Sahara comeback tied into growth efforts on north part of Las Vegas Strip

(Gabe Stutsky/FOX5)
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5)– In a blast from the past, the Sahara is making a comeback on the Las Vegas Strip.

The name change is just the latest in a string of hotels revamping to rebuild the north part of the Las Vegas Strip.

“The Sahara was always one of the more accessible casinos,” said David Schwartz, UNLV gaming historian . “It wasn’t really known for high rollers.”

The resort was known as a low-key lounge, hosting some high-powered stars including Johnny Carson, Don Rickles and the Beatles.

Some may also remember it for its décor.

“The Sahara didn’t have a desert in the middle of the casino but it did encourage that thematic idea,” said Michael Green, UNLV associate professor of history. “So you’d see the Sahara, and they tried to make it look like what you might think of the Arabian nights.”

“What I’ve noticed is a lot of new ones look like office buildings and I liked it when there was more character to it. It was like an adult Disneyland,” one visitor said.

Experts believe the rebranding will pay off.

“I think it’s definitely going to add some life there. I think a lot of people will be curious to see what’s happening and they’re going to check it out,” said Schwartz .

Right now, the North side of the Strip may not be a lot to look at.

“I was really surprised how much construction is going on,” another visitor said. “It’s kind of an eye sore now, but I’m sure it’ll be nice once it’s all done.”

But experts said the Sahara’s past has a bright future.

“There’s so much value in the past,” said Schwartz. “People who love Vegas, love the past and the present.”

“If they’re capturing the old Las Vegas that a lot of people are nostalgic for, then they’ve hit a home run,” said Green.

Upgrades at the Sahara will continue throughout the next year.

The Strat recently rebranded and Resorts World is set to open in 2020.

The Drew, previously known as the Fountainbleu, has pushed back its completion to 2022.

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