As the sun sets on the remaining days of Riviera, it’s unofficial title of “the Last Grand Old Dame of Vegas” is quietly drifting eastward across Paradise Road. There, another vintage edifice continues to evolve and change while embracing its historic past. And the more we explore its various facets and offerings, the more photographer Greg C and I continue to be enamored by Westgate Las Vegas.
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort began life as the International Hotel Casino back in 1969, and it rightfully took its place as one of the premiere destinations in the city. Elvis Presley was associated with the property much like Riviera and Sahara shared the Rat Pack. These days, while SLS Las Vegas has scraped away any significant remnants of the Sahara and Riviera is literally crumbling to pieces, Westgate salutes its history with a bigger-than-life statue of Elvis right in the heart of the lobby.
As Greg puts it, “I have to admit I really like how the place looks and feels. It has the nostalgia of the 20th century blended with the hustle of the 21st. Kind of like Caesars on the Strip, they have managed to keep the place going without getting stale and musty”.
You may have caught my two-parter here and here a few months ago during an invited return stay (after a disappointing first visit). A year had passed in the interim, and Westgate‘s management was eager to share their efforts and improvements.
While roaming the property on my own, I noticed the care in the details with which the resort had changed over the logos from “Hilton” and “LVH” (Westgate’s other former names) to the current one. It was evident in the ones laid into the marble flooring, etched into door glass and positioned on directional signs…as if they had been there all along. Brass accents, gold-toned trim, and glass chandeliers had been lovingly restored and polished, too, giving a vibe of “old Vegas” that still looked somehow contemporary.
My three-night stay included a sleepover in the massive and ornate Hollywood Suite, which was stunning. So much so that I requested that our resident photographer Greg C have the opportunity to visit and shoot more of the upper levels. Well, it took awhile for things to come together, but this week we have plenty of Greg’s photos to share with you.
It was Westgate’s Special Events Coordinator Scotty Jones who took Greg on a tour. Their first stop was the four-bedroom Tuscany Suite.
As Greg describes it: “The Tuscany is one of three Sky Villas built on the top level (30th floor), this one atop the east wing. Its decor dates back to the Hilton era. When you go up by elevator, you step out into a rotunda with three doors, one for (each of) the three high roller suites”.
“The Tuscany is the second largest of the villas at 14,500 square feet. It was opened in 1995, and some of the space that it occupies had once been a penthouse that Elvis stayed in back in the 1970’s. It was vastly enlarged in the 90’s”.
The pool view is an interior view as it is completely surrounded by the suite”. Greg C.
You won’t find any of these accommodations on the Westgate Las Vegas reservation website. They are rarely seen by the general public and are reserved for their top-tier guests. But nine other themed “specialty suites” are available…if you feel like living large and have the wallet to back it up. Click here to explore them. They range from a serene Napa Valley decor to the pristine bliss of the Bahamas…and of course, that glitzy Hollywood Suite (below).
Greg will be revisiting Westgate Las Vegas this week to tour the other Sky Villas…and we’ll share those pics soon. No doubt he will be up there visualizing where to place his cameras for the upcoming Riviera implosions. He’s a man on a mission.
In the meantime, enjoy these views he shot from the Westgate’s 30th floor.
Photos: Greg C. for VegasBright, Sammasseur (Hollywood Suite)