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The Sahara's Final Moments

Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd S [map], 89109
May 16, 2011 at 8:48 PM | by | Comments (7)

The lights go out on the Sahara marquee.

In the final hours of the Sahara's closing, there was no big to-do, no showy speech, no promises of a newer/bigger/better/(insert whatever else you can think of here) hotel to come. Instead, visitors spent the hotel's last moments as they had its final years - finding their own bits of joy.

Walking into the hotel three hours before its last call, we had expected a somber reminder of sad Vegas, but instead we heard laughter, cheers and the clang of slots. It was an amazing sight. One that caused us to wander and wander for almost all of those 180 minutes (and, if you've ever been inside the Sahara, you know how small a circuit that is) as we drank in something that had been missing from the grand dame for some time - a sense of excitement, energy, exuberance. As a worker succinctly uttered, "We should have been closing every day."

Will the Sahara rise anew one day? Who knows. While its owner says yes, many others believe no.

But, on this day, it's last day, let's not dwell on that. Instead, pay your own tribute to the old gal in the comments below.

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So long...

I don't have a whole lot of memories from the Sahara, but I did stay there once with a group of friends eight years ago.  That stay is vague and vivid all at once.  Shag carpets in the room?  Arriving at 4:00 am and watching my friend Gen hit a slot for $600 15 minutes after getting there.  Mostly, though, I remember walking by her on the way to the Stratosphere.  Granted, those were the days many years ago when I would actually travel past the fashion show mall.  I haven't seen the Sahara in seven years now, and I may never get to again.  It was inevitable, I suppose.  The strip is ever changing.  My hope is that it will be reborn again someday and bring with it a resurgence for the north end of the strip.  For now, though, I bid you farewell.    

My last bet at the Sahara

When I realized that I would be in town for the Sahara's closing, I decided I wanted to be there, and not only that, I wanted to be the last person to roll the dice on the craps table, and finally I was hoping to bribe the dealers with a generous tip to let me take the last pair of dice rolled.

On Saturday I stopped in to walk around the place and get more info about the closing schedule.  I played some craps and was told that the all the tables would be closing at 10am on Monday.  Late Saturday night I was back with some friends who wanted to get some chips and one last visit and just to be thorough I asked again about the closing and got the same info. Sunday night I decide to turn in early (1am) so that I wouldn't oversleep and could be in Sahara by 9am.  I notice from the parking garage and walking into the casino that things are not very busy so I'm feeling pretty good about my chances of being the last roller as I was a little concerned that it was going to be super crowded and nearly impossible to get on to any table game.  Just as I made my way past the bar I saw the only thing I was not expecting - an empty craps table. No players fine, but no Dealers?!  What happened?!?  I asked one of the suits and was told that they closed at 3am.  I could have easily been there had I not been provided bad info twice.  I'm bummed, sad, mad...

Well, I'm here so I might as well stay around til 10am and see if anything special happens when the table games close.  I jump on the roulette table and play for the final 40 minutes.  About half of that time is spent listening to passer-bys ask if they can buy chips while the dealer explains that they can't.  The cashier wasn't selling chips and the only other tables (BJ) were usually full.

I do appreciate that the pit supervisor let us know when there were 3 spins left so that we wouldn't be blindsided that the game was over.  On the final spin I go all in (you have to right? I was the only one who did though).  The prior spin winning # was 19 so I'm on red, odd and 5 individual #s including the last winning #.  Sure enough 19 hits again and I cash about a $150 profit. That helps ease a bit of the pain of missing the final craps session which was what I had been looking forward to for weeks.

Doors were closing at 2pm but I'm not a slot player and it sure didn't look or feel like anything ceremonial was going to happen so I take a few pics and head back to the Encore to check out.

Farewell Sahara

@binciong

that sucks. i was actually there all sunday night till 7am, and never noticed the craps table officially close, but i had seen that there was not a single person playing all night (i got there at 10)

we were on roulette till 7, so you beat us! was fun seeing the sun come up though

All a sham

I just checked in on foursquare. It's like Sahara never closed!

sadness

I loved the Arabian theme, hated that it got such a bad rap. To think I only stayed out of desperation and never out of actual appreciation. Now I get it...too late.

@jetsetcd

too late indeed! i remember you hating it and praying you'd see the light. ha! at least you did now...

Though personally

Though personally I have never been the The Sahara, I understand the feeling of being in a place where lots of good memories reside, and staying put until its final moments. The casino business has been hit hard due to the economy, and the closing of the Sahara might be a sign of other casinos to follow.

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