Sahara to Become an SLS Boutique Hotel - Property Shuttered in the Mean Time
On May 1st, 2012, L.A.-based hotel and restaurant developer sbe announced that they have secured $300 million to redo the Sahara, converting it to they're SLS brand. A total cost of $629 million is the estimate for the project. The hotel has been closed since May 16th, 2011 and, as of this writing, the only visible change is the removal of the wooptie-coaster-thingy.
There are no planned implosions for this project but the room count will be reduced from 1720 to 1600 rooms. I am trying to
get more info on the reasons for the room-count drop, One of many possible scenarios is that the zero-view rooms in the 200-room, 14-story Tunis Tower might not be renovated, but that's just a guess.
Based on the renderings, sbe will un-Morocconize the property and bring the towers back to their mid-century bones (thank the powers that be). The look is simple and elegant. Let's hope the finished product dazzles as much as the renderings. The balconies appear to be glassed-in in the model and renderings. My best guess is that the rooms will be enlarged using the balcony space. Still trying to contact sbe to get more info.
A quote from the sbe press release
"In recent years, the influx of ultra-luxury brands to the Strip began to limit the general consumer's accessibility to dining and entertainment diversions. With this in mind, sbe will create a guest experience at the SLS Las Vegas that is just as accessible as it is appealing.
"We're seeing demand for a different experience – a refreshing, fun and accessible take on Vegas luxury – and the hospitality brands that we've developed over the years lend themselves very well to the classic timelessness that Vegas has always been known for," said Nazarian. "With SLS Las Vegas, we're bringing those brands to the Strip and creating a refreshing new experience that's designed for everyone."
Once complete, SLS Las Vegas will feature an imaginative mix of sbe brands, including The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Katsuya by Starck, a reinvention of sbe's original nightlife concept, Shelter and new brands currently in development."
The latest plans save and renovate all of the (former) Sahara's three towers
NEWS 7/22/08 First Renderings and More Details of Sahara
This concept was cancelled
As seen in the first
rendering (right), the new tower (designed by Marnell
Corrao Assoc.) will be adjacent to and north of the
Alexandria Tower. All of the recently added Arabian
themed adornments will be removed and a clean, modern
resort will ensue.
The entire property will be remodeled, including the
rooms. Some of the public spaces have already been
upgraded with carpet and wall coverings. Other completed
(subtle) improvements include upgraded food items, menus
and employee uniforms.
There is talk that the Sahara name may be changed (I
The resort will be positioned to cater to a younger
crowd (similar to the Palms).
COURTESY MARNELL CONSULTING
Details on Remodeling and Expansion Plans for Sahara Las
has big plans for the aging Sahara and will not blow
the place up to realize them (well the oldest tower
The plans include: a new 520-foot 1,000-room hotel
tower, renovation of rooms within the Alexandria
and Tangiers towers, demolition of the
mid-rise 200-room Tunis tower, 92,300 square
feet of new construction for the podium level, major
renovations of the existing spaces, and a pedestrian
realm along Las Vegas Boulevard.
The new spaces combined
with the refurbished spaces will bring the resort's
totals to: 90,000 square feet of casino space,
56,900 square feet of retail, 78,900 square feet of
restaurants, 19,000 square feet of
entertainment venues, 32,600 square feet of
meeting/convention space, 22,600 square feet of
spa/fitness space, and 26,600 square feet of
These plans went before the Clark County
Planning Commission on 2/20/08 and have been
approved. No renderings were
available as of this report.
With this remodel, I'm hoping to see the Sahara
return to its mid-century-modern roots. In the 50's,
this was a very chic two-story resort. Clean modern
lines, limestone, no heavy theme, and an air of
sophistication. 1959 brought the new Tunis Tower
which was clean,
simple and modern. The beautiful, modern Alexandria
Tower was added in 1963; at the time, it was
Nevada's tallest building. In 1978 the simple,
utilitarian Tangiers Tower was added to the back of
the property. The tower was (is) not attractive by
any stretch of one's imagination (the decision
makers must have thought "hey, it's in the back, you
can barely see it").
In the theme-riddled Las Vegas of the 90's, the
Sahara suffered a horrific transformation into a
harem-esque, jewel-laden monstrosity with a
roller-coaster. Just about everything (inside and
out) was "decorated". The Alexandria Tower received
Arab-styled window coverings and its
mid-century-modern roof-line was extended then
adorned with more mid-east decor. They cheaped-out
on Tangiers Tower, its window dressing was only a
Hopefully (with fingers crossed) the new owners will
embrace the history of this old girl and treat her
right with this renovation; there are a few clues
that lead one to believe they will. One: their
redesigned website uses vintage photos of the
resort. Two: they are keeping the Alexandria Tower.
Let's all pray they keep the name.
A brief photo history
(right) shows the changes.
Click the image to
8/2/07 SBE Entertainment officially
took over ownership of the Sahara Las Vegas resort.
SBE is partnering with Stockbridge Real Estate Funds and
will operate the hotel and nongaming portions of the
Sahara until SBE gets its gaming license. Meanwhile, the Navegante casino management group will run the casino.
SBE plans to renovate the Sahara and its amenities
through its hotel group and restaurant and nightclub
group in the near future. No details were released.
4/20/07 MGM MIRAGE buys the big lot from
3/3/07 The Sahara (the strip's
northern anchor) has been purchased by Los Angeles-based
SBE Entertainment Group for between $300 and $400
million. The purchase includes the resort and the
17.45 acres on which it sits. The remaining two parcels
(to the west, across L V Blvd. and to the east, across
Paradise) are still owned by the Bennett family and are
not part of this deal.
SBE Entertainment Group has lofty (yet undisclosed)
renovation plans for the ol' lady. SBE will also take
over the hotel and F&B management from the Bennett
NEWS 8/21/05 The big-lot across the
strip from the Sahara as well as the Sahara's occupied
land and the large lot behind the Sahara (across
Paradise Road) are all in play. A major (yet to be
announced) developer is in negotiations for this
combined 54 acres. The former Wet & Wild site may also
be part of this plan as the Palace of the Sea
development has been on hold long enough for me to move
it to the Dreams page (too bad). The Wet & Wild site
would add another 27 acres making this an 81-acre
development (that's 15 acres larger than
wow. Stay tuned for the latest on this.