Located two hours from Houston and three hours from New Orleans is what some travelers call the “Las Vegas of the South.” The Golden Nugget Lake Charles in Louisiana draws crowds, and was booked to capacity on the weekend we visited.
A little more than two years old, the 740-room hotel is already expanding. The Rush Tower, an additional structure with 353 rooms, opened in May.
We arrived at the hotel on a Friday afternoon. Guests can choose to use complimentary self-parking or the valet service. The check-in area of the hotel is tucked into the southwest corner of the 22-story building. The property is huge, but you can download a Golden Nugget Lake Charles app, which has directions and a handy map.
We hopped on the elevator and walked down a large, brightly lit hallway. Spying a set of glass doors that opened onto the third-floor roof, we were given an unobstructed view of tug boats gliding along Bayou Contraband.
Jim and I stepped inside our mezzanine-level guestroom. The 500-square-foot room, decorated in sophisticated chocolate brown, had a king-sized bed with a faux leather-tufted headboard extending up to the molding. Beside the 48-inch, flat-screen television sat a two-person mini-banquette. The sliding-glass door opened onto a small balcony with a view of the resort-size swimming pool. Surprisingly, the balcony does not have any seating. Other amenities we appreciated included free WiFi, a coffeemaker, an in-room safe and a large bathroom. Guests can work out in the fitness center, play a round of golf on the 18-hole course, indulge in a spa treatment, shop at the on-site retail stores or spend a day sunning at the pool, where beds and cabanas are available for a fee.
A weekend isn’t enough time to experience all of the Golden Nugget’s dining and bar options. For an upscale dinner, we recommend the Chart House at the Country Club — a stone’s throw from the hotel with views of the golf course. We chose two of the most popular items on the menu — the melt-in-your-mouth, buttery sea bass served with green beans and carrots and the braised short ribs with a deep brown gravy, mashed potatoes and asparagus. The hotel has a range of dining options from a steak house and Italian food to a Mexican restaurant and a casual spot for American fare. A fun place for dessert is the Chocolate Box, offering an array of sweet treats including candy, fudge, ice cream and pastries.
Of course, the big attraction for most visitors is the 30,000-square-foot casino. Although we rarely gamble, we did try our luck at a few of the 1,600 slot machines. For the more experienced, there are 75 table games and a state-of-the-art poker room. Guests who like to mix up venues can walk via a connecting boardwalk or take a complimentary trolley to another casino next door, L’Auberge.
Music lovers can hear live bands in the casino or at the Blue Martini. Headliner bands, comedians and performers are booked every Friday and Saturday at the 2,500-seat Event Center. We caught a peek of Boston warming up. Upcoming entertainers on the docket include Patti LaBelle, Vicki Lawrence, Air Supply, Three Dog Night and Vince Gill.
Our weekend escape to the Golden Nugget truly was a bit of Vegas on the bayou. If you plan to visit, buy the concert tickets early because the shows sell out and the hotel rooms fill up fast.
Golden Nugget Hotel
2550 Golden Nugget Blvd.
Lake Charles, LA 70601
tel 337 508 7777
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