Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 | 5:36 p.m.
Hotel mogul Sam Nazarian has revealed that he will make over the shuttered Sahara hotel casino he bought on the Strip and will reopen it “sooner than later.”
At a preview of his new Hyde Bellagio last week, Sam said that the Sahara will get a complete redo and be rebranded as SLS Vegas -- tied in with his sprawling hospitality and entertainment empire SBE of real estate, restaurants, clubs and hotels stretching from L.A. headquarters to Miami.
Sam told me that the revamped Sahara will become far more of a luxurious boutique property to match the other hotels in his group. He also said that he just pulled his original permits to look further into when he would start the remodel and give me an official start date.
WICKED WHISPERS AND RACY RUMORS
It was a wedding ceremony but not a legal marriage with official paperwork! So despite the self-confessed drunken celebration, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” bombshell Brandi Glanville didn’t actually wed her best friend Darin Harvey in a Las Vegas chapel on New Year’s Day. And who makes Spearmint Rhino their first honeymoon stop anyway? Brandi blames it on “spur-of-the-moment, over-the top partying” and said they’d get it annulled within 24 hours. Wasn’t necessary because it wasn’t legal anyway! Tweeted Brandi: “We were just having fun and got carried away. It’s not legal.”
… A major shakeup is expected in our nightclub industry with news that a full staff meeting has been called for Jan. 9 to make a startling announcement about the fate of one playground. … Just as Paris Hilton promised before she left the Strip, she completed her four-day jet-set jaunt to the East Coast and returned here with beau DJ Afrojack -- and her parents Rick and Kathy Hilton joined them Monday night at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore. Paris and Afrojack also partied at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan with DJ Avicii and Deadmau5 at XS.
… Hotel tycoon Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal resort in Atlantic City won approval from Gaming Enforcement officials after a two-year fight to open a Scores strip club in the casino. The men’s club dancers can’t go topless or bottomless and are barred from making any contact with customers. How long before Las Vegas follows the G-string and pasties plan? … “Absinthe” star Angel Porrino jumps from Caesars Palace to “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood all week while Holly Madison takes a seven-day vacation, with her first stop at Disneyland.
MAGICIANS MEET ROYALTY: Rio magician headliners Penn and Teller were introduced to Britain’s Princess Anne after their appearance on the TV special “Royal Variety.” The show was watched by more than 10 percent of Britain and also included Barry Manilow, Cee-Lo Green, Nicole Scherzinger and Tony Bennett.
Our “Bad Boys of Magic” were brought onstage with the orchestra playing “Viva Las Vegas.” Penn is one of three judges in the next “Iron Chef” showdown on the Food Network on Saturday between Chef Bobby Flay and legendary original Masuhara Morimoto, rumored to be opening a restaurant on the Strip. Penn said he had to eat fish eyeballs in one challenge but magically cleaned his plate.
‘LION KING’ EXITS WITH A ROAR: In its final week at Mandalay Bay, “The Lion King” had a box office haul of $1,369,460 from eight performances, a house record and the highest-grossing week in the production’s 2 1/2 year run. It was the perfect way to exit in style as Cirque du Soleil’s construction team immediately moved in to begin the overhaul for the 2013 opening of the Michael Jackson residency show. In fact, all three North American productions of Disney’s landmark musical set new house records.
NEW MOVIE STAR? Celine Dion’s husband and manager Rene Angelil stars in the new Mafia code-of-silence film “Omerta” scheduled for release this summer. Here’s a trailer of the July film.
MR. BELDING FOR RAW MANAGER? A global campaign has begun on Twitter to make Las Vegas regular Dennis Haskins the new WWE Raw general manager. The rapidly growing Twitter petition -- a twitition -- began in Scotland and then was boosted in Canada before jumping to U.S. fan sites for “Saved by the Bell’s” Mr. Belding. Dennis tells me he’ll take the TV role if nominated.
Las Vegas nightlife czar and reality TV producer Marklen Kennedy celebrates his birthday in tandem with Hyde’s new Lost Angels industry night at Bellagio’s luxury indoor-outdoor playpen. … Don McMillan, John DiResta and Kenny Kane headline at the Improv at Harrah’s through Sunday. … And the $50,000 grand prize is up for grabs as teams compete in the second of three days of the Seventh Annual World Series of Beer Pong at the Flamingo.
In a Vegas DeLuxe exclusive, 2011 Miss America Teresa Scanlan reflects on her year’s reign as the 53 new hopefuls arrive for the 91st annual pageant at Planet Hollywood. It’s the first part of two byline pieces the now 18-year-old Nebraska beauty penned for us. Plus, extraordinary and emotional exclusive stories of the contestant who will try to make her mom’s dying wish come true and how a Las Vegas teacher hopes to see his granddaughter become the next Miss America. It’s the start of our weeklong photo and video coverage of all the events and preliminaries leading up to the ABC telecast and the crowning of the next Miss America on Jan. 14.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.