Opened in 1955 the Riviera has inexpensive rooms near the north end of the Strip, a pool with real grass surrounding it and a bronze statue immortalizing the Crazy Girls' bare behinds.
Old school Vegas, bargain rooms for cost-conscious travelers, friendly staff
The Riviera's classic façade with pulsating neon is still a cool sight to see at night.
Scenes from four of the ultimate Vegas movies -- the Rat Pack original "Ocean's 11" (1960), Martin Scorsese's "Casino" (1995), the X-rated cult classic "Showgirls" (1995) and one of Chevy Chase's Griswold family adventures "Vegas Vacation" (1997) -- were shot here.
It's fun to test your skills at the Pinball Hall of Fame annex (this is a small satellite location of the premiere facility on East Tropicana Avenue). Situated next to the Riviera's food court, you'll find more than 30 pinball machines...some dating back to the 1960s.
OK, so the Riviera's glory days are well behind it. While the rooms could use a little freshening, they are a great value considering what you pay. The rooms range from 377 to 430 square feet. Don't expect extras like a coffeemaker or fridge. The Monaco Tower was recently renovated, so book a Luxury Room there if you're looking for the most contemporary accommodations. Along with the Monaco Tower, the San Remo and Monte Carlo towers frame the resort's pool. The cheapest rooms are found in the Mediterranean towers, which are closest to the casino. For history buffs, this nine-story Mediterranean North Tower was hailed as the city's first high-rise hotel when the Riviera opened in 1955.
The Riviera is at the north end of the Strip -- not "way out" north, but still 1.6 miles from heart of the action. It's located close to the Las Vegas Convention Center, but it will take you a healthy, 40-minute walk (one way) to get to Caesars Palace. Another option for getting around: The double-decker Deuce buses stop in front of the Riviera.
Located right next door to the Riviera is the Peppermill Fireside Lounge, another enduring Vegas gem. Be sure to go over and order a Scorpion (the giant-sized signature drink). Sip it while sitting amid pink neon lights on a velvet couch beside a kitschy sunken fire pit, which is surrounded by water. Here's to the '70s!
Look for the "No Ifs, Ands or..." statue in front of the Riviera right out on the Strip. It's supposed to be good luck to rub the Crazy Girls' butts (and will make for a fabulous Facebook photo). Just don't be too pervy when you snap your pic -- you are out in public. And of course, wash your hands afterward.
Self-parking at the Riviera can be tricky (the eight-story garage behind the hotel is old and tight on turns, and the other garage -- much farther back -- makes for quite a walk), so it's easiest just to use the resort's valet service.
At the Riviera, when there's a long line at the front desk to check in, you can actually avoid it. If you've made a reservation (and have a credit card), you can check yourself in at one of three kiosks, which will even issue your room key.