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How the Mirage Revolutionized Everything

One of the most iconic casino resorts in Las Vegas, The Mirage, has long been a favorite of many. Here we’ll examine its intriguing history and how it contributed to making Las Vegas into the global gambling mecca, some myths and legends surrounding this beloved resort, and the future of the property.

In 1989, The Mirage Casino Resort revolutionized Las Vegas and the gaming industry alike. Drawing guests from near and far with its distinctive design, grandiose themes, variety of amenities, and exceptional level of customer service – it set a new standard for integrated casino resorts around the world. Nowadays we see these types of experiences popping up around the globe; yet their roots can all be traced back to this pioneering property that set itself apart back then!

Legends of The Mirage

At a cost of $630 million, The Mirage was the most expensive hotel-casino ever built, at the time. It was also the first hotel-casino to be funded by junk bonds.

Prior to opening, Steve Wynn bought out the name The Mirage from other businesses that were using the name, including from a Las Vegas motel.

One legend associated with The Mirage is its pioneering role as the first casino ever to provide complimentary drinks while gambling! This practice has since become widespread at casinos around the world, but it all began here. Legend has it that a bartender working at the establishment came up with this idea and presented it to Steve Wynn himself who approved of it, thus making this feature part of every player’s experience at The Mirage.

The Mirage was prominently featured in National Lampoon’s feature film, Vegas Vacation. In the movie, Wallace Shawn, of The Princess Bride fame, played a not-too-friendly blackjack dealer who seemed to always deal losing hands for Chevy Chase.

On November 20th, 2003, Michael Jackson was staying at one of the exclusive poolside villas at The Mirage when police raided his Neverland Ranch in California. The story from his manager goes that upon hearing the news, the King of Pop became distraught and destroyed some items in the suite; however, one of his handlers cleaned the room before hotel staff could see the mess that was made. The international media then followed Mr. Jackson intently when he finally left The Mirage and returned to California.

In 2022, The Mirage closed its Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat after the death of some of the dolphins. The Garden had been a staple of The Mirage since 1990 and was beloved by Siegfried & Roy. In fact, Siegfried could be found mingling with The Garden’s guests and delighting them with impromptu magic tricks.

Experience an Innovative Approach to Entertainment

The Mirage pioneered entertainment with its themed theater, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience in Las Vegas. Boasting lavish sets and special effects that allowed for large-scale shows, The Mirage revolutionized how people experienced entertainment at casinos. This concept was completely new at the time and continues to this day.

The Mirage was more than just a casino; it was an entire resort that provided guests with everything they needed for an enjoyable stay. From superior customer service to complimentary drinks while gambling, The Mirage created an unforgettable atmosphere for guests with its array of luxurious amenities such as multiple restaurants, poolside bars and outdoor lounges – in addition to Las Vegas’ most high-end baccarat gaming parlor. Not only did visitors get to partake in thrilling gaming activities but they could also enjoy other attractions that further enhanced their stay.

The Mirage has transformed the Las Vegas Strip into a hub of energy, its fiery volcano erupting intermittently to draw in curious guests. The entrance has become an iconic feature at casinos worldwide, creating unforgettable experiences for guests and elevating destinations!

Hotel guests were mesmerized as soon as they entered the property – a 53-foot aquarium behind reception kept them spellbound with over 1,000 varieties of colorful fish! Further ahead, an incredible atrium welcomed visitors into their own private rainforest tended by expert botanists; quickly becoming one of the resort’s iconic attractions; captivating many hearts (and cameras) along its path.

In addition to its entertainment offerings, The Mirage has been an iconic part of Las Vegas culture since 1989. It revolutionized how people experienced gaming and entertainment, infusing energy, glamor and fun into the city’s nightlife scene. From its grandiose design features to luxurious amenities, The Mirage remains a landmark on the Strip – and remains as the world’s first themed casino-resort! Its influence can still be felt today!

Guest Service is at the Heart

With an extravagant construction cost of $630 million (an insanely high price at the time) and 3,044 guestrooms, the Mirage set the standards that visitors to Las Vegas expect to this day. It was not only one of the largest hotels in the world but also became a pioneering example for integrated resorts everywhere with its Y-shaped tower and 24 elevator core – proving that maximum guest comfort could be achieved without compromising design or service.

To ensure the highest level of customer service, this hotel invested in an additional six elevators to be used exclusively for back-of-house staff. This ensured room service waiters were able to swiftly deliver meals that met guest expectations with regards to temperature and quality. Housekeeping personnel could quickly move soft goods and facilitate prompt services where necessary. Back corridors were built wide enough so employees had space as they hurriedly delivered products throughout their shifts.

After carefully analyzing the flow of suitcases at O’Hare International Airport, a new system was put in place to make traveling smoother and faster for guests. This unique baggage conveyor created a direct pathway between curbside drop-off and guest rooms, thus eliminating waiting time for bellmen as soon as keys were inserted into their card reader. A convenient electronic monitoring service allowed supervisors to measure delivery times ensuring that luggage reached its destination quickly so travelers could enjoy their stay without delay.

The MGM Purchase

In 2000, MGM Grand Hotel and Casino acquired The Mirage, along with Treasure Island and Beau Rivage in Mississippi, adding it to their collection of Las Vegas resorts. Following the purchase, The Mirage underwent a four-year renovation that included both interior redesigning as well as upgrades to gaming and entertainment venues.

During MGM’s ownership, it became an iconic part of the MGM family and as it carried on the foundation that Steve Wynn built. To this day, The Mirage remains one of the world’s premier casino resorts – offering unique experiences with every visit!

Siegfried and Roy Become Las Vegas Legends

The late Siegffried and Roy are two of the most beloved performers in the history of Las Vegas, having first arrived here in 1967 and quickly made a name for themselves with their daring animal performances featuring lions, tigers, leopards, even an elephant! Through live shows, they were able to captivate audiences with daring stunts and unique illusions.

By 1989, Siegfried and Roy had already achieved legendary status in Las Vegas. In October 1990, they launched their renowned residency show at The Mirage with an ensemble of over 60 animals including Bengal tigers and white lions – providing visitors with an unmatched experience that combined exotic animals with high-energy performances. It remains one of the longest-running shows on the Strip today.

Siegfried and Roy’s success with their residency show earned them several accolades throughout their career, including being named “Las Vegas Entertainers of the Century” by The Las Vegas Sun newspaper. Additionally, they received awards from organizations such as Federation Internationale des Artistes Animaux (FIAPA), honoring them as one of the greatest animal trainers in history.

Siegfried and Roy’s show ran until 2003 when an onstage incident, in which a white tiger attacked Roy, caused Roy to cease performing; yet their iconic performances will always remain in Las Vegas’ hearts as two of its most beloved performers. Their performances inspired generations of magicians and performers and will remain so for years to come!

Hard Rock to Launch Their Las Vegas Casino

Hard Rock International has finally unveiled their plans to expand onto the Las Vegas Strip. After reaching an agreement with MGM Resorts in late 2021, Hard Rock plans on rebranding and building “Hard Rock Las Vegas” in a stunning guitar-shaped structure. Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen from Hard Rock expressed his delight at welcoming The Mirage’s 3,500 team members “to their family”.

Original plans called for a ‘top-to-bottom’ renovation of the property that will gut much of the existing structures, however, in January 2024, plans then shifted to keeping the public areas and hotel open while the property underwent a rolling renovation. This approach was similar to the approach used when Monte Carlo was rebranded into a Park MGM, and what is now being undertaken at The Rio. However, in May 2024, Hard Rock officials announced The Mirage will be closing on July 17, 2024 before it will reopen as Hard Rock in May 2027.

The Hard Rock Las Vegas is expected to feature a new 800 to 1,000-room guitar-shaped hotel tower – similar to what can be found at their casino in Hollywood, Florida. That means, the world-famous volcano will go bye bye in July. As of the time of this writing, the volcano is still going off once per hour from 8pm to 11pm. Hard Rock’s plans indicated that the guitar tower would include a pool deck with an infinity-edge pool, which will draw inspiration from the Marina Bay Sands’ rooftop infinity-edge pool in Singapore, but it is unclear if that is still happening.

Also getting a major revamp will be the hotel-casino’s pool area and surrounding landscaping, which is set to be leveled and transformed into a dayclub and outdoor nightclub area. The pool area will go from spanning around 2 acres to 5 acres (For more information about Vegas pools, see here). The casino area will be remodeled as well as the new Hard Rock is expected to feature 25 new restaurants including five in the new hotel tower. The property’s currently approximately 3,000 entertainment seats are expected to increase to include at least one 5.000 seat theater.

The Mirage is a beacon of innovation and creativity; it set new standards for resorts worldwide and continues to inspire casinos around the world with its cutting-edge gaming features and grandiose design. No wonder why The Mirage has become such an integral part of Las Vegas culture; offering endless entertainment options to visitors from around the globe.

Go see it before it goes away. And if you go before July 17th, tell any of the long-time employees “Thank You!”.

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