By Steve Beauregard
In a city that’s becoming more bland each year, with look-alike hotels of similar appeal and design, the Luxor, the black pyramid hotel on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, remains a fun, distinctive and architectural bright spot on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Luxor opened on October 13, 1993, as the first (and only) pyramid hotel in Las Vegas. It’s the world’s largest atrium, at 29 million cubic feet. You could fit nine jumbo jet airliners in the space above the casino floor, although I’m not sure why you would want to.
Luxor Las Vegas
The Luxor was built by Circus Circus Enterprises, which was then taken over by the Mandalay Bay Resorts group in 199, then eventually MGM Resorts in 2005.
Ground broke for the resort in March of 1992. Construction was completed in an impressively quick 18 months time.
It cost $375 million at the time to build the resort, and was the rare Las Vegas Strip mega resort not to have financing. Reportedly, profits from Circus Circus were used to pay for the resort.
Upon its opening the Luxor immediately became a new Strip icon. Whenever you see a show or documentary about Las Vegas, it’s sure to include footage of the resort’s distinctive black glass pyramid, along with the incredibly bright and famous Luxor Light that beams from the top. It’s also often the first thing visitors flying into Las Vegas notice when looking out the window on the tarmac, due to its proximity to McCarran International Airport, across the street.
The two box-looking buildings that stand out (not in a good way) next to the Luxor are both, 22 stories in height, and are additions to the hotel. The two box hotels next to the Pyramid opened in April of 1998.
While the Luxor originally had just 2,526 rooms in the pyramid itself, the opening of the twin 22 story hotels in 1998 brought the resort’s total room count to 4,400 rooms, of which 442 are suites.
It is the second largest hotel in Las Vegas, only behind the MGM Grand, and the 8th largest hotel in the world. The Luxor’s casino floor space itself is around 120,000 square feet.
Luxor Hotel and Casino River
Besides unique status as the only pyramid hotel in Las Vegas, the Luxor opened with another Vegas first: the only hotel with a river inside it.
It was called the River Nile, and it originally took guests from the registration desk to their “inclinator” (the Luxor’s version of an elevator). The inclined elevator takes guests up at a 39 degree angle, and have been listed in “Popular Mechanics” as one of the world’s “18 strangest elevators.”
Going back to the Nile River: because of reported long wait times in getting guests to the inclinator, the river transformed into a quirky and fun boat ride attraction. This feature was removed and discontinued however, as has much of the resort’s original Egyptian theme.
In fact, in 2007, MGM Resorts spent nearly 1/3rd of a billion dollars, ($300 million to be exact), “de-theming” the resort’s Egyptian theme and remodeling the rooms. MGM Resorts wanted the interior of the Luxor to resemble every other resort on the Strip, and cater to hip, young people with money.
The Luxor is the tallest pyramid in the United States, at 350 feet tall, and the fourth tallest in the world. It’s 36 stories tall and has a 110 feet tall re-creation of what the Great Sphinx of Giza originally would have looked like centuries ago.
Inside, the Luxor has 120,000 square feet of gaming space, along with 20,000 square feet of convention space, and four pools in their five acre pool area. The Luxor Parking garage is a two story building behind this pool area on the west side of the resort.
Inside the Las Vegas pyramid
The Luxor is situated on the far south end of the Las Vegas Strip, smack dab in the middle betwen its sister properties, the Excalibur and Mandalay Bay. Pedestrian walkways and bridges link the three resorts. In addition, in front of the resort, there’s a tram that transports guests from the Luxor to both Mandalay Bay and the Excalibur.
Luxor Las Vegas Address:
3900 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(Photos courtesy of eGuide Travel and Daniel Ramirez via Flickr)