Tropicana Las Vegas
|Tropicana Las Vegas|
|Address||3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South|
|Opening date||April 4, 1957|
|No. of rooms||1,467|
|Total gaming space||50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2)|
|Permanent shows||Laugh Factory|
|Owner||Penn National Gaming|
|Renovated in||1979, 1986, 2011|
The Tropicana Las Vegas is a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming and is a franchise of Hilton's DoubleTree chain. It offers 1,467 rooms, a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) gaming floor, and 72,000 sq ft (6,700 m2) of convention and exhibit space.
This location, the Tropicana – Las Vegas Boulevard intersection, has the most hotel rooms of any intersection in the world. Pedestrians are not allowed to cross at street level. Instead, the Tropicana is linked by overhead pedestrian bridges to its neighboring casinos: to the north across Tropicana Avenue, the MGM Grand, and to the west across the Strip, the Excalibur.
In 1955, Ben Jaffe, an executive of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, came to Las Vegas and bought a 40-acre parcel at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Bond Road (now Tropicana Avenue). Jaffe aimed to build the finest hotel in Las Vegas, featuring a Cuban ambience, with four room themes for guests to choose from: French Provincial, Far East, Italian Renaissance, and Drexel.
Construction ran over schedule and over budget, due in part to competition for labor with the under-construction Stardust down the road. Jaffe had to sell his interest in the Fontainebleau to complete the project, which finally opened in April 1957.
Jaffe first leased the property to his associate, Phil Kastel. The Gaming Control Board raised suspicions over Kastel's links to organized crime, which were confirmed in May when a note bearing a Tropicana earnings figure was found in the possession of mobster Frank Costello. Jaffe next turned to J. Kell Housells, owner of the Las Vegas Club. By 1959, Housells bought out Jaffe's interest, gaining a majority share in the Tropicana.
In the early 1970s, the Tropicana fared poorly from competition with larger hotels like Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Hilton. Houssels sold out in 1968 to Trans-Texas Airways. Deil Gustafson, a Minnesota financier, bought the Tropicana in 1972. He undertook an expansion plan, but ran into financing difficulties. Edward and Fred Doumani took over management on an emergency basis in 1974 after investing $1 million into the property. Mitzi Stauffer Briggs, heir to the Stauffer Chemical fortune, bought a majority interest in the Tropicana in 1975. Briggs began construction of the 22-floor Tiffany Tower in 1977.
The Tropicana became the target of a mob skimming operation in 1978. Joe Agosto, the owner of the casino's Folies Bergere show, oversaw the siphoning of money from the cashier cage to the Kansas City crime family. The scheme was exposed in 1979 by an FBI investigation into hidden mob interests in Las Vegas casinos. Briggs and Gustafson faced revocation of their gaming licenses because they had allowed Agosto to manage the casino without a license. They had little choice but to sell the Tropicana. Hotel chain Ramada Inns purchased the business in December 1979, along with the 50% share of the property's real estate that had been owned by the Doumanis.
A 21-story Island Tower was constructed in 1986.
Ramada spun off its gaming properties, including the Tropicana, in 1989 as Aztar Corporation.
In 2002, Aztar consolidated ownership of the Tropicana by buying the remaining 50% interest in the land and buildings from the Jaffe family for $117.5 million.
Aztar was acquired by Columbia Sussex in January 2007. A $2-billion renovation of the Tropicana was announced, planned to be completed in 2010, making it the largest resort casino in the world. The existing Paradise and Island towers would have received both interior and exterior renovations, and four new towers would have been built on the property, one of which would be branded as a separate hotel.
The plans included a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) casino, five hotel towers totaling 10,000 rooms, and a sprawling 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) retail promenade. Other amenities included spas and fitness centers; more than 20 restaurants and lounges; a 1,500-seat entertainment venue for big-name headliners; and a water–ride attraction.
All improvements to the property were put on hold because of the global financial crisis, and became moot when Columbia Sussex's gaming arm filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The Tropicana, which had a $440 million secured loan against it, was bought from the bankrupt company in July 2009 by its creditors, led by Canadian private equity firm Onex Corporation and former MGM Mirage CEO Alex Yemenidjian, who took over as CEO.
The remainder of Columbia Sussex's gaming business, reorganized under new ownership as Tropicana Entertainment Inc., promptly sued the Las Vegas property, demanding royalties for use of the Tropicana name. The case was eventually settled, with the Tropicana Las Vegas receiving exclusive rights to use the name in the Las Vegas region, royalty-free.
In August 2009, Yemenidjian announced a $165-million plan to renovate the property around a South Beach theme, to be done in several phases. The first phase would renovate the Tropicana's back office facilities, with completion planned for the end of 2009. The second phase would renovate the conference facilities, rooms, and common areas, with construction to finish at the end of August 2010. The third phase, including a Nikki Beach Night Club and Nikki Beach multimillion-dollar pool renovation was planned to be completed by April 2011.
On November 9, 2010, Tropicana imploded a wing which contained rooms adjacent to Tropicana Avenue. The rooms were the resort's oldest, dating back to 1957. The section was removed to make room for a second entrance to the property and open up space for additional parking.
In December 2016, as part of Penn's Interactive Division, the Tropicana created an online experience for customers to play.
- A scene from Folies Bergere is featured in the 1964 Elvis Presley film Viva Las Vegas.
- In the 7th James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever, 007 stays at the hotel Tropicana, claiming it looks "quite comfortable".
- The Las Vegas sequence of The Godfather was filmed in the Tropicana.
- The hotel is also referred briefly in The Godfather Part II and a few deleted scenes take place inside the hotel. To avoid copyright issues, the name of the hotel was changed to "Tropigala" during filming, although the original name remained in the final draft of the script.
- The TV series Vega$ was also filmed at the Tropicana Hotel during the 1970s, although it wasn't the principle hotel used in the series. The former Desert Inn and Country Club was the main hotel used and seen throughout the series.
- It was featured on the TV Show Charlie's Angels in the episode "Angels In Vegas" in 1978 with Dean Martin guest starring.
- It was featured on the TV Show Angel in the episode "The House Always Wins" as the casino where the character Lorne had his show.
- A show was taped here for Malcolm in the Middle in 2003.
- A two part episode of Designing Women, Season 7, is set here. Anthony meets and marries a showgirl from the Folies Begere.
- The game shows Dealer's Choice & Las Vegas Gambit were taped here.
- The first half of the first season of the revival of the game show Let's Make a Deal was being taped here. Hosted by Wayne Brady, it began airing on CBS October 5, 2009. The show moved to Los Angeles during a reconstruction period.
Amenities and entertainment
The largest venue at the property is the 1,100-seat Tropicana Theater, which, since November 2017, features the Prince tribute show Purple Reign. The venue opened in 1973 as the Superstar Theater. It was renamed as the Tiffany Theatre in 1975. In 2011, it became the Gladys Knight Theater when the singer began a residency at the venue. It was renamed as the Tropicana Theater later that year, after Knight's departure. Other productions at the theater have included magician Rick Thomas (1997-2005); magician Dirk Arthur (2005-10); singer Wayne Newton (2009-10); percussion group Recycled Percussion (2010-12); a live production of Dancing with the Stars (2012); Mamma Mia!, the Broadway musical based on the songs of ABBA (2014); Raiding the Rock Vault, a musical featuring classic rock songs (2014-16); illusionist Jan Rouven (2014-16); and illusionist David Goldrake (2017-18).
A showroom on the Tropicana's mezzanine level is occupied by the Laugh Factory, a comedy club offering two nightly shows. The space opened in 1988 as Rodney's Place, a comedy club associated with Rodney Dangerfield, which closed after six months. It then operated as the Comedy Stop from 1990 to 2009. The venue next became the Bobby Slayton Room, offering regular shows by the comedian and several other performers. It then opened as Brad Garrett's Comedy Club in 2010. Garrett's club departed in 2011 to move to the MGM Grand. The Laugh Factory took over the space in 2012.
From 1959, the Tropicana hosted the Folies Bergére Show, the longest running revue theater show in Las Vegas. It closed down March 27, 2009, shortly before its 50th anniversary. Dave Brubeck's 1966 live album, Jackpot!, was recorded at the Tropicana.
From 1999 to 2005, the Tropicana was the home of the Casino Legends Hall of Fame. The facility displayed artifacts and memorabilia from hundreds of casinos, and held induction ceremonies to honor notable Las Vegas entertainers and gaming industry figures. It was quickly replaced by the Las Vegas Historic Museum, which then closed in 2006.
An exhibit space at the Tropicana hosted "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" beginning in 2005. It was joined in 2006 by "Bodies: The Exhibition", a display of preserved human bodies. The two exhibits, both produced by Premier Exhibitions, closed in 2008 to move to the Luxor.
They were replaced in March 2011 by the Las Vegas Mob Experience, an attraction describing the rise and fall of organized crime in Las Vegas, featuring mob artifacts, holograms of famed gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, and live actors. After being plagued by technical problems, litigation, and low ticket sales, and going through a bankruptcy and partial closure, the exhibit became known as the Mob Attraction Las Vegas in March 2012. It closed in November 2013.
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine opened his restaurant at the Tropicana, Robert Irvine's Public House, in July 2017. Other dining options include the Italian restaurant Bacio and Oakville Steakhouse.
Other amenities at the property include boutique stores; a swimming pool with tropical landscaping, waterfalls and an outdoor bar; and a wedding chapel. The Tropicana also contains the resort office for Virgin Holidays.
- "About Tropicana Las Vegas". Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Moehring, Eugene P. (2000). Resort city in the sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930-2000. University of Nevada Press. pp. 84–86. ISBN 0-87417-356-6.
- "New Las Vegas course to open". Reno Gazette-Journal. August 29, 1961 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hotels sponsor sports events in Las Vegas". Los Angeles Times. April 7, 1963 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Nevada grants city firm betting operation permit". Minneapolis Star. February 18, 1972 – via Newspapers.com.
- "N.Y. firm takes over Texas airline". Minneapolis Star. August 30, 1972 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Deadline met". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. AP. August 5, 1975 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Michigan developer reported buying interest in Tropicana". Reno Gazette-Journal. AP. September 14, 1974 – via Newspapers.com.
- United States v. Thomas, 759 F.2d 659 (8th Cir. 1985).
- Wallace Turner (June 12, 1983). "Testimony details Kansas City underworld's control of a Las Vegas casino". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- "Indictments could kill Midwest mob, former FBI agent says". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 12, 1983 – via Newspapers.com.
- Doug Stone; Robert J. Hagen (July 27, 1979). "Gustafson allegedly fabricated story on funds". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, MN – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ramada takes over Tropicana". Reno Gazette-Journal. AP. December 8, 1979 – via Newspapers.com.
- In re Adamar Casino Application, 10 N.J.A.R. 581, 596 (November 17, 1982).
- "Mirage-fed optimism sparks 'room boom'". Press of Atlantic City. Scripps Howard. April 29, 1990 – via NewsBank.
- "MGM Grand loses $12.7 million in fourth quarter". UPI. March 5, 1991. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
- "Aztar completes Tropicana buyout". Phoenix Business Journal. March 5, 2002. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
- Knightly, Arnold (6 May 2008). "Tropicana Entertainment files bankruptcy". Casino City Times. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew (3 July 2009). "Onex takes control of Las Vegas landmark". Toronto Star. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Green, Steve (16 August 2011). "Strip resort, Carl Icahn company settle dispute over 'Tropicana' use". Vegas Inc. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Knightly, Arnold M. (2009-08-16). "THE STRIP: Historic Tropicana poised for pricey renovation". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- Finnegan, Amanda (2010-11-09). "Tropicana Las Vegas implodes wing containing resort's oldest rooms". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
- Cantor Gaming (4 February 2011). "Cantor Gaming launches new race and sports book at Tropicana Las Vegas" (PDF). Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Kimberly De La Cruz (April 29, 2015). "Penn National to buy Tropicana for $360 million". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- Form 8-K: Current Report (Report). Penn National Gaming, Inc. August 25, 2015 – via EDGAR.
- "Free Online Slots Play & Fun Slot Games - Tropicana Las Vegas". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
- Block, Marcelline (2011). World Film Locations: Las Vegas. Intellect Books. Page 18. ISBN 9781841505886.
- On Camera Audiences — The official ticket source for your favorite shows
- Brock Radke (November 1, 2017). "'Purple Reign' makes the move from Westgate to Tropicana". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- John Katsilometes (April 18, 2016). "It's show time — and Showtime — for 'Dice'". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Robert Hilburn (September 29, 1973). "New Vegas showrooms sign up acts". Los Angeles Times – via Newspapers.com.
- "Tropicana Las Vegas unveils new theater design". Lodging Magazine. February 22, 2013. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- John Katsilometes (March 14, 2011). "Under-renovation Tropicana gears up for the Knight life". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- John Katsilometes (November 2, 2011). "Recycled Percussion is the act, Tropicana Theater the name as showroom (loudly) enters new phase". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Michael Paskevich (September 12, 1997). "Tropicana's magic show more derivative than original". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- Mike Weatherford (February 3, 2005). "Thomas moves magic show amid uncertainty at Tropicana". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- Mike Weatherford (April 15, 2005). "Sleight of hand, slight of statute". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- Norm Clarke (March 14, 2010). "'Dice' miffed over 'Donny Clay' show". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- Joe Brown (November 2, 2009). "Wayne Newton: The story, but not the sound". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- John Katsilometes (April 26, 2010). "Newton turns to projects away from the stage as 'Once Before I Go' closes". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Mike Weatherford (November 11, 2010). "New shows set to open". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- John Katsilometes (November 13, 2012). "Recycled Percussion stepping in for Human Nature; Trop theater overhaul". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Mike Weatherford (April 15, 2012). "'Dancing' a step in right direction". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- John Katsilometes (July 22, 2014). "'Mamma Mia!' closes in less than three months at Tropicana". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Mike Weatherford (November 15, 2014). "Never too old to raid the 'Rock Vault'". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Mike Weatherford (July 31, 2016). "Wave of show closings a blow to the Las Vegas entertainment community". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Matt Kelemen (December 5, 2014). "A bigger stage means bigger dangers in Jan Rouven's revamped 'Illusions'". Las Vegas Magazine. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- John Katsilometes (March 17, 2016). "Tropicana acts quickly on cutting loose Jan Rouven". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Robin Leach (July 21, 2017). "'New magic guy' in town opens Tropicana show". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- John Katsilometes (September 14, 2018). "After GGG, 'Canelo' to answer the bell at XS Nightclub". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- John Katsilometes (March 20, 2012). "New venture at the Tropicana is a laugh–or, rather, a factory of them". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Mike Weatherford (April 11, 2016). "30-year veteran of Vegas comedy clubs now runs one". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- "Rodney Dangerfield takes a question at the opening of his comedy club at the Tropicana Hotel". Philadelphia Inquirer. December 29, 1988 – via NewsBank.
- Laura Myers (August 7, 1989). "Nevada casinos going for the cheap laughs". San Jose Mercury News. AP – via NewsBank.
- Mike Weatherford (March 11, 2009). "The Comedy Stop will stop". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Mike Weatherford (September 24, 2009). "Construction may keep tourists away". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- John Katsilometes (July 22, 2010). "Brad Garrett is taking the ultimate Las Vegas gamble". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- John Katsilometes (December 14, 2011). "Brad Garrett closes out at the Trop, focuses his ample energy on MGM Grand". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Mike Weatherford (April 12, 2012). "Masada sees Trop as top spot for laughs". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- NPR: Folies Bergere To Close In Las Vegas
- Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (24 February 1968). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 1–. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Gary Thompson (February 5, 1999). "Casino Legends Hall of Fame looks to save gaming heritage". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
- Jerry Fink (April 2, 2006). "Tropicana's closing shuts door on history". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
- "Strip mine: Casino Legends Hall of Fame details Las Vegas' past". Las Vegas Sun. June 4, 2002. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
- Ken White (July 29, 2005). "Keeping the past alive". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
- Jerry Fink (April 8, 2005). "'Titanic' is a hull of a time". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Laura Tucker (June 27, 2006). "Bodies displayed at Tropicana". Anthem View. Las Vegas, NV – via NewsBank.
- "Two nongaming attractions now at Tropicana will be displayed at Luxor". Las Vegas Review-Journal. March 19, 2008. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Bruce Camenga (November 28, 2008). "Exhibits, shows moving". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, CA – via NewsBank.
- Sonya Padgett (March 31, 2011). "Las Vegas Mob Experience mixes entertainment and family history". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Katsilometes, John (9 September 2011). "Mob Experience closing down much of the 'experience' to make upgrades". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Steve Green (March 5, 2012). "Tropicana mob exhibit consultant: 'Nobody has an attraction like this'". Vegas Inc. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- "Investors in failed Mob Experience: Jay Bloom 'has given us a shot at making our money back'". Vegas Inc. August 20, 2014. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Heidi Knapp Rinella; Al Mancini (August 1, 2017). "Robert Irvine fails to deliver on promises for Public House". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Carla Pellegrino (August 30, 2012). "Chef Carla Pellegrino's love at first sight with L.V., new restaurant, cookbook". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- Heidi Knapp Rinella; Al Mancini (July 5, 2017). "Naked City Pizza to offer party bus packages to Golden Knights games". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2017-11-05.