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Goodbye to Speed: The Ride at the Sahara (Vegas)?


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AWESOME pics! I never stayed there (and probably would not have even if it stayed open), but I loved hanging out there. The casino area was just so perfectly cheesy (and cheap). I will definitely miss being able to stop in next time I'm in Vegas.

 

I can't believe all the places in there you got to explore... the theaters were bigger than I thought they'd be, and getting to see the money counting rooms is pretty cool.

 

"In the bedroom we find the famous marble tub. It was still up for grabs for $475, then you had to figure out how to get it the hell outta there." - and how many times you'd have to disinfect it before you could use it. Those views from the suites were incredible though, especially since you could lay in the tub and watch Speed do it's thing.

 

It's a shame the Sahara had to go down this way, and that even the places still in use were not taken care of. Thanks for the last looks at it, RIP Sahara...

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Having made the pilgrimage to Sahara a few brief weeks ago for my last blasts on S:TR, I was already feeling the 'dread' of the Sahara just before it closed it's doors; there is almost a feeling of 'ghosts' roaming around the hotel to a degree. Seeing these photos sort of puts the same feeling around- that something of doom is in the air.

 

It's sad to see the old girl go like that, but like most of the older Strip hotels, that comes with the territory- whether we like it or not. Someday, this scene will be repeated at Mirage, or Circus Circus- or for that matter any of the hotels on the Strip.

 

As Douglas Trumbull (Strip hotel designer) once said:

 

"We're in the business of building the largest, most extravagant, most over the top temporary structures in the world."

 

R.I.P Sahara- you gave us a lot of great thrills, good times, and funky decor!

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Wow - they let that place go to hell. It makes Circus Circus look like a 4 star property. Thanks for posting a fascinating (and disgusting) set of photos Chad. You got your $10 worth!

 

That view across the street is 3rd world - or Vegas. The city has a lot of reinventing to do on the north strip. It's turned into a wasteland.

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I wonder if the kitchens looked like that when the Sahara was still open...I'd definitely call the health inspector if they did. No joke.

 

The whole place looks like a complete and total dump and I don't know where the old crap started and the new crap began. Hell came to town and had an extended stay in the Sahara. Very dilapidated for only being closed a month and it makes you wonder if it had the same look 3 years ago. It looks so old and dead. Along with most of that half of Vegas.

 

They should film a horror movie in it before they bulldoze the whole thing, it'd be a quasi-Shining/Vacancy one...

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Circus Circus was pretty bad when we stayed there a few years ago. Our socks were black from the dirty carpeting in the room and the place just reeked of cigarette smoke even in the no smoking room. I don't remember it being so dirty 10-15 years ago when we would stay there for the $25 a night rooms.

 

The Riviera was also pretty bad about 6 years ago. Our friends had to change rooms a couple times to find one that didn't reek of cigarette smoke and have everything working in the room.

 

We stayed at the Mirage last time and it was quite nice. Worth the extra money.

 

Jim

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I always appreciated the older Vegas casinos and it is sad the see most of them going the way of the wrecking ball. Seeing the pictures of the Sahara buffet does make me cringe, felt like crap after eating there in 2005.

 

Speed was by far the highlight of that place.

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Thanks guys, glad everyone enjoyed the pictures. Sorry I've been slow to respond as I'm currently on an Oregon/Washington park tour (watch my Diary thread over the next few days for photos and details on what parks I traveled to and who I traveled with)

 

When I rode Speed back in October, I just had this creepy feeling of get in and get out, just something about it that was off.

 

I signed up to receive press releases from Circus Circus just in case they do make an annoucement.

 

Wow - they let that place go to hell. It makes Circus Circus look like a 4 star property. Thanks for posting a fascinating (and disgusting) set of photos Chad. You got your $10 worth!

 

I snuck in for free! (Actually, they only charged the first four days to get in)

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I was at the Sahara for a video conference at NAB back in April. I actually stayed at Harrah's and was only in Sahara for a few hours, but I have to say the casino was much nicer than I expected. It was honestly in better shape - cleaner and smoke-free - compared to Harrah's. In reality all of those aging casinos, Sahara, Riveria, Harrah's, Flamingo's, etc., are in need of major rehab but the corporate owners seem more content to let them slowly fall apart. One day they'll just tear them down and build something new. Sahara's problem, aside from being rundown, was it was just too far up the Strip from the action. I believe there's an abandoned property or two to its south that separates it from the next active casino. I left a bustling Harrah's casino to find maybe 20-30 people scattered about the Sahara casino floor. BTW, Harrah's is pretty bad too. I usually stay at The Mirage and it's a night and day comparison. I love the Mirage.

 

I really wish I rode Speed. We got to the meeting early in hopes of riding, but for some reason it was closed. Oh well...

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  • 4 months later...

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/nov/02/permits-approved-remodel-sahara-minus-roller-coast/

 

The shuttered Sahara would reopen with a renovated casino floor and 1,622 hotel rooms, but minus its signature roller coaster, under plans unveiled Wednesday.

 

The plans, presented to the Clark County Commission, end speculation that owners of the 59-year-old building were going to implode it and start from scratch.

 

Without comment, commissioners approved use permits to renovate the hotel’s interior, including the casino and 1,622 rooms in three towers. Plans also include demolition of the roller coaster running in and out of the hotel’s northwest corner.

 

The plans call for the addition of an outdoor dining area. Plans state that the property would include a 2,830-square-foot beer garden.

 

Stockbridge SBE Holdings LLC is listed as the applicant on the use permit. SBE Entertainment, a nightclub operator, and Stockbridge Real Estate Funds bought the property in 2007 for about $350 million.

 

The hotel-casino closed earlier this year, putting more than 1,000 employees out of work. Talk of renovations began to circulate a few months ago.

 

In September, owners announced the hiring of architecture firm Gensler Architects and the Las Vegas-based Penta Building Group to evaluate options for the site.

 

Gensler was one of the designers behind CityCenter. Penta has developed projects hotel and retail projects in Las Vegas.

 

Property owners could not be reached for comment.

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I missed the Sahara for a week or two with missing Speed the worst point of it.

 

I stayed at the Planet Hollywood - the rooms were clean, spaceous and the non-smkoing floor was a non-smoking floor. Personally I thought the rooms are too dark - you had to have lights on even by day. But who cares - I'm not a gambler but on the last night turned USD 25 into USD 450 in their casino...

 

Now they're only two sub-par coasters left in Vegas....for me the best thin in Vegas was "O" at Bellagio...

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Totally not surprised by this, but still holding out hope they don't completely destroy it.

 

I'm thinking though, that if they did plan to save it, maybe the article would have alluded to that by saying "removing the coaster" "re-locating" or "selling the coaster." The fact that they used the term "demolish" sounds pretty ominous

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I missed the Sahara for a week or two with missing Speed the worst point of it.

 

I stayed at the Planet Hollywood - the rooms were clean, spaceous and the non-smkoing floor was a non-smoking floor. Personally I thought the rooms are too dark - you had to have lights on even by day. But who cares - I'm not a gambler but on the last night turned USD 25 into USD 450 in their casino...

 

Now they're only two sub-par coasters left in Vegas....for me the best thin in Vegas was "O" at Bellagio...

Well vegas has changed. It's not the "family friendly" set of resorts it once was. Now its all about booze, food, gambling, and high priced shows. They still have all the rides at the stratosphere, though.

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^I always thought that's how Vegas was, too. There's a reason I'm not going until I'm 21. What's the point? You don't take your kids to Vegas, you take them to Disney World and then you take a booze-infested gamble-thon trip to Vegas yourself.

 

Shame to see them reopen without Speed...and I really hope this means that it's already been sold and it isn't just leaving as scrap metal.

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@Gnome

 

I probably hit the only day in the year with showers and intense gusts so the rides on Stratosphere were closed. I hit the Circus, Circus instead and it still had this James Bond "Diamonds are Forever" feeling. But the Arrow was headbanging - at least it was my chance to do the american Inverter....

 

I quite liked all Cirque De Soleil shows so far and even the price is on the top end I mostly pay for a place in the first rows....

 

@Coasterfreak11: Well you cant have Sex in Vegas - at least not in a legal european kind of way....

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^Not in Clark County (where the strip is).

 

As for this renovation? I'll believe it when I see it. They originally planned to convert the place into an SLS hotel, but that would require MAJOR work as the Sahara rooms are tiny by luxury hotel standards.

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Just like the way it was originally, and the way it always should be.

 

Exactly! I still think the downfall of Vegas was when the mafia was run out of town for the corporate America profit mongers trying to think that they were going to "family-size" good ole Sin City!

 

While we will still walk through the lavish casinos just to look at what's new, we won't gamble in them - I might as well just take my wallet out and burn the money. We always settle for the local smaller casinos off the strip & downtown if we want to gamble (& maybe even win a buck or two), get drunk & do karaoke.

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As for this renovation? I'll believe it when I see it. They originally planned to convert the place into an SLS hotel, but that would require MAJOR work as the Sahara rooms are tiny by luxury hotel standards.

 

I'm with you on that. When I look at all the failed projects currently lurking in a half completed or bare dirt state, I just don't see them getting the financing they need other than their own pocket books.

 

My former boss, Phil Ruffin, made a killing off the New Frontier, he managed to bank 200 million off that sale using the other portion to buy Treas Island. He was a tight ass to work for, but the man makes money. I think we all know what happened to the Frontier, the overseas guys that bought it tore it down and ran out of money to do anything else. I can say that of all the properties he had that had potential, it was that one. About 8 million in room/casino renovations, tearing down the two story part an add on a convention hall would have made a hell of a lot more money while capital was being razed, get it, razed, than what it is now.

 

Echelon is still no where near the re-start stage after tearing down the Stardust and it's surroundings, and then you have the $1billion needed to complete bankrupt Fountain Blue. Vegas is still in a holding pattern with hotels like Harrahs, Bally's, MGM, Flamingo all needing renovations to their guest rooms.

 

If those guys were smart, they would enlist International Rides Management or the likes to sell Speed. The ride. Not acutal speed.

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My former boss, Phil Ruffin, made a killing off the New Frontier, he managed to bank 200 million off that sale using the other portion to buy Treas Island. He was a tight A$$ to work for, but the man makes money.

 

This is pretty awesome. I follow a lot of Vegas and Vegas business news because it's fascinating to me how things work in that city... all the proposed projects, the financial deals, business plans, and how often places switch hands, etc. Must have been cool to see it from the inside.

 

*EDIT - I guess I should add that I don't know if you worked for him doing Vegas-related things or not, but either way, it was probably interesting!

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