Yet another Las Vegas classic casino has closed its doors. The Sahara Hotel and Casino was one of my favorites as a child and will now join many other beautiful buildings that form a part of Las Vegas’ past. I see more originality and creativity in the neon bone yard now than I do on Las Vegas Boulevard.
As is common with the rest of that area of the strip, dollar deals began taking over. The fewer tourists checking in the more desperate the deals became. Until the day the decision was made signs proclaiming “We have rooms available” were posted on any surface possible, as though lack of advertising were the reason for the failing business. The casino floor getting dirtier everyday and the smell of stale smoke detracting from any beauty this property once had.
When the Sahara opened its doors in 1952 it was the sixth casino built on the strip. Glamorous casinos such as the Silver Slipper, the Sands, and The Flamingo lit up the boulevard and business was booming. Fifty years later being one of the last original hotels The Sahara had tried to revitalize their image with the roller coaster Speed, which was a great thrill ride, with much better reviews than the Manhattan Express at the New York New York. They also opened the NASCAR caf© which was featured on the popular Travel Channel show “Man V. Food” Adam Richman took on their 6 lb. burrito, sadly food won and the popularity of the Sahara did not take off with the show.
Despite trying to modernize their image and creating a more family friendly atmosphere the Sahara just couldn’t make it, and it was announced just a few short months ago that the casino would be closing its doors come May. 1,050 jobs were lost and until the building is imploded and a new mega-resort is erected in its place, it will remain a dark spot on the strip next to Wet n’ Wild water park, another sad story and lost Las Vegas history.