When opened in 1957, Meyer Lansky’s Havana Riviera was the most extravagant and sophisticated high-rise resort hotel-casino in the Caribbean prior to the inauguration of the Habana Hilton the following year. Designed by Miami-based architect Igor Polevitzky, the Havana Riviera rivaled the lavish hotels being erected in Las Vegas and Miami Beach at that time. Its mid-century Modern styling, custom artwork, interior décor, and magnificent seaside setting made it the star of Steve Allen’s live television variety show broadcast from the Riviera in January, 1958. Remarkably, the Havana Riviera remains virtually unmolested in its original 1957 splendor. Due to benign neglect, the hotel is undoubtedly the best-preserved example of mid-century Las Vegas-influenced Miami Modern resort architecture in the world.
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