Opened on 1 April 1971, the Westward Ho Hotel and Casino operated for 35 years, and was known as the world’s biggest motor inn.
Different in style to many other establishments on the famous Las Vegas Strip, it was a simple two storey building surrounded by parking, and had the reputation of being the city’s friendliest casino.
The casino featured slot machines and table games run by croupiers, as well as regular food and dance events.
A Vegas Strip Icon
The gaudy exterior of the Westward Ho Hotel and Casino made the establishment an early icon on the Las Vegas Strip. It featured a façade covered with mirrors, highly polished brass fixtures, and freestanding golden umbrellas over 80 feet in height.
Dark oak and brass fixtures were prominent inside the casino; emphasised by dominant greens and browns.
Other features within the casino included a fountain that offered free bloody marys and champagne cocktails throughout the day and night, as well as a champagne fountain, made of stacked champagne flutes.
Casino Games at Westward Ho
Impressive features and drinks fountains aside, the Westward Ho Hotel and Casino’s gaming options were a major attraction for Vegas locals and tourists alike.
In addition to offering a range of slot machines and video poker machines, the casino pit featured tables with blackjack, craps, Let It Ride, and roulette.
One of the biggest secrets of the casino’s success was its low table minimums. Where most other casinos set minimum table bets at $5, $10, or even $25, the Westward Ho let players bet at the tables for as little as $1.
Food and Fun
When guests weren’t entertaining themselves on the casino floor or in their comfortable rooms, they could be found at events for which the Westward Ho Hotel and Casino became even more famous.
Held regularly, the HO-waiaan Luau and Dinner, the Fabulous Doo-Wop Dinner, and the Grub-Steak Jamboree BBQ gave guests a chance to enjoy various styles of cuisine and to party the night away, under the stars.
Westward Ho History
The Westward Ho Hotel and Casino was the brainchild of Utah natives and siblings Dean Peterson, Faye Johnson, and Murray Peterson. Hans Dorweiller took the helm as manager.
A number of upgrades and innovative features were introduced over the years, and in January 2005, the owners opened up an expansion casino known as The Ho, which was aimed at truckers and others passing through. In keeping with this, it only featured a gaming hall, a fuel station, and a convenience store.
The main hotel and casino continued to attract guests, right up until it finally closed its doors in November 2005. Eight days after the Westward Ho shut, the Ho also closed its doors for the last time.
The Westward Ho Hotel and Casino was sold to a property development company based in Denver, Colorado, whose plans for the property were later cancelled. From there, the property was earmarked for development by Voyager Entertainment and Centex Destination Properties, and was then bought by Harrah’s Entertainment, who traded it to Boyd Gaming for another casino on the Strip.
What was the Westward Ho, the friendliest casino in Las Vegas, and the world’s then-biggest motor inn, is now a McDonald’s restaurant.