Stardust Las Vegas History

Stardust Hotel Vegas

Stardust Hotel Vegas

Vegas Interactive Map

Stardust Hotel at Night

Stardust Hotel at Night

Design of Stardust

The Design of Stardust Las Vegas

The Stardust's Super-Market Style parking lot design abandoned the more elegant front lawns and curved entry-ways used at earlier casinos. It would be seven years before the Stardust built a porte cochere.

The Stardust Hotel in Vegas contentrated on providing a top-of-the-line gambling experience at low discount prices. They waited 6-7 years before any major expansion or remodeling (1958-64, and 65).

They waited another 12 years before their second remodel in 1977, another in 1984 and finally in 1991 when they built the new, 32 story, red & blue neon-striped, hotel tower (two years after the Mirage opened) in 1989.

The circular entryway was placed against the north wall of the Royal Nevada building and part of the former site of Aku-Aku. The 1965 facade was removed and space was made for a fountain-plaza.

Prices at the Stardust

Prices at the Stardust Hotel in Vegas

The founder of the Stardust Las Vegas, Tony Cornero, 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 and the Dunes.

Room prices at the newly opened Stardust were $5 per day. The casino also gave their guests $5 in free gambling play.

This low-priced concept is what made the Stardust such a quick success.

In 1958, the US minimum wage was $1 per hour. A pound of bread was 19 cents, bacon was 79 cents and potatoes were 69 cents per pound. This meant that the Stardust offered rooms that, today, would only cost about $35-40.

Images of the Stardust

The satellite image below shows the entire 2006 Stardust Hotel complex. Compare the view below to the one below that to see the Stardust's changes over the years.

The 'red line' shows the original slanted edge of the casino which can be seen on the other image as well. The 'red star' shows the location of the first porte cohere. This was the main front entry from 1965-1991.

The 'blue star' shows the original Royal Nevada structure, which was built in 1955 and remained intact for 51 years - being incorporated into the complex since 1958 - though one room wing was removed to provide better walkways through the complex. The 'yellow star' shows the location of the 1960 Aku Aku building. This area, shown below, was modified in 1991 and turned into the Stardust's final porte cochere: see 'green star'.

The edge of the Royal Nevada can still be seen as part of the circular driveway entrance. The original 'Big Dipper Swimming Pool' (once located above and to the right of the 'yellow star') was removed and used for casino space. The Royal Nevada pool was slightly modified also.

Early Vegas Travel Info
  Hotel Info Nightly Rate*
1.

Region: South Strip, Strip

Mandalay Bay
4

The impressive Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino offers a world of possibilities in one of the most all-inclusive, luxurious resorts in Las Vegas. The giant complex truly offers something for everybody, from the 11-acre pool...

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Business Center Room Service Restaurants Free Internet Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$173*



2.

Region: Off-Strip

Palms
4

The Palms Resort is one of the best party hotels in Las Vegas. Droves of trend-setters set out to stay at the hotel and experience upscale dining, nightlife and entertainment that is ammassed at the Palms. If you want to...

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Business Center Room Service Restaurants Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$119*



3.

Region: Strip

ARIA
5

One of the freshest faces on the Strip belongs to the Aria, a curvillinear wonder in the heart of CityCenter. With state-of-the-art guest rooms and an earth friendly philosophy, the Aria Resort and Casino stands alone in...

View for this hotel -
Business Center Room Service Restaurants Free Internet Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$279 you pay $279*



4.

Region: Strip

MGM Grand
4

Surprises await around every corner for visitors to the massive MGM Grand. Excellent attractions and the hottest pool party in the city, Wet Republic, make for an exciting and unique visit to one of the largest hotels on...

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Business Center Room Service Restaurants Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$218*



5.

Region: Off-Strip, Strip

The Signature Las Vegas
4

Providing luxury accommodations, The Signature at MGM Grand perfect for families. The rooms feature a fully-equipped kitchen and a spacious bathroom with a jetted tub. While The Signature is a non-gambling, non-smoking...

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Business Center Room Service Restaurants Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$198 you pay $197*



6.

Region: Henderson, Off-Strip, Southeast

Green Valley Ranch
4

Green Valley Ranch Resort is ideal for a spa weekend getaway. After indulging in a Seaweed Detox Wrap at the on-site spa, guests can retreat to their deluxe rooms with beds featuring highend Frette linens.


View for this hotel -
Business Center Room Service Restaurants Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$93*



7.

Region: North Strip, Strip

Circus Circus
3

For family-friendly fun for your Las Vegas vacation, the Circus Circus offers more entertainment options than any other hotel on the Strip. From the world's largest permanent circus to Adventuredom, a huge indoor theme...

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Room Service Restaurants Fitness Room Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$96 you pay $57*



8.

Region: South Strip, Strip

NY NY
4

Transport yourself from the Nevada desert to the heart of Manhattan at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. The unmistakable facade features replicas of the Big Apple's brightest stars including the Statue of Liberty...

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Rates starting at
$150 you pay $150*



9.

Region: Strip

Bellagio
5

Besides the world famous fountain show happening in front of the hotel, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino offers a world of possibilites inside its doors as well. From the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art to the stunning Cirque...

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Business Center Room Service Restaurants Free Internet Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$279*



10.

Region: Strip

Monte Carlo
4

The French-Riviera inspired Monte Carlo Resort and Casino attracts guests looking to escape into a world of class and luxury, with fine dining, a high stakes casino and a strong line-up of Las Vegas headliners. The...

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Business Center Room Service Restaurants Free Internet Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$144*



11.

Region: Off-Strip

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
4

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations for vacationers looking to party. A meal at their excellent restaurant Nobu is a great starting point for an unforgettable even in their...

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Room Service Restaurants Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$154*



12.

Region:

Caesars Palace
4

Caesars Palace Resort and Casino is a leader in Las Vegas luxury and entertainment. You will be hard pressed to find a better line-up of excellent restaurants, headliner performers like Cher and Elton John and beautifully...
Business Center Room Service Restaurants Free Internet Fitness Room Concierge Service Swimming Pool

Rates starting at
$234*



Stardust Las Vegas Hotel and Casino - Architectural Hist

Early Vegas Copyright Information
Stardust Implosion - Las Vegas - March 13 2007






The left photo (from 1960) shows the Stardust's facade with the globe placed in center. Right photo shows the 1965 Stardust facade, the roof-mounted globe on a pedestal and the first covered driveway (porte cochere). This first porte cochere remained until 1991 when the (more remembered) circular entry way was built 70 yards further south.


This photo shows the 1965 remodeling of the facade, the first covered driveway and the new 188 foot high roadsign. Compare this photo to the 1977 photo below to see the remodeling changes.


1977 view shows the remodeled Stardust facade and its second porte cochere. The Stardust's final porte cochere was built 70 yards south (left) - directly in line with the roadsign (in 1991) - making the entryway closer to the new 32 floor tower.


This satellite view shows the entire 2006 Stardust Hotel complex. Compare this view to the one below to see the Stardust's changes over the years. There is a detailed description about the differences of the two in the 'Images of the Stardust' box above.


The Stardust's most remembered entrance is the one built in 1991, which was placed about 70 yards south of the original entance. The 'yellow curved arrow' shows where the 1991 entrance was placed. The 'blue line' shows the location of the 1991 front entry doors. The 'yellow line' shows where the 1965 facade was extended to. In 1991, the facade was removed and set back to its original area (indicated by the 'white line'). The 'green star' area (in 1991) became the Stardust's plaza-style walkway with 'squirting fountains'.


The Aku Aku Polynesian Restaurant.


The Aku Aku restaurant and its 1961 roadsign. In 1965, the 188 foot Stardust sign was erected almost in the exact location where the Aku Aku sign is seen.


1965 view of Stardust's new roadsign and facade remodeling. The sign replaced the earlier Aku sign and the facade was extended and made parallel to the Strip. The prior 45 degree slant was covered, while the new facade also hid the Aku building, for a time, until its demolition. The former 45 degree slant remained integral to the Stardust's interior layout and the 1991, 32 floor room-tower used the same slant (as seen in the Google satellite image above).


Stardust 1958. Factoid: The huge Stardust Drive-In Theater operated in the back part of the property (SW corner) near where Budget Suites and the Can-Can room are now located.


Stardust 1964. Showing the new 9 story room-tower.




Looking south down the Strip from the Stardust. 1967. The Stardust was the last casino built on the Strip in the 1950s. In 1964, Sands and the Dunes built new room-towers. In 1966 the Aladdin and Caesars Palace opened as the first new casinos in eight years.


Stardust 1980.


1980 evening view looking north towards the Stardust. The old Desert Inn Tower is seen on right. Now the Wynn Encore site.


1980 night view looking towards the Stardust. The area, on the right -from Colonial House to the Desert Inn - is now the site of Wynn Vegas. Vegas World is now the location for the Stratosphere. The Silverbird, Silver City & Silver Slipper would later be torn down. The Stardust is being replaced by Echelon Place.

Stardust 2006

From the Stardust to the Stratosphere. The view from the Wynn Las Vegas Encore.


The Northern Las Vegas Strip. At one time the Stardust sign was the tallest structure on LV Blvd.

The Stardust Founder - Tony Cornero

Tony Cornero 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 LV Strip's future El Rancho 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 the originator of the elegant 'supper-club gambling entertainment hotel complex' in Nevada.


The Meadows Casino. Opened May 2, 1931 (by Tony Cornero & Brothers) on the road to Boulder Dam. Designed by Paul Wagner, in a moorish style, it provided 50 guest rooms and dining, dancing and entertainment in its Red Room and Gold Room. Shows were held nightly at 8 and 10 PM with 1:30 AM shows on the weekends. The ballroom, Gold Room and restaurant were on the left side of the building and behind the arches (on right) was the gaming area. Opening 10 months before the Apache Hotel, the Meadows was the town's most elegant casino-showplace. The Meadows went thru a fire in September 1931 and the Corneros turned the re-built casino over to H.H. Switzer (the former Goldfield gambler) and Frank Miller, and left Las Vegas for awhile. When the construction of Boulder Dam ended, in 1935, workers moved back Las Vegas and the Meadows no longer had such a well-paid work-force of regular gambling customers again. It closed down in 1936.


The Meadows raised the standard of gaming to a state-of-the-art level, far beyond that of his neighbors: The Red Windmill & Black Cat Roadhouses on Boulder Highway - 1931.


The (saw-dust floored) Black Cat Roadhouse Casino on Boulder Highway - 1931.


During the late 1930s, Tony Cornero operated a luxury gambling boat off the coast of Southern California. New off-shore gambling regulations were enacted which caused him to close his California operations and head back to Las Vegas. Cornero then leased the bottom floor, of the Apache Hotel, and re-opened his land-based gambling boat 'The S.S. Rex' on Fremont Street in 1944. This site later became the location for the El Dorado Club and then Binion's Horseshoe.


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 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.


Room prices at the newly opened Stardust were $5 per day. The casino also gave their guests $5 in free gambling play. This low-priced concept is what made the Stardust such a quick success. In 1958, the US minimum wage was $1 per hour. A pound of bread was 19 cents, bacon was 79 cents and potatoes were 69 cents per pound. This meant that the Stardust offered rooms that, today, would only cost about $35-40.

Stardust South - The Royal Nevada

"The Showplace of Showtown" 1955 Royal Nevada Ad Slogan.


The construction of Royal Nevada began on Dec. 1 1953. Designed by Paul Williams, in his 'Hollywood Modern' style, this Luxury-Motel opened on April 25, 1955. Just two days later, its neighbor (the Riviera) would also open its new nine story hotel.


Key elements of the Royal Nevada's design offerings were its front mounted fountain of curved neon tubing, the crown roadsign and roof mounted crown. The inside attractions were its 'Dancing Waters' fountain show, its Luau Room, Palm Room and Caberet Room. Under Stardust's ownership it was known for its Plantation Room & Moby Dick restaurant.


Royal Nevada's Grand Opening Celebration. April 19, 1955. Opening 15 days after the New Frontier, two days before the Riviera and 34 days before the Dunes - the Royal was part of the mid-fifties casino construction boom, on the Strip.


A tourist in 1955 Las vegas would have four new Strip casinos to see, plus the 8 already established. * El Rancho 1941
* Last Frontier 1942
* Flamingo 1946
* Thunderbird 1948

* Desert Inn 1950
* Silver Slipper 1950
* Sahara 1952
* Sands 1952
----------
* New Frontier 1955
* Royal Nevada 1955
* Riviera 1955
* Dunes 1955
-----------
Plus 3 Upcoming Casinos.
-----------
+ Hacienda 1956
+ Tropicana 1957
+ Stardust 1958


The 1955 'Royal Nevada'. Became the 'Stardust South' in 1958.




Royal Nevada 1955 - 58. Over 250,000 drinks served.


The Royal Nevada pool was used by RN guests for 3 years and by Stardust guests for another 48 years.


Eastward view of the RN Pool. Stardust used the pool and room suites exclusively to house highrollers & showgirls. Truly a unique combination of residents.


View of the Royal Nevada's front entrance - showing part of its neon fountain with its gold-plated bowls.