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“Golden Nugget...still the best downtown hotel but...”

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Golden Nugget Hotel
Ranked #89 of 263 Hotels in Las Vegas
Hillsborough, NJ
Level Contributor
142 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 668 helpful votes
“Golden Nugget...still the best downtown hotel but...”
Reviewed August 19, 2010

This was my fifth stay at The Golden Nugget and it’s always been and continues to be the premier hotel in the downtown area. That said, I also feel that with the opening of the new Rush Tower, the Nugget has also now outgrown its own facilities. While the hotel continues to expand by adding more rooms, the pool (with the exception of the new Hideout which requires a daily entrance fee), the gym, spa, check-in, etc., cannot adequately and more importantly, comfortably accommodate guests when the hotel is near or at capacity.

For this trip, I reserved a Jr. suite in the new Rush Tower for $89 per night. One of the main reasons I choose the Golden Nugget over a strip hotel is due to the rates at the strip hotels being unusually high. On this trip, the Magic convention was in town (as it always is in mid-August). Magic is major apparel convention and rates at hotels like Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Caesar’s, Wynn and other “A” rated strip hotels were around 30-50% higher than they normally be during non-convention weekdays.

One thing you can always depend on at the Golden Nugget is that the hotel is always excellently maintained. For a hotel of its age, I find the public areas and the rooms (especially in the Rush Tower), are as nice, if not nicer, as that of premier hotels on the strip. No tattered carpeting, stains on the bedding or walls ceiling, scratched furniture, etc. I’ve seen these deficiencies at more than a few of the better strip hotels I’ve stayed at. There always seems to be staff walking around and straitening/cleaning up whether you’re at the pool, in the casino or relaxing in the spa.

The Rush Tower takes on a Manhattan boutique hotel look with a lot of dark wood, colorful carpeting and the use of mood lighting throughout the common areas. There is a separate check-in for the Rush Tower and while it never appeared to be as busy as the main check-in desk, it was still as painfully slow as ever. Even the VIP check-in (which in the Rush Tower is to the left of the main desk and partially hidden as you walk in by a pillar so if you’re entitled to VIP check-in, make sure you go there), was also an extremely slow process in comparison to other hotels.

Part of the problem that causes the slow check-in is because they are either trying to sell everyone an upgrade or everyone is trying to get an upgrade for free. Then they stand there debating whether or not it’s worth the whopping $20-$40 a night or the front desk person has to disappear for five minutes or make a phone call to check availability. Multiply this time by everyone standing in line and the fact that the Golden Nugget never seems to have more than 2-3 people at a time at the check-in desk and you see why the check-in process takes so long. If there’s just 5-10 people in front of you (and that’s not a lot), expect to wait up to a half hour or more. This is one area the Golden Nugget really needs to improve.

The rooms in the Rush Tower I feel are certainly nicer that what you’ll find at comparable hotels on the strip. Nicer in fact than the rooms at hotels like The Mirage, TI, Planet Hollywood, Mandalay Bay (but not THeHotel), MGM, Paris and even some of the room categories in Caesar’s and Bellagio. Not as nice as the Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn and Encore.

The Jr. suite has a large, separate entrance way that leads past the bathroom and into a very large open room that is half bedroom and half living room. There are two large plasma T.V’s at each end of the room mounted to built in wall units. The room, like the Rush Tower itself, has a very boutique look to it. There are glass pocket doors that open to a modern bathroom with dual sinks and a separate toilet. There is one large closet and ample draw space in the built in wall units along with several desk/work stations also built into the wall units if you happen to be in town on business. The two things they missed the mark on in the bathroom were that there was not a separate shower and tub and there was no LCD TV mounted in the bathroom.

The two large windows in my room (8214), faced the pool and onto Freemont Street (although at night you can’t see the lights of the Freemont Street Experience from above. You need to be on the street looking up so this was not as much of an advantage as I thought).

Since I only had one afternoon to spend at the pool, I decided not to try at fight the crowds at the main pool (The Tank) and instead opted to pay the $20 fee for a chaise at the Hideout. The Hideout is an adult only pool but unlike the other adult only pools at The Mirage, Mandalay Bay, etc, this is not a “tops optional” pool. The Hideout simply restricts access so it is a more quite and secluded atmosphere away from the hundreds of kids (especially in the summer months) waiting to ride the slide through the shark tank in the main pool.
I have to say that I’m in favor of this practice of hotels charging a premium to reserve a chaise, chair, daybed, whatever, by the pool. I’m not one for waking up at dawn (this is Vegas after all), and fighting the crowds just to get a spot by the pool. I rather pay the $20 and come in when I feel like it and also get the extra attention of the pool waitresses that cater to the reserved sections.

The Hideout pool is really more of a plunge pool than a swimming pool. There’s an infinity edge wall that runs the length of the pool by the bar and if you’re into getting a tan, you’ll get a bit more sun up in the Hideout since it’s located above the main pool. If you want to go all out, you can also reserve a cabana in the Hideout instead of just a chaise or daybed.

I’ve always been a fan of the spa at The Golden Nugget. While small, it’s always meticulously maintained. The steam room, sauna, whirlpools are always clean and kept at perfect temperatures. There are always towels on ice for the steam/sauna and if someone takes a towel, it seems like an attendant comes out from nowhere to replace it. This is more than I can say for other spas located on the strip. Even those at the most prestigious properties like the Venetian (Canyon Ranch) which I found to be one of the biggest dumps of a spa I’ve ever been to.

The only drawback to the spa at Golden Nugget is the gym facilities. Again, the hotel has added too many rooms to accommodate everyone using the same facilities they had before. With only a couple of treadmills and elliptical machines, there always seems to be a wait to get on the equipment especially during the prime morning hours. The separate weight room while nicely appointed can also get crowded.

I can only give the restaurants at the Golden Nugget a fair rating. The Grotto (Italian), was average at best and overpriced given the food quality. Carson Street is basically the 24 hour coffee shop and the food and prices actually aren’t bad. I’d recommend staying away from the buffet at all costs. While the Golden Nugget rivals other major strip hotels in many categories, when it comes to the buffet their more like Circus Circus than Bellagio.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
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13 Thank HeyMan76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Arlington, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2010

Now I have to start by saying I'm sure my view of this experience is biased based upon the perks we received.

Perks: Free upgrade through Landry's Select Membership to a Rush Tower Junior Suite, even though I booked through a 3rd party. $40 bill at Red Sushi comped for paltry play by a super generous casino hostess (I'm sorry to say I can't recall her name at the moment. To bad this could have been her opportunity to become Internet famous).

Reviewer: Early 30's married couple no kids. Travel to Vegas about every 90 days. Interests are...wait for it...gambling (never would have guessed, huh?), food and lounging near the pool.

Location: The Golden Nugget is ideally situated right in the middle of the Fremont Street experience. Every Fremont Street location is only a 5-15 min walk, if you have no difficulties walking.

Check-in: Landry's membership gave us the option to use VIP-check in, but embarrassingly enough we had no idea where it was located. So we used the regular check-in and waited in line for about 6 mins. If your looking for VIP it's located next to the Rush Towers, keep the pool area to your left, follow it around to the slots and take a left.

Elevators: Lightning fast, longest wait 30 sec.

Room: 10202 Rush Tower Junior Suite. We've been steadily working our way up the hotel food chain. We have yet to stay at the Wynn, Palazzo or Bellagio, so if your used to these places then the junior suite will be comfortable, it just won't be "Wow, this is niiiiiice!" Foyer leads to a closet on your left, restroom straight ahead (double sink and deep tub with shower), and a separate make-up area with mirror to the right. Opens up into a lounge area, sitting area, and king bed. Two 42-inch flat screens. Furniture was very comfortable, views of other hotels (pretty sad), and shower water pressure was strong. Free in room safe. See attached pictures. Very pleased with house keeping and quality of room.

Minor complaint: the pillows did not offer enough support IMHO. they folded like a lawn chair under the weight of my head. I think it was because they were down pillows.

Pool: We opted to pay $40 ($20 a piece) for two chaise lounges at the Hide-Out pool located on the 3rd floor. Worth every penny. I'm not against kids, but kids can be kids, and downstairs was a zoo. The Hide-Out was very relaxing, quite and a fun group of adult couples. Jeff, the bartender, was spot-on and personable.

The only negative: The only areas out of the sun were the cabanas ($250 a day, 6 people, but one can fit 16). But depending on the time of day, several day beds had shade from the buildings.

Casino: Daytime you can find $5 tables, but the min moves to $10 at night. There is usually a $5 three card poker and a Super 21 blackjack at the back pit near the rear entrance by the WOF slot machines at night. Friendly dealers and pit bosses. Drink service was prompt. Kettle one vodka offered, sorry no goose.

Slots: Golden Nugget has a reputation (deserved or not) as a tighter casino. Can't say that I noticed one way or the other. WOF seemed to be on par at max bet with other casinos, except the Cortez. I don't know if we were lucky, or what, but the Cortez was spitting money out of their WOF machines 3 days in a row.

Casino host/hostess: They're great as far as I'm concerned since they comped my Red Sushi bill on a $200 loss.

Restaurants:
Vic and Anthony's is the best steak house downtown. If you disagree...you are wrong ;-P. Flawless service and an affordable $46 prix fixe menu (salad, 8 0z prime filet, side and dessert). 2.5 lb lobster is not meant for one person. You have been warned.
Grotto: Excellent thin crust pizza and delicious pastas. Friendly wait staff, can be hit or miss with service depending on who you get.
Buffet: Best quality downtown, but nothing that knocks your socks-off. The champagne served with the champagne brunch was pleasantly delicious and endless. Deadly combination.

Bottom line: Golden Nugget is the class of downtown and I'm happy to say that the service exceeded my expectations. It easily has the best pool, restaurants and rooms downtown.

Side note: It takes about 15-20 min to take an ACE bus from downtown to the Fashion-show Mall (across from the Wynn). The 108 bus will take you to the airport, but it takes 40 min.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank creekj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leesburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2010

I live in Las Vegas and stayed at the Golden Nugget for one night. We stayed in the Rush Tower and loved the room and the renovations of the hotel from the last year or so. Had drinks and food at The Hideout pool area and enjoyed ourselves greatly. At night we ate some sushi at Red Sushi and it was very enjoyable. All in all great stay'cation' and I recommend paying the extra money to stay in the Rush Tower. Not that much more for great value and definitely the best hotel on Fremont Street.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Googlebears26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
107 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2010

For the first time I thought about trying the GN. I usually stay on the strip, so they had a good rate and I decided to book one night there and check it out, due to good reviews online.

Parking lot was full, so I valet my car.

Well the cheap rate matched the profesionalism at check in. After a 5 hour flight I was checking in around 11pm. I was supposed to have a king size, deluxe tower, non smoking room.

Well first thing I was told is they were fully booked, so I would not get deluxe tower (whatever that meant, that was fine!) I would not get king size but two doubles, fine! I would get a smoking room and they had no idea if it smelled or not.

In her attemp to convince me to get the room, she said "it's only you" I think she meant it as no family etc...but with the bait and switch already... it sounded to me like "you are not that worth it".

Clerk said "it's impossible for me what each room smells like". So her carelessness incited my carelessness and decided to cancel my reservation. At this point it was midnite and I was not able to book for that date online. (Lucky me Hilton Team always helps me out! They allowed me to check in right then!)

I have to say upon leaving there was a long line to check in around midnite, so hopefully those had a better experience. Good thing is valet made it comp, I am glad guys at valet know they are a cust service/experience business.

Save your money and your experience while on vacation and AVOID the GNugget, don't fall for bait and switch. If they advertise so and so, and you book so and so, get them to deliver so and so.

Pictures look good, but for me it's only a "what might have been".

I hope supervisors change their tactics or deliver better training on their staff.

My evaluation is only a reflection of what I did experience, since I never got further, and I did not want to get any further after such start.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Valueskr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2010

The Golden Nugget just didn't work for me. The pool area seemed a little seedy and our hotel room (a standard room in the older part of the hotel) was quite depressing. I didn't like downtown, in general.

The reason we chose the Nugget was because our son loves sharks and we'd read about the Nugget's amazing pool (a waterslide runs through a shark tank). The water slide was fun for our son but the pool area just wasn't very clean or bright or spacious.

I will say the people working at the hotel were all very helpful and friendly.

I'm normally not a complainer. I don't think I've ever posted a negative review on tripadvisor. If you like 4* hotels on the strip you probably won't like this hotel.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank skterrill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2010

We had a one night stay, and find the staff friendly and helpfull, but was let down down the long lines to check in , it took us over 40 minutes - long que - 3 staff checking people in - its a joke I have better things to do on vacation !
Pool is Nice , but very crowded, for size of hotel the Pool is too small, Waterslide is good, but our children only did it once again too long que ! - We ate in the Cafe and the food was good, casino bar staff good.
and to end it all - long que to check out - Video Check out not working in our rooms !! - solve the long lines and we would give it 5 stars . liked the downtown area, not as busy as the strip

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank j0llyjenks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BC
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2010

This is our third stay within the last year. Only complaint is the housekeeping, The rooms are not completely cleaned but still pretty good. That's my only complaint and its actually not that big of a deal.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gottagetoutofhereBc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Golden Nugget Hotel

Property: Golden Nugget Hotel
Address: 129 East Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101-5603
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Nevada > Las Vegas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#37 Luxury Hotel in Las Vegas
#38 Spa Hotel in Las Vegas
#44 Casino Hotel in Las Vegas
#77 Romantic Hotel in Las Vegas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Golden Nugget Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 2419
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Golden Nugget Las Vegas is the most luxurious resort on the Fremont Street Experience, and consistently receives critical acclaim for exceeding customer expectations. With more than 2,400 deluxe guestrooms and suites, the Golden Nugget has everything necessary for a top-notch Las Vegas vacation. The high-energy casino features the most popular slot and video poker machines, table games, race and sports book and poker room. Experience nightly entertainment with master impressionist and comedian Gordie Brown and dine at world-class restaurants such as Grotto Italian Ristorante and Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse. Complete with a luxurious spa and salon, The Tank, a year-round outdoor swimming pool complete with a 200,000-gallon, live shark aquarium and the new H20 poolside lounge, there is something for everyone at the Golden NUgget. Take one step inside and you'll see why the Golden Nugget Las Vegas sets the standard for luxury and comfort. We look forward to welcoming you as our guest and hope you enjoy your trip to Las Vegas. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Golden Nugget Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas Golden Nugget
Golden Nugget Hotel Las Vegas

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