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The Castaways (Hotel, Casino, Restaurant), Las Vegas, NV (other)

Pages: 1 30 replies

Name:The Castaways (Hotel, Casino, Restaurant)
City:Las Vegas

The Castaways hotel, casino and restaurant in Las Vegas used the same logo as the Castaways in Miami Beach.

I have always wondered if and how they were related.

I have several postcards that show the exterior of the hotel and restaurant and the Tikis that were located out front.

Here's one of the pool area with a giant anchor.

A close up of a hotel room with a nice mural over the bed.

The Tikis started out as natural carved with no paint.

They later got the typical paint make-over.

Here are a few more photos I found on the internet.

Some matchbooks

There was an east Indian temple in the pool area.

Here are two ashtrays that advertise The Castaways as a Hughes Hotel

A rendering and a key fob.

There are also some nice interior photos of The Castaways in Tiki Modern.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2010-04-04 12:21 ]

There are? You mean the one in Miami, I think. It is still a mystery what connection the Vegas one had with the Miami original, they did use the same logo.

This is by far the most impressive and complete documentation of the Las Vegas Castaways out there, my compliments, Scott!


Fantastic group of images DC. Do any of your cards state the specific name for the lounge at the Vegas location? I know the Miami lounge was the Tahitian and featured a swizzle with the man and woman under a palm tree logo. I have a swizzle with the same logo for the Wreck Bar. Was the Wreck the Vegas lounge? The connection between the two if any has always interested me as well.

The swizzle.

Logo from a postcard from the Miami location dated 1956 for comparison of the two logos.


I always thought that the photo of the lounge singer in Tiki Modern was from the Vegas Castaways, probably because the text under the photo talked about the Vegas version.


Here is an ad that advertised Happy Hour at the Kon Tiki lounge. The ad with Redd Foxx also cites a Samoa Room. I don't think the Vegas Castaways used either the Wreck Bar or Tahitian Lounge names.

Here are some other ads from the internet, the first one with a nice Tiki.


Wow, a Lilly St.Cyr show at the Castaways...with "Barry Ashton's Un-Cover Girls" !? Gotta love it! Where is my time machine!

I see now what you mean, DC, that guy sure LOOKS Vegas, too, same pose than in the postcard. I feel pretty certain that the Vegas Castaways was an attempt by the Miami owners to franchise, the logo and font are too similar to be a rip off. Plus the concept of plopping some exotic temple into the pool area mirrors the Miami location's "Shinto Temple Room".


I agree, sure seems like there had to be a connection between the Miami and Vegas Castaways. Will do a little more digging.

Here are a few more photos of the east Indian Temple.

And a story from the web:

The handcarved Teak Temple, a two story artifice with spiral staircase, was tucked behind the Castaways Casino in a small courtyard, about 150-200 yards from the entrance to the Sands Hotel, but it could not be seen from there. It was partially visible from Spring Mountain Rd., not far from The Sneak Joint. There were no guards there, and if you were real careful you could slip under the chain and walk around inside (hey, we were kids, what did we know).

The centuries old Teak Temple made its first US appearance at the 1904 St. Louis Fair. How it wound up at the Castaway's is anyone's guess. When the Castaway's was being torn down to make way for The Mirage, the Jain Society, according to a reliable source, moved it to Southern California where it reposes today.

It was one of the True Jewels of LV and is sorely missed.

So, the temple is supposed to be in Southern California.... somebody needs to find it!


Did some more research and the Temple is now at the Jains Center complex in Buena Park.

A little more info:

The British built the teak temple in 1904 for the World's Fair in St. Louis. It was supposed to go back to India, but somehow ended up in Howard Hughes' hands. He put it on display in the parking lot of the Castaways Casino in Las Vegas. After the eccentric billionaire's death, local Jains persuaded Hughes' corporation to donate the temple.

A major feature of the Cultural Complex includes a 104-year old wooden temple erected in the main foyer of the building. Intricately carved of teakwood by sixty-five artisans over a two-year period, it is an exquisite replica of the famed Jain Temple of Palitana Mountain in Gujarat, India. Originally commissioned by the British government, the wooden temple (weighing nearly 10,000 pounds) was first displayed in the USA at the 1904-1905 St. Louis World Fair. Last displayed in the courtyard of the Castaways Casino in Las Vegas, this priceless art relic was donated to JCSC when the casino was demolished. It has finally found an appropriate permanent home and is proudly displayed at the Jain Center.

Pretty cool.


Great research, DC! That artifact sure looked out of place in that pool area. Wonder if it was just a "Good Luck" gimmick or if the original owners really had an interest in Far East religions. WHO were they, anyway!?

Looking at the grandiose scale the Miami Castaways, the Vegas one never reached that...though at the time, there was no shortage of grandiose Casinos in Vegas. Maybe the owners were older, and had less energy for this satellite. Or they were not in bed with the right people in Vegas at the time.

Some more history.

The Castaways was originally the Sans Souci hotel.

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.

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.

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

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

Here is an aerial showing the entire grounds. What is that round stone structure in the foreground right?

As far as the architecture goes, I found out that the architect for the Castways in Miami, M. Tony Sherman, also designed the Tropicana in Las Vegas but not the Vegas Castaways.

He also designed the cool Jolly Roger in Fort Lauderdale which I understand has gained historical status.

Still no solid connection between the Miami and Las Vegas Castaways.


A little bit of trivia... When I was 17 years old, I would go play blackjack after work at the Castaways because they wouldn't card me. Lost my ass, but I guess you gotta learn somehow. Even better story, I once met a cocktail waitress from the Castaways and had a one night stand. After 'partying' all night, I dropped her off at work at the casino! The 70's were a hoot. Man, I'm gettin old. lol

[ Edited by: Trailerpark Tiki 2010-04-14 01:35 ]


After being your neighbor at Mojave Oasis, your Castaways story makes a lot more sense now! HA.

I picked up a little brochure from the Castaways with some 70's style graphics.

Polynesian Holiday for only $21.30!

Here's the deal - paradise on the strip!

What's on the grounds

I love this view of what must have been the deluxe suite, check out the bar and canopy.

I also saw some photos on ebay.


Wow - again! Within a year, this place has come from relative obscurity to one of the best documented Tiki temples in Las Vegas! Stellar work, DC!

Thought you guys may find this interesting, also thought it would be a good first contribution to the boards. Highballs from The Castaway's Hotel & Casino Las Vegas!

Fantastic drink ware! All the elements come together here! It is interesting how for each place in Tikidom, one piece uses their logo elements to the best advantage. Often it is the menu that is most impressive in its graphics, but sometimes a matchbook or even a napkin do a better job. For the Castaways Vegas I'd say it's these glasses!

I thought it may also be of interest that the artist responsible for the art on the cup is Gilbert Stone.

My modest contribution. A swizzle found by my wife at the Denver Modernism Show.


On 2010-04-04 14:57, bigbrotiki wrote:
It is still a mystery what connection the Vegas one had with the Miami original, they did use the same logo.

Ah, the perplexing connection of the Miami beach and Las Vegas Castaways. I found this article on line that answers the question. A Vegas group headed by Steve Wynn was involved in a plan to purchase the Castaways in Miami on a strategy to get a foothold in the area in advance of a proposal to legalize gambling.





The Castaways Hotel opened on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip across from the Sands Hotel in 1963, became one of the casinos billionaire Howard Hughes bought in the late 1960s and survived into the 1980s, when it was demolished to make way for Steve Wynn's The Mirage in 1989.

The Castaways was built on the spot once occupied by the Red Rooster, a nightclub that opened in 1931. Motorists coming from California and Utah frequented the Red Rooster, one of the first clubs outside of downtown Las Vegas on Highway 91. The club, which added gaming in the early 1930s, had a succession of new owners into the early 1950s. Though the club had no hotel rooms, lodging was available at the San Souci, a small auto court, or motel, built next to it in the 1940s.

In the late 1950s, the building formerly known as the Red Rooster was razed, and the new owners began constructing a new hotel-casino, which would take its name from the auto court. The builder was George Mitzell, who had owned the San Souci. Mitzell and crew built a small casino, hotel and 400-seat showroom. When the hotel debuted in 1957, aging pop singer Rudy Vallee headlined. The San Souci hotel briefly became a popular place for eating out and watching lounge acts and floorshows, mostly involving headliners of less stature than major Strip hotels like the Sands. But within a year, the owners, citing debts, filed for bankruptcy. In the early 1960s, without enough cash to offer gambling to its guests, the San Souci operated as a hotel without a casino.

In 1963, new owners bought the hotel, refurbished it to include a small casino, and renamed it the Castaways. The new resort, headed by chief investor Ike LaRue, had a distinctive neon sign that looked like a large bird spreading its wings. It also included a Pacific Island Tiki-themed showroom and a bar with a fish tank in which a woman swam to entertain patrons.

The Castaways' mainly middlebrow entertainment in its lounges and showroom brought in the spectators, but not enough gamblers. Cash flow problems continued in the casino, and the Castaways, like its predecessor, closed its casino within only a year. The casino would open and close repeatedly into the mid-1960s. But even without gaming, the Castaways kept going thanks to its still-popular inexpensive shows and restaurants. One of the shows was a sexually suggestive revue, Bottoms Up, which included young comedian and future television star Redd Foxx.

By the late 1960s, the Castaways, which opened with about 100 hotel rooms, had 250 rooms in several ordinary looking, two-story buildings. Yet the hotel hosted one of the Strip's biggest tourist attractions. Outside the hotel, Castaways managers bought and assembled a sixty-year-old scale replica of an East Indian temple, made of elaborately carved teakwood, for visitors to walk through. But the Castaways became more famous than ever when Howard Hughes bought it during his Strip casino buying spree that began with the Desert Inn in 1967 and continued until 1969. Summa Corporation, the company's corporate name, continued to operate the Castaways after Hughes' death in 1976 under general manager Bill Friedman, now a well-known casino consultant and author.

The Castaways, although not among the fanciest resorts on the Strip, managed to stay afloat all the way to 1987. Steve Wynn bought the Castaways that year from the Hughes company, ordered it closed and torn down, and announced plans for a new kind of resort for the property. Two years later on the site, he opened The Mirage, a 3,044-room hotel-casino considered the beginning of the "megaresort age" on the Strip that followed into the 1990s and 2000s. In 1993, Wynn put up a second megaresort on the former Castaways property, Treasure Island.

Found this today


A postcard similar to one on page one but with different views of the pool and room interior.

And here's a small paper sack from the gift shop.

Here are two photos that show the devolution of the Tikis outside of the Castaways.

The original carvings.

And the "after" paint jobs.

Also a fun photo showing the location of the Castaways on the strip (bottom left).


Nice shot showing how jammed in it was by the late 60s - and right across from a German restaurant:

Further proof of Tiki devolution is that a THIRD Tiki, a pole in the background, seems to be missing:

(or it's just behind the lava rock corner, due to the slightly different angle)

But WHO was "exciting, unmatched" stripper TIKI YURO !!?

I knew of Tiki LaTure:

Was Tiki Yuro a play on Timi Yuro? :) Questions, questions….

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-12-31 07:10 ]

Found this a while back and
Just noticed I forgot to post photo here

Castaways underwent a few changes, but I don't understand how it came to look so completely different by 1987 when it was demolished:

I can't find any late 70s or early 80s photos showing when this change took place, or whether the original motel-style structure was demolished in between.

I found another postcard from the Castaways that gives a better close up view of coffee shop, sign and Tikis.

The fourth Tiki to the right of the sign does not appear in this shot.



Saw this today
Slot Glass

A few more photos of the Vegas Castaways sign and Tikis.


Pages: 1 30 replies