Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Dunes Hotel - A Thursday Throwback

                                 Photo Credit : Bari Demers - The Dunes Hotel - 1986 

Happy Thursday Vegas Lovers!  Here's an awesome throwback - The Dunes Hotel.

Who remembers the Dunes Hotel ?   I didn't know it at the time, (when I took this picture) but it has a remarkable colourful historical past. 

The Dunes Hotel opened its doors on May 23, 1955 financed by Al Gottesman and the questionable Mafia controlled Teamsters Union, through the use of its Teamsters Pension Fund. 

Can you imagine Al Gottesman purchased the original property from a rancher for only $58,000?  

Like Vegas today, a grand opening was indeed the start of the Dunes. 
A huge fanfare opening, (referred to as the "Magic Carpet Review"), featuring Hollywood star Vera-Ellen, along with 60 decorated dancers, set the stage for future celebrations in Las Vegas.  

As the biggest resort of its time, famous celebrities performed and stayed at the Dune Hotel. Celebrities like Rita Hayworth and Dick Haymes, Dean Martin, Jayne Mansfield, Liberace, George Burns and of course, Frank Sinatra.   

The marketing slogan was "The Miracle in the Desert" featured a 35 ft tall fibreglass Arabic King known as a sultan, 18 hole golf course, 90 ft rooftop pool with an elite health spa.

Apparently, the business side of the Dunes was shady, due to the Chicago Mafia evolvement, famous for skimming.  But, back then, that was pretty much Vegas. Throughout its existence, the Dunes Hotel had serious financial problems, with even The Sands lending a hand.  Famous lawyer, Morris A. Shenker bought interest stake, but it was soon learned, he too had connections with labor leader Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamster funding in the late 1960's. 

Eventually Howard Hugh's made an offer to buy The Dune Hotel, but after his other investments, he bowed out. 

    Photo Credit :  Bari Demers 1986 

In 1983, it was purchased by Stuart and Clifford Perlman, founders of Caesars World, for $185 million. By November 17, 1992 the Dunes Hotel sold for the last time by Steve Wynn for only $75 million.  A bargain for Mr. Steve Wynn and quite a drop from the previous buy of  $185 million in 1983. 

Within a year, the Mirage Resorts, Inc, closed its doors and demolition of the 32 year old hotel began on October 27, 1993.  Another grand ceremony with fireworks and even cannon blasts from HMS Britannia of Treasure Island (T.I. Resort and Casino).  Unfortunately the colourful neon sign was destroyed. In hind·sight, it would have been nice if they kept that piece of history.  

In its place is the now gracious Bellagio, Las Vegas.

As a typical tourist I took this photo in 1986, never realizing at the time, it's colourful history.  At the time we stayed at The Maxim Hotel, Las Vegas.  If you notice by my photo below, you can see the prices for New York Steak and Prime Rib.  

                         Photo Credit: Bari Demers  - The Maxim Hotel and Casino 1986 

A low price of only $4.95 ! 

A chicken dish went for $3.95 and after 2:00 am, Steak and Eggs for a awesome price of only $2.99. Talk about great prices back then.  Not at all like today, where a buffet or single dinner will cost you between $15.99 - $41.99. 

All I can say to that, " Those were the days!" 

Today, in place of the Maxim Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, is the Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa.

Share your great memories, your recent photos or fun times in Las Vegas with us too.  After all, we are all tourists, just like you! 

Be sure to join us Vegas Lovers on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/Vegasplayfun)  and on Twiiter @vegasreviewsvg 

See YOU in Vegas ! 


#ThrowbackThursday  #Vegas #VegasReviews #Seeyouinvegas 


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