Sahara - now SLS Las Vegas
Sahara was the northernmost hotel along the main section of the Las Vegas Strip, bordering a residential district on the far side of Sahara Avenue, and surrounded by several vacant lots ripe for future development; first to be used is now the site of the (stalled) Fontainebleau project, just to the south. Sahara was for a long time associated with the 'Rat Pack', and retained the same theme ever since its opening in 1952, with design and decor inspired by Morocco, Algeria and the north African desert. Ownership changed several times over the years, and the property was gradually expanded, with additions including a 27 storey accommodation tower in 1987, but falling revenues led to the casino becoming economically unviable, and it was closed on May 16th 2011. The structure remained intact, however, and after only partial remodeling it reopened 23 August 2014 as SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.
Sahara was linked to other casinos on the Strip by the Las Vegas Monorail, which stops along Paradise Road just to the rear of the hotel; otherwise, the place had become quite isolated, which is one reason why room rates were low. Attractions at Sahara prior to its closure included a variety of live entertainment, four restaurants, a sizeable outdoor pool, a spa, a selection of shops, and the NASCAR Cafe Las Vegas Entertainment Center that comprised a themed cafe, games arcade, speedway simulator and a rollercoaster.