The "class" of downtown, or at least that's what they make a big deal about. It is the most upscale and has the nicest rooms, especially the new Rush Tower rooms. It's also the most like the Strip of the downtown places in pricing and gaming. Still, it's nice to see the big shark tank and, while pricier, it still tends to be a better value than the fancy joints on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Coupons Available for Golden Nugget Vegas:
$60 in poker chips for $50, two-for-one tickets to Gordie Brown, two-for-one drinks at Rush Lounge, two-for-one breakfast or lunch buffet. (Click Here For More Info.)
Room Quality: These are far and away the nicest rooms downtown. The Rush tower is the newest and has oversized rooms with slightly swankier amenities like big ol' flat screens and nicer beds. And of course, you pay for it. Other rooms are average-sized and first-class, with lots of marble, beautiful carpets, nice bedspreads and elegant accoutrements like flat-screened TVs and robes. They also have irons and hairdryers. Good thing, because when they only have an iron, you know how we dry our hair. More than most properties, this one actually achieves understated classiness. The views are okay, but mostly look over North Las Vegas, the mountains, or the faraway Strip. The Gold Tower is the nicer one, with better furnishings and slightly bigger rooms. Of course, they try to get you to pay more for it. The North leads directly into the casino. The Carson Street Tower is plenty nice, but a longer walk from the casino and the rooms are smaller. It is right across the street from the parking garage, though. If you want to roll large, get a Gold Club room in the North Tower. They are larger, have even nicer amenities, like big sectional sofas, and special services like VIP check-in and turn-down at night.
Service Quality: Outstanding. The on-site spa is top-notch, with his and hers facilities and masseusses who really are masseusses, not prostitutes. Fine room service, in-room check-out, elevator security. The check-in process has always been quick when we stayed here.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: It's not the most stuff, but there's no doubt it's all good. Shampoo, conditioner and lotion are what we remember. Upgrade to the concierge floor and get a free razor and shaving cream.
Clientele: Mostly people in their thirties and older. Unlike fancy Strip resorts, there are fewer spoiled babies at this property. But the casino is the best place place downtown to see a lot of black chips on the felt.
How's the Pool? Easily the coolest pool downtown. They call it The Tank, and it's got a big water slide and an aquarium with sharks in it. The slide goes through it. The regular pool isn't that great for just plain swimming, but it's fantastic for sunning, sliding and looking at. The infinity pool is the one for swimming.
Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, Pai-Gow, baccarat, Let It Ride, 3-card poker and more. If you got the stomach for it, stop into the high-limit salon and play some serious big money games. One annoying thing about the casino is the amount of brass everywhere. A little of that could have gone a long way.
Bet Minimums: Just about all games start at $5. Craps can be as low as $5 with 3x4x5x odds when it's slow. Try to avoid the lame 6:5 blackjack.
Machines: From a nickel to $100 a pull or play. There is little to no full pay video poker. Otherwise, this place is like a Strip joint: you seem to pay for the decor with tighter slots. There is a large selection, with a seemingly endless variety of those slanted low-slung machines. It's not technically a table game or a slot, but the swank-u-luxe keno parlor must be mentioned. What a cushy place for up to nine old ladies to rest their fannies.
Cocktails? Excellent cocktail service. If you are playing big money, you can have whatever drinks you want, made out of whatever you specify. If you're camped at a nickel slot, however, you're going to get well drinks made from the cheapest booze (just like every casino). If you get too drunk here, you'll feel out of place, because most people maintain their decorum.
Who Gets Comps? Well, the slot club is fair but not what it used to be. Cash back is great for the slots, and just fair for VP. At the tables, expect to play $50 a hand to get noticed for food. $150 and up will probably get you a room and food.
Carson Street Cafe: It's a 24 hour eatery that's a step up from the usual coffee shop. If you want more than a coffee shop, but less than fancy, dig in to good sandwiches, great breakfasts and some decent hot dishes.
Chart House: This seafood restaurant, part of a national high-end chain, has an enormous aquarium filled with tropical fish right smack in the place. The decor is contemporary and tropical, with a somewhat crowded dining area. The food is typical seafood and steaks, including lobster, crab, scallops and filet mignon. There's nothing fancy on the menu and the prices are in line with other high-end joints.
Grotto: This good Italian restaurant servies traditional meals at reasonable prices. The dining room is huge and noisy, but that's okay for us with Italian.
Lillie's Noodle House: What was once a fine Chinese restaurant has been downgraded to a decent one with a pan-asian menu, or so they say. The entrees are priced reasonably, especially for the noodle dishes. Open for dinner only. The dining area is all fancy with water running down the wall (on purpose, not like in our basement bathroom).
Red Sushi: This simple sushi joint is a bit cramped, noisy and open to the casino. Don't expect romance, just expect some spring rolls to stuff in your mouth. Prices are a bit high for a complete meal.
One of the two better buffets Downtown. For the other and larger, go to Main Street Station
. Weekend dinners include seafood and the price goes up. Weekends is the champagne brunch, where you can get loaded on cheap, sweet hooch while downing eggs and pancakes. The desserts here are weak, and the buffet is just okay, but still better than others downtown. The location, overlooking the pool is nice.
Vic and Anthony's: Las Vegas was screaming for yet another decent steakhouse, and so Landry's has provided one from their chain. There are better steaks on the Strip, and way better steakhouses in some places if you're freakin' rich. Entrees aren't outrageously priced, but come a la carte, so your bill adds up quickly. Come here if you have a coupon, discount or because you're too tired to go elsewhere.
Just in case you couldn't walk the fifty feet to the next in the Starbuck's chain, the kind folks at the Golden Nugget have installed one. And another one. The Grille serves up overpriced snack food next to the sports book. That extra "e" is gonna cost you a few more bucks.
Gold Diggers: It's nice that a few casinos are trying to bring the nightlife back to downtown, but we're not sure if this place with its transgendered logo and older-skewing demo are it. This place plays it safe with no outrageous stunts and an early closing time. On the plus side, though is the cool outdoor balcony right under the Fremont Street lights.
Gordie Brown: Gordie Brown is a hard-working impersonator, which means he is still an impersonator. That's better than a hypnotist. In the past he has done all the usual suspects that are the staple of the impersonator show like Jack Nicholson and Stevie Wonder. He seems likable, but we expect this show to be pretty standard.
Hand of Faith: No, this isn't a religious deal or a weird rock band. It's a giant, hand-shaped golden nugget, just like the casino's name. The rock weighs 61 pounds and is on display in the casino lobby.
Rush Lounge: This lame bar is supposed to be ultra, to attract the type of people who think a drink will get you drunk faster if it costs a lot.
The Grand: The Grand, as in grand ballroom, is a large convention or show space. It has hosted poker boot camps, and can be used for large presentations or big shows. Most of the time, though it's just a huge open space behind doors.
Number of TVs: 56, with 27 of them in cubes that can be turned into three super-sized screens.
Number of Seats: About 50 seats with 20 in booths and the other 30 at desks, 20 of which have individual TVs. There are also four booths in the back if you want to wager gangster style.
How Many Betting Windows? Six, with electronic signboards.
Free Drinks? Ask for a drink ticket after placing your big bet. Don't ask after placing your small one.
Snack Bar? Yes, The Grille is a pricey snack bar adjacent to the sports book.
Minimum Wager: $5 sports, $2 for racing
Other Notes: This very nice, small book closes early, so cash your tickets before ten. The room feels a bit crowded, and sports are sort of shoved to the side.
Number of Tables: Twelve tables, and they can get pretty hopping.
Comfort of Chairs: Swanky with wrap-around backs. It's funny, people tend to play poker for really long stretches, but few casinos ever seem to provide really excellent chairs like they do here. I guess the casinos figure people vote with their wallets, not their asses. Well, one thing's for sure, ours can make a lot of noise when they're unhappy.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? The poker room is pretty noisy and crowded. It's not enclosed, rather open to a snack bar and slot machines.
Game Spreads and Limits: Only Hold 'Em, $2-$4, $3-$6, and a $1-$2 no-limit game with a $200 minimum buy-in. They have a couple tournaments every day.
Beginner Games or Classes? Monday-Friday at 10 in the morning they offer lessons for the uninitiated. At least we think they're uninitiated. We're too busy sleeping off our drunk at that hour to go and check it out.
How Crowded is the Room? It can get very full. Weekdays are no problem, but weekends get crowded, especially at night. Of course, that is also when the suckers come out to bite.
Comps? Just about nothing. It's pretty crummy, although they say they'll give you a $10 dining credit after four hours.
How Good Are the Players? The people who frequent the Golden Nugget tend to have more money to throw around than we do; They're probably pretty inexperienced at playing poker, but want to give it a whirl. If you were a shark, wouldn't this be the equivalent of a bloody leg in the water? Either be careful or make sure you're good if you plan to try this room out.
What Else Do I Need to Know? This is a nice-looking poker room, but it's cramped and loud, and the game selection leaves a lot to be desired.