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Tea In The Sahara With Sam

By Chuckmonster on Thursday, 19th August 2010 3:28am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 5


Sahara Las Vegas Marquee

These days, Sahara is mostly known for... uhm... still being open. Barely. Despite SBE Entertainment's best attempts at renovating a smidgen of their rooms they haven't fully managed to scare up enough ginormously slutty camel toe business to follow through on the piecemeal redevelopment plan they threatened back in February 2008. Remember when he said that they'd be able to charge $200/night for hotel rooms?

Well, SBE Entertainment boss Sam Nazarian has magically re-appeared in the financial press (moguls usually orchestrate these types of biographical puff pieces before going on a 'looking for cash' roadshow) and he's talking about himself, his hot rod, his house next to Leo DiCaprio, his company, and most importantly the plans he has for his portfolio of hotels - should he be able to arrange all the necessary kizmash.

So what is in store for the Sahara? After SBE (impresario/operators) and Stockbridge Real Estate (the money men) get their debt situation straightened out... "we're funding the property. Our commitment is to redevelop it."


Considering the magic that has been worked at Tropicana with only $165M, I'll guess it would probably take 1 1/2 times that to have a similar effect at Sahara. The property - while charming in a stinky kinda way - has the oldest bones on the Strip and a site plan that won't make any large scale construction easy.

Our suggestion to Sam: If someone offers you anything above $225M for the property... SELL IT. Cut your losses, go back to L.A., buy a coupla dozen underperforming restaurants, work on your spray tan, shop for new sneaks on Melrose, audition for American idol. Live.

Unless the Silver State arena gets built on the Wet N Wild site, the northern end of The Strip is in serious trouble. The Riviera is doomed to a slow death. The only thing working at Fontainebleau is the swaths of rust on the hotel podium pilings. Echelon is in a similar state, but at least it has owners who were smart enough to yank pull most of their bets down before the economy sevened out. CityCenter north won't happen for another 10 years, if ever. There is little to no way that a simple refurb and repositioning of the Sahara will have the results you dream about.

Tagged: sahara   


Comments & Discussion:

I'm embarrased to admit I stayed at the Sahara seven years ago. At that point service was lousy, rooms were stinky and the overall design was a total cluster. BUT, I'm nostalgic and wanted to see Nazarian make it a swanky boutique. His design-focused restaurants/bars/hotels in LA are cool, and I thought maybe there was a chance.
I have no idea what the place looks like now -- seven years later, (hey, the expense account got better) but unless someone has at least half a billion dollars to invest I'm sure the only salvation at this point is to start over... completely. Sad.

I recently saw that Sam was "handed" another boutique hotel in LA (right out of bankruptcy) to transform into the next hot property. I don't think he's paying any attention to Vegas.

The North Strip died in '07 when CEOs and bankers with more money than sense dynamited the Stardust and the New Frontier. Sahara and Riviera have been whistling past the graveyard ever since. It would take Billions to resurrect the North Strip. It ain't gonna' happen. Any money spent to fix up just the Sahara or the Riviera is pissing in the wind.

"Unless the Silver State arena gets built on the Wet N Wild site, the northern end of The Strip is in serious trouble."
What is a tenant-less arena next to a 3/4 hotel and a NASCAR bar going to do to ignite the tourism on the north end of the strip?

Without a commitment from an NBA franchise to move, the Silver State arena might as well be re-dubbed the Echelon Arena.

I got news for you peeps-walk into the Sahara NOW, not seven years ago, not four years ago-the place is jumping.
When I say Jumping, I mean by todays standards. Not 2003 standards. Vegas might NEVER see what it saw seven freaking years ago. SEVEN YEARS AGO, REALLY?!
The fact is, whether or not the new owner will make it into the next MB, there are tons of locals there, and tons of non-millionaire folks there that just want to have fun. Who cares if there are no douche-bag clubs, who cares if you have to wait to get on the Stinkin Rich machines because the blue hairs own them. Walk into the Sahara and then walk into the MB, which casino is more crowded? I do not have access to numbers and such, but I have seen it with my own eyes. Not in 2003, not seven years ago, but a few months ago. The Sahara was the most lively, crowded casino that I have been in in the last 4 months. I am not saying that the north side of the strip is not doomed, what I am saying is that I think that a few people here have a very skewed vision of Vegas today. All casinos are hurting. ALL. Some started with more money than others, so this will probably have a very bad effect on the Sahara.
When I turned 21, I dubbed the Sahara "my place". For about 7 years I stayed exclusively at the Sahara. I do not stay there any longer, but I visit and play. If you think that a crowded casino, $1 blackjack, $1 hot dogs and 5c bonus deuces wild poker is worse than a meat market douche-bag infested holier than thou shitfest than I do not want to hang out with any of you in my spare time.

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