People scoffed when Mobster Bugsy Siegel said he wanted to open a luxury resort in the middle of the Nevada desert, a full 7 miles from downtown Las Vegas. When the $6-million Flamingo Hotel and Casino opened in 1946, Siegel billed it as the world’s most luxurious and set out to attract the rich and famous. To set the tone, Siegel focused on first-class pampering; he decked out every employee — from janitor to dealer — in tuxedos, spared no expense on furnishings and created the VIP section for special guests.
The hotel first featured 105 guest rooms, and a luxurious array of activities and services, including a casino, health club, gym, steam rooms, horse stable, swimming pool, tennis courts, handball courts, a 9-hole golf course and a trapshooting range. It wasn’t long before Siegel’s dream was realized (although he died before the hotel blossomed to its full glory) and the nation’s elite were flocking to the Flamingo. The hotel has since undergone significant renovation, including the addition of several towers that brought the room total to 3,626.
Main Attraction: Nostalgia for Las Vegas the way it used to be.
Ideal For: Seniors and couples
Dining Options: There’s no shortage of dining options here, from Italian at Alta Villa, to beef and seafood at Conrad’s Steakhouse, to Hamada’s Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, to Chinese food at Peking Market and more.
Accommodations: The Flamingo has 3,626 rooms, including 150 mini-suites and 6 super-suites.
Fascinating Fact: Facing a $5 million cost overrun for the construction of the hotel, Siegel was so concerned that his mob counterparts would attempt to kill him that he had secret escape doors built into his suite at the Flamingo.
Claim to Fame: Mobster Bugsy Siegel opened this hotel in 1946.
Activities: The Flamingo features a 15-acre swimming area, including a waterslide and palm trees galore. The hotel’s Wildlife Habitat features African penguins and, of course, Chilean flamingos, along with other exotic birds and fish.