The Dome of the Sea and the Dunes Hotel


I had a reader email me asking a question about a restaurant they had visited in the 1980s with a harpist in the middle of the room.   They wanted to know where it was.  It certainly sounds like the Dome of the Sea.  The Dome was a swanky, gourmet restaurant that was part of the Dunes Hotel. 

The Dome of the Sea opened  on June 12th, 1965.   Film legend Cary Grant flew in for the opening of the new restaurant.  Grant liked the Dunes Hotel and had stayed there when visiting.  He and actress Dyan Cannon were married there.  Jane Fonda married Roger Vadim at the Dunes as well.

The Dome of the Sea was built in 1964 and designed by Milton M. Schwartz, architect of the Diamond of the Desert, the Dunes high-rise tower that would replace the original low slung hotel and casino that first opened in 1959.

The Dome of the Sea was on the south end of the tower encased in its own dome.

From a 2005 interview, according to Schwartz, “The restaurant was called the Dome of the Sea because it was meant to be a seafood restaurant. I had chosen a woman with long, golden blonde hair. She was five-foot-six and played a harp, a golden harp, and I placed her in a seashell in the center of the restaurant that rolled around on a figure eight track in the water. She would play the harp in this seafood restaurant in the water. Not in the water—but she sat in the seashell and the seashell-shaped seat. The people were mesmerized by the music and the ambiance of the restaurant; it was very beautiful.”

The other gourmet restaurant at the hotel was the Sultan's Table.  

One of Major Riddle's (the owner of the Dunes) innovations was the opening of the Sultan's Table, the gourmet room. It opened on March 4, 1961. It was the first real gourmet room to open on the Strip and Diner's Club hailed it as "America's finest and most beautiful new restaurant."

The Sultan's Table was inspired by the Villa Fontana in Mexico City. Riddle had dined there once and was taken with the restaurant's atmosphere. He had enjoyed listening to Arturo Romero's Magic Violins and imported them to play the Sultan's Table. The chef, Jean Bertraneau, was from Beverly Hills. The maitre d' was Joaquin Norriega. The restaurant was a success from the day it opened. Its "snob appeal" quotient was through the roof and celebrities made a point of dining there when in town. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton often had their dinners sent over when they were in town.

The reader was also interested in a revolving lounge located atop a tower on the Strip, also from the 1980s.  I'm thinking it might have been the Top o' the Dunes, located atop the "Diamond of the Desert" tower but I don't remember it revolving.

Any ideas?


Special thanks to Pete Moruzzi for the link!