The Tropicana Casino and Resort has a rich history, being one of the oldest casinos currently on the Las Vegas Strip.
Back in 1955, Ben Jaffe, an executive with the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach bought the 40 acre property the Tropicana now sits on, with the aim of building the finest hotel in Las Vegas.
The construction of the hotel ended up being more expensive than anticipated, and Jaffe had to sell off his interest in the Fontainebleau to raise enough money to finish it. Finally, in April 1957, the Tropicana opened.
This was an era where organized crime played a significant role in Las Vegas, and this was particularly the case with the Tropicana back then. Jaffe leased the hotel casino to mobster Philip Kastel, an associate of the Genovese crime family.
This attracted the attention of the Gaming Commission, and particularly when they found Tropicana financial documents in the hands of Kastel’s business partner, Genovese family boss Frank Costello. The licensing concerns were resolved when Jaffe sold the property to Las Vegas Club owner J. Kell Housells.
The Tropicana didn’t end up being quite the property Jaffe imagined, and it paled in comparison to some of the larger casinos on the strip at the time. The Tropicana changed hands three more times between 1969 and 1975, when it was then bought by Mitzi Stauffer Briggs, who oversaw the adding of a 22 foot tower to the hotel casino.
More charges of links to organized crime surfaced in 1979 though, and the Tropicana had to be sold once again, this time being bought by Ramada Inns. They added another tower to the project, consisting of 21 stories, so the property was at least growing during all this time.
This at least provided some stability, and the Tropicana remained under Ramada’s ownership, and later their spin off company Aztar Corporation, until Aztar was bought by Columbia Sussex in 2007.
The company went bankrupt though the following year, and was purchased by its creditors. Penn National Gaming, the Tropicana’s current owners, bought it in 2015 for $360 million.
So the Tropicana has certainly changed hands more than a few times over the years, and also survived some turbulent years, including winning a court case against Tropicana Entertainment, a separate company who sought to prevent the Tropicana from using the brand in Las Vegas, but the Tropicana prevailed.
It has seen some renovations and upgrades during this time as well, although nothing near the $2 billion upgrade that was planned in 2009, prior to the bankruptcy, but they have spent quite a bit of money on the place since then, and have brought it up to the standards of the better Las Vegas hotels and casinos.
The Amenities At The Tropicana Las Vegas
The Tropicana boasts a hotel with 1467 rooms and suites, which only counts as a modestly sized hotel by Las Vegas standards, with the bigger ones coming in at several times this number of rooms. Hotels aren’t about how many rooms you have though, and there are plenty here, and people come here just needing one actually.
The rooms are said to be styled with a Miami theme, and there’s little doubt about that, the color orange and orange tints are really featured here, even to the point where we may wonder whether the décor wasn’t fashioned around Tropicana orange juice instead.
These orange hues may not suit everyone’s tastes, but the rooms are fairly nice regardless, with choices of a Club Deluxe, Paradise Deluxe, Deluxe City View, Club Deluxe Plus, or Bungalow Deluxe.
There are four different types of suites to choose from, the Paradise, the Club, The Club Spa, and the Penthouse Loft. They also have four types of villas to select from, and the villas are definitely a cut above everything else here in terms of style and luxury, especially the Sky Villas with their amazing views from the 20th floor and are available with either one or two bedrooms.
The Tropicana claims they have the best overall dining in the city, and a lot of places boast this, but they do have some awards to back it up, including the best Italian restaurant and the best café on the strip.
There are no celebrity chefs here, they state that “Food Is Our Celebrity,” and even have registered that slogan as a trademark.
One of the big selling points when it comes to casino food is the variety that is offered, and the idea here is to appeal to the widest tastes. The Tropicana doesn’t really have that many different dining selections, in fact there are really only four, an Italian restaurant, a steak house, a café, and a food court, as well as in room dining.
They do make up for this in quality though, and even with this rather limited selection, their dining experience is considered right up there with the best overall as far as Las Vegas food goes.
As for entertainment, they have what many consider to be the top comedy club in the country, the Laugh Factory. If you ever wondered what happened to impersonator Rich Little, well he’s still performing, and doing nightly shows at the Laugh Factory.
There’s also the Tropicana Theater, which the popular Raiding the Rock Vault, showcasing performers from rock bands of yesteryear. There’s also the Tropicana Lounge which also offers live entertainment.
There’s also a pool, a spa, and a wedding chapel where you can get married rock and roll style by former front man of Quiet Riot Paul Shortino, who is also an ordained minister.
The Casino At The Tropicana Las Vegas
The casino here is modestly sized, with 50,000 square feet of gaming room, but that’s plenty enough space to pack in all the casino gambling you can handle, and all of the popular forms of it.
The fact that the Tropicana has been named one of the top 10 casinos on the strip gives you an idea that it’s not just about quantity, and quality is even more important, and they do have that here.
Their players club in particular is excellent and was named the best rewards program on the strip. They have now joined the Marquee program where their rewards can be redeemed at any Marquee Rewards casino.
There are 800 slot machines here including all of the popular ones. They have been voted the Best Paying Slots in the city.
The Tropicana also has all of the most popular table games, including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini Baccarat, Ultimate Texas Holdem, Pai Gow Poker, High Card Flush, and Mississippi Stud.
Their race and sports book offers players the latest technology and also has a separate VIP room. They also offer in game betting. You can also download their app and place sports bets with them on it anywhere in Nevada.
The Tropicana may not be the biggest, newest, or flashiest casino resort on the strip, but it’s still one of the best overall, and is well worth checking out for yourself.