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Sahara's Final Days : Shareef Don't Like It

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 11th April 2011 8:52pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 10


Sayonara Sahara

The king told the boogie men they had to make that raga drop.

The Sahara is closing on May 16th. We stopped by recently to say sayonara as well as document what the place looked like before the closing days cyclone roars through the joint and decimates everything.

Sahara Final Entrance

The grand entrance. Still gorgeous after all these years. This is the amazing thing about Sahara, the bones of the buildings in many ways are still "good." With the right people in charge of maintenance and upgrades and a true, realistic visionary, there is no reason why Sahara can't continue for another 10-20 years. Upgrading the content - fun shows, reconfigure the casino back to the way it is supposed to be, destination dining - is half of the problem. As Sam Nazarian has proved, limping is not a strategy.

Sahara Final Casino

I wonder what stories this woman could tell us about Sahara. I wonder also what stories I'll tell about Wynn when it closes 30 years from now.

The front portion of the casino floor is primarily table games now. In the past, this area was mostly slot machines. There is a bar under the first pit canopy, slot machine tournaments under another, and a third has some table games under it. The end result is the energy of the casino isn't spread evenly. If I were running the place, I'd put the bar where the craps tables are now and put the table games under the pit canopies as they were for 50 years. Surround the table games with slots and video poker. Put the slot tournament machines somewhere else, not the main casino floor.

Sahara Final Original Pit

Slot tournament machines taking up one of the main pits on the casino floor. Who thought this was a good idea? The problem with Sahara isn't the building, it is with the management. Sahara is financially viable, the management by SBE and Navegante Group isn't. Perhaps SBE's shareef don't like it.

Sahara Final Slot Detail

Why would anybody put slot machines that nobody can play one of the most prime locations on the casino floor?

Sahara Final Slots

The felts still look brand new.

Sahara Final Felt

We now see where ARIA drew inspiration from when deciding upon its carpet designs.

Sahara Final Carpet

Sky blue sky and the Saharan pit canopy. These things still look fabulous... why aren't they lit up and shiny? Because the entire property is covered in black and white photos of a ten year period of Las Vegas history. Perhaps 40 years from now, during the months before it closes, Wynn's tufted silk walls will then be covered with 5'x 8' blown up TwitPics of Paris Hilton and the Kardashitards. "Do you remember the Second Golden Age of Vegas?"

Sahara Final Stool

This guy would look great in VT's office. If anybody from sbe is reading this... get in touch!

Sahara Final Guard

Checking in? Better hurry.

Sahara Final Reception

House of Lords is one of the oldest continually operating restaurants in Las Vegas. One of the original Las Vegas Steakhouses.

Sahara Final Hol Door

The booths. Yeah... those booths. The dessert cart. The canopy. Gone.

Sahara Final Hol Booth


Sahara Final House Of Lords

Not even the the Sahara Timeline knows that the jig is up.

Sahara Final Timeline

Twas here that crowd caught a whiff of that crazy casbah jive.

Sahara Final Casbar

The king called up his jet fighters, he said you better earn your pay. Drop your bombs beneath the minarets, down the Casbah way. As soon as the shareef was chauffered outta there the jet pilots tuned to the cockpit radio blare. As soon as the shareef was outta their hair, the jet pilots wailed.

Rock the Casbah. Don't wait.

Tagged: sahara   closing   sbe entertainment   


Comments & Discussion:

Actually, its suppose to be mid 1970's to 2011 because none of the original 1950s structures are left from when the Rat Pack, Johnny Carson and Jerry Lewis performed.
Remember- it was all torn down in the 1970s to build a new casino and tower in place of the old motor court wings and original casino and the Congo room where all the famous performers played.

Still... RIP to the Sahara name.....

Dr. Dave, can we get a ruling on this?

After seeing those booths I'm really upset I never visited the restaurant on my one stay there.

Great pics in capturing some of the outstanding elements that scream this place could still be relevant with the right devotion.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the Sahara, but in the near-term, it has some significant location issues. Surrounded by aborted projects that will be completed god-knows-when, it's not a place I would put my money. This is not a good time to be a marginal attraction in a marginal location.

Your first paragraph nailed it.Someone with the vision to keep it alive could do it and I don't think it would be that hard.Strip the apathy away and market correctly,the best fixer out there.Location,location,location,it IS on the Strip and Vegas will boom again.Flip this Casino!Anyone know of some banks with some extra cash?

I can see it now: Micheal Lohan and Pattie Mallette (that's Justin Bieber's mom for those that don't know) are going to take all the money they have stolen from their kids "careers" and buy the old girl to remodel it:

To liven up the casino floor, in conjunction with MTV, they will create "Jersey Shore" slut... SLOT machines. Big jackpots for the best spray tan and biggest hair bonuses. The Party Pit will feature girls that look and act like Lindsay (before all the drugs early in the evening and after right before shift ends). The pit will feature 1:1 BJ, because that's the newest trend! But the gamblers will have to explain to the dealers that BJ means "Black Jack", and not in the Kardashitards way!

The Bieb will get his own show,a 5 year run in the new showroom, modeled after a tweenagers bedroom, and called nothing but "EEEEEEEEEEEEE" (read that like a 12 year old screaming, or the sound it makes when you put a cat through a lawnmower). By the time the reno is done, The Bieb will be old enough to drink and his singing career will be more washed up than the Ebb Tide of the Bay of Fundy (look that one up, it's a Canadian geography joke). Also to really draw in the crowds, Cirque do Crape will introduce it's newest show simply called "Sparkle". Based entirely on the Twilight Saga. Cause the only thing gayer than a French Canadian acrobat is Twilight. Ironically the show will take place only during daylight hours.

Between the two shows and the new slots, the new Sahara will be guaranteed to be full of 40 something housewives who have nothing to do all day but dream about teen boys (or at least men in their early twenties acting like teenagers) and douche canoes that still think Axe body spray smells good and sleeveless shirts can be worn at dinner. So the shopping promenade will feature "Affliction", "True Religion" etc. And not one, but two plastic surgeons to help with last minute botox treatments and lifts and tucks. Plus more spray tan booths than you can possibly imagine.

The Nascar cafe will remain basically the same, just renamed to "The X-Treme Cafe!!" (note the 2 exclamation points, denoting how extreme it really is) and the burrito challenge will remain the same, because why mess with perfection (gack). On a more positive note, Chef Guy Fieri (cause he fits so well into the Douchey sub culture) will open his newest, "Teen Mom" themed restaurant and bar. Catering to young pregnant girls and featuring dishes named after all of the main characters of the show.(note: at this point I would have made up some smart ass dishes, but I do have a life, and a job so I have never seen an episode of "Teen Mom", nor do I ever want to, sorry bout that).

The rooms will all feature 3 double beds so at least 12 people can share a room. Prices will start at about $29, but Hotel Management reserves the right to conduct random bed checks to count how many people are actually staying there and charge #39.85 a person on top of the rack rate. The suites will sleep 8 comfortably, 27 Douche style, and feature amenities like a jacuzzi tub (that doesn't work, cause someone threw up in it and no one came to fix it yet) a pool table with out balls or cues (because people keep stealing them - Chuckmonster, I'm looking at you!), and balconies (in the hopes someone jumps). A $20 resort fee will be added, daily, to support the gym, cause it's gonna have to be huge!

There will be no Comp club as of yet, simply because Micheal and Pattie can't figure out how they work, or how to make a buck off it anyway.

The pool area will undergo a huge renovation, featuring loud, crappy music, cover charge will be around $20 (slipped to the doorman on the sly of course). And will feature comfy couches (for about a week, till the puke wreaks 'em), over priced drinks, crappy service, and way too many people yelling "WOOOOOO" way too often.

The same DJ's that play the pool will also play in the casino after 2am. Because playing someone else's music and mixing it with yet another artists music apparently makes you someone special. And again, lots more "WOOOOO"'s and hi-fives. UFC will play over, and over, and over on the T.V.'s cause, well, that's just cool (two doods, rollin around, huggin, in shorts....yah, cool....gack).

I won't even get into Ultra Lounges, Night Clubs, and the like. Because, really, with these owners and these customers, the jokes write themselves!!

Not sure what they would call it, but I'm sure the pictures of the Rat Pack, and the cool blue ceding would be gone, long gone. I haven't been in the Sahara for a long time, but I do miss the old skool casinos.


I took the exact same photos on my g'bye trip.
Still a lot of beauty.

I also took a final trip in the elevators up to the hotel rooms. The memories of being a young Vegas newbie, getting comps for the first time...feeling important, feeling like a high roller. A free room, man!
Ah, the days of digging my hand into my bucket of quarters while eating at 3am in the Caravan Cafe. I will miss the Sahara so much.

ps-This place could've been saved. Fuck SBE.

Perhaps the only way to save the Sahara is to kill it. The location became more of an issue as hotels nearby were torn down. Honestly, why would anyone go that far down the Strip? Stardust-gone; New Frontier-gone; Riviera-might as well be gone; Echelon and Fontanbleu-never going to happen. If you are going to the Strat you are taking a cab. Five years from now the Sahara will return but it's time for it to go for now.

I worry about the 14-hundred people who have to look for a job in a tough economic climate..and this is from someone who lives in a New England City with 17% unemployment..the staff I encountered a few months ago at the Sahara were top notch..and deserve a better fate..

Honestly I'd like to see Boyd Gaming get its hands on the place..they could make it work..

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