In 1969, the International Hotel in Las Vegas was known as the largest hotel in the world. When it was sold to Hilton Hotels Corporation a year later, the property was renamed Las Vegas Hilton. Rebranded for a short time as LVH, the historic Las Vegas Hilton, just next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center, once again has a new owner – Westgate Resorts, one of the largest timeshare resort firms.
To be renamed Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the new owners, as of July 1, are already making history. Making its permanent mark, Westgate Resorts founder and CEO David Siegel prepared the “W” letter for the property’s famous marquee on Paradise Road at the July 23 ceremony. Dozens of Westgate team members were on hand for the ceremoniously lifting of the letter.
“You may ask ‘Why the 1 inch?’ It’s because I wanted to out trump Trump,” Siegel teased about the 20-foot marquee at Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas owned by business magnate Donald Trump.
With high spirits, Siegel predicted positive changes to the property as well as the convention corridor under its new ownership.
“‘W’ not only stands for Westgate, but it also stands for ‘winner’,” boasted Siegel. “Welcome to the new center of Las Vegas!”
Las Vegas showgirls accompanied Siegel as he, Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani and LVCVA Chairman Tom Collins raised the sign, which was hoisted from above by a crane.
Chairman Collins, who performed electrical work during the hotel’s original construction in 1969, touted the importance of Westgate’s acquisition right next door to Las Vegas Convention Center.
“We just gained a good partner [for Las Vegas Convention Center],” Collins said.
While the property will continue to operate primarily as a hotel for conventioneers and leisure tourists, Westgate plans on renovating several hundred of 3,000 total rooms into luxurious villas to be sold as timeshare units.
Declaring the future Westgate Resorts Las Vegas Resort & Casino to be the only official convention hotel in Las Vegas, Siegel highlighted its accessibility.
“It took me 8 minutes to get from the airport to the property,” shared Siegel. “This is the most convenient hotel to get to.”
Commissioner Giunchigliani thanked Siegel and Westgate Resorts for acquiring LVH and adding to the Las Vegas landscape.
“We have to reinvent ourselves in Las Vegas. We will revitalize the convention corridor,” said Giunchigliani. “We have a good neighbor in Westgate Resorts to do that.”
An estimated $250 million is being invested to refurbish and renovate the entire property with the promise that the resort will stay open during its transition. Emphasizing that the company’s decision not to implode the hotel will save 2,200 jobs at the property, Giunchigliani stated that the former LVH had “great bones, great structure and great employees” for Westgate’s latest project.
“Not an inch will be left untouched,” Siegel said of the planned construction and interior renovations.
Siegel also intends to develop 62 acres of land surrounding the property.
Expected to add more than 200 positions in departments including sales and marketing, engineering, maintenance and housekeeping to work on renovations and other new programs, Siegel wishes to heighten customer service at Westgate Resorts, citing the overall customer experience at Disney theme parks as inspiration.
“We won’t be the newest hotel, but we will be the friendliest, most customer service [oriented],” stated Siegel. “Every guest, no matter how much they spend, will be treated as a high roller.”
Siegel promises to be the last owner of the property, referring to his young grandson, Jet, as the next in line.