The Sahara Has The Best Room Rates on the Strip
Sahara Las Vegas is turning 70, and it brought out balloons and champagne-filled flutes for an evening to celebrate.
The historic Strip hotel will be celebrating the milestone with promotional deals all month at its bars and restaurants for visitors and locals. It’s also debuting a photo exhibit titled “70 Years of Extraordinary Images: SAHARA’s History in Photographs” that will showcase the property’s history and milestones.
“We have woven threads from our past throughout all parts of the hotel,” Sahara General Manager Paul Hobson said, noting a model of its old sign on the casino floor and desert-colored tones throughout the property.
The hotel, which has hosted the Rat Pack, the Jerry Lewis Telethon and the Beatles, has undergone several ownership changes and renovations over the years.
When it first opened Oct. 7, 1952, it was a 240-room Moroccan-themed hotel, then called Hotel Sahara, and was owned by developer Milton Prell. It was the sixth casino on the Strip.
Now, the property is owned by Alex Meruelo, founder of The Meruelo Group, owners of the Grand Sierra in Reno. Meruelo renamed the property from SLS Las Vegas to Sahara Las Vegas in 2019 after taking control of SLS in April 2018 for an undisclosed price from San Francisco-based investment fund Stockbridge Capital Group.
Since 2019, Sahara has seen $150 million in renovations including its most recent project that updated the property’s drive-up entrance with a large fountain and LED lights that put on a light show, Hobson said.
What mob connection?
Walking through the hotel lobby and casino, visitors can see pictures of its iconic past including images of the Beatles sitting at slot machines, Elvis Presley and Clint Eastwood.
The hotel was also notable in the 1950s because it was one of the few properties on the Strip that didn’t have direct associations with organized crime, according to Green.
Being able to attract high-profile celebrities and performers like Johnny Carson and Sonny and Cher helped differentiate Sahara from other hotels on the Strip, Green said. And the Sahara helped inspire other Las Vegas hotels to focus on performances to attract customers. Green noted out that in 1964 the Beatles were to perform at the Sahara, but ticket demand was so high the show had to move to the convention center, making it one of the first arena shows in Las Vegas.