the Tropicana debuted a risqué show which featured topless feathered showgirls.

The cabaret was featured in the 1964 Elvis Presley film “Viva Las Vegas.” Magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn got their start in the show, as did Lance Burton.

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A portion of “The Godfather” was filmed at the Tropicana and in the 1971 film “Diamonds Are Forever,” James Bond stays there.

“I hear that the Hotel Tropicana is quite comfortable,” Bond said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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