Looking at Las Vegas today it is difficult to believe the city began with a few small casinos surrounded by the desert in what is now downtown Fremont Street. Some of the original casinos still stand on Fremont and the strip.
The Las Vegas Hotel (LVH) had an impressive, colorful history. Built in 1969 as the International Hotel by Kirk Kerkorian, it was the largest hotel in the world totaling over 3,000 rooms with one of the biggest casinos in the world.
The opening night celebrations starred Barbara Streisand in the showroom and Peggy Lee in the lounge along with a line-up of shows featuring the most famous stars of the time.
Following Barbara, Elvis Presley broke all previous Las Vegas attendance records with his 58 consecutive sold-out shows until he broke his own record in 1972. Elvis was treated as the “King” he was by staying in the ultra- luxurious penthouse suite, room #3000, on the 30th floor.
Liberace headlined in the showroom during the 1970s drawing sold-out crowds twice each night. When he signed his contract at the Hilton in 1972 he earned $300,000 per week, a record amount for individual entertainers in Las Vegas.
The International Hotel attracted the attention of the James Bond Agent 007 series for their production of “Diamonds Are Forever”, in 1971, renaming the International Hotel the Whyte House” casino for the film. “Diamonds Are Forever” had a production cost of $7,200,000 with a profit of $116,000,000.
The International Hotel was sold to Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1970 and was renamed the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971. The Las Vegas Hilton sign, measuring 279 feet, is the largest freestanding sign made mostly of steel.
During a number of mergers and splits in the late 90’s and a sale in 2004 Hilton Worldwide terminated the franchise license agreement with Las Vegas Hilton in 2011 and the name was changed to LVH-Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in January 2012. But it still keeps the initials from the time when it was Hilton property (LVH).
I began reviewing Las Vegas shows in 1978 and always enjoyed seeing Liberace make his entrance by flying above the stage, Tom Jones sexy movements and all of the other stars at the Hilton.
In keeping with their past, the LVH still features and always chooses a great mix of stars for their shows.
The James Bond series franchise is celebrating their 50th anniversary with the newly released mega film “Skyfall”.
Fans know that only the most luxurious, most exotic locations have been chosen for the James Bond series. These are the type of hotels and buildings that stand out from the rest.
The Las Vegas Hotel is located at 3000 Paradise Road. www.007.com www.thelvh.com www.tripadvisor.com