Thursday, June 27 marked the dawn of a new era in the evolution of Las Vegas as businessman Alex Meruelo unveiled the return of SAHARA to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. In a city known for over-the-top spectacle, Meruelo upped the ante with a dramatic announcement event revealing the resort name in a bold display of modern engineering. In a first for Las Vegas, the custom-made production featured a dynamic Intel® Shooting Star ™ drone light show, 3D projection mapping and dazzling pyrotechnics display – paving the way for the distinctive return of an icon.
Just prior to the reveal, Meruelo addressed a crowd of more than 700 special guests, which included local dignitaries, celebrities, hotel guests and team members. Meruelo shared his vision for the iconic resort, his love of Las Vegas and long-held desire to make his mark on The Strip.
"We are committed to delivering an intimate, unexpected and memorable visit for our guests. We want people who stay with us to say, 'My God what an experience!' because experience leads to memories. And, that's what we want to create, memories and experiences you won't forget.
"To do that, we had to find the right resort," Meruelo continued. "And, this is the right resort. We can make a big impact here at this iconic location. Our property is just the right size to deliver the bold, yet personalized, experiences that made visitors first fall in love with Las Vegas."
Meruelo, who is the founder of The Meruelo Group and owner of Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, acquired the property in April of last year and quickly embarked upon a more than $100 million transformation that, to date, has included upgrades to the casino floor, hotel rooms and corridors as well as additions to its award-winning culinary program. Meruelo's debut comes at a time when there are few sole proprietors left along the Las Vegas Strip. As a life-long entrepreneur with a track record of business success, Meruelo expressed his commitment to continual improvement and investment in SAHARA Las Vegas ensuring the resort remains both timeless yet modern so that guests will want to return time and time again.
"The SAHARA played an important role in the evolution of the destination," Meruelo said. "And, we are now responsible for shaping a new narrative. We are writing the next chapter in the city's evolution, for the love of Vegas."
Joining Meruelo in his quest is an experienced leadership team led by General Manager Paul Hobson. Hobson, who greeted the crowd and welcomed Meruelo to the stage, presided over the property's re-branding and is responsible for bringing Meruelo's vision to life.
"The team here knows that we're part of something special," said Hobson. "Every member of the team, from leadership to the front line, is excited to welcome SAHARA back to Las Vegas. And, we are excited for our guests to join us on this journey, experience the many changes taking place on property and offer them unparalleled service. Our design team has labored over every detail, bringing a style and sophistication that we believe our guests will immediately appreciate."
The debut of the new name is part of a series of renovations for the boutique Strip resort that will continue well into 2020. Additional enhancements are scheduled to begin later this year including updates to the hotel lobby and guest check-in with additional improvements to be announced in the coming months.
"Our naming reveal is really just the beginning," continued Hobson. "The announcement event is demonstrative of the unexpected experiences our guests will find at SAHARA. We are creating an inviting, modern resort experience brimming with surprising details that will leave our guests feeling wowed every time they set foot on property."
The SAHARA Las Vegas reveal event featured 250 Intel® Shooting Star ™ drones, which are designed for entertainment purposes and capable of creating more than four billion color combinations to light up the sky. The spectacle, which featured dynamic aerial imagery including spinning slot reels and winning black jack hands, included 3D projection mapping that paid homage to Las Vegas' glamourous past as well as a choreographed dance lead-in led by a troupe of authentic Las Vegas showgirls and dancers. The grand finale, which revealed the new SAHARA name and logo, married the best of Intel® Shooting Star ™ drone technology, 3D projection mapping and pyrotechnics.
SAHARA Las Vegas features 1,615 guest suites, more than 95,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a collection of entertainment venues, lounges, three distinctive pools, a luxurious spa and acclaimed restaurants, including the award-winning BAZAAR Meat by Jose Andres. New additions to the resort also include a soon-to-be-revealed high limit gaming space and the newly debuted CASBAR lounge.