Las Vegas: Luxor
The Luxor Hotel, designed by renowned hotel architect Veldon Simpson, instantly became one of the most recognizable hotels on the Las Vegas Strip when it opened on OCtober 15, 1993. With its Ancient Egyptian motif, it contains 4,407 rooms lining the interior walls of a hollow 350-foot-high (137m), 30-story pyramid of black glass (in comparison, the Great Pyramid of Giza tops out at 450 ft/137 m) and within two twin ziggurat towers. The hotel is marked by a large obelisk with the name of the property in lighted letters, while the porte-cochere travels underneath a massive recreation of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
The tip of the pyramid contains a fixed-position spotlight that points directly upward – it is the brightest beam in the world, and is visible from anywhere in the Las Vegas valley at night, and can be seen at flight level from above Los Angeles, California, over 275 miles (440 km) away. In the spring, the bright light attracts huge numbers of moths into the light beam, creating a phenomenon that has been likened to snow. The beam is currently powered by 39 Xenon lamps operating at 7 kilowatts each at an hourly operating cost of $53 (lamps, repairs, and electricity costs). The beam's output is rated at 41.5 gigacandela.
Named after the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes) in Egypt, the site of the Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Luxor Temples, and scores of other pharaonic monuments – but no pyramids, the hotel is commonly viewed as one of the finest examples of 1990s Postmodern architecture, and appeared on the cover of renowned architecture scholar James Steele's book "Architecture Today".