Caesars Palace

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Caesars Palace
Number of rooms 3,349
Theme Roman Empire
Gaming space 166,000ft² (15,442 m²)
Permanent show(s) Céline Dion: A New Day
Signature attraction(s) Forum Shops
Notable restaurant(s) Restaurant Guy Savoy
Bradley Ogden
Empress Court
Mesa Grill
Owner Harrah's Entertainment
Date opened August 5, 1966
Casino type Land-Based
Major renovation(s) 1974, 1979, 1992, 2001, 2005
Previous name(s) none
Casino website Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. Caesars Palace is owned and operated by Harrah's Entertainment. Caesars is located on the west side of the Strip, between the Bellagio and the Mirage.

Caesars has 3,349 rooms [1] in five towers: Augustus, Centurion, Forum, Palace, and Roman. The Forum tower features guest suites with 1,000 square feet of space.


[edit] History

In 1962, Jay Sarno, a cabana motel owner, used ten million dollars that had been lent to him by the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund to begin plans for a hotel on land owned by Kirk Kerkorian. Sarno would later act as designer of the hotel he planned to construct.

Building of the 14-story Caesars Palace hotel began in 1962. That first tower would have 680 rooms on the 34 acre (138,000 m²) site.

Sarno struggled to decide on a name for the hotel. He finally decided to call it Caesars Palace because he thought that the name Caesar would evoke thoughts of royalty because of Roman general Julius Caesar. Sarno felt that guests should feel they were at a king's home while at his hotel. It is called "Caesars" and not "Caesar's" because every guest is a Caesar.

Sarno contracted many companies to build the hotel, from the Roman landscapes it presents, to the water fountains that have been stages of various events and the hotel's swimming pools.

Rear of Caesars Palace
Rear of Caesars Palace
An interior view of the Forum Shops at Caesars
An interior view of the Forum Shops at Caesars

On August 5, 1966, the hotel was inaugurated, with Andy Williams and Phil Richards providing entertainment; they both played Julius Caesar at a play that night. Two days later, Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat and flamenco guitarist Charo became the first couple to marry in the new establishment.

Soon after the hotel's opening, Sarno bought the land from Kerkorian for $5 million USD.

On December 31, 1967, Evel Knievel unsuccessfully tried to jump the hotel's water fountain with his motorcycle.

On July 15, 1969, executives lay ground on an expansion area of the hotel, and they buried a time capsule in the area, but the time capsule was stolen days later.

In 1973, the Del Webb company was contracted to build a 16-story building adjacent to the Palace. That project was finished in 1974.

Many top performers, such as Liberace, George Burns, Diana Ross, Cher, Julio Iglesias, Judy Garland, David Copperfield, Gloria Estefan, and most notably Frank Sinatra have performed at the hotel.

[edit] 1980s

In 1980, Gary Wells gained much media coverage, and much physical suffering, when he unsuccessfully tried to jump a motorcycle over a water fountain at the Caesars Palace. He sustained injuries to many different parts of his body.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix car race (a Formula One World Championship event) was held at Caesars in 1981 and 1982. When Watkins Glen race course went off the schedule after 1980, Formula 1 continued to look west and put an event in Las Vegas for the 1981 campaign. The new race ended the year, whereas Long Beach started it, but it was not popular among the drivers, primarily because of the desert heat. The track was laid out in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace hotel and was surprisingly well set up for a temporary circuit: wide enough for overtaking, it provided ample run-off areas filled with sand, and had a surface that was as smooth as glass. Its counter-clockwise direction, however, put a tremendous strain on the drivers' necks. When Nelson Piquet clinched his first World Championship by finishing fifth in 1981, it took him fifteen minutes to recover from heat exhaustion after barely making it to the finish. The 1982 race was won by Michele Alboreto in a Tyrrell, but that was the end of Formula One racing in Las Vegas since the races had drawn only tiny crowds.

By the 1980s, Caesars Palace had become a boxing and gambling Mecca. Joe Louis, the former world Heavyweight champion boxer, worked at Caesars Palace as a greeter until his death in 1981. A statue of him would be erected soon after inside the hotel. Another professional boxer, South Korean Duk Koo Kim, went 14 rounds with Ray Mancini at the Palace in 1982, then collapsed in a coma and died. As a result, the number of rounds in a boxing title match was reduced to 12. Fights were (and still are) particularly beneficial to the casino, with high-rolling boxing fans hitting the gaming tables and slot machines before and after bouts, as well as wagering large sums at Caesars' large sports book. Among Caesars Palace's most famous fights were The Battle of the Little Giants, the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns fights, the Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney battle, the fight between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns known as The War, the fight in which Mike Tyson became world heavyweight champion by knocking out Trevor Berbick and the fight between Leonard and Hagler. Most boxing fights were held in the hotel's parking lot. Extra security measurements had to be taken for the fight between Holmes and Cooney, as both the KKK and black groups had threatened to shoot the boxers before the fight began; there were police snipers on the roof of Caesars Palace and adjacent hotels on the fight night.

During the 1980s, the hotel opened an Atari game room that had over 60 Atari video game arcade machines.

In 1989, Robbie Knievel successfully completed what his father could not do years before by completing the fountain jump.

[edit] 1990s

An entrance to Caesars Palace with a statue of Caesar greeting the guest
An entrance to Caesars Palace with a statue of Caesar greeting the guest

The hotel's management wanted it to have a new, family-oriented atmosphere as the 1990s approached, a trend mirrored by many of the big Las Vegas resorts. This move was not strange to Las Vegas hotel owners, as most hotels there were planning to modernize anyway by adding more children features and making Las Vegas hotels seem more family friendly and less gambler oriented. As a consequence, big time boxing was one of the first things to leave Caesars Palace.

In 1992, The Forum Shops at Caesars opened; it was one of the very first venues in the city where shopping, particularly at high-end stores, was an attraction in itself. The fourth phase opened on October 22, 2004. It now has the 2nd built circular escalator in the USA. The other one is at the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

WrestleMania IX, one of the annual World Wrestling Federation spectacles promoted by Vince McMahon, was held here in 1993. The theme was "The World's Largest Toga Party".

In 1994, the NBC game show Caesars Challenge was taped here.

In the summer of 1996, a $40+ million dollar venue opened known as "Caesar's Magical Empire", showcasing major magicians such as Whit Haydn, Jon Armstrong, Jeff "Magnus" McBride and Lee Asher in a dinner theater. The show was profitable, but was eventually closed on November 30, 2002 to make room for Celine Dion's new venue.[1]

Over the years, the hotel has been owned by various companies, including Sheraton and The Hilton International Corporation. Caesars Entertainment (originally known as Park Place Entertainment) bought the property in 1999 before it merged with Harrah's in 2005. That year, Caesars Palace was affected by a large flood.

[edit] 2000s

Caesars has opened the Roman Plaza, an open-air area with a cafe on the corner, and the Colosseum theater, where Céline Dion (A New Day...) and Elton John (The Red Piano) are regular performers. The Colosseum was specifically built for Dion's show, A New Day..., a spectacular produced by former Cirque du Soleil director Franco Dragone. Dion's show was also notable for having some of the highest ticket prices for any show in the city, with seats as high as $200 each; nonetheless, the show regularly sells out.[2]

On October 2, 2004, big-time boxing returned to the Palace, as Jeff Lacy, a former Olympic boxer, knocked out Syd Vanderpool in eight rounds in a fight between super-middleweight world title challengers that was televised on Showtime.

Caesars Palace opened the Augustus Tower in August 2005. It stands 46 floors high and is perpendicular to the Strip.

In 2005, Harrah's Entertainment acquired Caesars Entertainment and became the owner of Caesars Palace.

On May 4, 2006, Mike Metzger became the first person to ever backflip on a motorcycle over the fountains.

[edit] Future

Caesars Palace playing cards feature Julius Caesar as the King of Hearts and Cleopatra as the Queen of Spades.
Caesars Palace playing cards feature Julius Caesar as the King of Hearts and Cleopatra as the Queen of Spades.

With the success of the Augustus Tower, Harrah's Entertainment is planning a $1 billion expansion and upgrade to the famed resort. The expansion will include another hotel tower and a sports complex replacing the events center.

New features include:

  • A new 29-story, 1,017-room hotel tower adjacent to the Palace Tower, which will frame the pool area at the back of the property along with an extension of the existing Convention Center.
  • An additional 37,000 sq. ft. of casino space and about 110,000 sq. ft. of added retail and restaurants will cover the area closest to the strip replacing the new outdoor Roman Plaza.
  • A “pedestrian promenade", with several decorative fountains surrounded by landscaping which will guide strip-walkers into Caesar's domain. Underneath the promenade, Caesars will excavate a parking garage, with 389 valet-parking spaces. The timeline for construction was disclosed.

In May 2006, it was announced that Cher will replace Celine Dion in an exclusive stage production and residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas once Dion's present contract expires. Cher's show will debut in early 2008.

[edit] Film history

  • In the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Caesars Palace appears in the fictional city of Las Venturas, but with the name Caligula's Palace The Casino is a major part of the game's plot, in which the main character must pull off a robbery heist on the casino, which is run by the mafia.
  • A&E had a reality show called Caesars 24/7 showing behind the scenes at Caesars. The jobs highlighted by the show ranged from security and concierge to "The Grape Goddess" and "Shadow Dancers." Many visitors were documented as well. The show ran for two seasons.

[edit] Amenities and entertainment

Caesars offers additional attractions including:

[edit] The Pussycat Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls Nightclub, a 36,000 sq ft. nightclub.

In February of 2006, a section of the casino was themed to match the Pussycat Dolls Nightclub[3] and is called the Pussycat Dolls Casino.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Las Vegas Review-Journal
  2. ^
  3. ^ Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 6, 2007, Page E1

[edit] See also

Preceded by
Hoosier Dome
Host of WrestleMania IX
Succeeded by
Madison Square Garden

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 36°06′58″N, 115°10′21″W