Sahara Las Vegas
Sahara Las Vegas
Location: North Strip
2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Number of Rooms: 1,600 Rooms
Rates: $129 and up double
Average: Avg. $200-300
strong>Resort Fee: $37.95 per night plus tax
Vegas4Visitors Rating: 77
At a Glance
A return to the classic name, friendlier vibe.
Not much within walking distance – for now.
Moderate, which is about right for this property.
The small rooms make it feel a little less like you are getting bang for your buck.
Funky, fun, fresh, and tiny compared to most Vegas rooms.
Redone and much more user friendly.
Rooms are very well stocked.
Multiple restaurants, nightclubs, a pool, spa, gym, shopping, and more.
Friendly and efficient.
The new meets classic vibe is entertaining.
High hopes for the new Sahara.
By the time it closed in 2011 the venerable Sahara hotel had become a shadow of itself; once one of the most glamorous resorts on The Strip faded to a dusty, worn relic that was really only good if you couldn’t afford to stay anywhere else. It was reinvented as the swank SLS Las Vegas, virtually unrecognizable once you step inside, with a level of luxury, service, and amenities that the Sahara never could’ve dreamed of.
But it didn’t work in Vegas in this location so new owners came in, are dumping $100 million into revamping the hotel, and have brought back the classic name – Sahara Las Vegas.
Work is still progressing but as of late 2019, the casino has been completely redone, most of the old restaurants have gone away and been replaced by new ones, entertainment has been overhauled, and the rooms have gotten some cosmetic updates. The overall effect is a positive one, giving the hotel a more cohesive, friendly vibe that it was missing when it was trying to be all fancy as the SLS. Having said that, the limitations of revamping an old hotel instead of building a new one are evident throughout.
The casino is plenty large enough but at 60,000 square feet it is smaller than most Strip casinos, in some cases by about half, and it feels like it. There aren’t as many options as there are in the bigger places and that can be frustrating if you’re not doing well and want to move around to change your luck. Having said that, the remodeling has drastically improved the look and feel – it is now much more comfortable to gamble here.
Restaurants ring the casino with the only holdover from the SLS days being Bazaar Meat by José Andrés. Everything else that used to be here is gone, replaced by the usual suspects – a Chinese restaurant, an Italian joint, a brew pub, and the like. There is no buffet here, but word on the street is that they are going to bring it back in 2020.
There is a nightclub and a couple of bars but not worth going out of your way for yet during this transition period. They might do more in this category once they get the rest of the hotel settled. Ditto entertainment. They have a concert venue but no major show until Magic Mike Live moves here in the spring of 2020.
There are several pools, a spa, a gym, and al of the other usual amenities you’d expect in a Vegas resort.
Back in the original Sahara days there were four room towers but they tore one down and completely rehabbed the others when the SLS came along, leaving 1,600 totally redesigned rooms. They were dramatic and artsy and really small and they really didn’t work very well. The new owners have dialed back the drama of the decor but they haven’t been able to do anything about the size.
They are small and feel like it, ranging from only 325 to about 425 square feet. This is about half the size of a standard room at Venetian, by way of comparison, and smaller than your typical hotel room unless you’re in New York City. They cram a lot of stuff into the rooms, which only increases the claustrophobia level.
The smallest of the rooms can be found in the Blanca tower. They feel like budget European rooms, with simple furnishings (a bed, a desk, a built in dresser, and that’s it) and minuscule bathrooms.
The Marra tower rooms are a little bigger, giving room for a couch or a chair, but they are still very small compared to most Vegas rooms and dark due to the small windows.
The Alexandria tower has the biggest/fanciest rooms, each with artistic designs and a swank couch under the windows. Keep in mind, however, that this is biggest/fanciest in comparison to the other rooms in the property and if you’re used to the more modern Vegas hotel room, this will feel like a letdown.
Having said that, they are very well stocked with pretty much all of the amenities you would need and the prices are lower than Vegas typical as well. I’ve seen rooms as cheap as $50 per night here on the weekdays and $149 per night on weekends. Sometimes they are a lot more and if they are, everything else in town is probably outrageously expensive, too. There is a $37.95 per night resort fee on top of the room rate, but this hotel does not charge for parking.
The staff I interacted with was friendly. They are trying to lure locals here so they are going for more a personal Downtown vibe than a strictly business Strip one. I think that’s a good choice.
It is worth noting that there isn’t much worth visiting within easy walking distance at this time. Stratosphere and Circus-Circus are the closest but those are still a bit of hike, especially when it’s 110 degrees outside. Luckily the monorail has a station right out back and there is a lot of new stuff planned for the neighborhood.
I’m encouraged by the changes I’m seeing as the Sahara comes back to life but the limitations it suffers from its smaller footprint and location might mean it can never be truly competitive on anything other than a price standpoint.