• A preview of the SLS Las Vegas resort that will be replacing the iconic Sahara, Tuesday May 1, 2012.

    Coolican: Courageous first move could bring success to north portion of the Strip

    May 16, 2012

    Someone had to be first. Some guy in a hut had to have the courage to drink the juice of fermented grapes, and good things followed. Likewise, the north end of the Strip needed someone to have the courage to invest. Now that SBE Entertainment of Los Angeles and private equity group Stockbridge Real Estate are putting money into the shuttered Sahara, perhaps the 20-teens will eventually be known as the era when the action moved north on the Strip.

  • The Sahara porte cochere and marquee are seen Monday, December 21, 2009.

    Plan to redevelop Sahara risky for investors, debt-rating agency says

    April 6, 2012

    Sam Nazarian’s plan to redevelop and reopen the Sahara hotel-casino is risky for investors in the project’s debt, Standard & Poor’s is cautioning. The debt-rating agency issued a preliminary B- rating to a proposed $300 million term loan for the project.

  • Monday, May 16, 2011 at 2:12 p.m. - Sam Nazarian, the CEO of SBE Enertainment, the company that owns the Sahara, waves goodbye to the crowd after locking the final door to the casino.

    Report details plan to reopen Sahara as SLS Las Vegas

    April 4, 2012

    New details were made public Wednesday on hotelier Sam Nazarian’s plan to redevelop and reopen the closed Sahara hotel-casino on the lonely northern end of the Las Vegas Strip. Debt rating agency Moody’s Investors Service issued a report that confirmed the redeveloped property would be called ''SLS Las Vegas'' and that Nazarian was hoping to reopen it in 2014.

  • The Sahara in Las Vegas on Friday, May 13, 2011.

    Permits OK’d for remodel of Sahara — minus roller coaster

    November 2, 2011

    The shuttered Sahara would reopen with a renovated casino floor and 1,622 hotel rooms, but minus its signature roller coaster, under plans unveiled on Wednesday. The plans, presented to the Clark County Commission, end speculation that owners of the 59-year-old building were going to implode it and start from scratch. Commissioners approved use permits to renovate the hotel’s interior, including the casino and 1,622 rooms. Plans also include demolition of the roller coaster.

  • Potential shoppers enter the former casino floor during the first day of the Sahara liquidation sale Thursday, June 16, 2011.

    Sahara owners step up redevelopment planning after closure

    September 15, 2011

    Plans are advancing for redevelopment and re-opening of the Sahara hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip, its owner announced Thursday.

  • Common items are priced and on display during the first day of the Sahara liquidation sale Thursday, June 16, 2011. Nearly every item is for sale and were priced and sold as is, where is and on a first come basis.

    Picked clean, Sahara liquidation sale ends

    September 15, 2011

    Four months after the Sahara’s final day of operation, the last remnants of the Rat Pack-era casino are gone. A liquidation sale to empty the 59-year-old resort has ended.

  • Shoppers purchase their items during the first day of the Sahara liquidation sale Thursday, June 16, 2011. Nearly every item is for sale and were priced and sold as is, where is and on a first come basis.

    Sahara unloads pieces of 58-year history at liquidation sale

    June 16, 2011

    There are rules to a liquidation sale, you know. Just because you are guarding that prime rib cart, that doesn’t make it yours. And there’s no bargaining or bartering, either — at least not on the first day.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    Guests say goodbye as Sahara goes dark

    A note was taped to the glass doors at the main entrance, written by Sahara executive Sam Nazarian, reading, "Be Back Soon! Thank You For 59 Years." It was signed and dated, and it is a mini-manifesto to be remembered.

  • The character of the closing of the Sahara in 140 characters or less

    May 17, 2011

    Sun columnist John Katsilometes moved into the Sahara for the iconic Vegas casino’s final four days. Over those 96 hours, Johnny Kats posted nearly a message an hour on Twitter. Limited to 140 characters per message, here are a few highlights of those posts.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    Sahara aftermath: Busted doors, a poignant hug and a burger without condiments

    The closing of the Sahara was quite a scene, featuring a somewhat orderly exit and longtime employees hugging one last time.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    After 59 years, final curtain closing on Sahara

    It was a collision of sensibilities, and on Sunday afternoon, it could only happen at the Sahara. At 3 Lions Tattoo, specifically, the hotel’s body-ink emporium. Tattoo artist Chris Sands was putting the final ink spots on a Sahara logo, which Holly Thomas wanted applied to commemorate the closing of the hotel.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    Guests say goodbye as Sahara goes dark

    A note was taped to the glass doors at the main entrance, written by Sahara executive Sam Nazarian, reading, "Be Back Soon! Thank You For 59 Years." It was signed and dated, and it is a mini-manifesto to be remembered.

  • The Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas Thursday, May 12, 2011.

    Once ‘jewel of the desert,’ Sahara entertains last weekend guests before closing

    May 14, 2011

    The Sahara took its first bow after transforming a struggling bingo parlor into a Moroccan-themed resort filled with pretend camels, nomads and African warriors and genuine Hollywood glitz. It embraced young adulthood as the Strip’s tallest occupant under the guidance of a company whose leader owned the New York Yankees when Mickey Mantle roamed center field.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    A Runnin’ Rebel helps lead the Sahara to the final horn

    Tony Smith was a shooting guard on Jerry Tarkanian's first Final Four team, the 1976-'77 Runnin' Rebels.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    Sahara isn’t so much closing as ebbing away

    There has been no revelry and little nostalgia to celebrate the Sahara's final weekend of operations, but a group of friends whooped up the final order at the bar outside House of Lords.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    Cash winnings, if not a full menu, to be had at soon-to-close Sahara

    Having checked into the Sahara for the resort's final weekend, we learn that House of Lords might not make it to Saturday night, but dozens of lucky ticket-holders will win $500 apiece in a splendid cash giveaway.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    Hundreds descend on Sahara, take the money (or not) and run

    More than $31,000 was given away during a cash giveaway Friday night at the Sahara, one of the events marking the final weekend of the 59-year-old resort.

  • With demise of Sahara, what's next for north Las Vegas Strip?

    With demise of Sahara, what’s next for north Strip?

    May 13, 2011

    In its prime, the north end of the Strip — the home to casinos such as the Thunderbird, Silver Slipper and Stardust — defined Vegas glitz. Today’s snapshot is a much different picture.

  • The Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Friday, March 11, 2011, the same day the property made the announcement it would be closing.

    Sahara shuts down roller coaster ahead of May 16 closure

    May 3, 2011

    The Sahara hotel-casino has shut down its roller coaster in preparation for its closure in less than two weeks. The roller coaster closed Sunday, a representative from the hotel said. The ride first opened in 1999 when the Sahara renovated and opened its NASCAR Café.

  • Riviera Holdings hires executive from Sahara

    Riviera Holdings hires executive from Sahara

    April 26, 2011

    Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino executive Larry King didn’t have to look far for a new job when the Sahara announced March 11 it would be closing on May 16. Riviera Holdings Corp. announced King, 49, had been hired as chief financial officer, vice president–finance and treasurer.

  • Blog: The Kats Report

    At the end, 59-year-old Sahara isn’t a hint of what it once was

    There was a time when the Sahara was indeed a jewel in the desert, but today it's where a big burrito is king and guests bring their own food. It was once the home of Jerry Lewis, Buddy Hackett, Johnny Carson and countless other comedy legends.

  • A monorail train pulls out of the Sahara Station in this 2006 file photo.

    Sahara’s closure could hurt monorail, but station will stay open

    March 11, 2011

    The closure of the Sahara hotel-casino is likely to harm the bankrupt Las Vegas Monorail, which has a station at the Sahara that is the transportation system’s northern terminus and a connecting point to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s bus transit system.

  • The Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Friday, March 11, 2011, the same day the property made the announcement it would be closing.

    Sahara’s closure on May 16 will mark ‘the end of an era’

    March 11, 2011

    The owner of the Sahara hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip on Friday announced plans to close the property on May 16. "The continued operation of the aging Sahara was no longer economically viable," said a statement from Sam Nazarian, CEO of SBE Entertainment Group.

  • Sahara Timeline

    Sahara timeline
  • Archives

    Las Vegas Sun
  • The Sahara's 14-story tower rises out of the desert as guests lounge around the pool in this 1960s photo. Real estate developer Del Webb bought the property from Milton Prell in 1961 and orchestrated a $100 million merger between his construction company and the California-Sahara Corp., creating the first publicly traded company to own casinos.

    Beautiful Sahara is Jewel out of fairyland

    October 7, 1952

    With the completion of the new five million dollar Hotel Sahara, Milton Prell has added another "jewel of the desert" to the fabulous Las Vegas Strip. Inspiration has been taken from many exotic cultures fringing the African Sahara desert to create in Las Vegas an oasis of modern luxury and comfort.

  • Milton Prell Top New Man At Beautiful New Hotel

    October 27, 1952

    It isn't often that a man can say with honest conviction that he has seen a dream come true. but Milton Prell, executive manager of the sumptuous Sahara, recently made that statement.

  • Fire? So What, They Said

    August 26, 1964

    There was a different kind of panic at the Sahara Hotel fire yesterday, the kind that sets in when you're about to leave behind a nickel.

  • Hottest Casino’ Open For Business on Strip

    August 27, 1964

    The Sahara Hotel has bounced back from a mid-day fire Tuesday that closed entertainment and gambling for one night with a tongue-in-cheek marque inviting. "Visit The Hottest Casino In Town."

  • Bombing Suspects Return to Vegas

    June 3, 1967

    Three men arrested in connection with the $75,000 Sahara Hotel bomb extortion plot were returned in Las Vega Friday night from two Southern California sheriff’s officers by Clark County Sheriff’s Detectives.

  • Archive


    For all the dust that Hank Greenspun kicked up as the legendary founding publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, for all the times he got in the face of people too big for their own good, there was something else that helps define his legacy: he wrote about Las Vegas finding its legs, discovering its soul and becoming a community.

    His columns, "Where I Stand," were a diary of Las Vegas growing up.

    Much of that history involves the story of the Strip. Most of us today weren't around in the 1950s and 1960s. So here's a taste of what it was like, told the way only Hank could, during those early years of the iconic Sahara.

  • Ornate and entertaining: Spectacular Sahara opens

    October 8, 1952

    Ray Bolger walked out on the stage at the Sahara Hotel last night and said: "A few years ago, nothing but desert, all of the sudden, bingo." Ray’s description of the Sahara “first night,” is typical of all the openings of the Strip hotels. Tommy Hull was at the ringside in the party with Gus Greenbaum. I can imagine the thoughts which must have gone through Tommy’s head as he watched the unveiling of Las Vegas' newest and most beautiful hotel.

  • Give them what they want

    April 2, 1960

    Las Vegas is busting out all over. Newspapers over the country are presently carrying front page pictures of an "All American" girl hired by the Sahara Hotel to firm up their new show policy.

  • Ad seeking showgirls causes quite a stir

    April 30, 1960

    The numbers game! I am not a student of numerology but I don know that numbers play an important part in life.

  • Sahara next to seek its name on a road

    November 15, 1962

    In yesterday’s column, we did attempt to outline some of the major road changes in the county for the past 10 years. Hotels with some degree of influence have succeeded in being honored by having major roads named after their establishments.

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