The Riviera Hotel & Casino’s Final Moments – The End of “Old Vegas”

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riviera hotel and casino closing photos

The End of “Old Vegas”

As I wrote the other day, I had the pleasure of spending the final night at the Riviera Hotel & Casino this past Sunday. Here is a short story about my day along with a ton of photos. Please check out the slider at the end as it contains the vast majority of the 186 photos I took!

Riviera Hotel & Casino Closing Trip Report

I arrived at the Riviera around 4pm on Sunday evening. There was a pretty large check-in line, but it moved quickly. Hotel Tonight had reserved a room with 2 beds (they don’t give a choice), but since I was alone,the check-in agent was able to give me a King. He put me in the Monaco Tower, which has the most recently renovated rooms. I was actually quite impressed with my room.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos
Riviera Monaco Tower King Room.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos

riviera hotel and casino closing photos
View from my room in the Monaco Tower

Following my check-in, I met up with a couple of friends and we walked around the area. I don’t gamble and am not a late night person, so I headed to bed pretty early. You’ll have to read another trip report to see what the atmosphere was like in the casino on her last night. I am sure it was festive though!

On Monday morning I awoke very early so that I could head out and make a sidetrip to a few local office supply stores. Yes the closing of the casino is a historic event, but so is the current deal. Fortunately I arrived back around 10am, or about 2 hours before the doors shut for good.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos

riviera hotel and casino closing photos
Lighting fixture outside of one of the Riviera’s showrooms.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos

Between 10am and noon I walked around the entire property and tried to document what caught my eye. From fixtures to carpets, I tried to capture what the place looked like. Some of this stuff dates back decades, while parts are more recent.

Around 11:45am I headed outside to grab some exterior shots when I noticed they were taking down the famous Crazy Girls bust. I had just missed seeing the bust get removed, however I did manage to catch them prying the plaque off of the wall. Once it was down there was nothing left to do but head inside to wait for the Riv to close for good at noon.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos
The area where the bust and plaque once stood.
riviera hotel and casino closing photos
Loading the plaque on to the truck.

At 11:59am I glanced over and saw a cocktail waitress delivering her final drinks. Up in the bar the local news was on with a story about the Riviera’s closing. People surrounded the bar and many were having a final drink to say goodbye. Then at noon, a voice came over the loudspeaker, “The Riviera is closed. Please vacate the premises.”

Before long the doors aligning the Strip were chained shut. One couple tried to come inside, but alas they were seconds too late. They will never get to come inside. By 12:05pm an army of security guards begins ushering everyone to the back of the property where the parking is located. One group of 20 people stay put and watch someone playing electronic craps.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos
Cocktail waitress serving her last drink at 11:59am.
riviera hotel and casino closing photos
Sorry sir. The Riviera is closed.
riviera hotel and casino closing photos
Holdouts watching one last game of craps after the casino had already closed.

Time eventually begins to pass and the blue army is closing in. It is now time to say goodbye to the Riviera. On my way out I stop at the empty registration desk and ask for a receipt for my room. The agent gives it to me. This is perhaps her final transaction as an employee here and my final glimpse of this old beauty.

On my way out I see a huge line of people waiting. Most of them are trying to get a taxi. I wonder how long it has been since the Riviera has seen this many people. Perhaps on busy weeks she would get full, but this group came to say goodbye on the final night. This group was special.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos
These stickers were placed on all of the doors around the front desk area.
riviera hotel and casino closing photos
A group of people waiting in the taxi line to leave the Riviera for the final time.

riviera hotel and casino closing photos

riviera hotel and casino closing photos

The door was now closed behind me and I was outside. I would never see the Riviera again. I didn’t know her too well, but having lived here for 20 years she was definitely an acquaintance. As I glanced back to say my final goodbye, I noticed the sign on the door. The Riviera was closed.

My final walk involved six flights of stairs to my car since the garage elevators were overrun with people. As I approached my car, I noticed the emptiness of the garage. It was just my car, a few others and an overflowing garbage can. Would anyone ever empty that garbage? Does it really matter? The Riviera is gone.

More Photos


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6 COMMENTS

  1. VERY cool, Shawn. I love that you got the last receipt from the front desk. Great photos. I’m just disappointed we didn’t get a first-hand craps report from you. What’s up with always needing the deck stacked in your favor? 🙂

  2. Good stuff. Although I always saw it as a dumpy property (though those room photos are surprisingly nice!), it’s sad to see it go.

    • It is always sad to lose a piece of history. I was also surprised with how nice the rooms were. From what I have heard the rooms in the other towers were not nearly as nice though.

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