Makeovers at Golden Gate, The D Play Downtown’s Nostalgia Card

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor For decades, the glamorous mega-resorts of the Las Vegas Strip have often seemed to elbow aside  the earlier generations of hotels, casinos and attractions of the city’s Downtown. But the birthplace of the city’s hospitality and gaming industries continues to push back, betting that a growing number of Las Vegas visitors will welcome [...]

For decades, the glamorous mega-resorts of the Las Vegas Strip have often seemed to elbow aside  the earlier generations of hotels, casinos and attractions of the city’s Downtown. But the birthplace of the city’s hospitality and gaming industries continues to push back, betting that a growing number of Las Vegas visitors will welcome alternatives to the Strip.

In one of the latest exanples, the city’s oldest hotel, the 106-year-old Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, Casino Hotel, is putting the finishing touches on a $14 million upgrade. Mark Brandenburg, the property’s owner, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the project is the hotel’s first renovation in a half century.

A five-story tower scheduled to open in June will add 14 suites and a pair of penthouses to the hotel’s existing 106 keys. Already in place are a 7,000-square-foot casino floor expansion, a new lobby and a high-stakes gaming pit.  Although the Golden Gate and its Downtown neighbors cannot compete with the scale of the Strip properties, the ownership is betting that human-size charm and nostalgia will trump monumental size for many visitors. The Golden Gate is credited with being the city’s first to install air conditioning and with introducing the shrimp cocktail to Las Vegas. In its heyday, the Golden Gate was also a hangout for the Rat Pack. Today, the hotel’s proximity to the Fremont Street Experience is another draw.

A makeover is also in the works for another Downtown property, Fitzgerald’s Casino & Hotel, which will be rebranded The D. When complete later this year, the renovation will split the casino between two floors. The property’s trademark dancing dealers and modern décor will mark the lower level, while classic touches like vintage slot machines will characterize the upstairs portion. Meanwhile, all 638 guest rooms will get a sprucing up.

Photo courtesy of booked.net