Skift Take

It isn't exactly an off-the-beaten-track experience but Las Vegas beyond the Strip — meaning downtown — is getting more attention with the reopening of the notorious Rat Pack hangout, the Golden Gate casino-hotel. Like Orlando beyond the theme parks, tourism destinations can be multifaceted for visitors who venture beyond the knee-jerk attractions.

The 111-year-old Golden Gate hotel-casino on Fremont Street has reopened after an expansion project that reflects the resurgence under way in downtown Las Vegas.

City officials and hotel-casino executives on Friday officially marked the reopening of the property famous for hosting the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.

The expansion included nearly doubling the size of the casino floor, expanding the outdoor bar and redesigning the property’s facade drawing inspiration from the Jazz Age.

“We maintained some of the great historical themes, but we’ve added a number of more modern amenities,” CEO and owner Derek Stevens said after a ceremony.

The expansion is part of a series of projects expected to continue the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas.

Across from the Golden Gate, Stevens is working on a new hotel-casino project on the site of the now-closed Las Vegas Club and Mermaids. Meanwhile, the nearby Downtown Grand recently earned approval to build a hotel tower that will nearly double the resort’s existing room total.

Fremont Street Experience, a five-block entertainment district with access to casinos, is also expected to undergo renovations to its light show.

Patrick Hughes, president of Fremont Street Experience, said travelers visit downtown Las Vegas for its pedestrian-friendly setup, connectivity of the hotel-casinos and attractions such as the Mob Museum and Neon Museum.

He cited a tourism report that showed 53 percent of visitors to Las Vegas in 2016 stopped downtown at some point during their trip.

“We only have 5 percent of the city’s hotel rooms, which means a trip downtown is a major part of their trip to Las Vegas,” he said. “They come to Las Vegas because downtown is part of that experience, not competing with the Strip, but we are a destination within a destination.”

The Golden Gate’s new entrance on Fremont Street features 500-pound golden velvet drapes. The expansion added nearly 100 slot machines and a 360-degree, 24-foot tower of televisions that encases a chandelier.

The property was last expanded in 2012 with a five-story luxury hotel tower and new lobby.

This article was written by Regina Garcia Cano from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Tags: hotels, las vegas

Photo credit: People play slot machines in a newly opened expansion at the Golden Gate hotel-casino September 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. The casino, a fixture on Fremont Street for more than 100 years, reopens after an expansion project that reflects the resurgence under way in downtown Las Vegas. John Locher / Associated Press