Golden Nugget is both one of the newest and one of the oldest casinos in Atlantic City. It has had a long history, dating back several decades. Its most recent moniker, prior to being rebranded as Golden Nugget, was Trump Marina. This was part of many different casino operations that Donald Trump had brought to Atlantic City.
Like Trump Plaza, and soon, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina had been burning money for years before its recent sale. Over a year in time and many millions of dollars in renovations later, Golden Nugget was relaunched, looking better than ever.
The casino itself was quite the sore spot in Atlantic City. It sits caddy-cornered from Harrah’s AC and Borgata, right on the bay as its former name (marina) suggested. It’s not located in an area with easy access to the actual boardwalk or beach, making its location sub-optimal.
With that said, it is only a few minute drive to any other destination in the whole city. Since Atlantic City caps all fares within city limits via cab at $13 regardless of origin and destination, getting to and from Golden Nugget is no big deal or costly affair.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City is fairly similar to its counterpart in Las Vegas. The look and feel is a bit more modern, which makes sense since it was effectively launched just a few years ago. Player’s will recognize the “classy” feel that the casino emanates.
It is a quasi high-end casino, with a very fancy décor, but stakes that don’t tend to match. You’ll be able to find high-limit games in the $50 range, whereas other AC properties usually have high-limit games with tables nearer to $100 minimums. Golden Nugget is the place to go if you want to live the high life on a budget.
Was Golden Nugget AC always known for luxury? Far from it. In its days as Trump Marina, the hotel was seen as the worst of the worst among Atlantic City. Part of the massive renovation to the property was a much-needed revamp of the hotel rooms themselves. Today Golden Nugget Atlantic City has a variety of room types, all with top-level quality.
There are two different towers of rooms at Golden Nugget, including Gold Tower and Spa Tower. The Gold Tower plays host to the largest volume of rooms, including standard rooms as well as suites. The Spa Tower Suites is self-descriptive, housing suite rooms only. Internet is included in each room, as well as a phone charging station available free of charge. Amenities vary from room type to room type, with the suites of course being the most luxurious.
Golden Nugget has taken advantage of their pool with a unique view of the Atlantic Ocean. Perched on the 6th floor of the building, H2O Pool Bar Grill is a very popular spot from the spring through the summer. The warm months at Golden Nugget are much shorter in Atlantic City than they are in Las Vegas, and as such, GN makes every effort to squeeze in as much pool action as possible.
The H2O pool at GN is known for its club scene. The day club has a schedule that varies throughout the year, but is most popular on summer weekends. Bottle service, tables, and cabanas are all available for rental when the summer pool parties are in full swing. There is also a cafe at the H2O pool which is open until 7 p.m. daily.
Dining at Golden Nugget
Golden Nugget has approximately seven total restaurants, depending on whether you are including quick options like Starbucks and Chocolate Box. In terms of actual sit down restaurants, you will find the following at GN:
- Chart House – Chart House is a seafood-first restaurant. The main attraction is the windows that allow for an amazing view of the adjacent waterfront.
- Vic and Anthony’s – Steak, and more specifically, seafood is an Atlantic City selling point. Golden Nugget features both at Vic and Anthony’s. The most high-end restaurant at the casino, Vic and Anthony’s is the finest dining option available.
- Grotto – Italian food is the focal point at Grotto. Grotto also features a happy hour every day from 4-7 p.m.
- Michael Patrick’s Brasserie – For mid to high-end dining, Michael Patrick’s Brasserie is your best bet. Moderately priced options along with a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu classify this restaurant as fancy, but not too fancy.
- The Buffet – The Buffet is Golden Nugget’s buffet. One unique feature is the breakfast buffet, a dining option that many AC casinos do not offer. We recommend scoping out a coupon or discount for the GN buffet.
- The Deck Bayfront Bar and Restaurants – Only open during the summer months, The Deck is best described as bar food.
- Lillie’s – Lillie’s restaurant is the staple that is found in every casino-a noodle bar. For quick, easy, and affordable food, Lillie’s is a great choice.
- Bean & Bread – Think fancy Starbucks with an increased emphasis on food. This location is open 24/7.
The casino itself at Golden Nugget is, like the rest of the property, very modern. You will not find the same color schemes or even the same vibe as in Las Vegas, but you will find even better games. High paying slots and very fair blackjack tables are the draw at Golden Nugget.
Sitting at 80,000 square feet, it will take awhile to explore all that the GN casino has to offer. We recommend obtaining a players card before you start your play (see more below).
Golden Nugget may be more well known for its “day life” than its nightlife with its pool parties. Of course, these only exist during the summer months. The nightclub at GN is called “Haven” and is most heavily promoted on Thursdays. The nightclub is open each week from Thursday to Saturday.
The shows at Golden Nugget Atlantic City are much more hit and miss than what you will find in Las Vegas. There are no real regular performers, but big-name artists and performers do roll through. We recommend checking out the latest schedule on Golden Nugget’s website when planning your visit.
The attraction at Golden Nugget, outside of the large casino, is most certainly the adjoining Marina. Its old namesake made it clear that you will be right on the water. When you visit, take a walk to the water and have a look at the large boats and yachts that are coming in and out. Golden Nugget promotes the high-end lifestyle, and the Marina scene is exactly that.
VIP & player program
The VIP player program at Golden Nugget AC is named 24k Select Club. One of the unique features of this program is the $10 in free play that is offered to all new members. New players at GN AC used to actually be able to earn even more than $10 in free play, but this is one of the only casinos where there is any offer whatsoever for new members. As the competition for new players and their action has slowed down, so too have the promos available to prospective new players.
There are four different total tiers in the player program at Golden Nugget. They are 24 Karat (0-3,999 tier points), Premier (4,000-9,999 tier points), Chairman when 10,000 points are earned, and Elite when 50,000 points are earned. One odd dynamic of these steps is the gap in points. We recommend talking to a personal host in order to see if you can receive a bump to the next level if you are stuck in between the Elite and Chairman tiers.
The benefits of the 24k Select Club are mostly identical to what you will find in Total Rewards. The higher your tier, the greater your benefits. Players with higher status will earn a larger percentage of cashback, more comp dollars, and a host of other benefits. Preferred seating and access to dining, hotel rooms, and wait lines are all offered to players who are Elite or higher. Hosts are also assigned to any player who is Premier or higher. Once you reach the upper echelon of 24k Select Club status, you will also be able to parlay your benefits into visits to other Golden Nugget destinations.
Using your points and comp dollars
Comp dollars are earned independently from your tier points. You will earn more comp dollars once you reach advanced status in the program, with the top Elite level offering 20% more comps than what you will receive with entry-level status.
Comp dollars can be used as cash at restaurants, for hotel stays, and at shops on the property. Golden Nugget promotes a 1-1 exchange rate for comps to cash, which is something that not all Atlantic City casinos offer.
Tips for your visit
The Golden Nugget’s location is a matter of preference since it is not right on the boardwalk with the majority of the other casinos. If you are visiting during the warmer months, you will be able to check out the marina where dozens of boats are docked. You may even be able to use the marina yourself if you are visiting and planning on hitting the water with your own boat.
Outside of the marina, Golden Nugget also has a nightclub named Haven. It is not the most popular club in the city, but it gets a larger crowd than you might expect, especially with all of the on property guests that stay at the hotel and make a visit. The club is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with most summer Sundays also featuring “Day Life Sundays at Bungalow Beach AC.” Golden Nugget is quickly becoming one of the hot spots for the younger AC crowd, a stark contrast to what you would have found at Trump Marina just a few years ago.