An expansion of the oldest casino in Las Vegas, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, has begun.
The expansion will increase the footprint of the Golden Gate’s “intimate” casino and increase the number of slot machines by nearly 30% (100 additional machines). Golden Gate currently has 361 slots. Yes, exactly.
Construction is expected to be complete by August 2017.
Golden Gate is expanding into the former La Bayou casino space. La Bayou, known for its free beads, daiquiris and unmistakable funk, was part of a purchase of several venues that also included the nearby Mermaids and the Glitter Gulch strip club.
La Bayou, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch closed on June 27, 2016. We should know because this blog ate the very last deep fried Oreo served by Mermaids.
The Golden Gate construction site is like a duck, calm on the surface, but paddling like the dickens underneath. Or something.
The addition to Golden Gate is expected to be a two-story building. The casino will be on the first floor, and the second floor will be used primarily to supply liquor to the Golden Gate’s casino.
The demand for liquor at Golden Gate has outpaced the small hotel’s ability to deliver it, and a team of four people carry kegs and boxes of liquor up and down stairs throughout the day due to the lack of storage space. The second floor of the new structure will allow gravity to do the lion’s share of keeping the hooch flowing, and could save the casino $150,000 a year in labor and associated costs.
Granted, we’re using the word “construction” very loosely at the moment.
At the moment, construction crews are doing some things we don’t entirely understand. They’re digging out Mermaid’s old basement and mixing the soil so it has a more uniform density or composition. Look, we are a blog and not a pedologist.
Fun fact: La Bayou was just 25 feet wide.
If you look closely, you can see the steps that went into La Bayou’s basement, a basement we didn’t entirely know existed until we security breached the construction site.
You have your thing, we have a heavy equipment thing. Don’t judge.
We’re also keeping our eye on the project on the other side of Fremont Street, the new resort which will encompass the Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch and Mermaids. Our interrogation techniques have proven fruitless with owner Derek Stevens, but we’ll keep at it.
In a refreshing turn of events, Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, the newest casino on the Las Vegas Strip, put out a news release sharing some changes happening at the resort. Typically, such changes have to be ferreted out by visitors and bloggers, but in this case, Lucky Dragon was the source of the scoop.
Yes, there was a bit of spin involved, but it’s still a rare case of a casino getting ahead of the conversation, so credit where it’s due.
Lucky Dragon is doing some shuffling, and we’re not talking cards here.
We’d heard the resort had closed its Pearl Ocean restaurant, but it’s still humming along. The night we visited, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh was in the house.
Please don’t try to spot Tony Hsieh, you’ll herniate yourself.
The resort has closed its entire first floor Dragon’s Alley food court temporarily and the space will soon get a new Dragon’s Alley noodle bar. Noodle bars are springing up in casinos across the city, so this is probably a smart move.
Dragon’s Alley will soon be home to a noodle house. At nearby SLS Las Vegas, Ku Noodle tanked. Hey, casinos aren’t IKEA furniture, they don’t come with instruction manuals.
Apparently, a portion of Dragon’s Alley will be the new location for Pearl Ocean, and the Pearl Ocean space will be used to expand Lucky Dragon’s VIP Gaming Lounge. That’s sort of the spin part, mainly because it seems unlikely there’s been a huge influx of high rollers to a resort with relatively few amenities high rollers demand, but let’s just go with it.
The Macau-style VIP Gaming Lounge would be even cooler if we knew what Macau-style meant.
Pearl Ocean will stay open while Dragon’s Alley is being renovated.
No date has been set for when Pearl Ocean will close in its current location, or when the new noodle bar will open.
How do you say, “Damn it, now we have to change all the signs!” in Chinese?
All this is pretty much par for the course when a new casino opens. It takes a little time to figure out the right mix of offerings, and changes are made to adjust to demand (or lack thereof). It remains to be seen if Lucky Dragon can thrive despite its awkward location. Lucky Dragon is near the intersection of Sahara Ave. and Las Vegas Blvd., between the Bonanza Gift Shop and Golden Steer Steakhouse.
During our visit (on a Thursday night), the table games area was pretty much empty, but there was a fair amount of slot machine play, and the fast-casual Bao Now restaurant was packed. (The closed Dragon’s Alley was at full capacity with a private event for an Asian tour group, so we expect they stuck around to play.)
While this is all very interesting, following up on this news gave us an excuse to visit Lucky Dragon again, and we have a story to share, so gird your loins.
So, we hit Lucky Dragon’s loyalty club desk to get a replacement card. The attendant, Ellie, informs us we have “eight lucky dollars in free slot play.” This is awesome, of course, because eight is super lucky in Asian cultures, so we say, “Look, that’s lucky, so we’re going to split our jackpot with you.”
Ellie laughs, because it seems she’s heard this kind of thing before.
We say, “All right, not 50-50. But how about 90-10?” She laughs and says “fine.”
We immediately proceed to play Wheel of Fortune, and after a few minutes hit the 2000 quarter jackpot. It’s Vegas, no big deal, five hundred clams, baby.
Remember, a great story is always, always more valuable than a little cash.
So, we head back to the loyalty club desk to find Ellie and give her the “commission” we promised, and she seemed somewhat shocked, very appreciative, but repeatedly declined her well-deserved $50. Eventually, she caved.
She said, “Customers say things like that all the time, but nobody comes back.”
This news made us a little sad. Look, in a Las Vegas casino, it’s all about mojo. Keep your promises, take care of the crew and don’t screw with Lady Luck.
Here’s hoping the changes at Lucky Dragon are just growing pains. It’s a great little resort and “evolution” is preferable to “flounder” any day of the week.
There are big things in the works for the off-Strip Palace Station, and some of those plans are well under way.
We popped in at Palace Station, but won’t be able to share any photos because, according to a security guard, “Photos of the construction site aren’t allowed.”
Suck it, asshats. All due respect.
Seriously? The site is readily viewable by the public, 24/7.
Well, we’re nothing if not respectful of authority, so we’re not going to share more than a dozen or so photos of the site.
Looks like somebody’s getting a fancy new video screen.
Oh, and here’s some video of the construction, mainly because our contempt for overreaching casino security guards is exceeded only by our aversion to casinos that swap out our liquor brand.
Palace Station, owned by Red Rock Resorts (also known as Station Casinos), is currently adding a new porte cochere and bingo hall to its casino, and they’re just getting started.
Improvements will include a new, 27-floor hotel tower, a movie theater, bowling alley and upgraded pool area. It’s believed the hotel’s railroad theme will go away in favor of a more modern design. (Think Red Rock Resort, which is a good thing.)
Time to bid farewell to the choo-choos.
In a future phase of the transformation, Palace Station is expected to also add a new buffet and two additional restaurants, as well as additional convention space.
Thanks to our friends at Eater Vegas for ferreting out all the details of the changes at Palace Station.
Why all the additional space for bingo, you ask? Station Casinos has a long history with bingo, and Palace Station originally opened as Bingo Palace in 1976.
Misguided security guards aside, Palace Station remains a great place to play. Despite being five minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, it tends to appeal to locals, which means better table minimums, better odds and better overall value.
Enjoy a few more photos of the construction happening at Palace Station, which we definitely didn’t take after being informed photography isn’t permitted, because that would be wrong.
The Plaza Hotel-Casino in downtown Las Vegas recently got “inked” in the form of a towering mural on its northern face.
The mural is predominantly red and black, the two colors on a roulette wheel. If you don’t count green. Let’s not get bogged down in details.
The imposing mural is about 18 stories tall and was painted by a 7-8 person crew led by street artist and activist Shepard Fairey.
The mural is an amalgam of images. It includes a nod to Fairey’s most well-known work, an image of Andre the Giant (often accompanied by the word “Obey”), plus playing card symbols and the Eye of Providence, no doubt intended to represent the U.S. The eye is a prominent feature on the one dollar bill.
Shepard Fairey’s father’s name is Strait Fairey. We are not making this up.
From the eye comes a teardrop, inside of which is the Earth. We’re seeing a statement about global warming here, but the artist and Plaza officials insist the mural is open to interpretation.
Here’s a look at the new Plaza mural from the best angle we could wrangle without herniating a disc.
The new Plaza mural is a striking addition to downtown Las Vegas.
Numerous building-sized murals can be viewed downtown, thanks in large part to the Life is Beautiful music festival. Most of the murals are in the Fremont East district.
Let’s just say it right up front. If you’re visiting Las Vegas, you’re going to have sex. It’s part of the deal. Whether it’s with a loved one, a stranger or an inflatable, it’s happening.
Surprisingly, many visitors completely ignore a room’s sexual environment when choosing a Las Vegas hotel. This can lead to disappointment, unfulfilled expectations and the occasional herniated disc.
Settle down, we’re just getting started.
Here, then, are 11 important factors to ensure your Las Vegas hotel room is conducive to bopping squiddles, a phrase we didn’t entirely know existed until 14 seconds ago, or the approximate duration of sex with this Las Vegas blog. Moving on.
1. Wall Thickness
Let’s dive right into the realness. Certain Las Vegas hotels, especially older hotels, have thinner walls and therefore provide less sound insulation. The prospect of other guests hearing your exploits can intrude upon your self-expression, so ask around and read online reviews to determine which hotel is a good fit. So to speak.
2. Outdoor Opportunities
Visiting Las Vegas is an opportunity to get wild, and that includes the potential for sex outdoors. The optimal situation is to find a hotel with a balcony. The most popular hotel for balcony sex is the Cosmopolitan, known for the gorgeous views from its wraparound Terrace Suites. If your hotel doesn’t have balconies, look for secluded areas like courtyards. As a last resort, find a unisex bathroom. It’s not outdoors, per se, but it’ll do in a pinch. (Note: Sex outdoors isn’t without its potential pitfalls, so know before you go.)
The view from a Cosmo balcony is one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs, ever.
3. Porn Availability
The adult entertainment served up via in-house television varies widely between Las Vegas hotels. When you’re booking a room, ask lots of questions about the quality and cost of the porn available in your room. Lots of couples consider viewing porn an essential part of their experience, so don’t make assumptions about what’s available.
4. Mirror Types and Placement
Thankfully, Las Vegas hotels know full well what’s going to happen in their rooms, and many have designed them accordingly. You’ll often find mirrors above beds (a feature for which SLS Las Vegas is known, see below), and mirrored closet doors are very common. Check out photos on review sites to determine which rooms will satisfy your needs, if you get our drift.
Let’s just say that mirror over the bed isn’t there so you can check your comb-over.
5. Shower or Tub
The bed in your hotel room is just the beginning when it comes to monkey business in Las Vegas. Making sweet love in the shower is likely to be on the agenda, so make sure your shower can accommodate two. (And why stop there? It’s Las Vegas!) If baths are more your thing, don’t assume your room will have a tub. Oh, and room reservation pros are never shocked when someone asks if their shower has a detachable shower head, so ask away.
When it comes to Las Vegas hotel bathrooms, you never know what you’re going to get, so plan ahead.
6. It’s All About the Bed
Finding a hotel room with a sex-friendly bed is an absolute necessity in Las Vegas. Lots of things about your bed can make a great time greater, so leave nothing to chance. Be sure the room’s bed height suits your favorite positions, and pay attention to the quality, texture and strength of the bed base. (Your knees will thank you.) Remember, what makes a mattress great for sleeping doesn’t necessarily overlap with what makes it great for plonking. Consider things like comfort, but also edge support, firmness, responsiveness and bounce.
7. Proximity of Outlets to the Bed
Here’s a Las Vegas secret nobody seems to talk about. In Sin City, everybody uses toys. Hotel housekeeping departments, in fact, keep large bins to collect abandoned sex toys. No, really. While some sexual aids are battery-powered, others require a power outlet, so it’s critical there are outlets near the bed. As far as we know, the new Lucky Dragon wins for sheer number of outlets above and next to its beds.
We counted no fewer than 17 power outlets in our Lucky Dragon room. You should be all set.
8. Sink Height
Sometimes after a dalliance, there’s no time to shower, so you’ll want to freshen up in the sink. Too often, hotel room sinks are too high to provide easy access. Low sinks can serve a dual purpose, too, as they provide an additional surface upon which to slap the sloppies.
You laugh, but sink height is definitely a thing.
9. Furniture Variety
In Vegas, it’s fun to get creative, and exploring your hotel room’s furniture can provide some wonderful variety to your exploits. Beyond couches and chairs, ask about ottomans, office chairs, coffee tables, benches and night stands. Remember, too, you’re not the first, or last, to do the tube snake boogie on that chaise lounge, so use a towel.
Variety is the spice of life, and this Sky Villa at Tropicana is rich with spice. Or variety. Either way, pace yourself.
10. Mood Lighting
Las Vegas hotel rooms and Life have a lot in common. Namely, it’s all about the lighting. The quantity of light fixtures and quality of light can make or break your encounter. Dimmer switches are essential to finding the right balance of appealing visuals while creating a little mystery (and concealing our imperfections). The higher the ceiling, the better, as the light is more diffused and flattering. The closer the light, the harsher it is. Fluorescent lights are always a bad idea.
11. Discretion Counts
What happens on the way to your Las Vegas hotel room can be as important as what happens once you get there. If your companion is, say, an escort, you could run the risk of what we’ll call “legal entanglements.” Some hotels turn a blind eye to guests bringing prostitutes to their room (despite the fact prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas), but others have security forces instructed to report such activity immediately. So, ask around to find out a hotel’s reputation for discretion, as it can help avoid your Vegas vacation from turning into an episode of “Cops.”
It’s not a buzzkill, it’s a gentle reminder. Because in prison, they have a lot of florescent lighting.
These tips should provide a solid foundation for choosing a Las Vegas hotel room best suited for sex.
If this list has aroused your curiosity about sex in Las Vegas, check out our enlightening Las Vegas sex survey.
Do you get the feeling we wrote this entire blog post as an excuse to share this photo of Valeria? Always bet your hunches.
Be smart, be safe and remember, what the hell have safe and smart ever done for you? You’re in Vegas, baby!
In the grand scheme of things, Las Vegas hasn’t been around that long. It has managed to cover a lot of ground when it comes to the names of its casinos, though.
Casinos are bought, sold, rebranded, imploded and rebuilt. Along the way, they often change names.
Here, then, are a hastily slapped-together batch of Las Vegas casinos formerly named something else. And in some cases, several something elses.
1. Planet Hollywood Was Tally Ho
That’s right, Planet Hollywood was originally the Tally Ho. After that, the hotel was called King’s Crown, then the more familiar Aladdin Resort & Casino. Are we having fun yet, we asked, rhetorically?
We get the weird feeling we mainly wrote this blog post to show off some of our casino photos.
2. Westgate Was the International
The hotel we now know as Westgate opened in 1969 as the International Hotel. For years, it was known as the Las Vegas Hilton. For a minute, it was LVH, or Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Hey, naming things is hard.
We were there the day the LVH’s letters came down and the Westgate sign went up.
3. SLS Las Vegas Was Sahara
SLS Las Vegas is a relatively recent development. For nearly 60 years, 1952 to 2011, it was the Sahara Hotel and Casino. You’ll never guess which we like more, “hotel” or “casino.”
Some days we sort of miss the Sahara’s fancy porte-cochere.
4. Harrah’s Was Holiday Casino
Never heard of Holiday Casino? Well, you’re in good company. The Holiday Casino came to be in 1973, thanks to Shelby and Claudine Williams, former owners of a classic Vegas casino, the Silver Slipper. Harrah’s got its name in 1992.
The Holiday casino had a riverboat theme, while Harrah’s has a Mardi Gras theme. Someday, we hope to do a story about themes that were formerly other themes.
5. MGM Grand Was Marina Hotel
What’s now on big-ass hotel, MGM Grand, got its start as the Marina Hotel and Casino. The Marina opened in 1975. Later, the hotel was called the MGM-Marina Hotel. The Marina closed in 1990, but still exists as the west wing of the MGM Grand.
MGM Grand is the largest hotel in the United States. If you slept in all 5,044 of the rooms at MGM Grand, all in one night, you would have both multiple restraining orders and severe chafing.
6. The D Was Sundance Hotel
Lots of folks know downtown’s D Las Vegas was previously a casino called Fitzgerald’s. Before that, though, it was the Sundance Hotel. The Sundance opened in 1980 on land owned by a mobster named Moe Dalitz. Later, Sundance became The Fitz, and eventually it was owned by Don Barden, the first African-American casino owner in Las Vegas.
How weird is it we appear to have never taken a photo of the exterior of Fitzgerald’s, but we somehow have a photo of the carpet?
7. Stratosphere Was Vegas World
Las Vegas eccentric Bob Stupak whipped up the idea of the Stratosphere as an addition to his Vegas World casino. At first, he wanted the Strat to look like the Eiffel Tower, but the site was too narrow. While impressive, the Stratosphere was designed to be much taller. The FAA got their undies in a bunch, so the height was decreased to its current 1,149 feet.
You sort of can’t miss it.
8. Bally’s Was MGM Grand
Stay with us, now. The site where Bally’s sits was, at first, Three Coins Motel. Then, it was the Bonanza Hotel and Casino and later, New Bonanza Hotel and Casino. MGM Grand opened on the site in 1973. The hotel was sold to Bally Manufacturing in 1986, hence the name. It’s now owned by Caesars Entertainment.
Bally’s, back when it had some bling.
9. Cromwell Was Barbary Coast
Caesars Entertainment owns the Cromwell, too. Way back when, a place called Empey’s Desert Villa sat on the land. In 1979, Barbary Coast came to be, it later became Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon. Before the Cromwell name was finalized, the casino was going to be called Gansevoort. That name was tanked when regulators discovered connections between a Gansevoort Hotels investor, Arik Kislin, and the Russian mob. Good times.
Barbary Coast cleaned up real nice.
10. The Linq Hotel & Casino Was Flamingo Capri Motel
That’s right. At its inception, what’s now the Linq was the Flamingo Capri. In time, the resort became the Imperial Palace. It was named The Quad from 2012 to 2014. Funny story, mainly involving the word “oopsie.”
The Linq swallowed the former O’Sheas. O’Sheas was originally called, well, O’Sheas. One less thing to memorize.
11. Golden Gate Was Hotel Nevada
Golden Gate, in downtown Las Vegas, is about as far back as Vegas goes. Its address is One Fremont Street, in fact. In 1906, it opened as Hotel Nevada, then became Sal Sagev Hotel and Casino. That’s Las Vegas spelled backwards. Told you naming things is hard. It got the name Golden Gate in 1955.
Warned you about the showing off thing.
12. Casino Royale Was Nob Hill
Technically, the casino’s current name is Best Western Plus Casino Royale. Say that five times fast. From 1979-1992, the place was called Nob Hill. It closed in 1990, and Casino Royale opened in 1992, becoming a favorite Strip destination for value-seeking low rollers.
Casino Royale isn’t your typical Strip casino. The words “White Castle” spring to mind.
13. Delano Was THEhotel
God, how we despise that affectation, THEhotel. Mandalay Bay’s sister hotel isn’t technically a “casino,” but we sure weren’t going to create a list with just 14 things on it, so there you have it.
It seems like they were screaming the wrong part.
14. Downtown Grand Was Lady Luck
Downtown Grand was, at first, the Lady Luck Hotel & Casino. Against all odds, Downtown Grand opened on Oct. 27, 2013.
We were there as Lady Luck transformed into Downtown Grand. We have clearly been around.
15. Hooters Casino Hotel Was Howard Johnson Hotel
If there were an award for “Casinos Previously Named Something Else,” Hooters would need a bigger mantle. What began as Howard Johnson Hotel eventually became Paradise Hotel, 20th Century, the Treasury, Pacifica and Polynesian. At the end of that run, it was renamed Hotel San Remo, and that one stuck, at least for awhile (1989 to 2006).
The Hooters rewards club is called Rewards Club. Told you naming things is hard.
Sin City’s collection of casinos previously called something else continues to grow. Sometime in 2017, for example, Monte Carlo will be called Park MGM. The now-closed Las Vegas Club will get a new name, too.
Serious fans of Las Vegas have to keep on their toes. Or have access to the Internet. Whichever.