Hotel Sahara, Congo Room Wine List, Las Vegas 1957
The Sahara, a Morocco-themed resort built on the northern edge of Las Vegas’ Strip, opened in 1952 and the 240-room, two-storey hotel soon earned the nickname “jewel of the desert”. There were fake camels at the entrance to the casino and a jungle-themed décor. The elaborate $5m resort was a magnet for celebrities. The German motion picture actress and singer Marlene Dietrich, famed for her languid sensuality, made her Las Vegas debut in the Congo Room and Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland also worked the supper club room. Screen legends like Cary Grant and Grace Kelly could be seen sunning themselves beside the Olympic-sized swimming pool and Elvis Presley, who drove a pink Cadillac, was a frequent visitor. He would drop in to greet the “Hello girls,” as the hotel telephone operators were called, and sign autographs.
In the 1960 Sinatra and his Rat Pack filmed scenes from the Las Vegas heist movie "Ocean’s 11" at the Sahara. In 1964, the hotel paid The Beatles to do two shows but because the hotel’s nightclub accommodated only 500, management moved it to the city’s 8,200-seat convention hall. According to newspaper reports, practically every Sahara client asked for tickets for their daughters.
The property, first owned by entrepreneur Milton Prell, built a 24 storey extension and became one of the tallest resorts on the Strip. It survived dramas including fires, an extortion plot and rumors that the Chicago mob were skimming off the takings but felt the chill of competition in 1966 when the glamorous Caesar’s Palace opened and attracted many of the Sahara’s high rollers.
The resort battled on, with Sonny and Cher, Tony Bennett and comedian Jerry Lewis performing there in the 1970s and the property grew to 1,720 rooms housed in the Alexandria, Tangiers and Tunis towers. It was sold twice over the next two decades, becoming known for dollar blackjack games, but its relevance continued to plummet and the resort closed in 2011.
After a series of expensive renovations, it is now the Sahara, Las Vegas.
This striking menu cover is from 1957 and the inside menu offers Veuve Clicquot champagne for $15 a bottle.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.