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The official hotel of STBE 2019 is...

The Nug

 

Downtown Grand ****This used to be the Lady Luck, but it's been completely redone and transformed into the Downtown Grand. It's right across the street from Pizza Rock and the Triple George. The casino is small, but they have plenty of $5 blackjack tables. This year (2018) marks our first stay at this hotel.  Downtown Grand says, "We don't just raise the bar for contemporary lodging in Downtown Las Vegas. We create an entirely new standard." We say, "we'll see about that. We always manage to find something to complain about no matter where we go."

 

Oasis at Gold Spike ***'Mike stayed here on the bonus night in 2016, so we thought, "what the heck, let's do it!" It's a hipstery place, and if you're looking for friendly desk service, this is not the place. The boys all seemed to love it, but I ended the trip with a gash on my leg since there wasn't really enough space in the room for a bed AND a dresser. It looks like this place was given a face-lift and then ignored. Drunk frat-bro types and LA hipsters appear to be the target audience. Those who sprung for mini suites were happy, while the rest of us had roaches enter our rooms. The common outdoor areas were littered with discarded panties (truth), cigarette butts, and yes, used condoms. On the plus side, we got free entrance to the on-site clurb, and we were pulled up onstage with the live band whilst dressed as nuns. Oasis at Gold Spike says, "every stay with us is a unique experience for the urban adventurer." We say, "that's one way to put it."

 

The Golden Nugget ****Ginger and Mike stayed here for one night during Master's Degree Madness, and the entire group made it their home for STBEX, STBE 2011, and a few times after that. The rooms are nice and come complete with bathrobes! They also have a really cool pool with a waterslide and a giant shark tank. Drinks are pretty expensive at the casino bars, but luckily, everything on Fremont Street is close, so it's easy to find cheap drinks elsewhere. The Nug' says, "From more than 2,400 luxury rooms to the hotel's gold-leaf facade, everything is rich with Victorian refinement and sheer elegance." We say, "Much like the Golden Nugget, we are rich with Victorian refinement and sheer elegance." We've basically decided that it's the ElDorado of Vegas and have since started staying elsewhere.

 

 Main Street Station **' We finally stayed here in 2015, and it sure made champagne brunch convenient. It looks pretty nice, but so do lots of places Stephen says of the room he slept in, "I might as well be sleeping on the side of the highway!!!" He also didn't care for his air-conditioning, which, the technician comically blamed on the sun facing that side of the building. The Station says, "a lengthy stop here isn't only recommended but also unavoidable, and for the best possible reasons." We say, "um...OK, it doesn't sound like we have much choice in the matter."

 

The Fiiiitz The D**'The first time we stayed downtown, we stayed at the Fiiiitz. As advertised on their nametags, the workers are indeed "Fitz Friendly." Ginger will always have a soft spot in her heart for the Fiiiitz because she got to be in the Whirlwind of Cash, which is exactly what you think it is. The Fiiiitz says, "Pay Fitzgeralds a visit and discover one of the jewels of downtown Las Vegas." We say, "that sounds dirty."

This place is now known as "The D." I don't know anything about this place, but it may now be in the running for the official home of STBE 2012. Let's check the reviews to find something to snark on...the D's website says: "Newly renovated rooms opening in phases Summer 2012!" Hmmmm. So, I guess it's out of the running. I found a local blog that said the pictures on the website are stock photos, so don't be fooled into think you're going to a brand new hotel. We've never made the leap, but Rachel stayed in the remodeled D and found it to be cheap and comfy.

 

The California **'This is another place we've never stayed at. We walk through there all the time to get to the Main Street Station Buffet and it's also owned by the same company. The Cal says, "What promises to be a tribute to the 31st state is unofficially devoted to the 50th. For some reason or another, the residents of the fair state of Hawaii have made the California their main stop in Las Vegas, transforming the hotel and casino into an oasis." We say, "sure, that makes about as much sense as anything in Vegas."

 

The Fremont**We've never stayed at this place, either, but it makes the list for showing up on the first page of a low price search on Vegas.com. Also, it's on Fremont Street, meeting another requirement of STBE. The 'mont says, "447 spacious guest rooms are comfortably removed from the round-the-clock excitement of the Fremont's 32,000-square-foot casino." We say, "that sounds like code for 'I hope you brought comfortable shoes and luggage with wheels.'" Ryan hates going in there. We were asked to leave ine time because we were dressed as nuns. Not because we were doing anything wrong, but because the Fremont apparently hates fun.

 

Vegas Club**We're veterans of the Vegas Club scene, having stayed here during STBE, a band alumni road trip, and Master's Degree Madness. If you're expecting quality, go somewhere else, but if you just want a reasonably clean (and cheap!) place to sleep, this is the place for you. The Club says, "the Vegas Club is ideal for the leisure traveler." We say, "it's really ideal for the cheap traveler. Did we mention how cheap their beer is?" Bonus points for access to the rooftop pool at the Plaza across the street (which we'll discuss in just a minute). We've always been able to check in early, and in December, they upgraded us to the nice tower...which included an alarm clock (those aren't in the cheap tower) and refrigerator. This place has since been torn down, along with Mermaids and La Bayou.

 

The Plaza ***Unfortunately, we made the mistake of staying at the Plaza one year, reasoning that since it's the flagship property of PlayLV Gaming Operations, it would be a step up from the Vegas Club. Boy, were we wrong!!! First of all, the bathrooms were disgusting with a capital DISGUSTING (we're talking green mold in the shower), there was no ventilation, and we all got sick at their Lucky 7's Buffet. The only people getting lucky from that buffet are the executives at Pepto. But there is the rooftop pool. And they don't care if you throw a novelty football drink holder back and forth in it no matter how many other guests are in the pool. And they have cheap drinks out there. If you must use that pool, just stay at the freakin' Vegas Club. Actually, thinking about it now, they didn't check for room keys at any point, so you could probably just show up there and use the pool without incident. The Plaza says, "the Plaza is one of downtown's larger establishments." We say, "they should stick to statements like that one when trying to lure customers because at least that's true." Oh, they upgraded us to the nice tower one year, and if those were the nice rooms, we don't want to find out what the rooms look like in the cheap tower.

We stayed here after the extreme makeover, and it was rather underwhelming. We found it hard to believe that any of the plastic tchotckies they decorated the rooms with were ever destined for the Fountainbleau. And if they were, the Fountainbleau would have been a dump! No way is this place a four star hotel.

The Stratosphere ***While we all try to stop laughing at that 3 Star rating, let's make one thing clear: The Strat' is NOT where it's at! Bad service, bad rooms, and a bad location. While located at the end of the strip, the airport shuttle companies charge the Downtown fare...if you're gonna stay Downtown, go all the way and avoid the hotel that looks like it's flipping off the entire town. The Strat' says, "At 1,149 feet, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest observation tower in the United States." We say, "that's about all it has going for it."

 

El Cortez **The El _ortez is recommended by 83% of users on Vegas.com. That tells me that 83% of users on vegas.com do not value their lives. This place is scary even during the day, and is noted for the poor children who have been left to wait outside by their gambling-addicted parents (true story). It smells like baby powder and cigarettes. The El _ortez says, "from time to time, owner Jackie Gaughan -- a 2008 recipient of the key to the city of Las Vegas -- walks the casino floor to greet his guests and ensure that they are being treated well." We say, "creepy." We play blackjack here on the regular, but I'm not sure we're ready to make the leap to actually sleeping there.

 

Golden Gate ** The claim to fame of the Golden Gate, as far as our trips go anyway, is that we ate a REALLY late dinner in the diner there during Master's Degree Madness (which, while technically not an STBE trip, involved several repeat STBE revelers). Anyhoo, we were dressed up as Red Hat Ladies and posed for a picture with a mullet. The Golden Gate says, "This hotel requires a $100 credit card deposit at check-in." We say, "no thanks." On the plus side, 69% of users on vegas.com recommend this place (haha, 69).

 

Binion's **We have nothing snarky to say about Binion's. All we know is that it used to be called The Horseshoe, then it was called Binion's Horseshoe, and now it's just called Binion's. We also have Binion's to thank for the whole "poker as a spectator sport" phenomenon (oh wait, we do have something to snark about). Binion's says,  "[its] 50,000-square-foot casino is where the World Series of Poker and the Hall of Fame Poker Classic were created and though the tournaments have moved to the Rio, Binion's casino is still a favorite of poker aficionados." We say, "get over it!"  Oh yeah, we stayed at Binion's for STBE '09 and enjoyed the mismatched room decor, variety of TV types scattered between rooms, and especially loved the rooftop pool. They let us bring a cooler full of beer up there with us, which is always a sign of a quality establishment. *The hotel is officially closed, but the casino remains.