Westward Ho Hotel and Casino
2900 Las Vegas Boulevard South
|Opening date||April 1, 1971|
|Closing date||November 25, 2005|
|Number of rooms||744|
|Total gaming space||56,000 sq ft (5,200 m2)|
|Owner||Westward Ho Casino, LLC|
Westward Ho Hotel and Casino was a casino and hotel located on the Las Vegas Strip in Winchester, an unincorporated area of Clark County in the U.S. state of Nevada. The Westward Ho was the last large motel style property on the Strip. It was a two-story building with parking surrounding the buildings.The casino had a large number of slot machines, and a gaming pit with live dealers. The games included blackjack, roulette, craps, and Let It Ride.
The Westward Ho was built and operated by siblings Dean Peterson, Faye Johnson and Murray Petersen, natives of Hyrum, Utah and was managed by Hans Dorweiller. It officially opened on April 1, 1971, and closed on November 25, 2005 following the sale of the property. Marketed as the friendliest casino in Vegas, it operated for 35 years and was known as the world's largest motor inn.
In January 2005 the Westward Ho opened an expansion casino simply called The Ho located at 2920 South Industrial Road, but unlike its parent property The Ho was strictly a gambling hall, convenience store and gas station geared primarily towards truck drivers and other transient travelers using the I-15 corridor. On November 25, 2005, eight days after the Westward Ho permanently closed their doors, The Ho also permanently shut their doors.
According to the Clark County Assessors Office, the property was sold to a Denver, Colorado company named C D P W H Acquisition, a subsidiary of Centex Corporation, who reportedly intended to build high-rise condominiums. Voyager Entertainment had plans to build a large observation wheel on the property together with Centex Destination Properties but those plans have been canceled.
In October 2006, Harrah's Entertainment purchased the site of the Westward Ho and then traded it to Boyd Gaming for the Barbary Coast Casino further south on the Strip in Las Vegas. This transaction valued the land at over $15 million per acre. Boyd Gaming planned on building its massive Echelon Place on the former Stardust site. The former Westward Ho site is currently a McDonald's restaurant. It was planned that the land where the previous McDonald's was located would be used for the Echelon resort, which would eliminate the need for the Echelon to wrap around the existing McDonald's. Construction on Echelon was suspended in 2008 and Echelon sold it to Genting Group in 2013.
Driving along the Strip, the golden umbrellas, polished gold brass fixtures, and mirrored facade were popular icons on the northern Strip. The free-standing golden umbrellas (known as spectaculars in the lighting industry) stood over 80 feet (24 m) tall and when installed in 1983, were revolutionary designs. These pylons were emulated both on the Strip and Fremont Street at Golden Gate Casino, Las Vegas Club, and Bally's Las Vegas. Inside the Westward Ho casino, the prevalent color scheme was brown and green, emphasizing the brass and Dark Oak fixtures. There was a champagne fountain in the rear lobby, which poured down a pyramid of stacked champagne flutes. In the 1980s and early 1990s The Westward Ho had unique features for all guests such as the 24/7 free champagne cocktails and free bloody marys at a large fountain with a drink attendant.
The Westward Ho was also famous for regular events, such as the "Grub-Steak Jamboree BBQ", "HO-waiaan Luau and Dinner", and the "Fabulous Doo-Wop Dinner" which included outdoor dining and party-atmospheres.
While other casinos on the Strip featured table minimums at $5, $10, or $25 minimums, "The Ho" often had table minimums as low as $1, which made it popular with avid gamblers as well as locals.