Redesign. Renovate. Rebrand. All of these things are currently underway at the former Fitzgeralds hotel/casino, situated in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. A major $15 million overhaul of the Irish-themed property is scheduled for completion this fall and will elevate it to a new level.
The Fitzgeralds was bought last October by two brothers originally from the Midwest. Significant improvements are in the works to make the experience here more comfortable, luxurious and enjoyable.
“We have been running the hotel for about five months,” said owner and CEO Derek Stevens. “I’m a big proponent of downtown – of the growth and surge happening there – and not just right now…I’m pretty bullish about the next couple of years.”
Stevens and his sibling Greg, who also share ownership of the Golden Gate, the city’s oldest hotel/casino, with Mark Brandenburg, have wanted to expand their footprint in downtown for some time. They were happy when a deal for the Fitzgeralds was struck, but opted not to continue using its licensed name. Instead the plan was to present a new identity to the public that wasn’t associated with anything else.
Hence, the property is now known as “The D Las Vegas.”
“The ‘D’ stands for a few things – with downtown being the primary reference,” said Stevens. “My brother and I originated from Detroit, so there’s a little tip of cap to where we’re from, and a lot of my friends call me ‘D.’”
These days everyone is discovering winning changes and a refreshing atmosphere when they visit “D’s place.” In fact, one project has already been fully executed: the Longbar. As the longest bar in Nevada, it spans the length of the casino floor. Utilizing a striking black and red color scheme and boasting 15 flat-screen TVs mounted side by side, the Longbar is a great spot to meet up with pals, enjoy a specialty cocktail or watch the day’s big games.
“Prior to rebranding as The D Las Vegas, we wanted to make sure there was something both different and new for people so they could get a sense of what we were doing,” explained Stevens. “That’s why we strove to have our signature main-floor feature, which is the Longbar, completed when we rebranded. It seemed an appropriate first project.”
Other projects, of course, take longer periods of time and aren’t immediately visible when you walk in the door – such as refurbishing the rooms. Renovations are beginning this week on the 638 guest rooms and suites. The D Las Vegas won’t close. Stevens said that they will start at the top of the 34-story room tower and work their way down. One floor at a time will be transformed, once the floor below it has been vacated to minimize any noise impact. The whole process should be seamless to guests, who will not see or hear anything.
“The hotel rooms are a really good size with great ceiling heights. They’re just very, very worn out. So we’re going to do a full remodel that will encompass all new carpeting, all new fixtures and all new paint,” said Stevens. “But what I’m most fired up about is the fact that we’ve spent a lot of time working with potential furniture suppliers, and we’re buying not just American-made furniture, but locally made furniture. I’m a big proponent of the ‘buy American’ policies, and I’m also a big ‘buy local’ guy, if you can do it. All the furniture on our property will be made in Las Vegas. If we can do something for the local economy, that’s great and it makes me feel pretty good.”
The makeover of The D Las Vegas will include the creation of an outdoor walk-up bar on Fremont Street called the D Bar. It will be a combination of a flair bar and a frozen drink bar. Like Binion’s, the Golden Nugget and other properties that have recently opened outdoor bars, Stevens guarantees this one will “add to the environment and the great experience you get when you go out downtown.”
In addition, The D Las Vegas will receive upgrades in public areas as well as an enhanced façade. The sign with the neon “F” for Fitzgeralds has already come down and a wrap of the building featuring its new name has been installed. Dancing dealers have begun to appear at some of the tables, creating a sultry new gaming experience. The resort’s showroom, which is home to psychic comedian Kevin Burke and the dinner production “Marriage Can Be Murder,” will also undergo a small expansion. Plus, the lineup is expanding thanks to the arrival of a late-night act: “Purple Reign: The Prince Tribute Show,” which debuted there this past weekend.
And to pay homage to the past, the second floor of the casino will feature coin-operated slots and other vintage Vegas games, like Sigma Derby, a popular electronic horse racing machine. Stevens said that the atmosphere upstairs will be different too, so that guests really feel like they’ve traveled back in time. Whereas the first floor is going to have a lot of LED lighting and high-energy music, the second floor will be about neon and an older era of rock.
“We’ll be a great part of the whole energy that’s happening at Fremont Street Experience,” said Stevens. “We’re going to have some really nice room products in downtown, and we’re going to step up our game like everyone else has. We want to shine!”
The Fitzgeralds had a strong presence in downtown, benefiting from the wonderful location and the connection to Fremont Street Experience. But the improvements and rebranding are sure to turn The D Las Vegas into a contemporary, high-profile property.