March 22, 2008
The Luxor Hotel is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It was one of the city's first fully-themed megaresorts. Ground was broken for the Luxor in 1991, that same year construction began on the Treasure Island and the current MGM Grand. It has an Ancient Egyptian motif and contains a total of 4,408 rooms lining the interior walls of a hollow pyramid and contained within twin ziggurat towers that were built as later additions. The hotel is named after the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes) in Egypt, the site of the Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Luxor Temples, and scores of other pharaonic monuments — but no pyramids. In July 2007, owner MGM Mirage announced plans to thoroughly renovate the Luxor, spending $300 million to remodel 80 percent of Luxor's public areas, removing much of the ancient Egyptian theme and replacing it with more adult-oriented and modern lounges, restaurants and clubs. Among the distinctive changes to the exterior occurred in mid-2007, when management covered one of the pyramid's massive black faces with a 15-story sign that advertises Absolut vodka.
The Luxor is among the most recognizable hotels on the strip because of its striking design. Designed by renowned hotel architect Veldon Simpson, the main portion of the hotel is a 350-foot-high (106 meters), 30-story pyramid of black glass (in comparison, the Great Pyramid of Giza with original capstone topped out at 481 ft). I have seen websites saying it is 33 levels high representing Scottish Rite Freemasonry. The hotel is marked by a large obelisk with the name of the property in lighted letters, while the porte-cochere travels underneath a massive recreation of the Great Sphinx of Giza. The tip of the pyramid contains a fixed-position spotlight that points directly upward – it is the brightest beam in the world, and is visible from anywhere in the Las Vegas valley at night, and can be seen at flight level from above Los Angeles, California, over 275 miles (440 km) away. At ground level, on clear nights, the beam could also be seen as far south as Laughlin and even as far north as Mesquite or Beatty. It is directly straight ahead on US-93 in Arizona, north of Kingman, before reaching the Hoover Dam. In the spring, the bright light attracts huge numbers of moths into the light beam, creating a phenomenon that has been likened to snow. Light is generated using 39 Xenon lamps of 7 kilowatts each. The hourly cost, including lamps, electricity, and repairs, is US$53. The total light output is rated at 41.5 gigacandela, or 30.2 billion lumens.
The Luxor is located on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, opposite the McCarran International Airport. The resort is flanked by the Mandalay Bay to the south and by the Excalibur to the north; all three are connected by free express and local trams. All three properties were built by Circus Circus Enterprises, which later became Mandalay Resort Group. When it opened on October 15, 1993, the pyramid was the tallest building on the strip; it cost $375 million to build. A theater and two additional hotel towers totaling 2,000 rooms were added in 1998 for $675 million. In June 2004, the Mandalay Resort Group was purchased by MGM Mirage, adding this hotel to its vast array of properties on the "Strip". When the resort opened, it featured a more heavily Egyptian-themed interior, including a river that encircled the casino with a ferry that would carry guests to their inclinator core at the corners of the pyramid.
The ride was then turned into a river ride that passed by many pieces of ancient artwork after people complained that the ferry service took too long. Most of the ancient Egypt theme and the river ride were taken away as part of a campaign to tailor the property towards more upscale tastes in 1995. According to the unofficial, albeit popular, ghost story, the Nile River attraction was removed because guests kept seeing ghosts of the three workers killed during the Luxor's construction whenever the river passed through dark tunnels. The resort has been home to some popular entertainment attractions in the Las Vegas area. The main level featured the nightclub, RA, which closed indefinitely on July 22, 2006. From 2000 to 2005, the Luxor Theatre was the home of the enormously popular performance-art show Blue Man Group, which has since moved to The Venetian. On February 15, 2006, the main theatre became the home of the musical Hairspray which ran until 2006.
Posted by Michael Difensore at 4:13 AM