With SLS Las Vegas promising a change this year, very few people expected a change that takes the hotel to the past. Thursday, June 27th, saw the Hotel and Casino rename itself to Sahara Las Vegas. In the colorful night launch filled with fireworks and a drone light show, Alex Meruelo, property owner, who bought it last year April spoke to a number close to 700 guests who had been invited. The guests included several celebrities, hotel employees, dignitaries and other guests.
‘The Sahara played an important role in the evolution of the destination. And we are now responsible for shaping a new narrative. We are writing the next chapter in the city’s evolution, for the love of Vegas.’ Alex said in the launch.
In the end, the lights spelled ‘Sahara’.
Meruelo had bought the property in April 2018 from San Francisco-based investment fund Stockbridge Capital Group at a price that had not been disclosed yet. The Sahara had been established in 1952 before closing in 2011 and in 2014, the hotel re-opened and this time round, it was called. ‘SLS Las Vegas’. The original Sahara was owned by Milton Press with its design done by Max Maltzma with Del Webb eventually building it.
The hotel over the years has been home and hosted some of the top names like; Rat Pack, the Beatles, Jerry Lewis Telethon, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Wayne Newton, Barbra Streisand, Paul Anka, Tony Benett, Cher and many others.
‘$150 Million renovations’
The new launch and the taking back of Sahara memories come in the wake of ongoing renovations that have been priced at almost $150 Million. The changes are to be in two to three years and confirming how intense the renovations were, Meruelo stated that every ‘detail would change whether big or small’.
The property boasts 1,615 guest rooms, a restaurant, bars and a casino that have since seen renovations that as mentioned will be ongoing till 2020. This also comes in the wake of cutting a relationship with W Hotels and Starwood Hotels.
W Hotels operated one of the three property’s towers and with the Hotels, there was a management team in place, a sales team and an accounting team.
For the SLS brand, which means ‘Style, Luxury and Service’, its ownership would be claimed by Sam Nazarian’s company, SBE. The Katsuya was also owned by the company and The Bazaar was owned by Jose Andres.
When the renovations were first announced, revelers and residents had speculated on the SLS Las Vegas being called Grand Sahara Resort but the plans were dropped as it would be too obvious considering Alex Meruelo owns the Grand Sierra Resort which would seem too similar with the new investment.
Meruelo is excited about the new project and vowed together with his management team to bring a memorable and intimate experience to the guests. “We want people who stay with us to say, ‘My God, what an experience!’ because experience leads to memories. And that’s what we want to create, memories and experiences you won’t forget.” He said.
And to achieve that, he pointed on the finding of a right resort which according to him ‘Sahara Las Vegas’ fitted the equation for its strategic location and size. He hoped this would help the resort make an impact on the guests.