While I haven’t stayed in every hotel downtown, I assumed that, since its opening, Downtown Grand likely had the best standard room in the Fremont area. That assumption was confirmed on my recent trip.
I got into Vegas the night before a large bachelor party extravaganza was set to begin on the Strip. Concerned that our Strip-centric stay would limit my downtown gambling opportunities, I was looking for a decent rate anywhere downtown and was ready to stay at virtually any budget “resort” in the area. To my surprise, the Downtown Grand price was competitive and I got my Friday night room for $42. $64 after adding the resort fee.
Check-in was a breeze. I wasn’t anticipating much of a line at 10pm. My room was in the Grand Tower, which requires a short trip across the second-floor walkway. It’s not much of a journey if you’re used to the sometimes arduous treks at Strip properties, but you may want to consider DTG’s Casino Tower if mobility is an issue.
The room was clean and modern. That’s about all I hope for in a downtown hotel. The light wood built-ins help lighten up the room (don’t be fooled by my poor quality photos). It’s a pretty standard layout. There’s a small workspace area under the TV and lounge chair next to the bed. As it goes for me in Vegas, I did no lounging in the room.
The bathroom followed a similar theme- clean and contemporary. A couple odd quirks to note. The sink drain didn’t, well, drain that fast. It wasn’t a big deal. Just a thing. Also, the shower glass didn’t extend the full length of the bath. There’s no door or curtain; the glass separation only extends about 1/2 of the way. I felt exposed. I showered with my jean shorts on to compensate.
Much has been made of the casino’s struggles. Location is blamed for most of it. Don’t let this deter you. It’s a mere one block from Fremont St. On this July Friday, it was probably the busiest I’ve ever seen it. Some of this could be due to a large video game competition in town. DTG was heavily promoting the property to gamers looking for cheap place to stay. I talked to a handful of the competitors, many of whom were visiting from overseas. The new e-sports lounge was filled with players, certainly more than when it was used as a high limit slot room. I’m not sure if the ROI of the space has improved much, though.
I quite like the casino if only because it is usually sparsely populated. I never have trouble grabbing a spot at the main casino bar, Furnace, when I want to play some VP with expedited drink service. It’s also not hard to easily get into a blackjack game or find room at a craps table. The limits are low perpetually, so if you’re having trouble finding an uncrowded gaming experience downtown, the walk is worth it.
I’ve talked quite a bit before about the property’s greatest asset, its pool. Right now it’s called Citrus. Check back next summer to see if the name changes again. No matter what they decide to call it, it’s my favorite pool downtown. The Nugget is simply too crowded for me to enjoy, despite its unique space. The Plaza, while similar in scope to DTG, needs more shaded space, especially in the middle of summer. Citrus, meanwhile, is my Goldilocks pool. It’s laid back, uncrowded, and has plenty of spots to escape the sun. I highly recommend the cabana experience, if only because it’s incredibly inexpensive. The full bar and kitchen serves up standard pool fare and there are usually a few craft beer varietals to choose from.
If you’re looking to make your first stay downtown, let Downtown Grand be the gateway property. Golden Nugget used to be the, well, gold standard. It certainly qualifies as a full-fledged resort. But for the downtown experience many are looking for, Downtown Grand delivers.