When staying at one of the many towering casino hotels along the Las Vegas Strip, you may have noticed something odd about the floor numbers – there’s no 13th floor! This quirk often leaves visitors wondering why major Vegas hotels omit this seemingly unlucky number.
If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Due to long-held superstitions and traditions around the number 13, most hotels in Las Vegas skip labeling a 13th floor to avoid scaring off superstitious guests.
In this in-depth article, we’ll explore the origins of 13’s unlucky reputation, look at examples of famous Vegas hotels that skip this floor, and examine why this tradition has continued into modern times.
The History of 13 Being Unlucky
The belief that the number 13 is unlucky has a long and storied history. It can be traced back to ancient times, with origins in numerology. In numerology, the number 12 is considered complete and harmonious, representing things like the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 months of the year, and the 12 apostles.
In contrast, the number 13 is seen as disruptive and unbalanced. This belief has been reinforced by events and folklore throughout the centuries.
Origins in Numerology
Numerology, the study of numbers and their meanings, has played a significant role in the belief that 13 is unlucky. In many cultures, the number 12 is associated with completeness and perfection. For example, in Christianity, there are 12 apostles, and in astrology, there are 12 signs of the zodiac.
The number 13, however, is seen as breaking this pattern of harmony and balance. It is often associated with bad luck and misfortune.
This belief can also be seen in ancient Norse mythology. According to Norse legend, the god Loki, known for his mischief and troublemaking, was the 13th guest at a dinner party, causing chaos and ultimately leading to the death of the god Baldr.
This story further solidified the negative connotations associated with the number 13.
Reinforced by Events and Folklore
Throughout history, there have been several events and pieces of folklore that have reinforced the superstition surrounding the number 13. One notable example is the Last Supper, where Jesus Christ was betrayed by one of his 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot.
This event, depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, has contributed to the belief that having 13 people at a table is unlucky.
In addition to these events, folklore and popular culture have perpetuated the idea that 13 is unlucky. One well-known superstition is that if you break a mirror, you will have seven years of bad luck.
This belief is thought to have originated from the Romans, who believed that life renewed itself every seven years. Breaking a mirror was seen as disrupting this cycle and bringing about misfortune.
Examples of Vegas Hotels Omitting a 13th Floor
Caesars Palace is one of the most iconic hotels in Las Vegas, known for its luxurious amenities and grandeur. However, if you take a closer look at its floor numbering, you’ll notice that there is no 13th floor.
This omission is not unique to Caesars Palace, but rather a common practice among many Vegas hotels.
The decision to skip the 13th floor at Caesars Palace, like in other hotels, is rooted in superstition. The number 13 has long been considered unlucky in Western culture, and many people have a fear of it, known as triskaidekaphobia.
To avoid any potential negative associations, hotels often skip the 13th floor altogether.
But what happens to the space that would have been designated as the 13th floor? In most cases, the floor above the 12th is labeled as the 14th floor. This means that there is no physical difference between the 12th and 14th floors, but the number 13 is simply omitted from the numbering.
The Venetian is another prominent Las Vegas hotel that follows the tradition of omitting the 13th floor. This luxurious resort and casino, designed to replicate the beauty of Venice, Italy, caters to millions of visitors each year.
However, you won’t find a 13th floor on the elevator buttons or in the room directories.
The superstition surrounding the number 13 is deeply ingrained in many cultures, and it extends to the hospitality industry. The Venetian, like other hotels, understands that some guests may have a fear or aversion to the number 13, and therefore chooses to exclude it from their floor numbering.
Interestingly, the Venetian is not alone in its superstitious approach. Many hotels around the world, not just in Las Vegas, avoid using the number 13 in their floor designations.
MGM Grand, one of the largest hotels in the world, also joins the list of Vegas hotels that omit a 13th floor. With over 6,800 rooms, this iconic hotel and casino complex attracts visitors from all over the globe.
However, if you take the elevator to the top, you’ll notice that the 13th floor is mysteriously missing.
The decision to exclude the 13th floor at MGM Grand, as with other hotels, is a nod to the widespread superstition surrounding the number. By omitting the 13th floor, the hotel aims to create a more welcoming and comfortable environment for its guests who may hold superstitious beliefs.
It’s important to note that the absence of the 13th floor is purely symbolic. The space that would have been labeled as the 13th floor is still utilized and occupied, but it is given a different numerical designation to avoid any potential negative connotations.
Reasons for Avoiding the 13th Floor
Superstitions Around the Number 13
The fear of the number 13, known as triskaidekaphobia, has been deeply rooted in various cultures for centuries. Many people believe that the number brings bad luck and misfortune. This superstition has led to the omission of the 13th floor in many buildings, including hotels in Las Vegas.
Superstitions around the number 13 can be traced back to several historical events. One popular theory is that the fear of the number 13 originated from the Last Supper, where Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, was the 13th guest.
Another theory relates to Norse mythology, where the mischievous god Loki was the 13th guest at a dinner party, resulting in the death of the beloved god Balder.
Regardless of the origins, the fear of the number 13 has become deeply ingrained in our society, leading to the avoidance of the 13th floor in many buildings, including hotels in Las Vegas.
Not Wanting to Scare Off Superstitious Guests
Las Vegas hotels are well aware of the prevalence of superstitious beliefs among their guests. They want to ensure that their guests have a comfortable and enjoyable stay without any unnecessary anxieties or fears.
By avoiding the 13th floor, hotels cater to the superstitious beliefs of their guests and create an environment that is free from any negative associations. The absence of a 13th floor helps to alleviate any potential distress or unease that some guests might experience when confronted with the number 13.
Hotels in Las Vegas strive to provide a welcoming and worry-free atmosphere, and avoiding the 13th floor is one way they achieve this.
Tradition and Consistency
The omission of the 13th floor in Las Vegas hotels is also driven by tradition and the desire for consistency in the hospitality industry.
Many hotels follow a standard numbering system for their floors, with the count starting from the ground floor as 1, followed by 2, 3, and so on. By skipping the 13th floor, hotels maintain a consistent and logical floor numbering system that is familiar to guests.
In addition, the tradition of avoiding the 13th floor has been passed down through generations of hoteliers. It has become a standard practice in the industry and is expected by both guests and hotel staff.
By adhering to this tradition, Las Vegas hotels ensure that their guests have a seamless and predictable experience, contributing to the overall satisfaction of their stay.
Counterperspectives: Should 13th Floors Exist?
Criticisms of Superstition
While the absence of 13th floors in Vegas hotels may seem like a nod to superstition, there are those who criticize this practice. They argue that such superstitious beliefs have no place in modern society and that it is irrational to avoid numbering floors as 13.
Critics suggest that it perpetuates unfounded fears and hinders progress. After all, shouldn’t we base our decisions on logic and reason rather than superstition?
One argument against the avoidance of 13th floors is that it reinforces irrational beliefs and gives power to superstition. By succumbing to these beliefs, we are allowing them to dictate our actions and limit our choices.
Critics argue that instead of succumbing to fear, we should promote rational thinking and challenge superstitious beliefs.
Furthermore, critics point out that the absence of 13th floors may create confusion for guests. While some may argue that it is just a number, removing the 13th floor may lead to inconsistencies in floor numbering systems.
This can be particularly confusing for guests who are unfamiliar with this practice or for those who are used to a more logical and consistent numbering system.
Making Buildings More Logical
On the other hand, proponents of including 13th floors argue that it is a matter of logical consistency. They believe that skipping the 13th floor only perpetuates confusion and inconsistency. Instead, they suggest that buildings should be designed with a more logical and straightforward approach to floor numbering.
By including the 13th floor, buildings can maintain a clear and logical numbering system that is easy for guests to understand. This eliminates the need for special considerations and avoids potential confusion. It also promotes transparency and honesty in the design and construction of buildings.
Accommodating Guest Preferences
Another perspective to consider is that of guest preferences. While some guests may not be bothered by the absence of a 13th floor, others may have strong beliefs or personal reasons for wanting to avoid it.
By including the 13th floor, hotels can accommodate the preferences of a wider range of guests.
It is important for hotels to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for all guests. By offering a 13th floor option, hotels can show that they respect and value the beliefs and preferences of their guests. This can contribute to a positive guest experience and enhance customer satisfaction.
The Future of the 13th Floor in Vegas
While the omission of the 13th floor in Vegas hotels may be rooted in superstition, the future of this tradition is uncertain. As society evolves, attitudes toward superstition are changing, and the pressures of space in the city are increasing.
Evolving Attitudes Toward Superstition
In recent years, there has been a shift in how people perceive superstition. Many are now more skeptical and less likely to believe in its power. With the rise of science and rational thinking, superstitions are often dismissed as mere coincidences or irrational beliefs.
As a result, the significance of avoiding the 13th floor may diminish over time.
Moreover, the younger generation tends to be more open-minded and less bound by traditional beliefs. They are more likely to question superstitions and may not see the need to avoid the 13th floor in Vegas hotels.
As this generation becomes the dominant force in society, the superstition surrounding the 13th floor may lose its hold.
Increasing Pressures of Space
Another factor that may influence the future of the 13th floor in Vegas hotels is the increasing pressures of space in the city. As demand for hotel rooms continues to rise, developers are constantly looking for ways to maximize space utilization.
Including a 13th floor, which is often skipped due to superstition, may be seen as a waste of valuable real estate.
Vegas hotels are known for their extravagant designs and luxurious amenities. Developers may prioritize creating additional rooms or incorporating more amenities on higher floors rather than dedicating a whole floor to superstition.
This practical approach to space utilization may eventually lead to the reintroduction of the 13th floor in Vegas hotels.
While skipping the 13th floor in hotels was once seen as necessary to accommodate superstitious guests, attitudes may be shifting. However, the tradition remains deeply ingrained in Vegas history and culture.
So the next time you’re exploring a soaring casino hotel, don’t be surprised when the elevator jumps from 12 to 14 without hesitation!