The Diamond of the Dunes tower was added in 1961 and around the same time the famous Dunes marquee was erected. The Dunes featured a full 18-hole golf course and was the first hotel and resort to offer a topless show. In 1979, they built the South tower, bringing the total rooms at Dunes up to 1300.
The famous Dunes sultan (pictured way above) sat out front until 1964. It was then relegated to the golf course where it burned down in 1985. In 1987, a Japanese businessman bought the property for $155 million dollars, but failed to find a way to keep the property afloat. In 1992, Steve Wynn purchased the Dunes, with plans to demolish the resort.
On October 20, 1993, the Dunes was imploded with great fanfare, on the same night the Treasure Island (also a Wynn property back then) opened. In true Vegas form, the demolition was turned into an opening event for Treasure Island whereby the pirate ship’s cannons “fired off” the shot that exploded the famous Dunes marquee. From there, the building was set on fire and imploded. The video is below (implosion starts around 2:45).
Today, Bellagio sits on the former site of Dunes. It certainly appears that the land that the Dunes' casino and its North Tower stood on is now taken up by the Bellagio lake. When MGM purchased Mirage Resorts from Steve Wynn, they received with it a large parcel of land that had been the Dunes golf course. On that land now sits part of CityCenter, specifically Aria and Vdara.
The Dunes lives on in pictures, movies, people’s memories, and the street that bears its name, but in the end it gave way to make room for a resort that is potentially even more iconic for Las Vegas. In many ways, the Dunes implosion began the trend across Las Vegas to implode the old and build anew. We look forward to telling the story of many of the others like Sands, Desert Inn, and Hacienda, in the coming weeks.