The Strat Hotel Casino & SkyPod in Las Vegas, with its iconic tower soaring 1,149 feet into the sky, is one of the most recognizable resorts on the city’s famous Strip. But this massive Vegas property wasn’t always known as the Strat.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The resort first opened in 1996 as the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. It rebranded to its current name, The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod, in 2019.

In this in-depth article, we’ll take a closer look at the different names and branding this landmark Vegas hotel has had over its 25+ year history, from its ambitious origins to its recent repositioning.

Planned and Opened as the Stratosphere (Late 1980s-1996)

The iconic Strat Hotel in Las Vegas, with its towering height and thrilling attractions, was not always called by its current name. In fact, before its rebranding in 2019, the hotel was known as the Stratosphere. Let’s take a closer look at the history of this Las Vegas landmark.

Ambitious Vision Takes Shape in the Late 80s

The idea for the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino was conceived in the late 1980s when a group of visionary developers saw the potential for a towering hotel and entertainment complex in Las Vegas. Their aim was to create a destination that would not only offer luxurious accommodations but also provide visitors with unparalleled views of the city’s famous skyline.

With this ambitious vision in mind, plans were set in motion to construct a massive tower that would rise above the Las Vegas Strip and become a symbol of the city’s opulence and grandeur.

Stratosphere Corporation Formed to Oversee Development

To oversee the development and operation of the project, the Stratosphere Corporation was formed. This entity was responsible for bringing together a team of architects, engineers, and designers who would work tirelessly to turn the vision into a reality.

Construction of the tower began in the late 1980s, and it quickly became apparent that this would be no ordinary building. Standing at a staggering height of 1,149 feet, the Stratosphere Tower would soon earn its place among the tallest freestanding structures in the world.

Grand Opening in 1996 as Stratosphere Hotel and Casino

After years of planning and construction, the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino finally opened its doors to the public in 1996. The grand opening was a momentous occasion, drawing in crowds of curious onlookers who were eager to experience the thrills and excitement that awaited them at the top of the tower.

From the moment it opened, the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino became a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Its impressive height and unique attractions, such as the Big Shot, Insanity, and X-Scream, offered visitors a one-of-a-kind experience that they couldn’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas.

Although the hotel has undergone a rebranding and is now known as the Strat Hotel, its rich history as the Stratosphere will always be remembered. The iconic tower continues to stand as a testament to the ambitious vision of its founders and remains a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a truly unforgettable Las Vegas experience.

Brief Stint as Vegas World in the 1990s

Before it became the iconic Strat Hotel, the famous Las Vegas landmark underwent a brief transformation in the 1990s. For a short period of time, it was known as Vegas World. This change in name and branding was a bold attempt to revitalize the property and attract a new wave of visitors to the city.

Stratosphere Declares Bankruptcy Months After Opening

The Strat Hotel, formerly known as Vegas World, had a rocky start after it opened its doors in 1996. Despite its grandeur and unique tower design, the property struggled to generate enough revenue to cover its expenses.

Just a few months after its grand opening, the Stratosphere filed for bankruptcy, sending shockwaves through the Las Vegas hospitality industry.

The bankruptcy filing was a result of several factors, including high construction costs, a downturn in the economy, and fierce competition from other resorts on the Strip. However, the management team was determined to turn things around and find a new way to position the property in the highly competitive Las Vegas market.

Vegas World Branding Attempted Under New Ownership

Under new ownership, the struggling Stratosphere decided to rebrand itself as Vegas World in an effort to attract a younger and more diverse clientele. The name change was accompanied by a fresh marketing campaign, highlighting the property’s unique features and entertainment options.

Despite the bold rebranding attempt, Vegas World failed to capture the attention of visitors in the same way as other Las Vegas resorts. The new name and branding did little to distinguish it from the countless other options available on the Strip.

After just a few years, the owners realized that a more drastic change was needed to ensure the property’s long-term success.

Ultimately, the decision was made to rebrand once again, this time as the Strat Hotel. The new name and updated image helped to reposition the property as a premier destination in Las Vegas, attracting tourists from around the world.

Today, the Strat Hotel stands tall as one of the most recognizable landmarks on the Las Vegas Strip.

For more information about the history of the Stratosphere and its transformation into the Strat Hotel, you can visit the official website at

Back to Stratosphere and Eventual Rise to Vegas Icon (Late 90s-2010s)

The Strat Hotel, formerly known as the Stratosphere, has a rich history that began in the late 90s. Prior to its transformation into the iconic Las Vegas landmark it is today, the property went through several changes in name and ownership.

Let’s take a closer look at the journey of the Stratosphere and its eventual rise to becoming a Vegas icon.

Stratosphere Name Returns in Late 90s

In the late 90s, the property that would eventually become the Stratosphere underwent a major rebranding. Originally known as the Vegas World Hotel and Casino, it was renamed the Stratosphere in 1996 after a new tower was added to the property.

This tower, which stands at an impressive 1,149 feet, made the Stratosphere the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States.

The decision to bring back the Stratosphere name was strategic, as it aimed to capitalize on the tower’s unique selling point and create a distinctive identity for the property. The name change helped to reposition the hotel as a top destination for thrill-seekers and those looking for breathtaking views of the Las Vegas skyline.

Property Regains Footing Over the Years

Following the reintroduction of the Stratosphere name, the property faced some challenges in establishing itself as a premier destination on the Las Vegas Strip. However, with a renewed focus on entertainment and a series of renovations and upgrades, the Stratosphere gradually regained its footing.

The addition of world-class dining options, a revamped casino floor, and a variety of entertainment offerings helped to attract a wider range of visitors. The property also expanded its hotel capacity, offering a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences.

Furthermore, the Stratosphere’s location at the northern end of the Strip proved to be advantageous as it provided a unique perspective of the city, away from the bustling crowds of the central Strip.

This allowed the property to carve out its own niche and appeal to those seeking a more relaxed and immersive Las Vegas experience.

Soaring Popularity as Vegas Landmark by 2010s

By the 2010s, the Stratosphere had firmly established itself as a Vegas icon. Its towering presence and distinctive silhouette had become synonymous with the Las Vegas skyline. The property’s reputation as a thrill-seeker’s paradise grew, thanks to its collection of adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions, including the famous Big Shot, Insanity, and X-Scream.

The Stratosphere also became a popular destination for those looking to enjoy panoramic views of Las Vegas. Its observation deck, located at the top of the tower, offered visitors breathtaking vistas of the city and its surrounding desert landscape.

Today, the Stratosphere continues to be a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike. With its combination of thrilling experiences, top-notch entertainment, and stunning views, it remains a shining example of the innovation and evolution that have come to define Las Vegas.

Rebranded as The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod (2019-Present)

In 2019, The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod emerged as the new name for the iconic Las Vegas hotel formerly known as the Stratosphere. The rebranding was a strategic decision made by the property’s new ownership, Golden Entertainment, who acquired the property in 2017.

With a vision to revitalize the property and attract a wider range of visitors, Golden Entertainment chose to update the hotel’s branding to reflect its new direction.

The decision to rename the hotel as The STRAT was not made randomly. The new name was chosen to create a fresh and modern image for the property, while still paying homage to its iconic past. The word “STRAT” is a shortened version of “Stratosphere,” which was the hotel’s original name.

By adopting this abbreviated version, the new owners aimed to create a more contemporary and memorable brand identity.

The rebranding of the hotel has been met with a mixed reception among visitors and Vegas insiders. Some have applauded the new name, seeing it as a positive step towards rejuvenating the property and attracting a younger demographic.

Others, however, have expressed nostalgia for the old Stratosphere name and feel a sense of loss with the rebranding. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod continues to be a popular destination for thrill-seekers and those looking for breathtaking views of the Las Vegas Strip.


The Strat Hotel in Las Vegas has undergone its fair share of name changes and rebrandings since it first opened as the Stratosphere over 25 years ago. While the name on the marquee has shifted, the property’s signature tower and status as a Vegas icon have remained consistent.

From financial struggles early on to its resurgence as one of the most recognizable resorts in Las Vegas, the Strat has a unique history reflected in its branding evolution. The STRAT name may be new, but this beloved Vegas landmark continues to offer the classic thrills and excitement visitors expect from the city that never sleeps.

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