Home » VT News » Las Vegas Hilton: The End of An Era

Las Vegas Hilton: The End of An Era

By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 20th June 2012 5:11pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 11


It may not be the original name of the property, but the Las Vegas Hilton has enough years under its belt to warrant the shedding of at least a thimbleful of tears as the name fades off into the Las Vegas sunset.

Shortly after I moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990's, my cousins started bringing me to Vegas with them. They'd put me up in a room and feed me if I agreed to be the designated driver to, from and around town. For five trips in a row, we stayed at the Hilton. Between these trips and my customary pre-departure meal and Warp Core Breach at Quarks Bar, the Hilton had become a second home for me in Las Vegas.

Eventually, the trips with my cousins stopped and the Star Trek Experience sent boldly into mothballs at a Paramount Pictures storage facility, leaving zero reasons why I would go to the Hilton.

Seeing the way the former Hilton, now LVH property has been engulfed in a sea of debt, lawsuits and lost branding, I doubt I'm the only one who stopped showing up.

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH

Walking through the LVH, it doesn't look a helluva lot different than it used to. Same glimmery crystal ceiling, flowing light from the porte cochere, Elvis statue, same casino layout, brass and marble looking as polished and clean as it ever was.

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH

The major differences? The iconic Las Vegas Hilton logo has been stripped from the marquee, the curved precipice of the hotel's gentle arc and spine are now laid bare with white paint and Elvis has literally left the building - don't worry, he's just outside the lobby (why not in the middle of the casino, surrounded by Elvis slot machines?!?) On the surface, things took fine, however an analysis of their service level and grading their hotellerie will have to wait for a later excursion.

So what happened? The recession? Bad debt covenants? Mismanagement by Colony Capital? The marketing change from classy off strip elegance to hard sell bargain palace, particularly the ram rod operating their Twitter? I'll let the experts chime in on the business end, but as far as bones go, the old Hilton is solid.

The LVH is fruit ripe on the vine... perfect for the picking by a savvy operator with ideas, experience and capital to make it happen. Goldman Sachs, holders of the debt notes, want to foreclose. Other operators are swooping in kicking the tires and doing loads of due diligence. It is only a matter of time, not years but months, before the third shoe finally drops and LVH gets a new owner, a new lease on life and another new name.

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH Chips

In the mean time, for all you knuckleheads who have been squirreling away those chocolate Hilton chips, you've got until July 15, 2012 to exchange them for LVH chips or cash. Oh, and for all you knuckleheads who have been squirreling away those chocolate LVH chips, you've probably got until July 15, 2013 to exchange them for cash or rebranded chips to be named later.

Las Vegas Hilton / LVH Chips

Tagged: las vegas hilton   lvh   casino chips   elvis   


Comments & Discussion:

I can't wait to see a solid operator take over this property. With the continued redevelopment of the strip, these older properties that are offstrip and downtown are vital, in my opinion, in continuing to let LV appeal to a broad spectrum of budgets.

The Hilton was my home in Vegas in the '80s, long before Quark's Bar & Star Trek Experience. What a great property it was then. It and Caesars Palace were the high-end properties before Steve Wynn changed the city with The Mirage.

The old Hilton was our second home in Vegas. It was great staying in the East tower because it was so easy to park in the lot and the elevator was practically right inside the door. Practically hassle-free to get from car to room. (However, weekends during the last year became impossible because of the "visitors" to the dance club.) Overall it was a good value and super convenient to get around "off-strip" on Paradise. I do hope the property makes a comeback.

The place has plenty of potential but just needs ownership that can help the place meet that potential. People need a reason to trek off-Strip to the LVH (other than maybe Benihana) and that's what Star Trek: The Experience was there for. Being on the Monorail line is a plus as well.

Hopefully the unfortunate limbo the property is in plays itself out soon and the presumed new ownership affiliated with Goldman Sachs takes over and the place gets a new lease on life and a new name.

One of the first things that they need to do is to implode their entertainment lineup, which reads like a who's who of nomadic shows that seem to drift from property to property (Trent Carlini, Snady Hackett's Rat Pack Show, Nunsense). Occasional appearances by Liza Minelli aren't going to attract folks to the place either. They need to bring in a show that would be completely unique to Las Vegas and generate buzz for the property. One of the founders of Cirque Du Soleil has a company called Cavalia that has two shows, Cavalia and Odyesseo that currently tour that are equestrian-based shows that also feature acrobatic and storytelling elements like you have in Cirque shows. The LVH has underutilized parking lot space in which they could erect the tent and support facilities for a production. Who else is doing a show in Vegas with horses in them other than the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur? I'm sure the guys at Cavalia would like to take on Cirque in Vegas, especially with some of the more recent Cirque productions being less than expected from them.

Did I see Don McLean was performing there? The fact that he is an act that you would book says a lot about the people running the place. The Orleans yes but the Hilton?

I don't think and Vegas joint would benefit much from having a semi-permanent tent attached to the building. Build a real, permanent, show space and we're talkign a whole new ballgame. The hotel is certainly in a great space. Bring back a new and improved, and open to consistant change "Star Trek: The Experience", and you coudl rpint your own damn money. Hell, add an indoor waterpark and you'll be fucking rolling, and fucking, in money.

What are race and sports chips?

With the adjoining convention center, this place is as close to a sure thing as you can get. They just needed to keep the rooms in good enough condition that business travelers would be willing to stay there. They could have literally shut down the casino and just run it as a convention hotel. Too much debt and deferred maintenance. I would love to see Hyatt/Marriott/Starwood come in and spend $500 million rennovating the entire property.

@weatherman11 A semi permanent tent venue seems to be doing quite well for Caesars Palace, as Absinthe was given a second run and that run is likely to be extended past October. Even Monte Carlo just erected one for The Jabbawockeez for the last few months of their run at Monte Carlo until they move their show to Luxor (They're moving there as the result of Blue Man Group moving to Monte Carlo.).

I liked it back when it was the Whyte House in james Bond's movie :)

@vespa Ahh, ok. Fair enough. I still say it would look ugly as sin.

I remember seeing James Brown playing bjack there years ago. The rooms weren't too shabby either for the price the few times I stayed there.

Comments Are Closed

Subscribe via RSS

Recent Comments:

michigan2010 posted: "MGM equals cookie cutter casino. No to reason to step foot in Bellagio again. Just hope they don't screw up..."
» Sayonara Bellagio Table Game Canopies...
saharalv posted: "I wish the editors were the entire electoral college in 2016...."
» Introducing the Trippies Class of...
fatbastard posted: "So many people letting a billionaire live rent free in their heads. Funny. Too bad it also detracts from the..."
» Introducing the Trippies Class of...
wpsteel66 posted: "Total bummer…talk about taking the class and uniqueness away from the Bellagio…another smart move on CEO Jim and making all..."
» Sayonara Bellagio Table Game Canopies...
damania posted: "Is there a podcast?..."
» Introducing the Trippies Class of...

» More Comments