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“What a change - easily the best value downtown”

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El Cortez Hotel & Casino
Ranked #88 of 265 Hotels in Las Vegas
Reviewed 2 December 2009

We have been staying downtown 2-3 times per year over the last 6 years, and 6 years ago never thought the El Cortez would even be a consideration to stay in. It was a dump, dirty and delapidated, in a somewhat scary part of downtown, 2 blocks east of the Fremont Street Experience. The clientele seemed to fit the place perfectly. Smoke poured out the casino door when it opened (we smoke and we noticed the haze inside) and a foul odor hung in the air.
Over the years, I would drop in there for a moment just out of curiousity. I noticed that, unlike some other downtown properties which were falling into decay, the El Cortez was spiffing up.
Earlier this year, I convinced the better half to come in with me. She had vowed 6 yrs earlier never again. We ended up spending about 3 hours there, and she was shocked at the turnaround (but still skeptical).
We got an offer to stay in the new Cabana Suites and (after agreeing with her that we would go elsewhere if it wasn't decent there, as well as researching their remodel, etc. on the web and showing such to her) we booked, opting for a Tower room as the Suites are non-smoking. I'm glad we did, as the Cabana Suites are also across the street, not attached to the main building.
The changes are not superficial.
Services were excellent all around. When we booked they gave us a room number. We arrived about an hour before check-in time and the room was ready (same room number they had given us a month earlier). Not once did we see a smudge print on the elevator panel, nor anywhere in it (although it is a pet peeve of mine, that nearly every property that has a nice big furnishing in the hall when you exit the elevator has been knicked but good by the maids vacuum and isn't touched up. Same here) . The room was large, clean (no fear of being barefoot as in some other properties) and well appointed. No flat screen TV, but it was big enough. Except for the TV, it looked just like the picture on their website (believe me, many of the other properties rooms do not). Bathroom is kinda small, but that wasn't a problem. Electronic safe is in there mounted near the floor in the closet area. You won't find amenities already in place in the room, but they're available, just call down. She needed a hairdryer and they offered to bring a frig as well. Don't see that happen often. No old noisy heat/cool unit on the floor by the window here. Output and air intake are vented from the ceiling with the control on the wall near the door. And no old 'popcorn' ceiling.
Gambling was fun, great mix of new and old machines (there are still coin payouts on some, old Vegas) and the limits are low on the tables ($3 BJ with 3/2 and 25 cent roulette with $1 minimum) which is nice if you hit a cold streak. Casino was very clean at all times in the 3+ days we stayed. It was common to see not just maintenance people picking up around the place, but floor people, servers, and security as well. Machines were being wiped down and no trash and empty cups/bottles laying round them. The air was clear and no odors. Carpet and floors all clean. Fellow patrons were friendly, it has a loyal following.
We ate each day at the Cafe Cortez. Great food and a lot of it for cheap (frig came in handy for leftovers). And yes, Jackie is around, he ate at the next table Sunday morning. Didn't try The Flame or the hot dog cart, but heard they were good. If you don't want to stop gambling to eat, they have a service to deliver food to you. We forgot to try that, but saw many people using it.
There are still some characters in there, but that's typical downtown. Security is abundant, inside and out. Not once did we see any disturbance. The short walk to the Experience is plenty safe, day or night. We walked one night to Binion's to eat at the coffee shop there (sure glad we did, as unfortunately it will be gone in a couple of weeks) and had no problem at all. But the fact is, we enjoyed the El Cortez so much, that was the only time we left the property.
Bottom line, the El Cortez ranks #2 as far as downtown properties go (Golden Nugget is #1, but much more expensive). If your looking for a hip crowd and expensive duds, go to the GN. But if your like us, average working class people, the EC is the place to go.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank phxazdave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 December 2009

We got a room in the tower. The room was clean (enough) and very roomy with a sitting room. However, I didn't like the bathroom - kinda old and the tub was sloping. The sink is outside of the bathroom and is also slanty with little counter space and it's too low.

The worst thing is ventilation in the hotel - you just can't stay away from the smoke, even in a non-smoking room. Air in the casino is quite bad, even in the restaurants.

They do have a section of coin-operated slot machines which I think are for the old-timers who preferred the substance and sounds of coins.

Tried both restaurants in the hotel and both were alright with decent prices.

Our friend got his room from Expedia at $42/night, 3-night stay special. His room is situated on top of the parking structure on the 5th floor (I think they convert it), kinda weird but has newer furnishings and decor than our room. It's suitable for those who look for good prices.

Finally, I must mentioned that El Cortez has 2 parking structures, one attached, one detached. They also have a separate building (El Cortez Cabana Suites) across the street.

Excellent location for those who want the Fremont Street Experience. Everthing was ok with our stay, but we usually look for more comfort and excitement so we probably won't return.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ariesgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2009

Totally awesome host and the staff was totally excellent... Nice rooms and good slot play...New ventilation has nearly totally moved the old smokey casino problem... This is Old Vegas at its best!!!

Stayed: November 2009, travelled solo
2  Thank surfinsooner1967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2009

I booked this hotel online. the pics look good online, but not the same when i arrived, i can smelled the ciggarate all the time when i was sleeping, and i can hear the other door slam in my room. the room was very small. i will not go back again. i will rather pay more money to stay in a better hotel. not recomment.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled on business
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2  Thank nkh3529
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2009

I had read many reviews about the Tez and its renovated rooms, but I was not totally convinced - however, as I was travelling alone, the price was right and I only needed a place to crash after gambling the farm away and drinking myself to oblivion I figured that I would give the El Cortez a try.

My 2 queen beds tower room was totally renovated and a lot better than the rooms I've had recently at Imperial Palace, Boulder Station, Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho - not to mention dives like Plaza, Vegas Club and Terribles.

The only negative point was the old television set - but who goes to Las Vegas to watch television?

The food options are quite limited: an "upscale" steakhouse, a coffee shop and a sub shop, but at par with what you would encounter in any downtown casino.

The gambling is great - good VP, loose slots and THE BEST single deck blackjack in town (stil paying 3:2).

They have upgraded the rooms and the casino - now they need to upgrade their patronage, and I am afraid it will take a while until the people that used to favor the property when it was the third worst hotel-casino in town (after the Western and the Gold Spike) go looking for greener pastures.

If you are looking for good odds instead of volcanos, pirate battles and water shows and if a swiming pool is not high on your priorities list, I am sure you will love the El Cortez.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled solo
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3  Thank The_Crazy_Brazilian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Cortez Hotel & Casino

Address: 600 East Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101-5614
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Nevada > Las Vegas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#9 Best Value Hotel in Las Vegas
#44 Casino Hotel in Las Vegas
Price Range: ₹ 2,657 - ₹ 96,241 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — El Cortez Hotel & Casino 3*
Number of rooms: 362
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Constructed in 1941, the El Cortez Hotel and Casino is the oldest consistently running gaming property in Las Vegas. It is located in the Fremont East Entertainment District in historic downtown Las Vegas. With 362 hotel rooms including the Cabana Suites, El Cortez features full-pay single deck 21, 10x odds on craps, state of the art roulette and over 1000 slot machines. El Cortez is proudly affiliated with Michael Gaughan's South Point Sports Book. Dining options at El Cortez include: Cafe Cortez, The Flame Steakhouse, and Subway. The property also includes a gift shop and full-service beauty and barber shop. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Cortez Hotel Las Vegas
El Cortez Hotel And Casino
El Cortez Las Vegas

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