Saturday, March 12, 2011

"So long, Sahara..."

The iconic Sahara Hotel on the north Vegas Strip will close it's doors on May 16, 2011, signifying the end of a locale that was once a favored hangout for the likes of Frank Sinatra and his famed Rat Pack buddies. The CEO of SBE Entertainment, which owns and operates the historic hotel - casino, made the closure announcement on March 11, 2011 exactly 59 years after it's original opening. Lack of " economic viability" was cited as the cause in a time when the recession has really rocked Sin City back on it's heels. In recent years the property had become noted for it's Dollar Days promotions campaign that featured $1 blackjack minimums, $1 beers, $1 hot dogs, and $1 shots. Despite the cheap goods, the Sahara didn't survive and closure has been the subject of rampant rumors for some time. Now it's official.

The Sahara closure is blatantly reflective of tough economic times in the planet's most popular destination city. The north end of the Vegas Strip has been particularly vulnerable to lowered visitation, increasing room totals, and less consumer willingness to spend money after arrival here. The nearby Riviera is in bankruptcy reorganization and the partially built big blue Fontainebleau is not expected to be completed for years; the steel structured skeleton of the planned Echelon project has remained idle since 2008 due to tough times as well. However, since it's inception Las Vegas has demonstrated boundless recuperative spirit and's a shame the Sahara got caught up in the Vegas machine. Generally, that machine can be alternatively described as "Money talks ...and the rest walks".

So long, Sahara...

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