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Mirage Las Vegas: Farewell to an Icon

As the iconic Mirage Las Vegas prepares to close its doors in two weeks for a major transformation into the Hard Rock Las Vegas, many reflect on the legacy and memories that this groundbreaking resort has created since its inception in 1989.

A Revolutionary Start

Built for $670 million, a staggering figure at the time, the Mirage was the first new resort on the Strip in over 15 years. Visionary developer Steve Wynn’s creation set a new standard for luxury and innovation in Las Vegas, a city known for its extravagance. Wynn’s investment in the Mirage was a bold statement, and it paid off spectacularly, bringing national and international attention to both the developer and the city.

An Oasis in the Desert

One of the most memorable features of the Mirage was its glass-domed atrium, filled with lush tropical foliage. This space, a perplexing decision in an era when casinos maximized gaming space, became a beloved spot for visitors. Guests would often stop to take selfies on the bridge above the water feature, a tradition that continued for 35 years.

The Mirage’s faux volcano, another Wynn innovation, became an instant landmark. Its eruptions, which originally stopped traffic on the Strip, were so popular that they were enhanced in 2008 with a $25 million renovation that added new music and pyrotechnics.

A Cultural Hotspot

The Mirage was not just about opulent surroundings; it was also a hub for entertainment. Wynn’s vision included the world-famous Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which enchanted visitors with its exotic animals and aquatic wonders. The Mirage also became synonymous with high-profile events and celebrity appearances, including Michael Jackson, who attended the resort’s grand opening.

The transformation of the Mirage into the Hard Rock Las Vegas marks the end of an era. The property will close for three years to undergo a massive renovation, which includes the demolition of the beloved volcano to make way for a 660-foot guitar-shaped hotel tower. The fate of the atrium remains uncertain, but the space is expected to be drastically reimagined.

A Changing Landscape

The cost of building the Mirage seems almost quaint in today’s market. Recent developments like Resorts World Las Vegas and Fontainebleau Las Vegas have cost several billion dollars each. This shift highlights the Mirage’s role in setting the stage for the mega-resorts that followed.

Personal Reflections and New Beginnings

Howard Stutz, a veteran reporter who covered the Mirage’s opening in 1989, recently took a nostalgic tour of the resort. Stutz reminisced about the days when the Mirage’s attractions, including its tigers and dolphins, were major draws for tourists. The transformation of these spaces into new ventures, such as a Mexican restaurant replacing the tiger enclosure, marks a significant shift in the resort’s identity.

The Mirage also played a role in the careers of many Las Vegas professionals, including Lori Nelson-Kraft, who recently took on a new role with the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix. Her journey from Station Casinos to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and now to Formula One, reflects the dynamic and ever-changing landscape of Las Vegas.

A Legacy Remembered

As the Mirage closes its doors, it leaves behind a legacy of innovation and luxury. The resort’s influence on Las Vegas is undeniable, and its transformation into the Hard Rock Las Vegas promises to usher in a new era of entertainment and opulence. For now, visitors and locals alike are taking a moment to reflect on the memories and history that make the Mirage a true Las Vegas icon.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is based on the available data and current events around the time of publication, to the best of our staff research and knowledge. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as professional advice, financial advice, sports betting advice, or life advice. It is simply our best guess, something to add to your research. We at Las Vegas Top Picks do our best to get stories accurate, but sometimes mistakes and biases happen, and it is always good to double-check other sources and media outlets to confirm stories and the factual details. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the overall opinion of Las Vegas Top Picks.

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