Question of the Day August 31, 2016
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Q:I was surprised to see the Golden Nugget listed as a hotel with no plans for hotel self check-in kiosks in a recent QoD. The last time I was there (granted, close to a year ago), they had kiosks near the Carson Tower elevator lobby that allowed guests to check-in to the hotel and get their room keys. I found some older TripAdvisor reviews that mentioned them there, too. Have they removed them?
A:In the course of researching that recent Question of the Day to which you refer (see QoD Archives 8/23/2016), we had spoken to a Golden Nugget staffer who obviously was new or misinformed -- a very possible example of the left tower not knowing what the right tower is doing, so to speak, since the Nugget has more than one tower and their check-in systems are not consistent, most likely stemming from the significant ages differences of the structures.
Upon receiving your response, we put in a follow-up call to the Nugget's Brianna Vargas, who said, "We currently utilize only guest-service agents to check-in customers." The Carson Tower kiosks, she continued, do provide rudimentary check-in functions, including spitting out a card key for your room. However, if you want to upgrade your room, request a refrigerator, or add "other amenities," you'll have do a "handheld," person-to-person check-in, as Vargas put it. So while Caesars Entertainment appears to be going full speed ahead toward a completely mechanized check-in process that handles all the trimmings as well as the fundamentals, the Nugget still is choosing to rely on the human touch.
In fact, the hotel also offers an option to upgrade to "Preferred Check-In" which, for $30 (plus tax), guarantees your room preference (smoking/non-smoking; location/view etc.) while also affording expedited check-in, via the VIP Lounge, to avoid waiting in line at the front desk. In addition, "preferred" guests receive line passes, good for the duration of their stay, that can be used to avoid queuing for buffet or showroom access.
In other Nugget news, gleaned in the course of researching this answer, we learned that the hotel recently joined the ranks of Las Vegas' pet-friendly establishments, with a limited number of dog-friendly rooms now available and an intimation on the website that this was just the beginning of a larger plan. (Note: We learned the hard way that in Las Vegas "pet-friendly" almost exclusively means "dog-friendly," with felines distinctly personae non gratae at the majority of establishments that claim to welcome pets. On the "recommended" end of the spectrum, we would definitely pick any participating Marriott property, in particular the Residence Inn Convention Center. Whether you're traveling with a dog or a cat, they have a dedicated section toward the back of the complex, replete with lawn and lots of trees, and it was the sole venue at which this writer's cat instantly felt and home during a prolonged nightmare of flood displacement. The "chalet"-style accommodation is like living in an upscale tree house, with lots of lawn area around and trees that he was quickly out-and-about exploring, while the padded fabric "baseboards" were like built-in scratch pads. Oh, and the studios and suites are also by far the nicest long-stay human-friendly accommodation we were farmed out to during our refugee status. Would 100% recommend to anyone.
Meanwhile, Staybridge Suites, which has a good rep from human guests and into which we were booked for one sole night by the insurance company, was downright hostile and refused to honor the booking or even consider accepting a cat even for a single night, although purporting to be officially "pet friendly." The front desk person had no qualms refusing to let us check in, in full knowledge that every hotel in town was completely sold out and that a single female and her traumatized cat would be forced to sleep in our car overnight in June, when it's even still unbearably hot at night out in the open, let alone in a vehicle. (By contrast the Plaza, which was one of the few hotels where there was any room at the inn and which has a clearly stated policy of not accepting pets, totally stepped up and agreed to allow me to smuggle Pookie in for a night, as long as I was discreet. Granted, we did know some higher-ups at the property, and also had empirical knowledge of the fact that CEO Jonathan Jossel not only brings his dog to work on occasion, but that when he does, he seats him in the top chair in their conference room, which scores huge points with us!)