Marking an amazing half century, on Friday, Aug. 5, Caesars Palace Las Vegas celebrated its 50th anniversary – exactly five decades from the day it first opened its doors – with a special birthday pool party with nearly 3,000 hotel and special guests hosted by award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay at the Garden of The Gods Pool Oasis.
After leading the revelers in a champagne toast and a celebratory slicing of the custom five-tier birthday cake complete with sparklers, world-famous chef Gordon Ramsay introduced one of the night’s highlights, a dramatic horse-drawn chariot entrance by Caesar himself. Embracing the Roman and Greek origins of the summer games, a ceremonial torch run followed with Ramsay ultimately lighting the impressive cauldron.
Ramsay was joined by Gary Selesner, President of Caesars Palace, to officially “ignite” a colossal, 10-minute fireworks display which included an illuminated numeral 50 that proudly flickered on Palace Tower to commemorate the milestone anniversary.
Following the fireworks, Master of Ceremonies and radio personality Chet Buchanan introduced the three finalists in the nation-wide Caesars Palace 50th Anniversary Cocktail Competition before announcing that J.R. Starkus of Las Vegas won. Starkus’ creation, Lazy Stroll made with Plymouth gin, Cointreau, chamomile-infused honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white, garnished with dried chamomile flowers, will be served in select bars at Caesars Palace throughout the rest of the year.
Photos by Erik Kabik
15 Fun Facts About Caesars Palace
The historic Caesars Palace Las Vegas hotel has a fabulously fascinating and star-studded past, but how much do you really know about it? We bet these 15 fun facts will have you hailing Caesar in no time:
- Many people think the suite featured in the first “Hangover” movie exists, especially because a room number, 2452, is shown in the movie. While it was inspired by elements in the Forum Tower Emperor suites (which are often requested because of the movie’s popularity), the one shown was a set built out for filming.
- The rooms weren’t the only trick featured in the movie. Unlike it’s depicted in the first film, guests don’t have access to the roof, and the rooms on top floors don’t have balconies like the third installment.
- Outside near Serendipity 3 and the Absinthe tent sits The Brahma Shrine. It was dedicated February 5, 1984, now 30 years ago.
- Frank Sinatra was licensed as the resort’s Vice President of Entertainment in 1981, after paying $500,000 for his background check.
- Hitting the tables? There are four “lucky” rubbing spots at Caesars Palace: the glove on heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis’ statue near Mesa Grill, The Statue of David’s big toe, the finger on the Caesar statue at main entrance, and Cleopatra’s breasts on Cleopatra’s Barge.
- Caesars Palace taught Vegas to mix luxe retail with fine dining when they launched The Forum Shops in 1992. It was created as a Mecca that married posh designer labels with spectacular architecture and unique foodie experiences, such as Spago.
- Caesars hosted Wrestlemania in 1993.
- In a near-fatal stunt, Evel Knievel tried to jump the fountain on New Year’s Eve in 1967. Some hotel employees say that the famous bike is still stored downstairs.
- In 2003, Celine Dion took up residence at The Colosseum’s grand theater built for her innovative show. Whereas many entertainers used to come to Las Vegas to wind down their careers, Dion introduced the concept of a Vegas residency for artists who were cutting edge and contemporary. Many more headlining acts followed her groundbreaking shift to local entertainment—including Britney Spears across the street at Planet Hollywood Resort’s AXIS.
- In October 2004, Bobby Flay broke the mold and opened his very first restaurant outside of New York City: Mesa Grill, at Caesars Palace.
- The Caesars Palace Poker Room held its first inaugural Caesars Palace Classic on October 12-24, 2007. The first place prize was $1 million.
- The Circus Maximus Show Room, which played host to many acts including Cher, Andy Williams and Diana Ross, was where the cashier cage is now.
- Around the area where Bacchanal Restaurant was and Apostrophe Bar currently is, there used to be a staircase. The female servers dressed in Roman attire would stand and pamper the guest fanning them with large feathers.
- The first Jerry Lewis/Muscular Dystrophy Telethon ever was held there on Sept. 6, 1971.
- In the Magical Empire dinner and show experience, the guest thought they were going down, but it was just the walls moving up. It closed and in its place came Pure Nightclub, which helped usher in Vegas’ mega-club boom. This space is to be transformed yet again into the hot new Omnia Nightclub by Hakkasan Group.
Learn more about Caesars Palace on their website.