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Sahara Hotel Las Vegas Remembered

Update: 28 July 2019 >

A new owner will be changing what had become the SLS Las Vegas back to Sahara Las Vegas. This is the casino resort that Frank Sinatra loved.

We Miss the Historic "Viva Las Vegas" Hotel

The Sahara Hotel and Casino Las Vegas was a Las Vegas icon—closely associated with Elvis Presley and the Frank Sinatra Rat Pack. 

After 59 star-studded years, the Sahara Hotel closed in 2011. The new SLS Las Vegas now occupies its location.

Talk about nostalgia

No Vegas hotel attracted more celebrities than the Sahara in its heyday.

Even when performing at another casino, Frank always came to the Sahara with his friends after his last show.

In recent years, a happy mix of young and old enjoyed the Sahara. It had become hip again in its own way.

These guests were on to something. There was no other hotel like it left in Las Vegas.

This historic Strip hotel still shined

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The Sahara Hotel Las Vegas broke the rule that older budget strip hotels had to be unattractive. 

The 1,720 guest rooms and baths needed long overdue renovation, but the Sahara public areas still sparkled. In spite of renovations, the lobby and casino areas maintained their historic feel, which guests loved.

The Sahara Hotel Las Vegas had class—in that old Las Vegas way.

Sahara’s House of Lord’s restaurant continued to be a Las Vegas favorite. Both the restaurant and the Sahara Hotel enjoyed a fiercely loyal clientele.

Nevertheless, not everything stayed as it was. For example, guests loved its new NASCAR Cafe and Las Vegas Cyber Speedway.

The end comes with a new beginning

Had its area of the Strip not become so run down, the Sahara Hotel might still be with us. That situation was changing rapidly with much new construction, but nearly all that halted when the economy crashed. 

Hit by a succession of economic whammies — the dot com collapse, 9/11 travel slowdown, high gas prices, the "Great Recession" —the Sahara tried hard to survive. 

The Sahara initiated $1 Twitter room specials to attract guests to its casino. Ditto remarkably low $30 weekend rates. Still cash flow lagged. It was forced to close two of its three guest room towers and its buffet.

Perhaps the very soul of Vegas condemned it. No city puts more attention on the future than the past. Visitors expect Las Vegas always to be changing.

Technically, the Sahara Hotel and Casino remains. SLS saved considerable money by gutting and keeping the Sahara structures instead of building new. SLS attracts the Vegas buzz now, just as the Sahara once did.

SLS hotels attract a young crowd. That may be just what this location needs.

UPDATE November 5, 2015:

The SLS Las Vegas, which has been losing money, will be marketed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Sheraton, etc.). One of its three towers will becoma a W hotel, a Starwood brand. Until now, Starwood fans had few choices in Las Vegas.

In closing, please enjoy this nice tribute to the Sahara, with many scenes from its past.

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To a Remarkable Sahara Hotel 59 Years!