A resort is reborn under new ownership in downtown Las Vegas

The D Las Vegas has been made over as the revitalization of downtown continues. All traces of the former Irish-themed Fitzgeralds are gone. Revamped and relaunched, the $20 million transformation of the longstanding hotel/casino on the corner of Third and Fremont streets is officially complete.

The new Fremont Street façade at The D Las Vegas

The D Las Vegas has a striking new Fremont Street façade

“A year ago my brother [Greg] and I purchased this property, and we’ve been busy with an awful lot of construction. We’d decided that we were going to renovate the entire 34 stories,” said Derek Stevens, president and CEO of The D Las Vegas, at a party held last night to unveil the dramatic changes. “We’re happy that we are at the point where we can start operating and out of the renovation phase of this project.”

Over the course of the past year, the accommodations – 624 rooms and 14 suites – have been redone from wall to wall. Boasting new carpeting, paint, plumbing and fixtures, guests will discover an ambiance that is contemporary and luxurious. Chic bedding, gaming-themed artwork, flat-screen televisions and wireless internet contribute to the sleek yet functional layout. Stevens is also proud to point out that all of the furnishings were locally sourced.

“Every piece of furniture in our hotel is not only U.S.-manufactured, but we also got lucky because all of it was made right here in Las Vegas,” he said.

The D Bar at The D Las Vegas

The outdoor D Bar is where you can be served by sexy dancing bartenders

In addition to the guest rooms, the front desk and valet areas underwent a metamorphosis.  The second floor of the casino was reworked as well. It’s now geared toward a vintage Vegas theme. Along with plenty of neon accents, this is where you’ll find coin-operated slot machines and the beloved Sigma Derby horse racing game.

The most significant change at The D Las Vegas, however, is its new Fremont Street frontage. Created by former Cirque du Soleil producer Roger Parent, it features an exclusive interactive video exhibition. Dubbed “Face to Face,” there are more than 40 giant flat-screen monitors combined with hundreds of feet of colorful LED signage.

“When we designed the façade, we tried to take a modern approach and do something creative and different,” explained Stevens. “We think this is one of the most unique video displays you’ll see anywhere.”

The Stevens brothers also debuted a lively outdoor bar accessible to passersby at Fremont Street Experience. It’s called the D Bar. The first section is staffed by gorgeous, scantily clad dancing bartenders. The second section has a white illuminated backdrop that’s intended to help showcase the artistry of some of the world’s most talented flair bartenders. An escalator has been installed next to the D Bar to carry visitors into the resort’s second-floor Vue Bar.

The escalator and American Coney Island at The D Las Vegas

A new escalator and the American Coney Island restaurant can be found at The D Las Vegas

“When I talked to my brother about it, he said we only had room for one escalator,” joked Stevens, “so I said it better be going up.”

The resort’s moniker, The D Las Vegas, pays tribute to its location in downtown as well as alludes to the Detroit roots of its owners. Moreover, Stevens is often called “D” by his close friends.

“It’s really not a Detroit-themed casino,” he said, “but there are nuances we wanted to bring from Detroit.”

One not-so-subtle addition is American Coney Island. The iconic restaurant seen on the Food Network has delivered the flavor of the Motor City to Las Vegas. It opened yesterday on Fremont Street near the casino’s east entrance.

“It was just the perfect fit. We’re a family business. We’ve been around for 95 years,” said Grace Keros. She and her brother are third-generation owners of the popular chain that, until now, had been based soley in Michigan. “Derek and Greg Stevens are a family business – so it’s like one family doing business with another family.”

American Coney Island is known for its hot dogs. The Dearborn Sausage Company makes their specially seasoned wieners, which are topped with a secret chili recipe invented by the Keros’ grandfather.

“It’s like no hot dog you’ve ever tried before,” she guaranteed.

Former mayor Oscar Goodman

Oscar Goodman, the former mayor of Las Vegas, was on hand at the grand opening party to make a toast

Speaking of Detroit, Stevens promises guests that games played by the city’s beloved teams – the Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red Wings – will always be broadcast live on some of the 15 flat-screen TVs that line the stunning Longbar. Hailed as the longest watering hole in Nevada, it enhances the fun and friendly atmosphere you’ll encounter when you step inside.

“What an outstanding hotel you have here at The D,” said Mayor Carolyn Goodman, after pointing out an eye-popping display of logos that was shown on Fremont Street Experience’s famous Viva Vision light canopy.

The current and former mayors of Las Vegas were thrilled to share their enthusiasm for the resort’s facelift at the elegant party. The event was kicked off with a concert from Purple Reign at the attraction’s Third Street Stage. The Prince tribute band, which appears regularly in the showroom at The D Las Vegas, were in their element performing “1999” and “Let’s Go Crazy.”

And the celebration will continue for a full week. Poison lead singer Bret Michaels will take the same stage on Oct. 13, and then the rock band OneRepublic will cap off the festivities on Oct. 20. Both shows are free and begin at 10 p.m.

“This is great,” said Oscar Goodman, while being served a Bombay Sapphire martini. “I just want to say one thing: I love people who put their money where their mouth is. The Stevens brothers are those kinds of folks. They had a dream. Instead of talking about it, like a lot of people have done, they put their money up and did it. The D is going to be an outstanding place for downtown.”


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.