Las Vegas is undergoing a major metamorphosis right now. The theming of casinos that was so popular in the 80’s and 90’s has given way to more simple, straight forward casino design. The detail that went into the castles at Excalibur have given way to a beautiful but simple chandelier at the Cosmopolitan. The casinos we love are changing with the times. This shouldn’t be too surprising as Las Vegas casinos have always evolved over time.


Imperial Palace was an Asian themed hotel-casino right in the middle of the Vegas Strip. When the property changed names to The Quad that Asian theme slowly started to go away. Late last year the final pieces of Imperial Palace were removed as the pagodas that sat atop the building were taken down. Today the property is known as The Linq Hotel and has entirely lost the Asian theme.

The Linq Hotel now has a heartbeat of its own and doesn’t depend on a the theme from the past for an identity. For better or worse the only theme at The Linq Hotel is sleek and new. There are still a few hotels on the Vegas Strip that are holding onto their themes – for now. If you’re a theme lover you might want to hit these casinos on your next visit to Las Vegas.


Luxor – The Luxor pyramid is one of the most iconic buildings on the Vegas Strip. The casino itself has undergone some de-theming over the years but the overall feeling is the same when you look at the property from the outside. Taking a picture of the pyramid outside will preserve the memory of this iconic building should Luxor move forward with less of a theme.


Excalibur – Excalibur has a solid place on the Vegas Strip as one of the more kid-friendly hotels. The theme and the castles are becoming a symbol of 90’s Las Vegas. While Luxor has de-themed part of the hotel-casino on the inside Excalibur still holds true to its medieval roots inside and out.


Paris – Le Paris Balloon has been cleaned up and much of the hotel still keeps the Paris theme. That may not be the case much longer. New restaurants Like Gordon Ramsay Steak and Martorano’s don’t fit the Paris theme. Even Burger Brasserie has lost the “Le” that preceded the name. You may want to grab an extra Eiffel Tower slushy drink vessel on your next visit to have keep the memory alive.


Circus Circus – Like Excalibur, Circus Circus is an inexpensive hotel-casino for the whole family. The Circus theme expands the entire property. Even though there are new rides added to the Adventuredome you can see the age of this casino that opened back in the 60’s. The Steakhouse has a vintage feel and makes a great dinner. It’s a good excuse to check out Circus Circus if you haven’t been in a while.


Treasure Island – It may be too late to enjoy all that this once nautical and pirate themed hotel-casino had to offer. The Sirens of TI show has been cancelled and a new shopping element is being built on the north end of the property. You can still get take what’s left of the Pirate Cove on the outside while the inside still has a little theme left from the previous incarnation of Treasure Island.



Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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