Downtown’s Golden Gate Casino shows off $15 million renovation

The newly renovated entrance to the Golden Gate Casino & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday, September 18, 2012.

Golden Gate Renovation Reveal

The new penthouse suites inside the Golden Gate Casino & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The Golden Gate Casino downtown still has the bar where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. drank and a telephone that was installed in 1907.

But now, it also has a new lobby, updated casino and 106 refurbished rooms.

The 1906 hotel-casino recently received a $15 million makeover.

"We wanted to keep the feel of the history of the place downstairs in the casino, but up in the rooms we wanted to have a more contemporary modern look," president and co-owner Mark Brandenburg said. "We wanted to blend the old and new and restore this hotel to the first-class status that it had when it first opened. Only now, it has more of a boutique hotel feel with the mega-resorts on the Strip."

The Golden Gate hired Gensler Architects -- the company that designed CityCenter -- to oversee the project.

Here’s a look at some of what’s new:

    • High-limit room

      The Golden Gate used to feature one of the lowest betting limits in Las Vegas. Now, for the first time, it has a high-limit room.

      "We used to have some of the lowest limits in town at like $300 per hand," Brandenburg said. "And we didn't offer credit. Now this gives us the opportunity to appeal to a higher-limit player."

      The main casino floor accepts bets of $10 to $2,500. The maximum bet in the high-limit room, which is tucked away from the rest of the gaming tables, is $5,000.

      "What I like about this room is it has an intimate feel, but it's still part of the action," Brandenburg said.

    • High-tech surveillance

      In the Golden Gate’s early days, the casino’s surveillance system consisted of two-way mirrors hanging from the ceiling. Workers would lay in the crawl space on their stomachs on top of wheeled railroad cars and roll the length of the casino floor watching for cheaters.

      The smoked glass windows remain in the Golden Gate’s new stamped metal ceiling. But next to them are newly-installed cameras that are part of the first high-definition surveillance system approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

    • Upgraded suites

      The Golden Gate suites sit on the hotel’s fourth floor and feature updated décor, new television and entertainment systems and contemporary bathrooms. Large Rat Pack photos hang on the wall, and each room has a slightly different look.

      High-tech air conditioning automatically turns on when someone enters the room. And a new elevator system — the first of its kind in Nevada, according to Brandenburg — generates its own energy when it travels down.

    • The penthouses

      Don't call for a reservation for a Golden Gate penthouse. The rooms come by invitation only, for high-limit players.

      The two-bedroom suites are decorated with images of showgirls. The carpet is designed to resemble the feathered headdresses of classic Las Vegas dancers, and the bathrooms include close-up photographs of fishnet stockings. Lift the top of the dining room table and a poker table is revealed.

      "Most of the high-limit players still tend to be men so we designed them with that in mind," Brandenburg said.

    • Outside living

      The penthouse suites also include large patios that overlook Main Street. Each comes equipped with a fireplace and gas grill.

      "We wanted to provide more than just a balcony," Brandenburg said.

      Guests can lounge on a couch and chair and watch television while food sizzles on the grill.

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    1. The fact is, the hotel was built by J. F. Miller and opened as the Nevada Hotel; although it was commonly referred to as "Miller's Hotel." It was the 3rd hotel built in DT LV. The first 2 were "tent hotels." The 2-story Nevada Hotel was constructed with the use of concrete. It wasn't until 1955 that the Golden gate Casino opened in the basement of the then named Sal Sagev (Las Vegas spelled backwards). It was in 1976 that the property became know as the Golden Gate Hotel. If the Sun chooses to inform us of our "history," it would behoove them to get the facts straight. There are already way too many myths floating around about "Sin City" in my estimation.