Yes, Caesars Palace. Oh, what a difference an apostrophe can make!
But wait, isn’t it Caesar’s Palace. NO! It’s actually not. Perhaps you have heard of Jay Sarno and his vision. Often when the “apostrophe conversation” comes up, people have no idea what I am talking about. Sometimes, I even like to tell the story backwards.
According to the internet (ok, WIKIPEDIA), “Sarno died of a heart attack on July 21, 1984, at the age of 62, at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, a hotel he formerly owned, while on a gambling stay at the hotel.” On a “gambling stay” is probably the G-rated version. I mean, this is Jay Sarno, the man responsible for the Bacchanal restaurant (no, not the current Bacchanal Buffet version). A restaurant where there were goddesses, wine goddesses to be exact, massaging gentleman during dinner. I am not particularly knowledgeable about the Roman Empire, but I know that Bacchus was the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom, intoxication, and ecstasy. It definitely seems to work with regard to hotel theming and Vegas. Though, this was years before the first super-casino Mirage would open in 1989.
I had the pleasure of dining at the Bacchanal at Caesars Atlantic City a few years ago before it closed. It is now a Caesars Rewards Loyalty Program Seven Stars (highest public VIP tier level) lounge. The Vegas version has been gone for even more years. Caesars did open a buffet (which just reopened due to Covid-19) in the last few years named the Bacchanal Buffet which is considered one of the higher quality and more popular buffets in Las Vegas. But, a buffet is hardly a substitute for Sarno’s original Bacchanal restaurant concept, pictured above from a vintage Caesars hotel guide in my collection.
As memorialized by Paul W. Papa in “It Happened in Las Vegas: Remarkable Events that Shaped History,” Sarno envisioned a resort where people lived the life of the Roman Empire.
“We wanted to create the feeling that everyone in the hotel was a Caesar,” Recalled Sarno. Hence, the apostrophe was left off intentionally. Sarno named the resort Caesars Palace NOT Caesar’s Palace.
Las Vegas has been in a constant state of change, both with regard to its identity and focus as well as the physical nature of the city. The history is fascinating and checkered with many colorful characters. Caesars Palace Las Vegas is just one example of that history. If you enjoy Las Vegas history and the story of the creation of modern Las Vegas I recommend reading “Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas: How Jay Sarno Won a Casino Empire, Lost It, and Inspired Modern Las Vegas” by David G. Schwartz.
Taking On The Role of Caesar
Caesars Palace was designed by Sarno with the ultimate vision of the guest in mind. You were not enjoying your vacation at Caesar’s Palace, but instead, you were taking on the role of Caesar. When you think about it that way it would have been impossible to name the hotel property Caesar’s Palace instead of Caesars Palace.
Note: This article originally appeared at InsideFlyer. Originally published at TravelZork in 2018. Revised in June 2021.