Travel: Out of the Desert

The place was a little bit of Las Vegas, but without any gambling tables yet, and just two minutes from Chicago's O'Hare Airport. A salmagundi of Italian marble, Japanese carpet, matched rosewood, Hawaiian monkeypod wood, gold foil and tropical fish, the Sahara Inn is like a movie set for a dream sequence in a musical starring George Jessel and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Complete with boot-shaped swimming pool, fully grown palm trees and a still uncompleted 1,400-seat auditorium, it cost $10.8 million, and is staffed with waitresses appropriately undressed.

The room called The...

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