The History of the International Hotel in Las Vegas

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Today, it is known as the Las Vegas Hilton, but once upon a time, the building was known as the International Hotel. In its heyday, it attracted some of the world's top performers. The hotel is off the Strip and close to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Today, it is the world's largest Hilton hotel.

A New Vegas Hotel is Built

In the late 1960s, architect Martin Stern Jr. designed the International Hotel, the world's largest. Stern also designed the MGM Grand Hotel. The International was built by Kirk Kerkorian, who had the strongest influence on the redesign of modern Las Vegas.

Opening Night: Barbra Streisand

The hotel opened July 30, 1969. Barbra Streisand was the opening-night performer. "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" and "A World of Love" were two of the songs she performed that evening.

Peggy Lee Performs in the Lounge

Though Streisand received top booking, Peggy Lee also performed in the lounge. According to an article by Judy Klemesrud, which was featured in the April 26, 1970, edition of The New York Times, Streisand drew the crowds, but Lee received top reviews.

Next in Line: Elvis Presley

Shortly after Streisand's run at the International Hotel Las Vegas, Elvis Presley performed for 58 consecutive evenings. Each of these shows were sold out. While he was there, Presley stayed at the penthouse suite on the 30th floor.

Hilton Buys the International Hotel

In 1970, the International Hotel was sold to the Hilton Corporation. In 1971, the name was changed to the Las Vegas Hilton.

Fire

On Feb. 10, 1981, a fire broke out at the Las Vegas Hilton. The fire was believed to be the work of an arsonist, who once worked as a busboy at the hotel. Firefighters used the television networks to tell guests to stay in their rooms. Eight people died in the fire.

The Las Vegas Hilton Today

Today, the Hilton has 3,000 rooms, and a 100,000 square-foot casino, making it Las Vegas' largest. Barry Manilow performs at the Hilton Theater. However, because it is located off the Strip, it no longer attracts many celebrities. Its proximity to the Convention Center makes it a popular business hotel. In 1998, the hotel hosted a Star Trek exhibit.

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