Nugget unveils swanky gaming salon

Jul 20, 2004 6:05 AM

There’s a spiffy new place to go the restroom downtown.

It’s in the Golden Nugget, where it’s attached to a newly-opened, high-limit gaming salon. The salon is a pretty swanky place to blow a large wad of cash in itself but the bathroom is to die for — if a high roller ever needed a classy place in which to excuse himself, the ever-active new owners at the Golden Nugget, Tom Breitling and Tim Poster, are providing it.

The bathroom has all the usual amenities, but they come with an aura of understated elegance. Archie Bunker wouldn’t go there so one would never hear his signature "flush."

He also wouldn’t be spending much time in the salon, which has limited seating for high-stakes blackjack, full-table and mini-baccarat and European-style roulette, the kind that is played with a single zero (American roulette wheels have a single and double zero).

The salon, which the Nugget’s announcement describes as "intimate ”¦ warm and inviting," was carved out in an area away from the hubbub of the casino floor. The hotel’s director of casino marketing, Dee Conton, says the goal was to create an atmosphere that would make gamblers feel "like you’re playing in your living room."

Toward that end, the salon’s light fixtures, gaming tables and wall coverings were custom-made, while "convenient services" for the players include a plush lounge, private cashier and plasma televisions.

Whatever the intentions, the result seems to be mission accomplished. In well-muffled and modulated tones, the salon screams money. It was obviously constructed with the idea of being the kind of attraction only the famous or very well-to-do would feel comfortable.

In a move that could be written into a James Bond movie, complete privacy can be guaranteed through the lowering of a shield over the windows. In the same vein, the plasma television, which is roughly the size of a football field, can be made to appear or disappear depending on the mood of the players.

Conton, who is quick to point out that the Nugget still considers itself to be primarily a "gambling hall" at a time when other properties are putting their emphasis on non-gaming amenities such as upscale dining and shopping, says the hotel saw a need to offer an attraction to the high rollers.

In its brief life, the salon has been very well-received, Conton adds, citing among the early players a woman who played for 36 hours over a three-day period. In contrast there was a man who left and never returned after playing for 30 minutes.

Conton said it’s not unusual for a player’s wins or losses to total $100,000 a night.

Just around the corner from the high-roller salon, the Nugget is touting the way it is now showing off the largest gold nugget in the world. The nugget, which weighs over 61 pounds and is worth more than $425,000, has found a new home in a case that makes it easy for visitors to have their picture taken with it.

In the Bunker household, it might have wound up as a doorstop.