If you want to experience a little piece of Las Vegas history, downtown is the place to be. Fremont Street in the heart of downtown is home to some of the most iconic Las Vegas hotels, including the historic Hotel Apache at Binion’s Gambling Hall. For those who love a little adrenaline-pumping paranormal activity, here’s what you should know about Hotel Apache and other fun and spooky experiences at Fremont Street Experience.
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The Opening of Hotel Apache
Hotel Apache opened its doors to the public in 1932 as a place of retreat for workers building the Hoover Dam. After all, there were about 21,000 men helping to build Hoover Dam between the years of 1931 and 1936. With steady paychecks and nothing to do in the Nevada desert, why not make the most of this eager population?
Fortunately, the Silvagni family, a Hoover Dam project cement contractor, saw the opportunity and seized it. They were behind Hotel Apache when it first opened and are still connected to the property to this day.
And now, it’s time for some random Las Vegas facts that are sure to help at your next trivia night (you’re welcome). Hotel Apache in downtown Las Vegas was home to several “firsts” for the city.
Hotel Apache was home to the first air-conditioned Las Vegas hotel lobby. With the average summer temperature in Las Vegas hovering around 99 degrees Fahrenheit and reaching up to 115 degrees or more at the height of the desert heat wave, you can imagine what a welcome relief that would be back then!
However, according to an article in Las Vegas Weekly, people experienced Las Vegas heat a little differently in the past. There were more trees and dirt and less pavement, which meant more heat was absorbed rather than radiating off the concrete like today. But, we digress.
Another Las Vegas milestone that Hotel Apache can claim is the first electric elevator in Sin City. Electric elevators were a rarity anywhere at that time — not just in Las Vegas. Hotel Apache was the first to install these electrically-operated elevators, which gave the hotel a level of prestige and luxury — two things that were not yet synonymous with the Las Vegas name.
Although Hotel Apache did not have a casino when it initially opened, it wasn’t long before it housed a sprawling area full of poker tables and gamblers flirting with “Lady Luck.” That in itself is not particularly special. After all, the first casino (now known as Golden Gate) in Las Vegas opened in 1906. Coincidentally, Golden Gate is also located on Fremont Street and is still operating today.
The unique thing about Hotel Apache’s casino was that it was fully carpeted. The plush carpet welcomed guests and gamblers into the space, adding another element of opulence many people in Las Vegas had never experienced.
In 1951, Benny Binion leased the property from the Silvagni family. After some shuffling around from friends to family members, the Silvagni family signed a long-term lease with Benny Binion’s sons, Jack and Ted. The Silvagni family no longer operates the property but still acts as landlords.
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Paranormal Activity at Hotel Apache
Now, it’s time for the good stuff. With such a rich history in Las Vegas and some of the biggest Hollywood stars staying at the hotel, Hotel Apache is surprisingly best known for its paranormal activity. It’s more than just a single sighting or rumor that put the hotel on the paranormal map!
Several news outlets have covered countless stories of:
Guests hearing voices
People witnessing objects being moved around
Doors slamming shut
Sounds of shuffling paper
Lights and electronic devices shutting off by themselves
Experiencing the feeling of not being alone when they knew they were
KTNV Las Vegas even shared a report of a woman hearing furniture being moved and windows opening in the room next door, only to learn from the front desk that the room was unoccupied.
The Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” crew visited Binion’s and featured the hotel in an episode that aired on March 23, 2019. Starring Zak Bagans and his team of professional “ghost hunters,” they explored the decades-old property, including the areas that had been abandoned and sealed off. This was shot just before the updated Hotel Apache inside Binion’s was remodeled and opened later that year.
According to Binion’s website, several of their employees have reported being nudged or touched while working their shifts. Mediums who have visited the property have also seen images of past owners, family members, and guests. Depending on what you’re into, this may sound really awesome or downright spooky. We’ll leave that up to you!
After about a decade of being closed and isolated, Hotel Apache was renovated and reopened on July 29, 2019. The 81-room hotel featured historic decor and a western style that echoed the hotel’s original opening in 1932.
Compared to the mega-resorts on the Strip or the newer downtown hotels like Circa Resort Casino, it couldn’t be any more different. The boutique hotel focuses on a niche audience who want to immerse themselves in vintage Vegas nostalgia. Some throwback touches you’ll find at Hotel Apache include:
Old-fashioned phones and radios
Vintage-style lamps and desks
Along with the reopened Hotel Apache came Whiskey Licker Up, Binion’s saloon-style rotating bar with fantastic views of the Fremont Street crowds and Slotzilla Zipline riders zooming past. The bar serves up craft beer, specialty cocktails, and great food, with free live entertainment right outside the windows.
Check out the best free concerts Las Vegas has to offer at Downtown Rocks on the Fremont Street Experience!
Experience Halloween in Downtown Las Vegas!
Now that you’re properly spooked and hungry for more Vegas ghost stories, why not spend this Halloween in Vegas? We may be biased, but nobody does Halloween like Sin City. The Rock of Horror HallowWeekend party at Fremont Street Experience features:
- Free, live music across three stages in the pedestrian mall
- Dazzling visuals on our Viva Vision screen
- Flash mobs and nightly entertainment
- Epic costume contests
- The best people-watching in the city
While planning your trip, be sure to check out hotels near downtown Las Vegas for the best rates and perks, including:
- Hotel Apache at Binion’s
- Fremont Hotel Casino
- The D Casino & Hotel
- Four Queens Hotel & Casino
- Golden Gate Hotel & Casino
- Golden Nugget Las Vegas
- The California Hotel & Casino (aka “The Cal”)
- Main Street Station Casino, Brewery & Hotel
- Circa Resort & Casino
Eat downtown Las Vegas-style with the hottest restaurants on Fremont Street!
Book Your Room at Hotel Apache Today!
For a truly vintage Vegas experience, Hotel Apache has everything you could want for an unforgettable Las Vegas trip. And for you brave thrill-seekers out there, you can even request one of their “haunted” rooms for your own ghost-hunting adventure. Book your room today, and be sure to let us know how it goes!
Hoover Dam | Bureau of Reclamation. (2015).
Kostek, J. (2020). Haunted Las Vegas: Paranormal activity at historic Hotel Apache
Peterson, K. (2015). Vegas before AC: A quick history of cooling off in our triple-digit city
Schulz, B. (2020). Celebrities flock to Las Vegas. It started with this downtown hotel.