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A Legend Rides into the Sunset

This month’s first travel blog looks west, again, at Las Vegas where the historic Riviera Hotel & Casino closed its doors on Monday, May 4th, 2015.

The Riviera is an icon—it was the first high-rise resort when it opened 60 years ago. It hosted all the best acts: Liberace, Elvis, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis Jr., Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, Barbra Streisand, and Orson Wells.

Over the years many owners struggled with bankruptcy and other financial difficulties. As a part of the waning north Strip, The Riviera couldn’t compete with the newer, flashier-themed like the Mirage and the Bellagio.

The Riviera’s 1,300 employees worked their last shifts Sunday and Monday amid throngs of curiosity-seekers crowding the casino for one last glimpse of an old-Vegas landmark. Shortly after noon, security guards began herding people to the exits, and the hotel’s website was pulled down.

The hotel-casino now joins the Dunes, the Sands, the Sahara, the Aladdin and other departed resorts from a bygone Strip era.

The 26 acres of land was purchased at $182.5 million dollars and will be turned into a convention center complex. There is no time-line yet on demolition, however a liquidation sale will begin on May 14th.