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California Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas
The California Hotel in Las Vegas is not the Hotel California
The Eagles never sang a song about the California Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas. I just wanted to get that straight from the get-go. I don't know what they were singing about, but it wasn't this place. The California Hotel was built in 1975, and is the sister property of the Main Street Station, which it is connected to via a skywalk. For some reason the California has a Hawaiian theme, which doesn't make much sense to me considering its name.
With the new tower that was added in the mid-1990's, the California has 781 rooms, which is large by Fremont Street hotel standards but small when compared to the mega-resorts found on the Las Vegas Strip.
Rooms, food, and entertainment
Because it's located in downtown Las Vegas, rooms at the California are very cheap. You can book some rooms for less than $40 a night. Compare that to $150 or more for a standard room at one of the newer Strip hotels. The rooms are not nearly as nice at the California, but if you're staying for 4 or 5 nights the cost savings is really significant. If only there were something you could spend your money on in Las Vegas...
The California, or The Cal as some like to call it, does have a pool. Guests from Main Street Station are also allowed to use this pool, but it usually doesn't get too crowded. People tend to have big pool parties over at the resorts on the Strip, while Fremont Street hotel pools are more about just relaxing.
For dining, I recommend the Redwood Bar and Grill (the Prime Rib Special is $7.95) or check out the Market Street Cafe for a quick snack (plus, it's open 24 hours). Don't be fooled by the name Pasta Pirate, as it's a restaurant that specializes in seafood.
There is a shuttle bus service running from the California to the Strip, which makes it a lot easier (and cheaper) to move about to all the places you want to see in Las Vegas.