Downtown Grand – Not So Grand

Ever since the renovation and reopening of the Downtown Grand, I have been a huge proponent of the property. I have booked blocks of rooms for parties, pub crawls and events in the downtown area. Nice rooms, decent house staff, conveniently located, gorgeous pool…and all of that has changed. I have had my final stay at that property.

Upon their reopening, the food and the beverage program needed some work, but they were on the right track. Their center bar NEVER was a draw for me because all they had was crap on tap, but the Mob Bar and the Art Bar both had a decent cocktail menu with friendly staff. Bring in Chef Todd Harington and the food game was brought to a new level. Harrington has exacting standards for his kitchens and it showed in the revved up menus and the wonderful Chinese restaurant on property. His departure saw a complete “dumbing down” of the food and beverage program. The Chinese resto is gone. The cocktail menus have been stripped. Little known fact is that Pizza Rock, Triple George, Commissary and Hogs & Heifers are all owned by The Grand, but to the best of my knowledge, only Pizza Rock solely creates their own menu. The other properties have input and oversight from the Execs at The Grand.

Let’s be candid, if you want luxury, Downtown Vegas is not for you; you should stay on The Strip. If you want clean rooms, nice staff and a good value, in close proximity to our hottest, hippest, growing scene, this is where you want to stay when you come to Vegas. You can find excellent food at value pricing compared to the Strip and you can stay in landmark hotels like the Golden Nugget, Golden Gate (all newly renovated FYI) and Four Queens.

One of the things I have always loved about Vegas is that it is the only major metropolitan area in the country where you do not have to pay for parking at your hotel. In Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, New Orleans, LA etc. you pay per day to park your car starting at $25 a day, sometimes without in and out privileges (meaning there is an additional fee to USE your car during your stay). I even paid to park at a damn Hampton Inn in Ontario, California (not even LA, mind you…). Well, either that is changing or the Downtown Grand thinks it has been transported to another city. They charged me $11 to park my car and I was a hotel guest. To add insult to injury, when we claimed the car the price listed for parking was $7!

Here’s the thing – I think paying to park is the biggest fucking racket on the planet. I was floored when I moved here and found that I need only tip the valet and I could use valet parking. And I LOVE that. I understand wanting to charge for event parking (I don’t LIKE it, but I understand it). I even understand charging tourists who are USED TO PAYING for parking, but when you charge the locals for something they can get free at other and better hotels, be prepared for the back lash. FYI – the Four Queens also charges you to valet if you are NOT a hotel guest, and I even get that thought process.

So let’s take a look:

  • Stripped cocktail program
  • Stripped menu options and closure of the best resto on property
  • Broken A/C in the room (another story entirely)
  • Rude front desk staff when addressing the parking charge AND the A/C
  • Having to pay for parking

I guess I will stay elsewhere when I am downtown. The Downtown Grand is NOT the only game in town and while they were the best for a little while, they aren’t even the best game in downtown any more. I’ve yet to stay in The D, The Four Queens or the Golden Gate and the Las Vegas Club is undergoing renovations to the entire property, so we’ll wait to see what they bring to the game.

The feature Image is from USA Today online.

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