Mirage on Las Vegas Strip Announces Official Closing Date

Estimated read time 4 min read

The Mirage now has an official closing date, and it’s coming up fast.

The Mirage almost single-handedly transitioned Las Vegas from its shlocky past to its five-star present. Now, the iconic casino resort is about to undergo its own transition. (Image: travelnevada.com)

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which operates the Las Vegas Strip casino resort, announced on Tuesday that will shut it down on July 17. That’s so it can be transformed into the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Guitar Hotel Las Vegas. (The first Hard Rock Las Vegas, located off the Strip,  was sold to billionaire Richard Branson and has operated as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas since 2021.)

The 36-story Hard Rock guitar tower will dominate the Las Vegas Strip when it debuts. (Image: Hard Rock International via Nevada Gaming Control Board)

The Guitar Hotel will be a 700-foot-tall structure shaped like a guitar. Clark County commissioners unanimously approved of its construction last March.

All rooms and show reservations purchased for after July 14 will be canceled and refunded, according to a press release from the Seminole Tribe, which also notes that it will pay $80 million in severance packages to all employees who remain during the transition.

The press release did not estimate how long the transition would take.

Astute observers could have estimated The Mirage’s closing date with reasonable accuracy, since an internal memo from Cirque du Soleil revealed last month that “The Beatles LOVE” would permanently close on July 7, due to a renovation process that, according to the memo, “is about to start.”

The Mirage will be completed gutted and remade by the Seminole Tribe, which purchased the operating rights to the iconic Strip casino resort from MGM Resorts in December 2022 for $1.1 billion.

It was initially reported that the property would remain open during the transition.

Steve Wynn poses in front of The Mirage during its construction. (Image: livzey.com)

The Other Mirage Transformation

The Mirage was opened by casino mogul Steve Wynn in 1989 and is credited with transforming Las Vegas from a hub for schlocky entertainment and bargain buffets into a destination for superstar residencies and world-class dining — along with prices to match.

The Mirage became known as the first resort with a $100-per-ticket headliner, Siegfried & Roy, who also leant their brand (and animals) to an on-property zoo.

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat permanently closed last year. According to an internal memo announcing the closure, all its dolphins, white tigers, white lions, and leopards would be placed in the care of “well-trained, highly respected animal care professionals and veterinary experts.”

However, the specific details of many of the animal relocations were never revealed.

Historic Karma

This rendering shows the current Mirage in white and the Hard Rock’s proposed guitar hotel in blue. It outlines some of the many renovations the Hard Rock is about to make. (Image: Hard Rock International via Nevada Gaming Control Board)

The Guitar Hotel will replace The Mirage’s beloved volcano — one of only two remaining major free shows on the Las Vegas Strip. (The other is the Bellagio fountains, also created by Steve Wynn.)

Though many view the volcano’s demolition as an affront to Las Vegas history, the attraction was part of a long line of historic indignities perpetrated on the same site.

To build the volcano, the last remaining Las Vegas Strip residence — a house owned by former vaudevillian actress Grace Hayes — had to be demolished in 1987, along with a Mobil station built on the site of the Red Rooster, which in 1931 became the very first licensed casino to operate on what eventually became the Las Vegas Strip.

In other words, the guitar tower will rise from the ashes of the exact site where the Las Vegas Strip was founded.

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