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El Cortez Hotel Review - Las Vegas

Updated on March 24, 2011

El Cortez - One of the oldest hotels in Las Vegas

The El Cortez is a part of Las Vegas history. It is one of the few remaining hotels and casinos that were actually around during the "Old Las Vegas" days, when the city was run by mobsters and other low-lifes. Today it is what's known as a locals casino, attracting mostly Las Vegas natives who want to stay away from the tourist traps and other gimmicks found at places on the Las Vegas Strip.  

The El Cortez is located in a section of downtown Las Vegas now known as Fremont East. This section was once thought to be too far from Fremont Street to get foot traffic, but it soon was making so much money that notorious casino barons Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Moe Sedway, and Gus Greenbaum bought the 4-year-old property in 1945. Jackie Gaughan bought it in 1963, and it's now owned by a group that includes his son. Jackie Sr. is still alive, and at the age of 90 he can still be seen on the casino floor on a regular basis. He loves talking about old Las Vegas.  

The El Cortez hotel - How are the rooms?

As you might expect from a 70-year-old hotel, the rooms are not as nice as a suite at the brand new City Center hotels. They are small by Las Vegas standards, but they are also dirt cheap. If you want to experience Las Vegas but don't care about how nice your hotel room is, the El Cortez is your kind of place. You can get a room there for under $30 a night, plus they usually have specials where you can get food credits just for staying at their hotel. Take advantage of their free parking service as well. 

If you want a little extra, book a Cabana Suite and enjoy most the of the amenities you'd find in a new hotel. They even have wireless internet access available, which you won't find in some Las Vegas hotels that are only 20 years old (I'm looking at you, Luxor!).  

The entertainment options at the El Cortez pretty much just include the Lounge Bar, but you're also a few steps from Fremont Street, which is spectacular at night. During the day, hop a ride on the $7 a day Deuce Bus and go down to the main part of the Las Vegas Strip where you'll find shopping, entertainment, and some of the biggest casinos in the world.  

I don't want to ruin the atmosphere at El Cortez by encouraging a bunch of tourists to go there, and it's probably not where I'd stay if I was taking my family to Las Vegas, but if you're a traveler looking to save some bucks and experience a piece of Las Vegas as it once way about 50 years ago, you could do a lot worse than this place.  


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  • profile image

    Genni Lopez 6 years ago

    ;-) terrific tips!

  • I am DB Cooper profile image

    I am DB Cooper 6 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

    I've found that the upscale rooms at the Flamingo are really nice, but the standard rooms are nothing special and show the age of the hotel. If you're going to slum it in Las Vegas, why not stay on Fremont Street for a fraction of the price? It's only $7 for an all-day bus pass to get to and from the Strip. The entertainment at the Flamingo was what I disliked the most. It's basically the same tired acts from 20 years ago -- people who couldn't find success on TV or in movies, so they're stuck in purgatory doing stand-up at the Flamingo.

  • GenniLopez profile image

    GenniLopez 6 years ago from Cagliari

    I have been to Las Vegas.. I wish I read before your hub :-) I stayed in the so nice. Thanks for the information