Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino Review
The Golden Nugget Las Vegas has been a fixture on the Las Vegas gambling scene since all the way back in 1946, making it one of the oldest casinos in the city. With all of the expansion outside the city on the Las Vegas strip, the casinos of downtown Las Vegas still have their say, and are more than just a museum.
The Golden Nugget is the largest hotel casino in the downtown area, and is part of the Fremont Street Experience, with its 90 foot overhead canopy and the fantastic light shows that are now seeing Fremont Street becoming even more appealing with tourists.
The Golden Nugget existed as simply another gambling hall in downtown Las Vegas until a then young Steve Wynn came on the scene. Wynn was then moving up the ranks in the casino world and in 1971 he bought a stake in the Golden Nugget and started working on revamping it. By 1973 he became the majority owner and the youngest casino owner in the city.
A hotel tower was added in 1977, and it was impressive enough to earn Mobil Travel Guide’s four diamond award, an award they have maintained ever since, and set a record in the process for the number of consecutive years a hotel has won this award.
A second tower was added in 1984 along with a showroom, and a third tower was completed in 1989, turning it into a very large hotel indeed, and also attracting some truly big name acts such as Frank Sinatra.
Steve Wynn is now a legend in the Las Vegas casino scene, and perhaps no one person has played such a prominent role in the industry over so long as he has, but the Golden Nugget was his coming out party and the success he had here building up this place served as the foundation for his further successful exploits.
Wynn sold the place along with all of his other properties to Mirage Resorts in 2000, who were more interested in their strip properties and really didn’t do much for the place. Gaming revenues on Fremont Street had been in decline for a number of years though and the Golden Nugget was in need of some upgrading, and when it was sold in 2004, they finally got cashless slot machines and some other improvements.
The partners that bought it did so with the intention of selling it within one year, which they did, and during the time they owned it they made $113 million, and achieved the highest one year return for gambling revenue ever.
In 2005, Texas based Landry Inc., the Golden Nugget’s current owner, bought the property, and they brought $100 million in cash with them and spent it on renovating the hotel casino, including adding another 500 room hotel tower. The hotel currently has over 2400 rooms and has been brought up to the standards of its big time competitors on the strip now.
For a number of years they had the world’s largest gold nugget on display here, weighing 875 ounces. They are also famous for their huge sign that was widely featured in popular media, although it was removed in 1984 due to renovations.
The Golden Nugget’s Accommodations
The Golden Nugget proudly proclaims that they have the best hotel and Las Vegas, and with so many great hotels here, that’s really saying something. Whether they are right or not is a matter of opinion, but they are at least a contender.
This is a luxury hotel to be sure and they claim that they have spared no expense in upgrading and renovating the hotel rooms on site, and they are definitely very well appointed. The rooms in the Rush Tower are particularly nice, and if you’re able to spend the extra money, the suites in the Spa Tower are even nicer.
All these rooms are very up to date and modern in spite of the fact that this hotel has been around longer than most in the city, and the price is right as well, with rooms from $49 a night. You can’t even get a room in a cheap motel for this price, and this is as far away from a cheap motel as you can get.
If you like pools, you are in for a real treat here. They just don’t have a pool, they have a $30 million award winning pool, called The Tank, including a 200,000 gallon shark tank that you can swim right up to and observe their 5 different species of sharks that they have in it.
There are also 15 luxury cabanas overlooking the pool that can be booked, or you can just book one of their day beds on this upper level. This pool is truly impressive overall.
There are 9 restaurants here plus a Starbucks. Heading up the lineup are the fine dining options Vic and Anthony’s steak house, which has won an award for being the best restaurant in Las Vegas, as well as the Chart House, which specializes in seafood.
The Grotto offers guests authentic Italian food, and they also have an Asian restaurant, a sushi bar, a Mexican restaurant, a buffet, and homemade American food at the Claim Jumper. The Grille boasts the best burgers in town. They also have in room dining available.
There are 6 different bars and lounges where your favorite beverages can be enjoyed, including the Gold Digger dance club. There are also plenty of shows and concerts that run here. The Golden Nugget also has a full service spa called The Las Vegas Spa.
The Casino At The Golden Nugget Las Vegas
The casino here is definitely on the smaller side as far as casinos go, with only 38,000 square feet of gaming space, but that’s plenty to be able to offer casino gamblers all the action they can handle.
The casino here is impressive enough to win Casino Player’s award as the best casino in Las Vegas, as well as other awards such as the best service for a casino, the best promotions, and the best overall casino hotel. So the casino here might not be mighty in size but it’s mighty in quality.
They have it all here as far as what they offer gamblers, with hundreds of slots, including progressive slots which pay out some of the biggest jackpots in Vegas. They also have dozens of table games so players can enjoy all of the fun of all of the popular ones, blackjack, roulette, craps, and more.
If you like to bet on horses or sports, their race and sports book will take care of you well, and you get to enjoy watching the action on a giant screen, as well as at a screen at every seat, while seated in the lap of luxury.
Keno players aren’t left out here and you can play Keno from anywhere in the casino. Poker players will also be delighted to know that they have a poker room here as well, which is the host room for NBC’s Poker After Dark as well. Their 13 tables offer action from low limit on up.
The Golden Nugget may be a classic hotel casino, but this doesn’t mean it’s not up to date or well worth a stay, and is indeed worthy of your consideration if you are planning on visiting Las Vegas.