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.
- 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