Las Vegas just celebrated its sesquicentennial this year, and the only spot that’s been around nearly as long is The Golden Gate, formerly known as The Nevada Hotel, which opened in 1906. Even then it was at the forefront of modern technology. The hotel was the site of the first telephone in the state in 1907. Its number was 1.
The hotel survived all attempts to outlaw fun in Nevada—gambling from 1910 to 1931, and Prohibition from 1920 to 1933—and became a mainstay in Las Vegas lore, through the roaring ’20s, the Rat Pack era, and the whispered days of the Vegas mob. Frank Sinatra used to sit at the Casino Bar before and after performances. The bar still serves his signature Frankie Two Fingers: two fingers of Jack Daniels, splash of water, and four ice cubes.
A 2012 much-needed renovation remodeled 106 of the rooms that had been there since 1906, and added a five-story luxury tower, including two showgirl-inspired penthouses, complete with giant feather motifs in the carpet, vintage photographs of beautiful girls in ornate headdresses, and black and whites of Marilyn Monroe. These suites take over the entire fifth floor. The pretty fab non-suite rooms give a nod to the design aesthetic of Mad Men: some swinging ’60s mod patterns on the curtains and furnishings; black, brown, and red leather touches and Art-deco accents, plus requisite vintage photos of Vegas celebrities who frequented the hotel in its heyday. The rooms and bathrooms are tiny, but well-appointed, with queen beds and 32-inch flatscreen TVs; suites have wet bars and sectional couches.
Golden Gate’s longevity also means it embraces the trappings of the 21st century. This, along with The D, is one of the first hotels to accept crypto-currency Bitcoin as payment (though you still can’t gamble with Bitcoin—they’re not that progressive).
Note: For those who still indulged in the 99-cent shrimp cocktail at Du-Par’s (for what we can only assume is nostalgia), you’ll have to go elsewhere (and pay more) for it, as the 24-hour coffee shop abruptly closed last year.