In a suite overlooking the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas last week, there was plenty of to talk about. Gathered with other reporters at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, there was talk of the three-year-old Rush Tower, new eateries, and the resurgence of downtown Las Vegas. But what really caught my interest was what was happening 3,000 miles to the east—in Atlantic City.
When Landry’s Inc., the company behind popular dining spots such as the Chart House, took over the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, it quickly set about to re-do the iconic but aging property. In the process, it helped bring in a renewed interest in the “Old Vegas.” (See “Can Downtown Las Vegas Be Golden Again?”) Now, the company is hoping to work the same magic at the Atlantic City Marina, as it transforms the Trump Marina Hotel & Casino into the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. Along with the Borgata, Harrah’s, and the soon-to-open Revel, Atlantic City is getting an exciting facelift these days.
Since the 1980s, when Donald and Ivana Trump designed and built the Trump Marina, the property has largely gone unkempt. In Atlantic City the joke is often to refer to it as a “hospital” because of its rather bland façade. Landry’s is quickly changing that. The Golden Nugget Atlantic City created a buzz when it replaced the Trump sign with its own—a 48-hour process requiring several helicopter deliveries of the steel to make the sign. (See photo above.) Golden Nugget officials pointed out that renovating the façade was a top priority in the transformation. (You can view the transformation on the Golden Nugget Atlantic City website.)
But the interior renovations are just as impressive. A Chart House restaurant has been added, among other food and beverage options. The remodeled rooms and suites have a decidedly modern flare. In addition, plans call for an outdoor poll that will remain open year-round, something the Golden Nugget believes will offer the atmosphere of a Vail ski resort.
Already, the resort-casino has attracted top shows to the area, and officials say they have proven successful in the early going.
Having been to the Las Vegas Golden Nugget several times since its transformation, I can say that the atmosphere and business it has created in downtown Las Vegas has been impressive. It remains to be seen how the concept will play in Atlantic City, but judging from the plans I’ve seen, chances are it will only help to rekindle interest in what was once one of the Mid-Atlantic’s top travel destinations.