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SLS Casino Reminisces About Happy Past with Reported Rebranding as Grand Sahara

The new owner of SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is reportedly looking to rebrand the property as Grand Sahara Resort as part of a planned $100-million renovation and upgrade, Eater Vegas reports.

Privately-owned gaming company The Meruelo Group acquired the struggling Strip property from its previous owners earlier this year for an undisclosed price. The company’s Principal, businessman Alex Meruelo, has said that they plan to invest more than $100 million over the next several years to renovate and upgrade the resort and hopefully turn it into a successful operation.

According to previous information from The Meruelo Group, the renovation would involve room enhancements, new gaming machines at the property’s casino floor, and redesign of the pool area, among other things. The company has pointed out that they believe the property could become profitable once again with the necessary adjustments made. The renovation of the SLS is being carried out amid booming development and redevelopment activity both on the Strip and in Downtown Vegas.

Mr. Meruelo has previously said that they planned to rebrand the hotel and casino complex, but has not revealed what its new name would be.

Eater Vegas reported earlier this week that the Grand Sahara name was used in interior remodeling paperwork the property’s new owners have filed with the city earlier this month. The Meruelo Group currently owns the similarly branded Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, which it purchased back in 2006.

Reference to the Past

The reported new name of the casino property refers back to the days when it was quite popular with visitors of the Strip. The SLS originally opened doors in 1952 as Sahara Hotel and was the sixth resort on the emblematic Las Vegas Strip. It operated under that name until 2011 when it was shuttered by its then-owner Sam Nazarian for not being “economically viable”.

The property was relaunched as the SLS in 2014 and operated as a boutique resort, but never managed to regain its lure to customers. The complex currently features more than 1,600 hotel rooms across three towers, a casino spreading over 60,000 square feet with more than 600 gaming machines and 50 table games, multiple dining options, and meeting space, among other facilities.

Eater Vegas reported that some of the dining facilities could be changed or even replaced as part of the property’s overhaul.

Once its remodeling is complete and it resumes operations, the SLS or Grand Sahara, as it would probably be named, will look to attract new groups of customers, Mr. Meruelo has himself revealed earlier this year. The businessman, who is of Hispanic origin, has said that they would look to serve that particular market as, according to him, it has been underserved in both Las Vegas and Reno.

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