Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | 12:54 p.m.
David and Jackie Siegel
Multimillionaire timeshare king David Siegel’s acquisition of the Las Vegas Hotel (LVH), which was the Las Vegas Hilton before that, was made official Tuesday morning when he climbed aboard a crane to remove the LVH letters and help install his own Westgate letters for Westgate Las Vegas.
David said that the letters were 1-inch larger than rival Donald Trump’s name on his tower here and in a practical expense-saving measure, David took them from his former Planet Hollywood Westgate tower, which is now a Hilton timeshare.
David began his empire in 1981 with a single 16-unit resort a hop, skip and a jump away from Walt Disney World. Today, he has 28 resorts in nine states with more than 10,000 employees and some 400,000 Westgate timeshare owners.
We’ll have an interview and my one-on-one with David soon, so please check back, but for now let me tease that David has big plans for the property, including changing the old Star Trek attraction into a nightclub and bringing in star-chef restaurants and headliners. The former Elvis Presley suite at the one-time International Hotel will be made over into a tourist attraction.
David points out that it will remain a resort hotel with a timeshare component with owners having an official deed to their Las Vegas property.
“You’ll see the changes within 90 days,” David told me. “I’m not a casino gambler myself, but this is a great bet. I prefer to call it a very calculated business decision.”
He says that he’ll spend more than double what he paid to buy the property (a reported $185 million) to upgrade it with a total transformation. He pledged: “Every inch of the place will be changed to make our guests all feel like high rollers. We will set the standard for service in Las Vegas. We’re reinventing this important part of Las Vegas history for the next generation.”
Westgate Las Vegas will operate as a hybrid resort with timeshare villas. His sales team gave 30 booked tours Tuesday. David expects to sell the first five timeshare deals Tuesday. (Update: He has sold 11 without any advertising and promotion.) Each year, he sells more than 60,000 vacation packages with 4 million people visiting his resorts.
David’s wife Jackie made headlines with the construction of their home, the largest in America. She will star in a new E! Entertainment reality-TV series due to start filming in two months at Westgate Las Vegas, and David says that he might give her a Versailles suite at the property to transform as an attraction.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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