The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is a hotel and casino in Winchester, Nevada. It is owned by Westgate Resorts and operated by Navegante Group. It has 2,956 hotel rooms including 305 suites. It opened in 1969 as the International Hotel, and was known for many years as the Las Vegas Hilton, then briefly as the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. It was renamed the Westgate Las Vegas on July 1, 2014. The hotel is 30 stories tall with a height of 114.30 meter / 375.00 feet. Located on 64 acres (26 ha), it has a 74,000 square feet (6,900 m2) casino and is also home to the largest sports book in Las Vegas. The hotel is located next to the Las Vegas Convention Center and has its own 200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2) convention center, and a station along the Las Vegas Monorail.
The hotel, designed by architect Martin Stern, Jr., was built in 1969 by Kirk Kerkorian and opened originally as the International Hotel. Upon opening, the International was the largest hotel in the world. Barbra Streisand was the opening-night performer, along with Peggy Lee performing afterwards in the hotel's lounge.
On July 31, 1969, immediately following Streisand's engagement, Elvis Presley performed for 58 consecutive sold out shows, breaking all Las Vegas attendance records, (130,157 paying, and ostensibly gambling, customers in the period of one month), with stellar reviews coming from both critics and the public. Elvis broke his own attendance record in February 1970, and again in August 1970 and August 1972. When playing Las Vegas, he lived in the penthouse suite (room 3000), located on the 30th floor, until his last performance there in December 1976. Between 1969 and 1976, Presley performed a total of 837 shows, all to sold out audiences. Elvis was due to perform there again in 1978, to celebrate the opening of the North tower, but the singer died in August 1977. His manager, Colonel Tom Parker, lived in the hotel on the 4th floor from the 1970s to mid-1980s.
The International Hotel was sold to Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1970 and renamed the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971. Liberace headlined in the showroom during the 1970s, drawing sold-out crowds twice per night. When he signed his contract at the Hilton in 1972 he earned $300,000 per week, a record amount for individual entertainers in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Hilton was the site in 1978 where Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship. It was also the site in which Mike Tyson defeated Tony Tucker to unify and become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion in 1986. Also, Donald Curry defeated Milton McCrory at the Las Vegas Hilton to unify and become the Undisputed Welterweight Champion in December 1985.
In 1998, Hilton Hotels Corporation split their properties and stock into two different companies (Hilton gaming, and Hilton Hotels). Shortly after the split, Hilton Gaming Company merged with Bally Entertainment Corporation (owners of Bally's Hotel). The company was renamed Park Place Entertainment. In 2000, Park Place Entertainment purchased Caesars World (All Caesars Casinos). In 2003, Park Place Entertainment changed their name to Caesars Entertainment. In 2004, Caesars Entertainment sold the Las Vegas Hilton to Colony Capital LLC for $280 million. Colony Capital transferred the property to its subsidiary, Resorts International Holdings. The Las Vegas Hilton became Resorts International's anchor property, with their corporate office located on the second floor of the east tower. It changed its name to LVH - Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in 2012.
The east tower was added in 1975 and the north tower was added in 1978.
On the night of February 10, 1981, an arson fire started at the Las Vegas Hilton, which at the time was being retrofitted with modern fire safety equipment. Firefighters, using the knowledge they had learned from the MGM Grand fire, used local television networks to notify people to stay in their rooms and not go out to the halls and stairwells. Because of the lessons learned, only eight people died in this fire compared with the 85 people who died in the MGM Grand fire. Famed singer Natalie Cole was trapped inside the Hilton during the fire, possibly sustaining lung damage from smoke inhalation that was not detected by doctors in 1981. In 1982, Philip Bruce Cline was sentenced to eight life sentences for his role in starting the fire.
The race and sports book was added in 1986 and is the largest in Las Vegas.
In September 1991, the casino hosted the U.S. Navy's Tailhook Association annual meeting. During this gathering, alleged acts of sexual assault by Naval and Marine Corps officers took place in the hotel. The Navy investigated the event; however, the initial accusations stood up and fueled a large scandal receiving wide media attention. Responsibility included the entire chain of command, ultimately affecting the careers of over 300 pilots and 14 admirals, including Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Frank Kelso.
The hotel had what was the largest freestanding sign made mostly of steel in front of the hotel on Paradise Road. The old sign was semicircular in shape, and had three large steel posts close to each other forming a small circle, while three more posts on each side of the three main ones, this time more spaced out, formed the semicircle, also holding up a concrete sign. The old sign, which had been built at a cost of $5 million, was blown down during a major thunderstorm on July 18, 1994. A new $9 million freestanding concrete Hilton sign was built in 1997 at the same location and is the largest freestanding sign in the world. The sign is narrow, and gets wider as it gets higher, forming a fan-type design at the top.
A Hilton Grand Vacations Company timeshare opened on the 59 acres (24 ha) site in 1999.
On June 18, 2004, the property was sold by Caesars Entertainment to Colony Capital for $280 million.
In October 2006, it was reported that the Las Vegas Hilton might be demolished in the subsequent 12–18 months. The claim was immediately refuted by president and CEO Rudy Prieto.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Hilton Worldwide confirmed on June 29, 2011, that it had terminated its franchise license agreement with the Las Vegas Hilton, effective January 1, 2012. Its now-former sister property, the Atlantic City Hilton, already has lost its agreement with Hilton and became ACH Casino Resort.
After suffering from the recession, the Hilton began defaulting on payments to Goldman Sachs on a $252 million loan. Goldman filed for foreclosure in September 2011. Colony responded in October, claiming that Goldman, which owns 40% of the Hilton through its subsidiary, Whitehall, and owns competing resorts including the Stratosphere, was acting in conflict of interest.
In November 2011, it was reported the Las Vegas Hilton would be renamed as the LVH-Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on January 3, 2012, as the contract to use the Hilton brand ended. Like its now-former sister property, ACH Casino Resort, it took on its initials as its new name.
The LVH was sold at a foreclosure auction in October 2012 to the only bidder, a partnership of Goldman Sachs and Gramercy Capital. The Navegante Group was brought in to manage the property. On February 4, 2013 it was announced that LVH would be affiliating with Red Lion Hotels.
Goldman Sachs and Colony sold the resort to Westgate Resorts on June 30, 2014 for between $150 and $170 million. Westgate renamed the resort the Westgate Las Vegas on July 1, 2014. The letters LVH were removed from the sign in front of the hotel that day.
On September 14, 1993, the Vegas version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express show opened. This involved a massive conversion of the theater including pouring concrete ramps into the seating area. When the show closed, the theater was used to film The Oak Ridge Boys Live series for TNN before it was gutted and renovated.
During the summer of 2006, Reba McEntire signed an exclusive engagement performing at the Las Vegas Hilton titled REBA: Key to the Heart. Over five non-consecutive weeks, she performed for the fans traveling to see her for the first time in her career.
Barry Manilow performed his "Ultimate Manilow: the Hits" show at the Las Vegas Hilton. As part of the contract, Manilow occupied one of the three "sky villas" which are three very large penthouse suites that were built in 1994 replacing the original penthouse (room 3000), Elvis's home for 8 years. In February 2007, the Hilton painted Las Vegas' largest mural, of Barry Manilow, on the side of the hotel.
On July 22, 2011, and July 23, 2011, Ethan Bortnick became the youngest Headline performer in Las Vegas. At 10 years old, Ethan made history at the Las Vegas Hilton as the youngest headliner in Las Vegas.
The King Starring Trent Carlini, playing indefinitely. Winner of ABC's The Next Best Thing, Trent Carlini has been the longest running show at the LVH. Trent Carlini opened his show at the LVH (former Hilton) performing from 2000 to 2005. He returned to the hotel in 2010 for a limited engagement and has performed six nights a week since 2011.
The Las Vegas Hilton is one of few western hotels to not suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) by having a 13th floor.
In 2013, the classic rock tribute show Raiding the Rock Vault began playing at the LVH. The cast consists of several actors and musicians, including Paul Shortino, John Payne, Robin McAuley, and Howard Leese. Tracii Guns was a part of the show for its 2013 run, but was replaced in 2014 by Doug Aldrich.
Cameo, the Grammy-nominated funk band, currently headlines the Westgate Cabaret alongside comedian Vinnie Favorito and Sexxy, the long-standing Las Vegas burlesque revue. Purple Reign, the award-winning tribute to Prince, performs in the Westgate International Theater five nights a week.
In January 1998, Star Trek: The Experience opened. The casino added a space-themed casino, Space Quest, complete with high-tech table games. It served as the gateway to The Experience. Sometime prior to the summer of 2007 the casino was redone to largely remove the space theme.
On March 18, 2004, a new Borg Invasion 4-D ride was added.
On September 2008, Star Trek: The Experience closed and was completely dismantled the following January. It was planned to be moved to the Neonopolis mall, but as of 2011 it has not opened, and most props and costumes that were displayed have since been sold. Plans for the relocation have since been abandoned. Despite the closure, several of the "spaceship-style" wall panels in the Hilton installed for the experience are still there. On October 25, 2016 the Miss Grand International 2016 pageant was held in this arena.
Another angle of the Las Vegas Hilton in Winchester, Nevada taken in October 2006