The Desert Inn

History of The Desert Inn  a Las Vegas by Wilbur Clark. Clark wanted to go out West so he San Diego he got a job on his second trip to Las Vegas in 1944 he bought a majority share of the El Rancho Vegas which was the first resort built on the strip in 1941. 

He also leased a small casino downtown called the Monte Carlo. Clark realized that once World War Two was over Americans would want to travel and he wanted to build the best resort on the strip at the time there were three resorts on the strip and the Thunderbird was under construction as a fourth resort.

Clark sold his shares of the El Rancho Vegas and Monte Carlo for about $1.5 million and started construction in 1946 on the Desert Inn.
Clark and Dallas both wanted the best resort on the strip and they made sure the desert inn was better than even the just completed Flamingo.

The desert inn was the first hotel in Vegas to have a fountain at the entrance and it shot water 50 feet into the air the sky room lounge was on the third floor which overlooked the pool and the dancing waters which was a series of fountains that were set to music and lit up by colored lights the sky room lounge high atop our hotel overlooking Las Vegas famous strip is one of the most popular spots in town. It was said here old friendships are renewed and new friends are made. 

Many of Hollywood’s brightest stars find this room with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and ideal place to host their friends during their stay at Las Vegas.

The desert Inn was sold to Howard Hughes the famous aviator for $14 million Dollars on March 27th in 1967.


The Desert Inn was one of the most iconic hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Here is a brief history of the Desert Inn: The Desert Inn was first opened in 1950 by the millionaire businessman Wilbur Clark. It quickly became a popular destination for wealthy visitors and celebrities, offering luxurious amenities and high-end entertainment.

The hotel featured 300 guest rooms, a casino, a golf course, and a spa. It also had several restaurants, including the famous “Rib Room,” which was known for its prime rib dinners. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Desert Inn was a popular hangout for some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. In 1959, the hotel was the site of one of the most famous incidents in Las Vegas history, when a group of armed robbers known as the “Desert Inn Gang” stole $1.5 million from the casino.

The Desert Inn underwent several expansions and renovations over the years, adding new towers, a convention center, and additional dining and entertainment options. In 1997, the hotel was purchased by the businessman and casino owner Steve Wynn, who planned to demolish it and replace it with a new resort. The Desert Inn was closed in 2000 and demolished in 2001 to make way for the Wynn Las Vegas, a new luxury resort that opened in 2005. Today, the site of the Desert Inn is occupied by the Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore Las Vegas, two of the most popular resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Although the Desert Inn is no longer standing, it remains an important part of Las Vegas history and a symbol of the city’s glamorous past.

FAQ: Desert Inn Casino's History in Las Vegas

Q1: When was the Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas founded?
A1: The Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas was founded in 1950 by businessman Wilbur Clark.

Q2: Where was the Desert Inn Casino located in Las Vegas?
A2: The Desert Inn Casino was located on the Las Vegas Strip at 3145 South Las Vegas Boulevard.

Q3: What made the Desert Inn Casino stand out among other Las Vegas casinos?
A3: The Desert Inn was known for its elegance and opulence, featuring luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and a beautiful golf course.

Q4: Who were some of the notable celebrities and entertainers associated with the Desert Inn Casino?
A4: The Desert Inn hosted numerous celebrities and entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Elvis Presley.

Q5: What was the significance of the Desert Inn Casino during the Rat Pack era?
A5: The Desert Inn became a favorite hangout for the Rat Pack, a group of famous entertainers, and played a prominent role in the group’s Las Vegas performances.

Q6: Did the Desert Inn Casino undergo any expansions or renovations during its history?
A6: Yes, the Desert Inn underwent several expansions and renovations over the years, adding additional hotel towers and amenities to maintain its status as a premier destination.

Q7: When did the Desert Inn Casino close, and what were the reasons for its closure?
A7: The Desert Inn Casino closed its doors on August 28, 2000. The closure was part of Steve Wynn’s plan to build a new resort on the site, which later became the Wynn Las Vegas.

Q8: Is there any significant historical or architectural legacy associated with the Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas?
A8: Yes, the Desert Inn Casino played a vital role in shaping the Las Vegas Strip’s entertainment and hospitality industry during its heyday. While it no longer stands, its legacy lives on in the history of Las Vegas.

Q9: What stands on the former site of the Desert Inn Casino today?
A9: The Desert Inn Casino was demolished in 2001, and the site is now home to the Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Encore Las Vegas, two luxurious and modern casino-resorts.

Q10: How is the Desert Inn Casino remembered in Las Vegas history?
A10: The Desert Inn Casino is remembered as one of the iconic and glamorous destinations that contributed to the allure of Las Vegas as an entertainment and gaming hub, particularly during the mid-20th century. Its association with legendary performers and the Rat Pack era has left an indelible mark on the city’s history.