Monday, March 17, 2014

Vegas Days Gone By: Remembering Fitz's

On St. Patrick's Day, it seems only fit that we recall the glory that was Fitzgerald's, at the east end of the Fremont Street Experience. Fitz's was one of the reasons I kept coming back to Vegas. That's because they kept sending me offers for free rooms! And not only would they send me two or three free room nights every other month, they'd include two dinners or a $100 credit at Don B's Steakhouse, and free play, and free show
tickets. Even though they knew we were getting comped at the Steakhouse, the wait staff treated us like royalty, bringing us a basket full of artisan breads before our meal, and after the three of us had chowed down on King Crab for two and a Chicken Marsala, the waitress wanted to make sure we had enough left on our credit to pick three from the dessert tray! We barely had time to catch Kevin Burke doing his carny act after he'd rushed over from his performance in Defending the Caveman.

Every hotel will encounter problems; the difference is in how they deal with them. Once when we checked in I noticed the water in the shower was lukewarm at best. I called the front desk and they sent an engineer to fix it within 15 minutes. Again, when I came back to the room, my Platonic Traveling Companion complained that an alarm had been going off in the room next door all night and driving her nuts. "Call the desk!" I told her, picked up the phone within 15 minutes a security guard came up, went into the room next door and shut it off. "Thank you!" she called through our door. One time I dropped my keys somewhere while hauling all my bags to the hotel desk and security had located them within half an hour. Fitzgerald's was Aces and they treated you like kings!

Even though it towered above Downtown, Fitz's in some ways seemed like a funky little place, no more so than in the small block of a pool area that looks out directly onto the street. It had a hot tub though and it definitely got the job done.

Fitzgerald's changed hands and lives on as The D, a much more contemporary-themed place where at night scantily-clad saloon girls deal the cards or dance in black bikinis on the
bartops. Other than cashing in on the occasional match play, I can't tell you how their hospitality compares with the Fitz's of yore. The little pool area is much the same, but gone are the Irish-themed signage and decor and the chunk of the Blarney Stone at the player's club desk. The old signs and the Coin King who once ruled over the entrance are resting at the Neon Boneyard now. The Fitzgerald's I knew is one with the ages now, but it will always have a place in my heart. Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

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