Four Corners

Just in the last two months, two new hotels have opened up on the New Four Corners, the Southernmost and newest focal point of the Strip. There are now over 14,000 hotel rooms at the intersection of Las Vegas and Tropicana Boulevards. On the Southeast corner sits the long-established Tropicana. A new tower, the Island Tower, with no gambling and with convention facilities that will hold the 1995 STOC can be reached by a 200-meter gangway, complete with moving slidewalks overlooking the tropical lagoon area.

The Southwest corner holds the Excalibur (medieval theme) with 4000 rooms, until this month the largest hotel in the world. Just South of the Excalibur is the newly opened Luxor, shaped like a pyramid 36 stories high, and topped with a fixed searchlight that stabs directly upward, and guarded by a better-than-the-real-one Sphinx (this one has a nose). Inside, you can ride a Nile riverboat all around the circumference. From the activity level, one floor above the Casino, you can descend into the Lost City, an archeological discovery 8000 feet beneath the surface.

On the Northeast corner is the Lion entrance to the MGM Grand, over 5000 rooms. Behind the Lion's head is the Emerald City, where for only $5.95 you can walk the Yellow Brick Road. Talking mannequins are everywhere, including the Wizard, the Wicked Witch of the West, and farther along, beyond the Oz Casino, one in a bar that tells jokes around the clock.

Beyond the food court, which features Chinese, Milanese, Western, English, etc., etc., cuisine, not to mention MacDonalds and several other fast food outlets, you find the Theme Park. From the Lion entrance, where you can simultaneously observe the gold, red, and blue towers and battlements of the Excalibur, with Merlin in a high window casting spells, the Sphinx and the obelisk, the giant Easter-Island heads of the Tropicana, and the skywalks, which when finished, will allow safe pedestrian passage over the two boulevards, to the far end of the Theme Park is about a mile's walk.

South of the Luxor is the now dwarfed Hacienda (Spanish-American theme), and East of the Tropicana is the San Remo, another accidental benefactor of the tremendous growth of the Four Corners.

The Northwest corner is vacant, but a sign warns that it is a "hard hat only" area. Something is being planned.

A scant mile (15 minutes brisk walk) North of Four Corners is Caesar's Palace, followed by the Mirage, featuring a dolphin habitat, a white tiger habitat, a rain forest (indoors) and a fake volcano that erupts every 15 minutes during the evening.

Just North of the Mirage is Treasure Island, whose lagoon features a battle to the death between two ships every hour. (The pirates always win.)

All of this new entertainment is part of a quite deliberate transformation of Las Vegas from a mere gambling capital to a vacation spot with something to offer for the entire family. If you bring the children, you can stay in the Excalibur for $30 per night, or in Circus-Circus for $21 per night, mid-week, and they will have plenty to do for days.

Text by Larry L. Larmore. Created by Ian Parberry, December 9, 1994.