I recently visited Las Vegas again and decided to break the habit of a lifetime and stay at a different hotel in downtown. I usually stay at the Main Street Station hotel and I really don't have any complaints about the place - I just fancied a change. Expedia had the Golden Nugget, which is a four star hotel, available for the very low rate of £38 per night for the first two nights of my stay, so I decided to bite the bullet and book.
The Golden Nugget was originally just a casino which opened on Fremont Street in 1946 before being purchased by Steve Wynn who in 1977 opened the first hotel tower. The property now has three towers - Gold, Rush and Carson.
Wynn sold the property in 2000 and the hotel is now owned by Landry's Restaurants.
The hotel has an address on Fremont Street but it's a bit of a trek from there to the hotel area. The main entrance to the hotel parking lot is just off Bridger Avenue. The hotel entrance is adjacent to the parking garage.
Unlike so many hotels in downtown, the Golden Nugget is vast, and has over 2,000 rooms. My daughter and I arrived on a Wednesday evening, jet lagged and ready for bed. To my dismay when I approached the parking garage a member of staff informed me I may not get a space. When I asked what this meant he said I "might" have to use the overflow car park but neglected to tell me where that was.
I drove up to the sixth floor - which is on the roof - and found one solitary parking space, much to my relief. I then had to unload our luggage from the car and lug it to the distant elevators. There are two elevators at the parking garage and we didn't have to wait too long for one to arrive.
As we were staying at the Carson Tower, I heeded the signs directing me towards check in for there, only to be met with a sign informing me that the desk was closed and I should check in at the Gold Tower reception. I have to say I found this very annoying - a sign at the entrance informing all guests to go to one central check in area would have avoided the hassle of having to double back on myself complete with all our luggage.
Check in was efficient but not particularly friendly or warm. You need to show photo ID and a deposit of $50 was taken in the form of a hold on my credit card. We were given two keys for the room which was on the 22nd floor.
The Carson Tower has two sets of elevators, one for the lower floors and another for upper floors and I have to say I liked this as it meant we avoided interminable stops on the way up.
Entry to the room was via a keycard, which worked first time. The room was fairly large and airy. This is something I have come to expect from Las Vegas hotel rooms and it makes a pleasant change from small rooms in places such as New York City or Honolulu.
I had booked a room with two queen beds and we also had a table with two chairs in the corner. I have to say I liked this as too often I book hotels which only provide one chair for the table. There were tea and coffee making facilities here too.
There was a flat screen TV on the desk, and a decent sized wardrobe beside the door. This housed a hairdryer, iron, ironing board, safe and two bath robes. The bathroom had a small tub with a shower over. The shower curtain was hideous - well certainly from outside of the shower it was hideous - comprising a loud floral print complete with matching pelmet.
The wash hand basin area was in a marble effect and there you could find a decent range of toiletries including a shower cap.
The bed was comfortable enough although I have to say we were so jetlagged we could probably have slept on the floor. Each bed had a heavy bolster cushion which wasn't really of any help to either of us because they were rock hard. There were spare pillows available which we used.
The TV had a decent range of channels including Cartoon Network. My daughter is a huge fan of this channel, and the evening version, Adult Swim, so she was happy as it meant she could watch "Family Guy" and "American Dad" in the evening. Picture quality was decent.
My only complaint about the TV was the fact the power on/off button was yellow, with a red button being used to access paid content. In my befuddled state I found this rather confusing and as a result I fretted about charges being added accidentally although to be fair to the hotel, this never happened.
The view from the room was poor with no real view out to the Strip or even of Fremont Street. Despite being high up, the noise was noticeable, especially when the Fremont Street Experience light show was on. I couldn't help but notice how dirty the window was on the outside too.
The room had climate control but we didn't need to use it.
When I went to take a much needed shower I couldn't get the water to turn on. I have used many hotel showers over the years and I tried pushing and turning the tap for several minutes before giving up and calling housekeeping. They informed me I should pull the tap, which did the trick. The water pressure was good but the towels were tiny. I expect small towels in two and three star hotels but have to say I had expected better of the Golden Nugget, which is a four star establishment.
There is wifi available in all rooms but you have to pay for it. It costs $12.99 for a 24 hour period. Due to the time of my arrival and my jetlag I decided just to pay for one 24 hour period of wifi and I have to say I wish I hadn't bothered. The service was painfully slow and dropped regularly. If I stay at a hotel with free wifi this doesn't tend to bother me but when I am paying for the privilege it's really not on and I feel the hotel really does need to address this and provide a far better service for paying guests. Wired internet is also available for the same price.
*~*Dining and Other Attractions*~*
The hotel has several restaurants including a steak house and a Starbucks. We visited the Carson Street Café for breakfast which was decent enough if a little more expensive than other establishments in downtown. What made it a cut above was the waiting staff who were efficient and friendly. In total there are nine eateries in the hotel, serving a wide range of cuisines including Italian and Japanese.
The hotel has a stunning pool area which is called the Tank. In amongst the pool there is a display of sharks and if you fancy taking the water slide down part of it is clear so you really can fly past sharks as you hurtle down the slide. There are plenty of loungers in this area, which is open from 7.00 am until 2.00 am, with the pool itself open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
In addition to the Tank there is also the Hideout, which is aimed at older guests. You have to be over 16 to visit this part of the pool and there is a fee of $20 for a lounger here. You can also rent a cabana at the Hideout, which is located on the third floor.
We didn't use the casino during our trip but we did walk through it and it's clean and well maintained with hardly a whiff of smoke. While it still isn't as charming as the casino in the Main Street Station it looks a pleasant enough place to go if you fancy a flutter.
The hotel also has the Hand of Faith on display, which is one of the largest gold nuggets ever found. It was discovered in Australia by a man with a metal detector apparently - I suppose that must be the metal detector equivalent of winning the lottery! The Hand of Faith is located close to the Gold Tower reception area and has to be worth a visit just to be able to say you have seen this massive nugget of pure gold.
If entertainment is your thing there's plenty to keep you amused here, including bars and Gold Diggers, a nightclub which overlooks Fremont Street. The hotel has been home of Canadian impressionist and comedian Gordie Brown for some years now. I have to say I think the hotel has made a mistake including some video clips of his performance on the hotel TV channel as having seen them both my daughter and myself were distinctly underwhelmed and found him as amusing as toothache. There is also a country legends "tribute" show available which doesn't look much better. To be fair however both shows are relatively inexpensive in comparison to shows on the Strip - you can get a ticket including buffet dinner to see Gordie Brown for $34.99 for instance.
When it came to checking out I had to wait in a line and was once again dealt with abruptly. I really noticed it this time however because the man in front of me was dealt with in a completely different manner, with a pleasant smile and a "have a nice day". I didn't even warrant a "thank you" - perhaps because I wanted to check I hadn't been charged for pay TV in error.
I was halfway towards my parking space before a bellhop asked if we needed help with our bags, rendering his services less than useless so I demurred.
Overall I was left feeling disappointed following our stay at the Golden Nugget. I have to be honest here and say much of that disappointment isn't the hotel's fault - it's down to my own personal preference for smaller hotels. I avoid the Strip and the mega resorts there because I find them too overwhelming and I loathe the continual drive in huge garages searching for a parking space and the then huge walk, invariably through a noisy casino, to a crowded reception area.
At least I could avoid the casino if I wanted to, and I found it easier to cut past the parking lot to get to Main Street if I were heading towards the Main Street Station Hotel, but there was still something of a trek from my car to my room - obviously not helped by the fact the Carson Tower check in was closed.
The reception staff let the hotel down however. At no point was I made to feel welcome or valued either at check in or check out, and I think that's pretty unacceptable. Everything about my stay was generally mediocre with only the Carson Street Café experience rising above that level.
I am sure I would probably have felt differently had I opted to stay at the more exclusive Gold or Rush Towers which have far better appointed rooms and cost more as a result. I fully appreciate that you get what you pay for in hotels but I don't see why front desk staff cannot behave consistently around all guests.
In conclusion I am glad I can say I stayed in the Golden Nugget but I am in no rush to return. Next time I am pretty sure I will be returning to my old habit and booking a room at the Main Street Station as I know I won't be disappointed.
I stayed at The Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas at the beginning of June and I have mixed feelings about this hotel.
The location is excellent,
1. Off the strip located so not completely full of tourists during the day
2. Shuttle bus service to the strip in 10 minutes
3. Carnival atmosphere in the street at night with light show and general lunacy!
The new shark tank in the swimming pool is AMAZING - I work with Sharks in the UK and was very impressed with the way these anmimals are kept and displayed. However the water slide is so fast that you dont actually get the time to feel like your in the tank they way it is described but still Awesome! The whole new pool area is lovely but does get super busy despite only being available to guests. On a hot afternoon you are lucky to be able to sit around the pool never mind get in it!
However our first night was a bit of a mess when we arrived they didnt have the room we had booked (a king sized upgrade) and we were put into a lesser room for the first night with the option to move into our booked room next day.This meant that I spent most of our first day in Vegas trying to organise our room move. The woman on the desk simply said "well this is a hotel and if you arrive late the booked room might not be available" but as we booked a specific room in advance (and paid in advance!!) I thought this was a bit of a cheek.
The room was basic by American standards but the quality of the basic rooms was really good in comparison to UK hotels!
In general we had an amazing time in Las Vegas and I would definately recommend this hotel to others - it offers brilliant value for money compared to hotels on the strip and has a great atmosphere.
Also houses a few good restaurants in the hotel - The Grotto in particular is a gorgeous Italian overlooking the pool area with a great selection of food and a beautiful array of desserts. There is a lot to do in the local area too with many casinos and the retro neon signs which have been refurbished and are now on display in the street.
Overall I loved staying here and would defaintely go back!
VIVA LAS VEGAS