Layout of the Stardust Hotel in Vegas
Stardust Las Vegas Hotel opened at noon on July 2, 1958 with its planetary-galatic theme, and ended up closing at noon on November 1, 2006.
The wide view picture of the Stardust at the bottom of the page shows its 1,000 rooms, lined up in five wing rows. The Aku Aku polynesian restaurant is seen in the middle and the 1955 Royal Nevada casino is seen at left.
The Royal Nevada Hotel was eventually purchased by the Stardust and became the Stardust Auditorium. An elevated walkway can be seen bridging the Stardust and the Royal Nevada. The Stardust Hotel in Vegas later extended its front to the end of the Royal Nevada location, while keeping the exact same pool and room wings until the day it closed.
The well known 1991 'half-circle entrance' of the Stardust was later located partly where the Aku Aku Restaurant sat and on the road to its left. The road became the pedestrian entry path into the hotel in 1991. The angled edge of the Royal Nevada building was incorporated into the front entrance.
The Stardust Founder - Tony Cornero
Tony Cornero, the founder of the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, was one of Las Vegas' most influential people. When gambling was legalized, in 1931, Cornero was among the first to open a casino. Except, instead of building downtown he chose to build on the Fremont Street Strip of road, that carried Boulder Dam traffic.
While downtown offered a grouped batch of pedestrian casinos (zoned to Main & Fifth) Cornero built out of the city limits at Fremont and Charleston and was the first casino owner to use roadside architecture to lure his mobile customers into his hotel-casino complex.
This 'roadside casino-hotel' concept was an idea 10 years ahead of the Las Vegas Strip's future El Rancho Las Vegas and 15 years ahead of the Flamingo's sophisticated approach.
Tony Cornero was the first to bring a new level of nightlife to Las Vegas . He presented a glamorized style of gaming not then found in the Las Vegas. Cornero was also the originator of the elegant 'supper-club gambling entertainment hotel complex' in Nevada.
Tony Cornero's Vision for the Stardust
Tony Cornero, like his good friend Billy Wilkerson (founder of the Flamingo) understood the potential of profiting from Las Vegas' gaming future. In the early fifties he developed a concept of providing a 'discount styled casino' geared towards attracting mid-income tourists who couldn't afford the higher prices of casinos like the Desert Inn Las Vegas Hotel and the Dunes.
In 1954, Cornero set to work on building his Super Motel...the biggest in the world with over 1,000 rooms.
His new casino (set to be named the 'Starlite') was nearly 70% completed when Cornero ran out of money in 1955. He died on July 31, 1955 (of a heart attack) at a craps table at the Desert Inn. His unfinished casino sat empty for two years until it was taken over by John Factor (brother of Max Factor the 'cosmetics mogul'). John Factor finished Cornero's dream and the Stardust opened in 1958.