Home » VT News » The Sahara Is Closing

The Sahara Is Closing

By Chuckmonster on Thursday, 10th March 2011 6:19pm
  » filed under Mergers & Acquisitions  comments: 39


We've been hearing rumblings through Las Vegas public relations channels that an announcement about the future of the Sahara will be released to the press tomorrow morning, Friday March 11, 2011.

The announcement, as we deduced two weeks ago, is that the property will be closed and put into mothballs until SBE entertainment feels that a renovation makes financial sense or they elect to sell.

Since Culinary Union agreements require 60 day advance notice of property closure/termination, we can peg the earliest date for closure of Sahara to take place on or around the 15th of May 2011, ending 59 years of legendary fun times.

Sahara Las Vegas

October 7, 1952 - May 15? 2011

I'm kinda Sad.

Tagged: sahara   closing   sbe entertainment   


Comments & Discussion:

OMG :/

Crazy, but most likely, necessary. It's a little sad to see pieces of Vegas history go, but at the same time, there's still too much supply. If the sub-par properties have to go to help keep the other ones alive, then so be it. Vegas will be stronger in the long run for it.

Is there somewhere else I can get my 6 pound burrito fix?

And soon nature will overtake it, making the renovations that it so badly needs.

NO !!!!! three things I loved about the Sahara. 1. it's legacy 2. Speed the ride 3. closest monorail stop towards Downtown, to take a cab.

RIP Sahara

@cwatts26 - I completely agree two of the three (don't care for the coaster). Sad, too, that my wife and I stayed at the Sahara during our honeymoon in 2005. It was slightly aged at the time, but the economy was booming and we hardn'y noticed. I am sure people far closer to the situation than I know better, but I can't help but think that the loss of the Stardust, Slots of Fun and Westward Ho completely isolated Sahara and Stratosphere and hung them both out to dry.

This puts the Strat even more on an island.


I stayed in the north Strip area several times in the late 90s and remember the good blackjack games that were offered at the Riv, the Ho, and Circus Circus. Even then, I think I might've made it to the Sahara once. I don't think I've been up to that area in close to 10 years.

At what point will the Strip end at Encore? Of course, this week Sternlicht moved along in the approval process to purchase the Riv, so it'll be interesting to see what happens there, although doesn't look like it'll be anytime soon.

That's pretty sad. Feel bad for everyone getting pink slips. Doubt they can all get a job at Hyde Lounge Bellagio.

This really upsets me. I'm going to have to make an "emergency" visit to see the property one more time.

Will probably have to stop by for the first and last time when I go in early May...sad to see the end of an era...

Over/under on time until new strip casino employs "Old Vegas" as theme?

Very sad news...but, really, if it was my money on the line it's probably what I'd do. The mechanical systems on that whole property have to got be so out of date that I can't imagine what it costs just to keep the cooled/heated (do you ever heat air in LV?) air flowing. Plus ancient, legacy, registration/reservation systems! Oh, and what in the world must the kitchens and other back-of-house areas must look like?!? R.I.P. Sahara...it was nice to know you!

I stayed in the north Strip area several times in the late 90s and remember the good blackjack games that were offered at the Riv, the Ho, and Circus Circus. Even then, I think I might've made it to the Sahara once.

Same here. That end of the strip was run down but it was cheap and fun. Still, the Sahara was not even on my radar screen. I have no recollection of spending any significant time there over the last twenty years. It's an odd accident that it survived this long, while dated but worthwhile places like the Stardust and Frontier atrophied and died in the bubble.

The last time I was in Vegas I wandered down to the Sahara and walked back taking pictures of the closed/unfinished/moldy properties along the way. A few years ago I went in and wondered why the place was even open. i am heading back to Vegas the same week the place is closing so I will wander down there again just to stare at the old husk. Is the Riviera next?

Wow, talk about mismanagement. What kind of genius buys a casino to sit on it for two years and then close it? Was it a dump?, yeah, but the owner let it get that way. Shame shame shame.

That's a shame. Not nearly the shame of Stardust being torn down for pie-in-the-sky Echelon, but a shame nonetheless. Guess the monorail didn't do squat for business.

Strat's recent renovation looks smarter and smarter. Hope they can pick up Sahara's clientele. It's an island but so are all the other offstrip hotels.

Seriously, Vegas is diminishing one hotel at a time. Like someone above said, it's only a matter of time before the strip ends at Encore. Circus Circus and Riv are all we have left of the sleazy north strip. Oh well. I still love Vegas and everything in it.
I liked the Sahara though, the pure dankness of the place just rubbed me in all the right spots. $1 beers $1 blackjack...:sniff:

Somehow, someway, I have to get my hands on one of the camel desk lamps..those things are cool..

I stayed one night at the Sahara this past December..I wish their staff all the best..its going to be interesting to see what happens when several hundred people are looking for a work in a state with a 14 percent unemployment rate..

I echo the sentiments above. Sad to see one of the early birds go, but I'm not all that surprised either. Best of luck to the people of the Sahara.

Very sad news, I stayed there just prior to SBE purchasing the place and enjoyed my stay, employees at the time were friendly and I can remember being well taken care of as a low level gambler at the craps table and vp bar.

SBE got in way over their heads with this, it didn't help that they purchased at the top of the crest, but the fact is they were already starting to alienate their base before that and with competitors courting everyone during the recession, there wasn't much the Sahara could bank on to draw people in (besides $1 days, blah).

Another nail for the monorail.

The Sahara is the last stop and a turnaround, so the trains will have to continue there without passengers unless you want to go to the souvenir shop or the Strat. I doubr if any cabs will hang around if the Sahara is closed.

It is odd that the two best Monorail stops are the Hilton and the Sahara and the one is closed and the other is under-utilized.

Walked to the Sahara from the HGVC on the strip as it was the closest casino. sad place. The Riviera is holding its own.


Very sad news. While I enjoy the nicer places like Wynn / Bellagio / Venetian, etc. there is something very fun & conformting about visiting the older properties. #1 - hardly any d-bags!
I guess I'm just bummed that the Vegas I enjoyed, the one that felt like an adult D-land, is quickly disappearing: Stardust / Frontier / Desert Inn / Westward Ho / Barbary Coast / Boardwalk (a complete dive but I miss the scary clown), etc. You are missed. I hope the Riv hangs in there.

For ADZTheMan I would think they will liquidate the fixtures, furniture, etc. Even if they don't plan on imploding it, there's no reason to leave stuff sitting that could be turned into a few dollars. Keep an eye out for the auction...and if you hear about it let me know! I don't live in LV, but might fly down for a chance to wander through Sahara one more time...and maybe get me a camel lamp!

Way to screw up a desert themed casino that has survived 59 years in the desert. The strip is pretty much becoming one giant ghetto with a single high rent district plopped in the middle.

Um, does anyone know how many open rooms the Sahara has at this point? I know they closed off some rooms in 2009, but I can't remember what that number was.

Dshort makes a good point above about the monorail. I wonder what they will do with that stop? It was useful for getting to the Strat, as well as a good place to catch a cab downtown.

Hopefully someone will come along and revive the Sahara, but in the current climate, that's doubtful. I never would have thought last week when I went past the Sahara that it would be the last time I saw the place open.

That part of the Strip is definitely become the boulevard of broken dreams. The Riv and Circus Circus/Slots-A-Fun is all that's left once the Sahara closes. To some extent, that end of the Strip had long been in decline and going back to the closure of El Rancho (The second El Rancho.) back in 1992.

They have already raised rates, and limited entry, that last weekend on their reservation system. I wonder what they will plan as a end-of-an-era finish. I will be in Vegas the weekend before, I am curious to see its last days...

Nice scoop, Chuck! At least they gave the parking garage one last (first) powerwashing before closing.

I feel badly for the employees impacted by this decision. I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner, though. If the January gaming numbers are any guide, there may be more tough times ahead for Las Vegas, especially the marginal operators. The So Cal drive-in market is critical for these guys, and $4+ gas is not going to help.

NeverJustJ i want to know about the auction if you hear anything.

Hate to see a legend close down. Also do not want to see more people unemployed. I have been in this place twice and enjoyed the House of Lords steakhouse. The casino did need some updating. I now wish I stopped by Sahara last weekend and will have to make an effort to visit during April trip.

Ok, well...this is depressing.
It's not just because it's the screen name that I picked when I first entered this board years ago, it's because this dump is/was a part of me. This was MY place from age 21-31, this was where I stayed, played, ate, reveled in the darkness, dankness, scuminess.
I remember when the pool had grass and played oldies over the loud speaker. I cut my teeth on those blackjack tables. I had multiple trips with friends who no longer want to go to Vegas that were the best trips ever. My car was broken into in at the Sahara. I had a hysterical laughing fit at 4am in my hotel room with a friend while watching Americas Funniest Home Videos (check youtube for the video of a kid watching a puppet show. wow). I have great memories. The BEST memories. This is the place that made me fall in love with Vegas.
This place had a soul. I cannot believe that it will now be in the category of the Moulin Rouge, Stardust, Frontier, Desert Inn...just a memory. Another Vegas classic, MY Vegas classic, gone.
I'll be in Vegas at the end of this month to say goodbye to a friend.
Fuck you, SBE.

Sad stuff. I stayed there a couple times as a kid in the 80s when things actually happened on the North Strip. Sahara is a place you always kind of depended on being there, even though you never actually wanted to go in.

I think the death knell (on top of the other, more obvious death knells) was tailor-making it for the Nascar crowd years ago. Doesn't jibe well with the theme of being an oasis with Rat Pack traditions.

I'm both happy and sad. Happy because SBE ran the property into the ground. I used to go to the Sahara every time I was in town as I enjoyed the atmosphere and employees and everything. Then SBE took over and suddenly many of their employees became rude and unfriendly. I had an issue once and the manager wouldn't even bother to come out to talk, he was just too busy or good to bother with whatever my issue was. I even emailed the Sahara about my experience to get no reply back.

So I'm glad that SBE is taking a loss.

However, I am saddened by it as the Sahara was a good casino. I liked the lounge acts and the layout and atmosphere of the casino. It's a shame to see it go thanks to Los Angeles morons. Really, anything from LA ought stay away from Vegas. The people who visit Vegas from Southern CA are destroying the town as are any investments from CA, running the entire city into the ground.

@hail2skins, blissfulignoramus, et al,

I recall an early trip, stayed at CircusCircus and walked down the Strip thru Slots-A-Fun, to Westward Ho, Stardust, Frontier, then past the mall to Treasure Island, Mirage, Caesars.... It really seemed like a continuous Strip then, because it was. I think the Strip already ends at Encore. That wasteland of shattered (shuttered?) dreams now cuts off CircusCircus and the Riv (not to mention Sahara and the Strat, and amplified by the ghostly Fontainebleau), making them even more ghetto. Before, at least it was more of a transition kind of like a Monopoly board, with lots to see & do along the way and a reason to make the walk.

As for Sahara, it seemed a bit far, like CC & Riv do now, and had it been more central to the Strip it would've attracted some investor with big dreams and a wrecking ball like so many of its contemporaries, I'm sure. Nevertheless, farewell to a legend....

I hope someone is making plans to secure the building and the surrounding property once the Sahara is closed...take a walk in daylight past the former Key Largo and get a look at what happens when efforts are not made to fully secure the property..

This is a bad omen for the Strip, as the building will simply stand there, empty and dark..remember that it happened before when Binion's casino closed downtown..and there are currently no plans to do anything with the property, other than close it..at least Binion's reopened, as will the Plaza, with all the stuff that meant for the Fountainbleu.

What are SBEs plans regarding the property? Will they try to find partners and reopen the Sahara?

Its something those who use the monorail will see on a daily basis on their way to the Hilton, or on the way back towards Center Strip and the MGM at the South Strip..until it just one day...stops..

Maybe Caesars Entertainment Corporation will buy it and convert it to Total Rewards

A stadium on that end of the strip is looking more and more attractive at this point. Anything would be a good thing to get life back on that end of LVB.

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