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The Story of Flamingo Hotel: How Bugsy Siegel Built the Iconic Las Vegas Resort

Discover the fascinating history of the Flamingo Hotel, one of the most iconic landmarks in Las Vegas.

If you’re curious about who built the Flamingo Hotel, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll delve into the story behind the Flamingo Hotel and explore the people and events that shaped its creation and legacy.

The Early Days of Las Vegas

The Flamingo Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. But what is the story behind its construction? To understand this, we need to take a look at the early days of Las Vegas.

The Birth of a City

In 1905, Las Vegas was founded as a railroad town. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the city began to take on the form that we know today. This was due to the construction of the Hoover Dam, which brought an influx of workers and their families to the area.

The Rise of Organized Crime

Unfortunately, with the growth of Las Vegas came the rise of organized crime. In the 1940s and 1950s, the city became a haven for gangsters and mobsters who saw an opportunity to profit from the gambling industry.

The Arrival of Bugsy Siegel

One of the most famous of these gangsters was Bugsy Siegel. He was a notorious figure in organized crime and had a vision for Las Vegas that went beyond anything that had been seen before. Siegel wanted to build a hotel and casino that would be the epitome of luxury and glamour.

In 1945, Siegel began construction on the Flamingo Hotel. The hotel was designed to be the most opulent and extravagant in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the project ran into financial difficulties, and Siegel was eventually killed before its completion.

Despite Siegel’s untimely demise, the Flamingo Hotel was eventually completed and opened its doors in 1946. Today, it is still one of the most popular hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, known for its luxurious accommodations, top-notch entertainment, and world-class dining.

The Visionary behind the Flamingo

When it comes to the Flamingo Hotel, one name immediately comes to mind: Bugsy Siegel.

Who was Bugsy Siegel?

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1906, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was a notorious gangster and a key figure in the development of Las Vegas as a gambling and entertainment destination. Siegel was known for his ruthless tactics, but he was also a visionary with big dreams.

The dream of a luxury resort

Siegel’s vision was to build a luxury resort in the middle of the desert, complete with a casino, restaurants, and entertainment venues. He believed that people would come from all over the world to be part of the excitement and glamour of Las Vegas.

To make his dream a reality, Siegel partnered with a group of investors and began construction on the Flamingo Hotel in 1945. The hotel was named after Siegel’s girlfriend, Virginia Hill, who had a long, thin build and was nicknamed “The Flamingo” because of her bright red hair and hot temper.

The challenges of building the Flamingo

Building the Flamingo was not without its challenges. Siegel and his partners faced numerous setbacks and delays, including financial difficulties, labor disputes, and construction issues. In the end, the hotel cost more than $6 million to build – a staggering amount of money at the time.

Unfortunately, Siegel did not live to see the completion of his vision. He was murdered in 1947, just a few months before the Flamingo opened its doors to the public. Despite this tragedy, the Flamingo went on to become one of the most iconic hotels in the world, and Bugsy Siegel’s legacy lives on to this day.

The Grand Opening

The Flamingo Hotel, one of the most iconic hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, has a rich history that dates back to its opening in 1946. The grand opening of the Flamingo was a star-studded affair, attended by Hollywood celebrities such as Clark Gable, Judy Garland, and others.

The Flamingo’s initial success was due to its luxurious atmosphere, extravagant amenities, and prime location on the Strip. The hotel was the brainchild of legendary mobster Bugsy Siegel and his partner, Meyer Lansky, who envisioned a glamorous and upscale resort that would attract the wealthy and famous.

Despite its success, the Flamingo faced a number of problems in the years following its grand opening. One of the main issues was the cost of construction, which was significantly over budget and caused financial strain for the hotel’s owners. Additionally, the Flamingo struggled to attract enough guests during its early years, leading to financial losses.

It is worth mentioning that the Flamingo’s success eventually came, but not before Bugsy Siegel was murdered in 1947. The hotel was eventually sold to a group of investors and underwent several renovations and expansions over the years.

Today, the Flamingo remains a popular destination for visitors to Las Vegas and is part of the Caesars Entertainment hotel chain. Despite its tumultuous beginnings, the Flamingo has become a symbol of the city’s glitz and glamour and a testament to the enduring spirit of Las Vegas.

The Legacy of the Flamingo

The Flamingo Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, and it has a fascinating story behind it. The hotel was built by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, a notorious gangster who had a vision for what Las Vegas could become. He wanted to create a luxurious resort that would attract the wealthy and famous, and he spared no expense in doing so.

The impact of the Flamingo on Las Vegas

When the Flamingo opened in 1946, it was one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. It featured a casino, a swimming pool, a golf course, and a showroom that hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment. The hotel quickly became a hotspot for Hollywood celebrities and wealthy gamblers, and it set the standard for the many hotels that would follow on the Las Vegas Strip.

Thanks to the success of the Flamingo, Las Vegas became known as a destination for high rollers and entertainment seekers. Today, the city is home to some of the most famous hotel chains in the world, including the Bellagio, the Wynn, and the Venetian.

The changing face of the Strip

Over the years, the Las Vegas Strip has undergone many changes, with new hotels and casinos being built and old ones being demolished. The Flamingo has managed to stand the test of time, however, and it remains one of the most popular hotels on the Strip.

While the hotel has undergone many renovations and updates over the years, it has managed to retain its classic style and glamour. Visitors can still see the original Flamingo sign, which has become an iconic symbol of Las Vegas.

The enduring allure of the Flamingo

Despite its association with a notorious gangster and its somewhat checkered past, the Flamingo remains a beloved hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It has an enduring allure that draws visitors from all over the world, and it continues to be a symbol of the glitz and glamour that Las Vegas is known for.

Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of classic Hollywood, or simply looking for a luxurious place to stay, the Flamingo is definitely worth a visit. Keep in mind that it is one of the oldest hotels on the Strip, so its amenities and décor may not be as modern as some of the newer hotels. However, its history and legacy more than make up for any lack of modernity.


In conclusion, the Flamingo Hotel is much more than just another Las Vegas casino – it’s a cultural icon that embodies the spirit of the city itself.

From its tumultuous beginnings to its enduring legacy, the story of the Flamingo Hotel is a fascinating one that continues to captivate people to this day.

Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of vintage glamour, or just someone looking for a good time in Las Vegas, the Flamingo Hotel is a must-see destination that should be on your bucket list.