Meruelo Group is pulling the Sahara Hotel and Casino brand out of mothballs as part of the company’s efforts to revitalise SLS Las Vegas.
The property was purchased by SBE Group back in 2007 and renamed the SLS Las Vegas as part of a $415m renovation. Meruelo Group acquired the resort in April last year.
Long-rumoured to be in the offing, the name change was finally confirmed on 27 June during an event at the property’s Foxtail Pool area.
“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,” said Alex Meruelo, the company’s CEO.
Meruelo Group said in March it would invest up to $100m to revamp the 66-year-old property in the coming years, including refreshing the gaming floor, enhancing the pool area and upgrading rooms. The property has 1,600 rooms, including a 289-room tower which previously operated under the W hotel brand. In August 2018, it was reported Meruelo Group had reclaimed the W Hotel real estate and reintegrated it into the larger resort under the name the Grand Tower.
Meruelo Group’s founder and namesake has experience in acquiring and revitalising struggling properties, have purchased the bank-owned Grand Sierra Resort in 2011 for $42m, after the previous owner paid $150m for it.
“I was told there was no way in hell that I would be able to turn the Grand Sierra around. If I can turn around the Grand Sierra Resort, I could do that at SLS,” Meruelo stated, characterising SLS Las Vegas as “a fantastic asset with tremendous potential”.
Meruelo Group’s overall marketing campaign will be a key component in reviving the property and the company must be clear in what demographic it plans to target, suggested Josh Williams, director of client services at Fresno-based Catalyst Marketing Company. “Just a name change is not going to keep you alive in Las Vegas,” he clarified.