Golden Nugget

With its abundant accommodations, shark-filled pool and popular restaurants is a hotel rich on comfort and fun in downtown Las Vegas.

The vibe:

Classic Vegas elegance, upscale but not out of reach, ample choices for everyone

What we love:

Located in the heart of downtown, the Golden Nugget offers classic Vegas luxury at a reasonable price.

From the elegant marble lobby to a collection of contemporary restaurants capable of satisfying every craving, The Golden Nugget offers everything you need in a great location where you can literally step outside and right into the eye-popping sights and rockin’ sounds of Fremont Street Experience.

We can say with complete confidence there’s no other hotel pool in town like The Tank. Not only does this outdoor complex have a lush setting with two cascading waterfalls, but there’s a 200,000-gallon aquarium filled with sharks and a three-story water slide will take you right through the center of it.

The Golden Nugget’s buffet is the best in downtown. It’s a step up from the competition geographically because it’s located on the second floor (where you’ll have a great view of the pool if you sit near the windows). Our favorite time to go is on Friday and Saturday nights for the seafood spread, which includes crab legs, fresh shrimp, sushi and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese.

Insider tips:

A Gold to Go ATM (yes, you’ve read that correctly) is one of the hotel’s unusual attractions. Simply insert your debit or credit card. Instead of cash it dispenses small 24-carat gold bars at market value prices.

Check out the biggest gold nugget in existence at the Golden Nugget. You’ll discover the 61-pound Hand of Faith just off the casino floor near the room elevators. It was discovered in Australia in 1980 and also has the honor of being the biggest nugget ever found with a metal detector.

If aquariums are your thing, enjoy a meal or just a cocktail in the Chart House seafood restaurant. The dining room and bar wrap around a 75,000-gallon aquarium filled with more than 1,000 colorful fish, including a moray eel that looks like a scary sea serpent. Trust us, you won’t be able to take your eyes off it (and in the interest of self-preservation, you shouldn’t).

One more thing we can’t forget: The Golden Nugget has a Starbucks fronting Fremont Street with an outdoor patio. Get your caffeine fix here 24 hours a day. There’s a second location of Starbucks inside the Carson Tower; however, this one isn’t open around the clock.

Good to know:

For a VIP-level experience, book a room in the Rush Tower. Opened in 2009, the accommodations here are as good as gold with soaking tubs, premium linens, leather sofas, private check-in and turndown service.

If noise is an issue and you’re not in Vegas to party, request a room on the hotel’s south side — in other words, not facing Fremont Street Experience, where there’s a stage and music plays until the wee hours.

There are two valets at the Golden Nugget. If you’re staying in the main hotel, use the valet off Casino Center Boulevard. If you’re staying in the Rush Tower, head to the one on Carson Avenue near First Street. Valet parking is free to everyone but may be restricted to hotel guests on weekends, holidays and special events.

The self-parking garage is located off First Street near Bridger Avenue. It’s complimentary to hotel guests. Anyone patronizing the Golden Nugget can also park there and get three hours free with validation — otherwise you’ll have to pay an hourly rate.

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