Hotel Histories

History of the The Mirage

Businesses that were on the same property included:
Red Rooster Nite Club
San Souci Auto Court
The Castaways

Replaced with The Mirage which opened Nov. 22, 1989


The Red Rooster Nite Club opened in 1931, by owner Alice Wilson "Ma" Morris.

In 1932, Rooster was served with abatement papers for serving alcohol during prohibition. Morris and Marcelle Smith went to court in an attempt to gain dismissal of the abatement but were defeated. On November 1, 1932, Rooster announced its new opening under new management

On July 8, 1933, the Rooster was destroyed by fire. The building and fixtures were fully covered by insurance and the loss was estimated at $25,000.

On December 30, 1933, the Rooster announced its grand reopening under the management of Morris and Ben Chaplin.

On April 20, 1937, John R. Golding had purchased half interest in the Rooster.

In 1942, the San Souci Auto Court opened next to the Red Rooster.

In 1947, vaudeville headliner/film star Grace Hayes bought the Rooster and renovated it, naming it the Gracie Hayes Lodge.

This property changed hands and names various times. In 1948 it was renamed Red Rooster with owners Gracie Hayes and W.W. Cole, and in 1949, the owner was stated as W.W. Cole.

In 1949, San Souci had changed its name to San Souci Court.

In 1950, the name was changed to Martello's Red Rooster and during that same year San Souci became known as San Souci Auto & Trailer Court.

Apparently in 1951, the name was changed back to Red Rooster with Hayes again owning it. In 1953, it changed to the Hi-Ho Club owned by Joe Cohen & Max Stettner. On May 4, 1954, the name was changed to The Patio Club by Cohen and Stettner.

The Patiowas designed by Tom Douglas. It was stated that it was so brightly lit, that it can be seen by downtown.

In 1955, San Souci had become a corporation and was known as Sans Souci Hotel, Inc.

Apparently The Patio didn't do well as during this year its name was changed to The Rendezvous. In 1956, Hayes got involved in the property again and changed its name back to Gracie Hayes Lodge. Hayes was the first on the Strip in December 1956, to put up Christmas lighting around the entrance to her lodge. All mention of Gracie Hayes Lodge/Red Rooster clan disappeared after this year.

In August of 1958, Sans Souci filed bankrupcty in the amount of $1 million. Several plans were presented to Federal Judge Ross for reoganization.

The larger and modernized The Sans Souci Hotel Casino opened in March of 1960, with Joe Medure named as President.

The Sans Souci contained 100 deluxe rooms and apartments. It advertised a telephone in each room, refrigerated air-conditioning, a snack bar, and a swimming pool. In the front of the resort was Dinah's Pancake and Chicken House.

In 1963, the name was changed to the Castaways Hotel & Casino when a group of investors headed by Ike P. LaRue of Jackson, Mississippi, remodeled it. It consisted of a casino, two wings of rooms, and a radio station out back. At the time, the Castaways had nine game tables, one keno, and 152 slot machines.

Sometime later somebody came up with the idea of putting a $1,500-gallon fish tank behind the bar. It didn't have a fish in it. A nude showgirl swam lazily through the water three times a day holding her breath while everyone watching held theirs.

The Castaways ran into financial trouble in late 1964, and the casino was forced to close down. The hotel, showrooms, and restaurant continued to operate.

On April 16, 1964, Breck Wall's Bottoms Up debuted at the resort and ran for 18 weeks.

It reopened in 1967, as Oliver's New Castaways Casino when Oliver Kable bought the resort. The Castaways had 230 suites.

The Castaways contained an intricately carved 35 foot high, 14 ton teakwood replica of a Jain Temple in India. The "Gateway to Luck" was brought to America by the British government to form part of an exhibit at the St. Louis Fair in 1904-1905. How it ended up at the Castaways is one of Las Vegas' mysteries and where it is now is yet another Vegas mystery.

In 1969 or 1970, The Castaways was sold to Howard Hughes via Hughes Tool Company for $3 million dollars.

In December of 1971, there was an announcement that the lounge was closed but rooms were still available.

In 1972, the Castaways which, after some refurbishing, was presented to the public as "all-new, all-wonderful," reopened with a bawdy musical called the Tom Jones Show. It featured a number of lusty ballads and a chorus line of footlight ladies dressed in bosom-flashing Elizabethan costumes.

When Steve Wynn purchased the Castaways in 1987 from Hughes Tool Company, he had a dream of a resort that "that will usher in a new Las Vegas". The resort, which was to be called the Golden Nugget on the Strip, went into the planning stages.

The $750 million, three-winged, Y-shaped, 30 story tower The Mirage, the first hotel casino resort built on the Strip in 15 years, opened in November 22, 1989, with 3,044 rooms. Designed by architect Joel Bergman, twenty-four carat gold-tinted glass spangles the white structure. The Mirage sat on 100 acres.

The Mirage's signboard is 160 feet tall. Although the sign is not the tallest sign on the Strip, it is certainly the best situated. At the top of the The Mirage sign is a preprinted fabric panel featuring the headliners, Siegfried and Roy. Below it is a 16-color matrix sign which performs like a big-screen television to display its attractions. In it, a field of primary-colored light bulbs can be controlled by a computer program to mix and flash, thereby creating movement and different colors.

The Polynesian theme of The Mirage has been concentrated into a compact volcanic island, sitting in a roadside lagoon, surrounded by palms, ferns, and waterfalls. Every 15 minutes after dark, the volcano erupts in a geyser of steam tinted with red lights 100 feet above the water. Gas jets in the lagoon spread flames across the water's surface.

The front entrance is filled with a lush and verdant indoor antrum filled with palm trees that reach 60 feet above waterfalls and pools which meander through a forest of rich tropical flora including banana trees, elephant ears and tropical orchids.

In the registration lobby there is a 20,000 gallon salt water coral reef aquarium stocked with sharks, pufferfish and angelfish swimming between the buildings of a sunken undersea city.

The guest rooms contain imported Spanish and Indonesian marble in the entryways of the rooms and in the flooring, bathtubs and counter tops of the bathrooms. The artwork including florals, landscapes and still-lifes enhances the residential quality and elegance of the decor. The Mirage was designed to give every room a view of either the pool, the mountain or the Strip. The Mirage also contains six opulent lanai bungalows, each with its own private garden and pool as well as a collection of eight extraordinary two and three bedroom private residences.

Contained in The Mirage are restaurants such as Caribe Cafe, the Noodle Kitchen, Mirage Buffet, California Pizza Kitchen, Coconuts, Kokomo's, Mikado, Moongate, Onda, Restaurant Alex Stratta, Samba Grill and Paradise Cafe.

The Dolphin Habitat was the personal dream of Wynn whose conception of a tropical oasis in the desert included a habitat for one of the world's most intelligent and graceful animals, the dolphin.

Siegfried and Roy signed a five year $58 million contract to perform at the Mirage.

Six rare animal breeds reside within the Royal White Tiger Habitat. The Royal White Tigers of Nevada, the White Lions of Timbayati, heterozygous Bengal Tigers (possessing both tawny and white genes), an Asian elephant, a panther and a snow leopard.

On December 25, 1997, Siegfried & Roy participated in the birth of Timbayati white lion, Prosperity, weighing 2 pounds, `2 ounces, bringing the total number of white lions to 12. Prosperity was named the mascot of the U.S. Senate by Senatory Harry Reid.

On March 6, 2000, it was announced that Mirage Resorts has been sold to Kirk Kerkorian/MGM Grand for $4.4 billion in cash. MGM also assumes $2 billion in Mirage debt.

On June 28, 2000, Wynn agreed to purchase $17.2 million in assets from his former company, MGM Mirage.

In March of 2001, Siegfried & Roy signed a contract with MGM Mirage that will keep them at the resort until December, 2004.

More detailed information can be found at