Downtown Vegas gets brand new hotel
That’s not so rare for Vegas. What is rare is that many of the restaurants have access to the street.
Vegas hoteliers have almost always positioned their restaurants to lead patrons onto the casino floor. Not so with the Downtown Grand, which had its soft opening on Oct. 27.
Casinos on the opulent Strip just a few miles away are “designed to keep guests in the building,” says Seth Schorr, CEO of Downtown Grand. “We do the opposite. We encourage our guests to leave the casino.”
The 634-room Downtown Grand is already becoming a game-changer for the neighborhood.
Picnic, a rooftop pool with private cabanas, looks like it could belong in New York, Miami or Los Angeles.
Three of the restaurants inside the hotel have windows where guests and passersby can order food and not even enter the casino.
“It’s a simple but revolutionary idea that we believe will create guest loyalty based on convenience,” he says.
Part of the vision for the hotel was to create a new neighborhood surrounding it called Downtown3rd, or DT3. New restaurants have opened across the street from the property, and plans are in the works for many more. Signs in the casino direct guests outside to those restaurants, another rare sight in Vegas.
It’s all part of an effort to revive Downtown Vegas, which is where the city’s first hotels and casinos opened in the early 1900s. The area surrounding historic?Fremont Street?had fallen into disrepair for many years as hoteliers turned their attention to the glamorous Strip.
Now the Downtown Project, a redevelopment agency funded in part by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, is helping entrepreneurs open restaurants and shops. Hsieh recently moved his online shoe company’s headquarters to Downtown Vegas from a nearby suburb.
That has inspired hoteliers Downtown to step up their game. Many of the city’s first hotels, such as Golden Gate and?Golden Nugget, are still around and typically offer rooms for one-third what you’d pay on the Strip.
“There’s so much momentum downtown,” says Derek Stevens, owner of the Golden Gate and the D Hotel and Casino. “There’s been a lot of investment, not just in capital but in an entrepreneurial energy.”
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