Pros: Gorgeous 5 star hotel, lovely staff
Cons: Wander Fremont Street at your own risk!
Just spent the weekend at the Golden Nugget. I was really a bit frightened that it would be, well, stinky. I have been in the downtown Fremont area before (usually late night taxi rides from the Strip)... but had never stayed at any of the hotels there.
I was quite pleasantly surprised! It was absolutely gorgeous. The staff were extremely accommodating and friendly, the rooms were nicely sized and very affordable.
Our biggest bonus (and still not sure why this happened), was upon check-in the gal informed us we had a $50 credit to be used anywhere in the hotel. I have no idea why, it may have been because we booked the rooms through www.tripreservations.com, but anyway - we did not argue. This was a great treat because it allowed us room service twice, tip included! I must say the room service food was excellent, top notch, with prompt delivery. We also ate at the Carson Street cafe and the food there was very good.
The only thing that might scare someone off, especially someone new to Vegas who might not know what to expect - is that the hotels and streets surrounding the Nugget can be a bit seedy. You might see a few more drunks, street vagrants and hookers than you would see at say, Caesar's Palace!
They certainly have cleaned it up well with the Fremont Street Experience, a giant dome was built over the street that has a light show every night. This has drawn a few more family types down to the area, but while you may be watching the light show with your wife - you just might get cat-called by one of the strippers canvasing the crowd in front of Glitter Gulch.
I will also say, steer clear of "Mermaids" a small, stinky, machine only mini casino with the cheapest liquor in tiny cups (they do not pour anything but flat tap beer and disgusting well liquor) and some of the scariest Coney Dogs with faux nacho cheese sauce I have ever seen. It used to be a tostada bar, not bad then. This place is a design nightmare, if you do go (maybe you like design nightmares) check out the costumes on the mermaid/Carmen Miranda girls. What are they?
Not too far of a walk to the Golden Gate Hotel, established in 1906, with 99-cent shrimp cocktails that rock! You will have to stand in a bit of a line, with mostly cranky people, but 99 cent shrimp cocktails are okay by me!
All in all we had a really great stay at the Golden Nugget. I would definitely stay there again.