Golden Nugget, a Hotel Smack in the Middle of Glitter Gulch

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The undisputed flagship of the Downtown hotels and one of the most meticulously maintained and managed properties in Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget is smack in the middle of Glitter Gulch. The hotel offers well-appointed guest rooms, a showroom, lounge entertainment, excellent restaurants, a large pool, a first-rate spa, a shopping arcade, a workout room, two on-site Starbucks, and a chapel and wedding planner. The casino is clean and breezy, with white enameled walls and white lights. The feel here is definitely upscale, though comfortable and informal. 

The Golden Nugget recently underwent a $200 million renovation and expansion, the first since 1973 for the perpetual AAA Four-Diamond Award winner. At the heart of the improved Golden Nugget are a 500-room hotel tower and the renovated 600-seat showroom. Other elements of the makeover include a covered porte cochere, a VIP lounge, Vic and Anthony’s steakhouse, and Lillie’s Asian Cuisine, specializing in Cantonese and Szechuan fare. Plus, the spa and fitness center have been modernized and expanded. The most intriguing touch is the reconfiguration of the swimming complex to surround a 30-foot-deep shark aquarium (more on that below). Overlooking the aquarium is a revamped buffet, and integrated into the shark tank and pool is Grotto, a trattoria-style Italian restaurant. 

Golden Nugget swimming pool

The Golden Nugget’s 25-floor smoke-free Rush Tower brings Strip-scene energy to Downtown’s premium property. Located on the west side of the hotel’s footprint, where First Street right-angles Carson Avenue, the tower has a separate porte cochere with valet parking. The 500 Rush rooms are 20% larger than the rest of the hotel’s inventory, with a marginally higher rate. Boasting a brown, orange, and gold palette with cream-colored down comforters and linens and a dark leather sectional and ottoman, the rooms resemble an upscale condo and impart a southwestern zen flavor. The sizable bathrooms feature parquet floors, oversize tub–glass shower combos, and double raised sinks. King rooms make up 95% of the tower’s inventory. 

Snaking through the Rush lobby is a dazzling white, umber, and yellow crystal chandelier, which coils above the registration counter. The area includes two restaurants: Red Sushi and Chart House, housing a 75-gallon coral-reef fish tank surrounded by turquoise walls and floors. Upstairs is Troy Liquor Bar nightclub, with a splendid outdoor patio overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. Entertainers such as Tanya Tucker, Charlie Daniels, Pure Prairie League, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys log short gigs in the showroom. 

The three-level Tank aquatorium was voted among the “Top Ten Extreme Pools” by the Travel Channel. The focal point is a 30-foot-deep, 200,000-gallon carnivorous fish aquarium, which sharks call home. A three-story yellow tube shoots thrill seekers down an elongated chute that becomes clear acrylic straight through the shark habitat . . . all the better to see you with, my dear. H2O offers drinks and snacks near a fire pit with comfortable seating. Blackjack is available at shaded gaming tables. The circular second level includes seven private cabanas; the third level features the Hide-out, with a bar and lounge, warm-water infinity pool, and six more cabanas. 

In the lobby near the hotel’s display of authentic golden nuggets, you can purchase gold from an untraditional ATM Machine. GOLD-to-go dispenses 24-karat-gold bars in seven weight choices from 1 gram to 250 grams. With spot pricing, the cost can fluctuate every 10 minutes depending on the gold market. Gold coins and Golden Nugget souvenir pieces are also available. Each is presented in a gift box. Cash only! 

Though the Golden Nugget has always been Downtown’s prestige address, the Rush Tower and top-to-bottom makeover catapulted it into the rarefied atmosphere of the premier Strip resorts. More, the Golden Nugget’s renovation and expansion helped trigger the metamorphosis of all of Downtown Las Vegas. 

For all there is to see and do in Las Vegas, check out The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas by Bob Sehlinger. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here.

Photo credits:
Outdoor Golden Nugget: Mikerussell at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0] Golden Nugget at night: tboard [CC BY 2.0] Casino: Laslovarga [CC BY-SA 3.0] Swimming pool: Ellie [CC BY-SA 2.0]

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