Tropicana Closes: Aloha - Goodbye

Quiet.Please

From Showgirls to Stadiums: The End of an Era for the Tropicana Las Vegas
Las Vegas, the city of bright lights and fleeting fortunes, bids farewell to another iconic landmark. The Tropicana, a hotel and casino with a rich history dating back over six decades, is scheduled to close its doors in early April 2024 to make way for a new Major League Baseball stadium. This article explores the storied past of the Tropicana and the bittersweet circumstances surrounding its closure.
A Mid-Century Oasis
The Tropicana opened its doors in 1957, a time of post-war optimism and a burgeoning interest in Las Vegas tourism. Designed by famed architect M. Tony Sherman, the hotel embraced a Polynesian theme, complete with lush landscaping, cascading waterfalls, and a sense of tropical escape. The resort's 300 rooms, each adorned with bamboo furnishings and tropical decor, transported guests to a far-off paradise in the heart of the desert.
The Tropicana's grand opening was a star-studded affair, with celebrities like Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Rooney in attendance. The hotel's unique theme and luxurious amenities quickly established it as a destination for A-list celebrities and soon became a popular spot for entertainment acts. The Tropicana's success paved the way for other themed resorts in Las Vegas, such as the Stardust and the Dunes, which further solidified the city's reputation as a one-of-a-kind tourist destination.
Showgirls, Scandals, and Stars
The Tropicana's legacy is intertwined with the golden age of Las Vegas showmanship. The hotel's elaborate revues, featuring dazzling costumes and talented showgirls, were a major draw. The "Folies Bergère," a Parisian-style cabaret show, debuted at the Tropicana in 1959 and became an instant sensation. The show's mix of glamour, comedy, and risqué performances set the standard for Las Vegas entertainment for decades to come.
Legends like Liberace and Frank Sinatra graced the Tropicana stage, solidifying its reputation as a hotspot for entertainment. Liberace, known for his flamboyant style and virtuosic piano skills, performed regularly at the Tropicana throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His extravagant costumes and elaborate stage sets were a perfect match for the hotel's over-the-top aesthetic. Frank Sinatra, who epitomized the cool, sophisticated side of Las Vegas, also made frequent appearances at the Tropicana, drawing crowds of adoring fans.
However, the glamorous facade sometimes masked a darker reality. The Tropicana, like many Las Vegas casinos in its early years, had ties to organized crime. In the 1970s, the hotel was briefly owned by the Kansas City mob, who used the property to launder money and conduct other illegal activities. The Tropicana's association with the underworld was not uncommon in Las Vegas at the time, as the city's casinos were often financed and controlled by criminal organizations.
Despite these unsavory connections, the Tropicana remained a popular destination for tourists and celebrities alike. The hotel's reputation for top-notch entertainment and luxurious accommodations continued to draw visitors from around the world. The Tropicana's showgirls became iconic symbols of Las Vegas glamour, gracing the covers of magazines and appearing in films and television shows.
Evolution and Adaptation
Las Vegas is a city that constantly reinvents itself, and the Tropicana was no exception. As the city grew and evolved, so too did the hotel. The Tropicana underwent renovations and expansions over the years, adapting to changing tourist preferences and the competitive landscape of the Las Vegas Strip.
In the 1980s, the hotel's original Polynesian theme gave way to a more modern aesthetic. The bamboo and thatch decor were replaced with sleek, contemporary furnishings, and the hotel added new amenities like a fitness center and a spa. The Tropicana also expanded its convention facilities, recognizing the growing importance of business travel to the Las Vegas economy.
The 1990s brought further changes to the Tropicana. The hotel's showroom was renovated and renamed the Tiffany Theater, in honor of the famous jeweler. The new theater hosted a variety of acts, from classic Vegas showgirls to contemporary pop stars. The Tropicana also added a new tower, the Island Tower, which increased the hotel's room count to over 1,800.
Despite its efforts to stay relevant, the Tropicana eventually faced competition from newer, larger resorts that offered a wider range of attractions. The hotel's aging infrastructure and relatively small size made it difficult to compete with the likes of the Bellagio, the Venetian, and the Wynn. The Tropicana's ownership changed hands several times in the early 2000s, as investors sought to modernize the property and keep it competitive in the ever-evolving Las Vegas market.
The Final Curtain
The announcement of the Tropicana's closure in early 2024 came as a shock to many. The news highlighted the ever-changing landscape of Las Vegas, where even iconic properties are not immune to the demands of progress. The hotel's owner, Bally's Corporation, revealed plans to demolish the Tropicana and replace it with a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, which will be home to a new Major League Baseball franchise.
The decision to close the Tropicana was met with a mix of sadness and nostalgia from longtime patrons and former employees. Many shared stories of memorable moments at the hotel, from seeing their favorite performers on stage to celebrating milestones like weddings and anniversaries. The Tropicana's closure represents not just the end of a beloved hotel, but the end of an era in Las Vegas history.
The demolition of the Tropicana will pave the way for a new chapter in Las Vegas entertainment. The baseball stadium, which will have a seating capacity of 32,000, is expected to bring a new level of excitement to the Las Vegas Strip. The stadium will feature state-of-the-art amenities, including luxury suites, premium seating options, and a retractable roof to allow for year-round events. The new stadium is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact for the city and create thousands of new jobs.
While the prospect of a major league sports team is exciting for many Las Vegas residents and visitors, others lament the loss of another piece of the city's history. The Tropicana's closure is part of a larger trend in Las Vegas, as older properties are demolished to make way for newer, more modern attractions. The city's skyline is constantly evolving, with new hotels, casinos, and entertainment venues seeming to appear overnight.
A Legacy Endures
The Tropicana's closure marks the end of an era, but its legacy will endure. The hotel's story reflects the evolution of Las Vegas itself, from a mid-century playground for the rich and famous to a global entertainment destination. The memories of showstopping performances, legendary guests, and a bygone era will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those who experienced the magic of the Tropicana.
For many, the Tropicana represents a time when Las Vegas was a more intimate, more personal experience. The hotel's relatively small size and unique theme created a sense of community among guests and employees alike. The Tropicana's showgirls, who were the heart and soul of the hotel's entertainment offerings, were more than just performers – they were family. Many of the showgirls lived on the property and formed close bonds with each other and with regular guests.
The Tropicana's legacy also extends beyond its physical walls. The hotel's influence can be seen in the many themed resorts that have come and gone in Las Vegas over the years. The Tropicana's success demonstrated the power of theming and immersive experiences in attracting tourists and creating a unique brand identity. The hotel's Polynesian theme, while perhaps dated by today's standards, was a groundbreaking concept in the 1950s and paved the way for other iconic Las Vegas properties like the Mirage and the Luxor.
As Las Vegas continues to evolve and reinvent itself, it is important to remember the pioneers like the Tropicana that helped shape the city's identity. The hotel's story is a reminder that even in a city built on change and impermanence, some things endure. The Tropicana's legacy of entertainment, luxury, and escape will forever be a part of Las Vegas history, even as the city moves forward into a new era.
In the end, the Tropicana's closure is a bittersweet moment for Las Vegas. While the loss of such an iconic property is undoubtedly sad, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the city's rich history and the role that hotels like the Tropicana played in shaping it. The Tropicana may be gone, but its spirit will live on in the memories of those who experienced its magic, and in the enduring allure of Las Vegas itself.
As the Tropicana's final curtain falls, we bid farewell to a true Las Vegas icon. The hotel's legacy will forever be a part of the city's story, a testament to the power of entertainment, the allure of escape, and the enduring appeal of the desert oasis that is Las Vegas. While the future may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the Tropicana's place in Las Vegas history is secure, and its memory will continue to inspire and captivate for generations to come. Thanks for listening to Quiet Please. Remember to like and share wherever you get your podcasts. read less
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Tropicana Closes-Aloha Goodbye
Apr 2 2024
Tropicana Closes-Aloha Goodbye
From Showgirls to Stadiums: The End of an Era for the Tropicana Las Vegas Las Vegas, the city of bright lights and fleeting fortunes, bids farewell to another iconic landmark. The Tropicana, a hotel and casino with a rich history dating back over six decades, is scheduled to close its doors in early April 2024 to make way for a new Major League Baseball stadium. This article explores the storied past of the Tropicana and the bittersweet circumstances surrounding its closure. A Mid-Century Oasis The Tropicana opened its doors in 1957, a time of post-war optimism and a burgeoning interest in Las Vegas tourism. Designed by famed architect M. Tony Sherman, the hotel embraced a Polynesian theme, complete with lush landscaping, cascading waterfalls, and a sense of tropical escape. The resort's 300 rooms, each adorned with bamboo furnishings and tropical decor, transported guests to a far-off paradise in the heart of the desert. The Tropicana's grand opening was a star-studded affair, with celebrities like Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Rooney in attendance. The hotel's unique theme and luxurious amenities quickly established it as a destination for A-list celebrities and soon became a popular spot for entertainment acts. The Tropicana's success paved the way for other themed resorts in Las Vegas, such as the Stardust and the Dunes, which further solidified the city's reputation as a one-of-a-kind tourist destination. Showgirls, Scandals, and Stars The Tropicana's legacy is intertwined with the golden age of Las Vegas showmanship. The hotel's elaborate revues, featuring dazzling costumes and talented showgirls, were a major draw. The "Folies Bergère," a Parisian-style cabaret show, debuted at the Tropicana in 1959 and became an instant sensation. The show's mix of glamour, comedy, and risqué performances set the standard for Las Vegas entertainment for decades to come. Legends like Liberace and Frank Sinatra graced the Tropicana stage, solidifying its reputation as a hotspot for entertainment. Liberace, known for his flamboyant style and virtuosic piano skills, performed regularly at the Tropicana throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His extravagant costumes and elaborate stage sets were a perfect match for the hotel's over-the-top aesthetic. Frank Sinatra, who epitomized the cool, sophisticated side of Las Vegas, also made frequent appearances at the Tropicana, drawing crowds of adoring fans. However, the glamorous facade sometimes masked a darker reality. The Tropicana, like many Las Vegas casinos in its early years, had ties to organized crime. In the 1970s, the hotel was briefly owned by the Kansas City mob, who used the property to launder money and conduct other illegal activities. The Tropicana's association with the underworld was not uncommon in Las Vegas at the time, as the city's casinos were often financed and controlled by criminal organizations. Despite these unsavory connections, the Tropicana remained a popular destination for tourists and celebrities alike. The hotel's reputation for top-notch entertainment and luxurious accommodations continued to draw visitors from around the world. The Tropicana's showgirls became iconic symbols of Las Vegas glamour, gracing the covers of magazines and appearing in films and television shows. Evolution and Adaptation Las Vegas is a city that constantly reinvents itself, and the Tropicana was no exception. As the city grew and evolved, so too did the hotel. The Tropicana underwent renovations and expansions over the years, adapting to changing tourist preferences and the competitive landscape of the Las Vegas Strip. In the 1980s, the hotel's original Polynesian theme gave way to a more modern aesthetic. The bamboo and thatch decor were replaced with sleek, contemporary furnishings, and the hotel added new amenities like a fitness center and a spa. The Tropicana also expanded its convention facilities, recognizing the growing importance of business travel to the Las Vegas economy. The 1990s brought further changes to the Tropicana. The hotel's showroom was renovated and renamed the Tiffany Theater, in honor of the famous jeweler. The new theater hosted a variety of acts, from classic Vegas showgirls to contemporary pop stars. The Tropicana also added a new tower, the Island Tower, which increased the hotel's room count to over 1,800. Despite its efforts to stay relevant, the Tropicana eventually faced competition from newer, larger resorts that offered a wider range of attractions. The hotel's aging infrastructure and relatively small size made it difficult to compete with the likes of the Bellagio, the Venetian, and the Wynn. The Tropicana's ownership changed hands several times in the early 2000s, as investors sought to modernize the property and keep it competitive in the ever-evolving Las Vegas market. The Final Curtain The announcement of the Tropicana's closure in early 2024 came as a shock to many. The news highlighted the ever-changing landscape of Las Vegas, where even iconic properties are not immune to the demands of progress. The hotel's owner, Bally's Corporation, revealed plans to demolish the Tropicana and replace it with a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, which will be home to a new Major League Baseball franchise. The decision to close the Tropicana was met with a mix of sadness and nostalgia from longtime patrons and former employees. Many shared stories of memorable moments at the hotel, from seeing their favorite performers on stage to celebrating milestones like weddings and anniversaries. The Tropicana's closure represents not just the end of a beloved hotel, but the end of an era in Las Vegas history. The demolition of the Tropicana will pave the way for a new chapter in Las Vegas entertainment. The baseball stadium, which will have a seating capacity of 32,000, is expected to bring a new level of excitement to the Las Vegas Strip. The stadium will feature state-of-the-art amenities, including luxury suites, premium seating options, and a retractable roof to allow for year-round events. The new stadium is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact for the city and create thousands of new jobs. While the prospect of a major league sports team is exciting for many Las Vegas residents and visitors, others lament the loss of another piece of the city's history. The Tropicana's closure is part of a larger trend in Las Vegas, as older properties are demolished to make way for newer, more modern attractions. The city's skyline is constantly evolving, with new hotels, casinos, and entertainment venues seeming to appear overnight. A Legacy Endures The Tropicana's closure marks the end of an era, but its legacy will endure. The hotel's story reflects the evolution of Las Vegas itself, from a mid-century playground for the rich and famous to a global entertainment destination. The memories of showstopping performances, legendary guests, and a bygone era will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those who experienced the magic of the Tropicana. For many, the Tropicana represents a time when Las Vegas was a more intimate, more personal experience. The hotel's relatively small size and unique theme created a sense of community among guests and employees alike. The Tropicana's showgirls, who were the heart and soul of the hotel's entertainment offerings, were more than just performers – they were family. Many of the showgirls lived on the property and formed close bonds with each other and with regular guests. The Tropicana's legacy also extends beyond its physical walls. The hotel's influence can be seen in the many themed resorts that have come and gone in Las Vegas over the years. The Tropicana's success demonstrated the power of theming and immersive experiences in attracting tourists and creating a unique brand identity. The hotel's Polynesian theme, while perhaps dated by today's standards, was a groundbreaking concept in the 1950s and paved the way for other iconic Las Vegas properties like the Mirage and the Luxor. As Las Vegas continues to evolve and reinvent itself, it is important to remember the pioneers like the Tropicana that helped shape the city's identity. The hotel's story is a reminder that even in a city built on change and impermanence, some things endure. The Tropicana's legacy of entertainment, luxury, and escape will forever be a part of Las Vegas history, even as the city moves forward into a new era. In the end, the Tropicana's closure is a bittersweet moment for Las Vegas. While the loss of such an iconic property is undoubtedly sad, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the city's rich history and the role that hotels like the Tropicana played in shaping it. The Tropicana may be gone, but its spirit will live on in the memories of those who experienced its magic, and in the enduring allure of Las Vegas itself. As the Tropicana's final curtain falls, we bid farewell to a true Las Vegas icon. The hotel's legacy will forever be a part of the city's story, a testament to the power of entertainment, the allure of escape, and the enduring appeal of the desert oasis that is Las Vegas. While the future may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the Tropicana's place in Las Vegas history is secure, and its memory will continue to inspire and captivate for generations to come. Thanks for listening to Quiet Please. Remember to like and share wherever you get your podcasts.