By E.C. Gladstone
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the resurrection of the downtown Las Vegas hotels. There was so much to say, it actually took two blogs (Best of downtown Las Vegas hotels and Best of downtown Las Vegas restaurants). But there was still one piece of the puzzle yet to come, and now it’s arrived — the Golden Nugget’s new Rush Tower.
Since Landry’s Restaurants took over the Golden Nugget in 2005, over $300 million has been spent in renovations and construction to the property, which dates back to the early days of Vegas. If the Rush Tower doesn’t make it a 5-star Las Vegas hotel, then it’s certainly just below that certification.
Connecting the now-sprawling property to Main Street with a new valet entrance, Rush Tower features an elegant lobby centered around a 75,000 gallon tank tropical aquarium (mirroring The Tank swimming pool’s) which will eventually hold 1000 fish. A Chart House restaurant — though not like any one I’ve seen before — surrounds the tank, offering gorgeous views as diners enjoy hefty raw bars, prime rib sliders, jalapeno ahi tuna and delectably light fried shrimp skewers in modern, plush seating (many menu items are new for the location).
While watching the grand opening ceremony of this Las Vegas hotel on November 23, where the ribbon was cut by bon vivant Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, I ran into Angelica Bridges, the Playboy/Baywatch star who now leads the newly revamped Fantasy revue at Luxor. After checking out the lobby, we decided to take a tour of the rooms. There are over 500 here, including standards, which at 440+ square feet, are the biggest downtown. Junior corner suites, parlor suites (Angelica’s favorite) and Penthouse suites are roomier versions — though they don’t necessarily top the previously renovated Spa Tower and Gold Tower concept suites in style or amenities.
Interior design follows the trend of geometric patterns in earth tones of brown woods, rusts, olive green and gold with unobtrusively cool artwork. The L-shaped sitting area (with dimming light) is one of the best simple designs I’ve seen (Angelica liked them too); iPod docks and 42” plasma screens with DVD players entertain.
Easy-to-use cordless phones were another plus. The bathrooms, behind sliding translucent doors, feature twin decolav sinks, lighted makeup mirrors and waterfall shower heads. Amenities include bathrobes and slippers in all rooms.
I checked into my own room (after Angelica left — my life is glamorous, but not that glamorous!) where I took advantage of the oversized soaking tub (I’m 6’3” and I fit nicely) and plush Sobel-Westex towels (some of the thickest I’ve ever felt) before climbing into the comfy pillowtop bed with soft sheets and down comforters.
Oh, I almost forgot the Rush Tower’s piece de resistance — a new 16-and-older heated infinity pool deck called The Hideout By H20, hidden behind The Tank’s top level.
A sleek bar, big daybeds and nicely appointed cabanas actually manage to add another level of finery to what’s already been called one of the “Top Ten Pools In The World” (Forbes Traveler)! Expect to find me hanging out at this Las Vegas hotel pool a lot in the near future.
Insider Tip: Can’t get tickets to see Garth Brooks? Don’t worry, he’ll be playing the Wynn for a long time to come. In the meantime, take advantage of NFR (National Finals Rodeo) week Dec. 3-12 and check out concerts by nearly any country crooner you can name, from Rodney Carrington to Tanya Tucker.
Related Orbitz resources:
- Las Vegas hotels
- The best of downtown Vegas: Hotels, entertainment and gaming
- The best of downtown Vegas: Restaurants and bars
Veteran entertainment and travel writer E. C. Gladstone writes regularly for Las Vegas Magazine and the Las Vegas Weekly, also interviewing top Strip entertainers, restauranteurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for other local and national publications and Web sites. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.