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Las Vegas, Nevada

Color rendering Xanadu, circa 1975

The property that the Xanadu’s developers selected for a new resort on the southwest corner of Tropicana and the Strip (the site of today's Excalibur) was considered prime for hotel casino development in 1975. At that time the south Strip was effectively underdeveloped; the Aladdin, the Marina (on the site of today's MGM Grand), the Tropicana, and the Hacienda were the only sizeable properties south of the "four corners" of Flamingo Road and the Strip, and even they were for the most part undersized.  Tellingly, there were more golf courses (two) than high-rise hotel towers on this part of the Strip. One of the backers of the project was the architect Martin Stern Jr. who designed a 1730-room "International Class" Hotel and Casino with a vaguely Asiatic pleasure-dome theme. This theme would be later used to advantage by Donald Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Steve Wynn's Mirage, and Mandalay Bay, two lots down from the original Xanadu site.  Its mastaba design with rooms stepped back from a huge open atrium presaged the later Luxor. Most striking in the glittering presentation drawings of the interior of the atrium, is the circular bar suspended several stories above the floor on a slender stem-like column, like a small Shangri-La in the clouds, or maybe a giant daiquiri glass. Despite an advantageous site and original concept and design by an experienced and successful resort architect, the Xanadu never got off the drawing board, an idea without finance.

Color rendering of Xanadu, circa 1975

Related Links: Paradise Misplaced: The Xanadu Hotel Casino

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