Historic Nevada hotels remaining in operation are hard to come by. But if you’re looking for a historic hotel in or near Las Vegas, you may be in luck. However, new hotels and resorts pop up in Vegas on a regular basis, with every new structure seemingly trying to outdo the others in extravagance. In this environment it is difficult for historic hotels to survive without being radically renovated or expanded, or for them to avoid demolition. But a few have remained.
The oldest remaining historic Nevada hotel in Las Vegas is the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, located in the downtown area on Fremont Street. It was built in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada, changed names and owners a couple times, and received its current name in 1955. The Golden Gate retains some historic charms today and is world famous for its 99¢ shrimp cocktail (now closer to $1.99). You can still book rooms in this small 100 room hotel.
About 30 minutes from Las Vegas in the town of Boulder City is the Boulder Dam Hotel. It was built in 1933 when the Hoover Dam was being constructed—a project which played a large role in the growth of Las Vegas as an entertainment destination. The hotel lodged officials and tourists who came to witness the construction of the Hoover Dam (then called the Boulder Dam). The building is a fine example of the Colonial Revival architecture style, which is a rarely seen in Nevada. There are 22 hotel rooms still in operation while much of the space is devoted to the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
One of the oldest hotel casinos in Las Vegas is the El Cortez located downtown on Fremont Street. Since 1941 it has retained its name and the same exterior appearance, while there have been extensive renovations on the interior and large expansion of room capacity. The longtime owner, Jackie Gaughan, lives in a penthouse at the hotel and can regularly be seen on the casino floor greeting guests and playing poker.
There are other historic Nevada hotels in Las Vegas, such as the Sahara, which is famous for its association with the Rat Pack. But this hotel was very recently slated to be shuttered due to economic decline on the Vegas Strip. It may face the fate of other historic hotels in Las Vegas, such as the Sands, which was demolished in 1996 to make way for a new resort.