When the Luxor opened on October 15, 1993 the striking pyramid structure was the tallest building in Las Vegas. The pyramid could be seen for miles and made the other hotels on the Strip look small in comparison. This was a time when the development of casinos in Las Vegas relied on themes to differentiate themselves from one another. The Steve Wynn hotel, Treasure Island, was based on a pirate theme and second incarnation of MGM Grand (the original MGM Grand was what is now known as Bally’s) was all about the movies, complete with a yellow brick road directing visitors through the center of the casino floor.
The Luxor, as the name suggests, relied on the ancient Egypt theme to tantalize it’s guests. The replica of the Sphinx in front of the hotel, which also doubles as the porte-cochere, greets visitors upon arrival. At one time there was even a Nile River ride, similar to what you might find in Epcot Center at Disneyworld. The Luxor may not have been considered one of the seven wonders of the world, but at the time it was definitely considered the wonder of Las Vegas.
Times and taste change very fast in Las Vegas and today the Luxor is going through a transformation that promises to bring a more contemporary flavor and erase any sign that the hotel and casino are 18 years old. This transformation began in 2006, with the refurbishment of the West Tower rooms, and will continue through 2008. All 4,047 rooms will be refurbished by the time the renovation is complete.
Gone is the RA Nightclub. RA was one of the first mega-nightclubs in Las Vegas. The Luxor is now home to the LAX Nightclub, a branch of the Los Angeles hot spot. LAX is a modern state-of-the-art nightclub covering two-stories and 26,000 square feet. Since the club was opened in August 2007 it has developed a reputation for being a celebrity hangout. There is also Noir Bar, a private reservation required bar located within the nightclub. An adjoining bistro will be opening soon so you can eat, drink and play in a singular destination.
Although the Nile River ride is no longer, the Luxor still has many entertainment offerings. The comedian Carrot Top offers his unique and somewhat twisted form of entertainment 6-nights a week. The adults-only revue, Fantasy, offers singing, dancing and of course, topless girls. Something the whole family can enjoy is the ventriloquist Ronn Lucas and his puppets who perform afternoon shows 6-days a week. In 2008 the Luxor will be home to yet another Cirque du Soleil production on the Las Vegas Strip. This production will be a collaboration with magician Criss Angel and will be housed in the theater formerly occupied by the Blue Man Group.
The Luxor’s parent company, MGM MIRAGE is spending $ 300 million dollars in an effort to bring the hotel in line with the newer resorts and casinos on the Strip, which was very much needed. As the transformation continues there will surely be new restaurants added, new bars and nightclubs and new entertainment options. And as the ancient Egypt theme slowly disappears during this renovation, it is beginning to look like the only reference to the old Luxor that will remain is it’s signature 30-story pyramid tower.
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