The original 1946 structure that housed the vintage Lady Luck hotel-casino for 35 years has morphed into the Downtown Grand hotel-casino and is the first new inner-city hotel in three decades. This bold industrial-chic property sits at the center of the Downtown 3rd redevelopment complex at 3rd Street and Ogden Avenue, one block north of the Fremont Street Experience. A combination of rustic and urban rawness novel in local casino design, the entirely rebuilt property resembles an early-20th-century factory, using the shell of the Lady Luck and its original catwalks, exposed trusses, ducts, and old brick walls, which can be seen in the public areas. These elements provide a hip yet nostalgic look.
The hotel’s five-lane main entrance and porte cochere encompass the entire block of 4th Street between Ogden and Stewart Avenues, while the lobby is mid-casino and spills out onto 3rd Street. The property includes the 17-floor East and the 25-floor West Towers bisected by 3rd Street and connected by an elevated transparent pedestrian walkway.
An escalator zips up three levels to where elevators then transport hotel guests to accommodations in either tower. The 650-room inventory features an eclectic combination of modern furniture and clean retro design. The handsome guest rooms are predominantly beige and brown with splashes of chartreuse or cobalt. About 20% of the rooms have a subtle Chinese motif and color scheme and feature electric teapots and an assortment of Chinese teas.
For on-site dining, visit Freedom Beat, located off the casino floor, for highly eclectic American cusisine. The Downtown Grand also claims several restaurants across from the casino on N. Third Street. Sidebar, primarily a drinking establishment, also offers appetizers and four main course selections.
The casino offers 700 slots, baccarat, an assortment of 30 tables, including a pit of Asian games, a race and sports book, and a poker room. An early adopter of esports (electronic sports, competitive video gaming), the Grand has a dedicated esports lounge on the casino floor and is the first American casino to take bets on competitive video gaming.
Picnic, the 40,000-square-foot, south-facing, third-level pool deck, can accommodate up to 1,200 people for sun worship and soirees and features a restaurant (open for lunch daily 11 a.m.–7 p.m.), a fire pit, cabanas, chaises, umbrella tables, and an alfresco gaming area. Adjacent to the pool complex is the fitness center and spa. Valet parking is available, and free self-parking is in the hotel’s garage on Ogden Avenue.
Downtown 3rd, the privatized 3rd Street area between Ogden and Stewart Avenues, is a cutting-edge hub of indoor-outdoor bars and restaurants managed by the Downtown Grand. Among the food and beverage establishments on the street are Hogs & Heifers Saloon, Pizza Rock, and Triple George Grill. The north end is anchored by the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement and flanked by a new farmers’ market that entices with fresh produce and homemade specialty food products every Friday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
It must be said that the Downtown Grand is pretty boring, with little entertainment or much of anything going on in the evening. It depends instead on the preexisting bars and restaurants arrayed along 3rd Street and the action on Fremont Street, two blocks away.