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November 27, 2014

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Owner Derek Stevens: The D mixes vintage, modern and tradition in downtown Las Vegas

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

The 2013 Miss USA Pageant contestants at The D Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2013. Hotel owner Derek Stevens made an appearance and posed for photographs with the beauty queens.

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Kia Jam, Derek Stevens and Dean Cain at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse at the D Hotel in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013.

2013 Miss USA Pageant: The D Hotel

The 2013 Miss USA Pageant contestants at The D Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2013. Hotel owner Derek Stevens, pictured here with Miss Michigan USA 2013 Jaclyn Schultz and Miss Nevada USA 2013 Chelsea Caswell, posed for photographs with the beauty queens. Launch slideshow »

The Scintas Grand Opening at The D Hotel

The Scintas' grand opening at The D Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Launch slideshow »

American Coney Island Chili Dogs at the D Hotel

American Coney Island Chili Dogs opens at the downtown D Hotel on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Editor’s Note: As Robin Leach winds down his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy and heads to the East Coast for a brief visit before returning to the rigors of Vegas DeLuxe, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Derek Stevens, owner and operator of the D Hotel in downtown Las Vegas.

It’s been more than six months since we finished our renovations at the D in downtown Las Vegas, and it feels great to finally be able to enjoy the property as what I imagined when we first announced the D.

By now, most people know why we called our casino hotel the D, but for anyone who is still wondering, the “D” stands for a mix of Downtown, Detroit and Derek. Most of my friends call me “D,” and I wanted to focus on the rebirth of downtown Las Vegas, as well as provide a tip of the cap to my hometown of Detroit.

Initially, people asked why I would build a “Detroit”-themed casino in Las Vegas. I explained that the D isn’t a Detroit-themed casino but has some things from Detroit that are important to me. For example, when we renovated all 34 stories of the hotel, all the furniture in every hotel room and suite was manufactured in the United States. It’s something I’m very proud of, and this is something I consider to be “a Detroit thing.”

Sure, we changed the name, but the whole vibe and experience is completely new. At the D, we’re all about having a good time. When I was thinking up the concept for the property, I handpicked some of my favorite things to make this the place to party in downtown Las Vegas. I wanted the D to feel like home where all my guests are friends and everyone has a great time. I’m really excited to see locals and tourists enjoying all we have to offer.

We are one of the only hotels in the city with a two-level casino. This gave me the idea to create two completely different themes. The second-floor Vintage Casino is a throwback to old-school Las Vegas complete with the nostalgic coin-operated Sigma Derby. It’s the only one downtown, and it’s incredible how many people come to the D just to play it.

The downstairs Modern Casino feels like a big party. Our gorgeous dancing dealers party with our guests every night, and the Long Bar — the longest bar in Nevada — is the place to catch any game and drink an ice-cold beer.

I didn’t want entertainment to stop with gambling, so we’ve added a line-up to our new showroom. Adam London’s “Laughter Noon” is a perfect option for families, while “Raack N’ Roll” is a terrific adult show and the only topless revue downtown. We also have the longest-running dinner show in Las Vegas: “Marriage Can Be Murder” is a really unique show for date night or friends.

Recently, we also brought on the Scintas as our headlining act. They’ve been performing in Las Vegas for many years, and we’re excited to welcome them downtown for the first time with a revamped show just for the D.

As a part of the complete redevelopment of the property, it was important to address the dining options. One of the most iconic restaurants in the country is a place where I grew up eating, American Coney Island. A Coney is a great meal any time of the day, and with Fremont Street’s constant party atmosphere, it’s been a huge hit. American Coney Island is open 24 hours a day.

We also developed the D Grill, our casual American restaurant. Again, open 24 hours, the D Grill specializes in breakfast, soup, exquisite salads and sandwiches at lunch and roasted chicken and baby back ribs for dinner.

The one dining experience that was still missing was an upscale restaurant, so we’ve brought in one of my favorite restaurants from Detroit — Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Vicari is a very well-known restaurateur in the Midwest. Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse is all about delicious food and a great wine list, and I think it’s become one of Las Vegas’ best steakhouses.

I like to get to know as many people as possible who walk through our doors, and I like to spend my weekends in Las Vegas at the D and Golden Gate. Catch me at Long Bar or down the street at my other favorite hangout, Main Bar at Golden Gate.

Check out our other guest column today from producer Jeanie Linders, whose “The D* Word: a Musical (*Ditched, Dumped, Divorced and Dating)” opened this month at LVH. We’ll have one more week of guest columnists as Robin returns to work.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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