I recently visited the renovated SAHARA Las Vegas for a breakfast meeting and happy hour. The breakfast meeting was the first time my friend and I visited the new Sahara post renovations. Our discussion over coffee about the new Sahara went something like this.
- The renovations are beautiful
There’s nothing wrong with the new Sahara but there’s nothing particularly amazing. I’ll take you on a tour and a look at some of the particulars. I’ll explain what the conversation means later but I’ll drop some hints along the way.
New lobby and check-in area
If you’ve stayed at SLS, the biggest change you’ll probably notice at the Sahara Las Vegas is the new hotel side of the property. The area close to the hotel towers is completely different. There’s a new check-in area on the far east end of the Sahara closest to the former World Tower (now Marra) hotel tower elevators.
This is a better use of the space was essentially a hallway when the property was SLS Las Vegas. The old check-in area has been repurposed and is now one of my favorite parts of the hotel.
I love this sweet little den-like lounge area where the check-in desk used to be. It’s a nice area to drink a cup of coffee and catch up with friends. There’s plenty of seating and outlets for plugs and USB cords. This space gets crowded since there aren’t any seats at Starbucks. That’s probably good for business but if you’re working, you might want to go elsewhere.
The changes to this part of Sahara are nice but I’m not sure it’s a reason to stay at the hotel. The rooms at Sahara are small but look nice enough. With the exception of the Alexandria (former W) Tower, I wouldn’t call the rooms spectacular.
That said, there are a lot of small improvements that might make a difference. You may not be overwhelmed but you won’t be disappointed with moderate expectations.
Casbar is the best addition to Sahara
Casbar is probably my favorite addition to Sahara. The bar and lounge are located right in the center of the casino floor. It’s a large space comprised of a bar with video poker and multiple seating areas. Casbar offers both spaces to work, drink, and/or gamble.
Excellent “Pitstop” for Happy Hour
The bartenders at Casbar are both entertaining and quick. This is an excellent pitstop for Happy Hour if you’re a drinker. Beers at Casbar are buy one get one free for happy hour. This is a great deal for the Vegas Strip. I had two tall Elesyian Space Dust (8.2 ABV) drafts for $8 + tip during my visit.
There are couches, chairs, tables, and even a piano surrounding the main bar above. There’s also a semi-private room to hideaway from the masses at the bar. This makes for both a relaxing space and a quieter room for those on a working vacation.
Monkey Bar has been de-themed and is now called The Tangier. No monkeys – no Meltz. That’s the rule. Casbar is the highlight of new Sahara but I’m not sure it’s worth the trip just to save a few bucks on a couple of beers. It’s definitely a place to stop and have a drink if you’re checking out the property.
Low limits in the Sahara Casino
The Sahara has a slightly different casino layout. The majority of the table games are located near Casbar in the center of the casino floor. The games were previously split up in different parts of the casino.
The last time I visited the Sahara we played $5 craps on an early Friday evening. Who am I to say no to a low minimum craps game? Unfortunately, the odds have been downgraded to 3x-4x-5x from 10x at SLS. These odds are typical for the Vegas Strip so no big deal.
The crew working the craps table was fun. It’s more unfortunate that my friend and I both lost our buy-in quickly. We had a fun time despite losing our buy-in. The crew was nice and the chips are pretty but I can find 3x-4x-5x craps odds anywhere on the Vegas Strip. You can find even better odds with great dice crews at a variety of downtown Las Vegas casinos.
New Sahara has quite a few 3:2 blackjack games. Similar to craps games, you can find plenty of 3:2 games in downtown Las Vegas. The video poker pay tables at Sahara are better than some Vegas Strip casinos but not the best in Las Vegas.
Overall, gaming odds and rules at Sahara are good but not great.
The big difference on the casino floor is the design. This isn’t exactly news. The photo above was taken in January. The high black industrial ceilings have been replaced with lower white ceilings and pretty chandeliers.
The change since earlier this year is that the construction walls are down. This matters because the casino floor flows better than before. I’m not sure the improved layout and design will make much of change but it’s definitely better than SLS.
Overall, the casino floor design is nice but there’s nothing interesting about it.
Bazaar Meat is still great
Bazaar Meat is one of the few venues at Sahara that remain from the days of SLS Las Vegas. This is a great restaurant and will continue to be the anchor for Sahara. In fact, Bazaar Meat is one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas. It’s more than just a steakhouse. It’s a meat lovers paradise with a variety of food not found at just any restaurant.
Bazaar Meat is expensive but well worth it if it’s in your price range. I recommend telling the server your budget per person and dietary restrictions and let them feed you. There are so many interesting dishes.
During my last visit, we shared a few different appetizers at the bar instead of sitting down for a full meal. This was our second happy hour at Sahara and well worth the money.
Having dinner at Bazaar Meat is a great excuse to check out the changes.
Is Sahara worth a visit?
Great minds think alike. Scott of Vital Vegas fame recently stopped by Sahara and this tweet sums up my opinion of the renovations: Sahara’s new tagline could be: “So not SLS.”
There’s a lot to like about the renovations at Sahara Las Vegas. There’s also nothing spectacular. Now that the higher black industrial ceilings are hidden, there’s nothing that should be offensive and irritating about visiting Sahara.
“So not SLS”
So, there’s nothing amazing and there’s nothing awful at the new Sahara. That should be seen as an upgrade as there were plenty of complaints about the design at SLS. I didn’t mind it so much but I’m the exception.
I can see why someone would enjoy the new Sahara. I can also see how someone would be non-plussed by the changes. Besides a cool bar (Casbar) and a great restaurant (Bazaar Meat), there’s nothing special about Sahara.
I wouldn’t say no if someone wants to visit Sahara. Will I visit the property by choice? Probably not unless someone else wants to go to happy hour or Bazaar Meat.
There are a lot of casinos in Las Vegas and I only have extreme feelings for a few of them. I love Red Rock Casino in part because it has a great sportsbook. It’s also close to home. The Cosmopolitan has my favorite casino bar in Las Vegas (Chandelier) as well as some excellent dining options. The D has a vibe for any mood I might be in.
The new Sahara is fine and I recommend checking it out because it’s new. You might find the changes more stimulating than either of my friends or I did.