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Golden Nugget To Charge Fremont Street Experience Fee

June 11, 2013 at 9:11 PM | by | ()

Downtown's biggest draw, its free attraction, is about to have a fee associated with it. Starting July 1, Golden Nugget will begin charging hotel guests a Fremont Street Experience Fee. Yes, not a resort fee, but a Fremont Street Experience (FSE) fee.

What most may not know is that 10 downtown properties "underwrite operating expenses" for the Fremont Street Experience which draws a reported 60 percent of downtown's visitors. Those ten (Binion's, Fremont, California, Main Street Station, the D, Four Queens, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Lady Luck, and the Las Vegas Club) keep the good times rollin' and the tourists coming by ponying up cash.

But, after 18 years, one of those resorts is now shifting some of that burden onto guests (at least openly). We asked the Golden Nugget, who recently surveyed guests on their feelings toward resort fees, to explain the coming FSE surcharge and to provide an update as to whether a resort fee was still a possibility, too:

The Golden Nugget will not be charging a Resort Fee. Our Strip competitors are charging up to $25 in daily Resort Fees for use of certain hotel amenities regardless if they are used or not. Beginning July 1st, we will be adding a $5 Fremont Street Fee per day to room bookings. The Fremont Street Experience is an amazing 5-block attraction with free nightly light shows, bars, retail, unique vendors, and security. There are significant costs associated with maintaining the Fremont Street Experience and rather than raise hotel rates or charge high resort fees we have chosen to keep our rates low and implement a nominal $5 fee (80% less than Strip Resort Fees).

Some may take the FSE/resort fee language as tomato/tomahto. We already know of one person who has vowed to never stay again. Others may say that at least this fee provides for something they'll use/enjoy. Let us know where you fall in the comments below.

The Las Vegas Advisor also caught wind of the Golden Nugget's new fee and called other downtown properties to see if it was planned elsewhere. They discovered that hotel operators at competing properties were not aware of it, nor knew of intentions to begin one at their own place of employment.

The Golden Nugget offers rooms beginning at $47 a night. The resort says that anyone who booked a room prior to June 1 will not be charged the fee. If you booked after June 1, the fee will apply. @Mitzula on Twitter breaks down the potential in new revenue ahead:

(PHOTO: Cris John P. on Foursquare)

Archived Comments:

It's a Shell Game

Look over here while we pull the wool over your eyes:  "While other hotels on Fremont Street have opted to include FSE maintenance fees into the cost of doing business, we at Golden Nugget have decided to take a bolder approach and pass those expenses directly on to you, our valued customer. Because we know that you recognize a great value."

Best joint on Fremont Street.

Call it what you want.
It's only $5.00 vs. a resort fee of $25.00 or more for a room on the strip. The other downtown properties just roll the fee into their room rates anyway.

Not ethical

Charge admission to the freemont street experience if you like, but not to the guests. outside visitors to freemont are exempt from the fee which makes no sense. they have it all backwards. i suspect outrage over this and people staying on the main strip instead or just off the strip at less expensive hotels.

i suspect they will revisit this in a few years when they decide to incorporate resort fees like almost everyone else.

some people actual use the amenities

if i know i am going to get dinged a resort fee, I tend to get my monies worth and I the hotel will know it.

What did resort fees start at?

$5?  Before they ran up to $25...?

Tell you what.  Everytime I go to Fremont now I'm gonna enjoy the sh*t out of that Experience to get every penny's worth.

Not an FSE fan

How about a $5/day fee to get rid of the FSE?  Or maybe I'm the only old grump who has never liked it? (I'm not only referring to the light show roof, but all the associated changes.)


We don't want to raise our rates but we are going to charge you $5 more.  Maybe I missed something but isn't that the same as raising their rates?


It's not a resort fee, people will be charged $5 to experience Fremont Street when you can choose to stay at the other properties and get that free experience......for free.  Guests won't get anything from the hotel for that extra $5.  

I would choose to stay somewhere else if I stayed Downtown, on principle.

I dunno...

They should've just quietly raised their base rates $5 and no one would've noticed or complained. GN would still be one of the best deals in town and they could've still promoted the "no resort fee" benefit to the hilt.

To rile up customers with this weaselly BS for so little extra money doesn't really make sense to me.

Yet another reason I stay off the the strip

Now granted the hotels I stay at do charge a resort fee, but it's like $3 to $6 a day...I either stay at Gold Coast or the Orleans.  When I go down to Fremont Street...I typically park at Binions, get parking validated and I'm good to go..I think the last time I was down there, we were there for maybe 4 or 5 hours and I had to spend $3 to park.  I will take that over staying on the FSE.  Honestly...I prefer the off strip hotels because you don't have to deal with the tourists and the noise.  I love FSE, but I don't want to stay down there, mainly because if I do want to go to sleep...I'm gonna hear the music from the shows.  No bueno.

Why piss off your customers?

I understand the need to raise prices; like it or not there is inflation.  But; why do it in a way that's guaranteed to piss off your customers?  If a room rate is $64 or $69 I don't think many people would notice.  But; if at the end of your four day stay you get hit with another $20, plus tax, WTF.

Yes, but...

It is the same, except that they can still advertise their rooms as being $47 instead of $52. It's the same as the Strip, those "resort fees" are just room rate hikes in disguise so they can advertise low rates to get people in the door and then spring the fees on them when they can't go anywhere else because everything else is booked up.

They have it backwards

The entire reason FSE exists is the same reason the Mirage volcano and Bellagio fountains exist; to get people to come to your casino (or in the case of FSE, casinos).

20 years ago downtown was dead and they needed to do something to get tourists to come downtown and FSE was the answer, so if it incurs cost well, that's just the price of doing business - just the same as advertising, promotions and comps. It's ridiculous that they charge a fee especially when neighboring hotels aren't. (So far.)

I agree

I could understand a $5 fee for the entire stay but not $5 a day. I haven't stayed at the Golden Nugget but the rate would have to be exceptional to avoid staying at another place with a better rate and no fee. If no one else jumps on the bus with the Nugget then you will see them back off.

Get some Lawyers Involved...

Seriously I'm no lawyer fan but we need them in this case.  All these fees are (almost always) mandatory.  Why not charge $1 for the room and $90 for the resort fee or FSE fee or fountain fee or volcano fee or pirate show fee?

Bunch of nonsense.  Many people can just go to the casinos near their home. Vegas is cool because of the FREE stuff.  Of course we all end up losing a bunch of money at the casino so it really isn't "free" but the nerve of these folks to nickel and dime people.

I love the Golden Nugget and was going to stay there on my next trip. Not anymore. Oh well.


First... the "D" changed sh** just for the sake of changing it ( to the point to where we just walk by now ) and now GN.
Their slots are tighter than a well diggers ass and their dealers are the rudest anywhere and their buffet might as well be a McDonalds. I hope they go out of business.
Bring back the OLD downtown.

It's only $5.00

If I had to stay downtown, The Golden Nugget is the only decent place anyway.
Who gives a crap if the want five extra bucks for whatever they want to call it?

So what does this really say?

The Golden Nugget could have just as easily rolled an extra $5 per night into the typical daily room rates.  So it begs the question -- what is the purpose of declaring it as a FSE fee?  I believe they did it so they could advertise their room rates at a lower per night rate and shroud the less astute consumers from seeing the additional $5 per night fee.  It works the same way as the resort fee.  I think the industry needs to change the way those room rates are reported and include additional non-negotiable fees into the advertised room rates.

Multi-element pricing

Like many people I look for clear pricing and strongly prefer 'one price covers all'. But with airline travel we now accept a fare, plus the 'taxes, fees and charges' element, plus baggage charges, food for sale, and so the list goes on. Now, it seems, the cost of staying in a hotel is room rate, plus resort charge. Look out for the next step: one London hotel has an optional charge for towels. Avoid this fee by bringing your own. Where will this multi-pricing of hotel rooms end?

Perhaps, though, we should take a broader view over a longer time frame. Thanks to cell phones, hotels have largely lost the revenue stream from expensive in-room calls. Thanks to laptops, in-room movies at an inflated price are largely history. But there's a difference: these charges were optional and could be avoided.

So what would happen if resort fees as a daily charge were waived, and a 'pay-per-use' fee levied for pool usage, in-room coffee, fitness center access etc? Guests would rebel when they saw their itemized bill at check-out.

The best way I can think of to protest about these resort fees is to explain politely at check-in that you object to this fee, and that you will, therefore, treat the hotel as a resort only. You will sleep there and use all the facilities. But you will not spend one penny more at this property. Your budget for meals, gambling etc will be spent elsewhere. Then, once you are home, write politely to the general manager telling him this and let him know how much you actually spent elsewhere. In this way people power is sufficient to defeat resort fees.