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The best and the worst of El Cortez

Discussion in 'Downtown Hotels & Casinos' started by alburtis26, Aug 1, 2015.

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  1. alburtis26

    alburtis26 Tourist

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    Been going to Vegas since 1989. We have always stayed on the strip except for one stay at the Orleans. While we visit downtown each trip - and play at the EC, we have never stayed downtown. My wife knows that I love the "vintage Vegas" feel. Truth be told my favorite stays were at the Dunes and the original Sahara (garden rooms in both, right by the pool). I know those days are over , but she finally agreed to a downtown stay. Any help with what would be good/bad about the El Cortez would be great! The other option (in my mind) is the Golden Gate. Really want it to be a history type trip. It is just the two of us, so size of room is not really important. CLEAN is really the only requirement. All information is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    In my opinion, the standard Golden Gate rooms are two small for even two people.
    El Cortez Tower rooms and the Cabana Suites are both good rooms.
    I don't have much bad to say about El Cortez rooms, actually. Two things I can think of about the Cabana rooms that some folks may not like:
    1) The Cabana rooms are located across the street from the El Cortez casino, but you have to check in at El Cortez.
    2) The Cabana rooms are more susceptible to downtown noise than the Tower rooms.
     
  3. debitncredit

    debitncredit Tourist

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    I've never head any noise problem at the Cabana Suite. However, my girlfriend did not like the crossing across the street part. I'd recommend the GG suite. Don't get anything other than the suite at the GG.
     
  4. FullPay

    FullPay High-Roller

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    I have never stayed at the Golden Gate, but I was a fan of the vintage casino some ten years ago. Sure, they had to clean out that vintage smell, but then they took out the lunch line, the vintage coffee shop with counter service, then basically gutted and renovated the casino floor. They left the bar in place and you can still see some ceiling mirrors from the old 'eye in the sky', but for me the vintage feel is gone. On the good side I hear that the rooms are extremely vintage and the pit crew provides one of the livelier craps games to be found downtown.

    For the El Cortez the sweeping changes have been cleaning up and removing some of their less-valued clientele. They took a vintage video poker bar and turned it into the Parlour; not a plus for me but your wife may like the specialty drink menus. They used to have a vintage coffee shop and a vintage steak house; they recently combined the two. This might be an improvement over the coffee shop which often had the ambiance of dining in a nursing home, and could be an improvement for the steak house if they focus a little more on service. Vintage gambling is what I like about El Cortez. They still have three dollar craps and twenty-five cent roulette, and they have more coin-dropper video poker machines than anyplace else. For slot players they have all modern slots with the latest games; I don't play much and I would like to have a few three reel machines available, but you have to go upstairs at the D to find those. I have stayed in the vintage rooms solo (they are a bit tight); I like the feel of taking the stairs to the room instead of an elevator. Avoid the pavilion rooms at all cost, and I for one do not care to cross the street to the Cabana suites. The tower rooms are spacious but the bathrooms are small. My favorite is to get a tower room on the third floor because you can either use the elevator or you can make a grand entrance into the casino by coming down the spiral staircase behind the lobby bar.
     
  5. Texas Gramma

    Texas Gramma Low-Roller

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    The choice viewed from a woman's standpoint...

    Stay at one of the hotels where you can walk next door or across the walkway to get to another casino... I don't believe your wife would like staying at El Cortez because it is 2 blocks away from everything else. She can go out by herself in all safety if she desires to change her gambling surroundings to any of the casinos that are together... she could not do this at El Cortez.
    Be sure to get a reservation at Hugo's in Four Queens for a romantic dinner... I promise she will love the "old las vegas" atmosphere... their menu is online... and I recently made a descriptive post http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?122631-Needing-frugal-ideas-and-suggestions-for-a-group-of-14/page2
     
  6. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    I have not stayed at the Golden Gate since the renovation. I remember the walls were thin. I can't believe that they have fixed that, but perhaps they have. It is more centrally located, but I suspect you know that.
    There have been many posts on this board about Downtown Grand and the Plaza. Those look inviting. If you do any amount of gambling, there is a host who posts here from the Plaza. If you are coming back and seeding for some mailers the D and the Four Queens are pretty good with comps, not what they were a couple years ago, but pretty good.
    I'm fading those two out and thinking of others. I got a good rate using the American Casino Guide for the Fremont. Buy 2 and get 1 free. There is a similar deal for Main Street Station and California. None of those have resort fees.
    El Cortez has a resort fee as well as a fee for booking more than 7 nights.
    If noise is a factor, post again with just that as a question. It is a factor for me and it is getting harder and harder to find quiet rooms. I think the Tower would be a good booking for quiet.

    I've stayed often at the El Cortez over the years and will again on Halloween. I don't gamble much there, so I don't care about future mailings.

    I agree that neither the Vintage nor the Pavillion are good choices for rooms.
    And if you choose the Cabana rooms, there are three levels. I suggest getting the largest. The cheapest is really very small. I love it, but for two it might feel cramped.
    I don't quite get the aversion to walking across the street. It is twenty steps and generally there is a security guard right there.
    I would not book a Cabana room on the ground floor. Anyone passing is just a few feet from your window and you can hear all the conversation.
    The Cabana is more colorful than the Tower. The Tower is more sedate.
    Here is a report from 2011, so don't read it. However there are a few photos of the Cabana rooms and they have not changed.
    http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/search?q=cabana+room
    Just scroll down to the photos

    Here is a link to my recent thoughts on the El Cortez:

    http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2015/08/el-cortez-thoughts-there-is-more-going.html.

    One last thing to consider now when booking downtown is whether there are huge Festivals planned. They drive prices up to triple the usual. Deals go away. I had one heck of a time booking the end of September because of The Life is l̶o̶u̶d̶ a̶n̶d̶ c̶r̶o̶w̶d̶e̶d̶...........Beautiful festival.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
  7. g8rb8k8

    g8rb8k8 Low-Roller

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    I have never stayed at GG but I have stayed in the El Cortez tower rooms and really enjoyed it. I am a female in my late 50s and travel solo and have felt safe staying there and walking up and down Fremont to get back and forth to hotel. The walk to the other casino's is really no big deal as far as it being a two block walk (lol....I stayed at NYNY and I think I could have walked Fremont St twice just getting from elevator to room) its a "short" walk. You already enjoy gambling at the El Cortez so I would suggest just staying there in one of the above mentioned rooms. I am not sure when you are going, but, the big drawback on the El Cortez is the lack of a pool when you are staying during the warmer months.
     
  8. alburtis26

    alburtis26 Tourist

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    Thanks to all the replies. I think between the two - we are going to go with the El Cortez. We have had better luck in that casino in our previous visits downtown. My wife won't be outside walking alone, and, though we have never been there after midnight on visits, I don't think that will play a part in our decision. My thought of the cabana rooms was that it wouldn't have "old Vegas" feel to them, so I don't think we will stay in one of those - walking across the street wouldn't be so bad - my wife's favorite activity when we go to Vegas is hiking at Red Rock Canyon!

    I think we will probably split the stay between El Cortez and a strip resort (We got married at the Riviera in '90 and stayed there almost exclusively after the Dunes closed, so Luxor was our home this past June). I know many seem to hate the Riv these past 20 years, but our room was always clean, and we were always treated well by the staff. Those were the two most important things to us (and still are). There is nothing "vintage or remotely old school" on the strip anymore. Was just hoping for something that would have a little feel of what it was like when we started going out there. The noise that has been mentioned is a little worrisome, but the size of the room won't be a factor. I am always amazed when I talk to friends that go on cruises show us pictures of their room. That is small!

    Dewey - Would the reason you wouldn't book the vinatge room be noise? That would be a deal breaker for my wife for sure. I only ask it specifically because she really like the idea of the staircase instead of the elevator. Everyone has their own deal breakers - I completely respect others, just some times it is different. For an example - when we stayed at the Riv and many were running it down because of its age. The fact that it was there when we started going out was why we liked it. (Only strip casinos left from that first trip in '89 - Tropicana, Caesars, Flamingo and Circus Circus, and with the exception of CC, the others have completely changed, anyway. Mirage opened a month after we were there).

    Our next trip is Jan. 8 -13, so pool is not a factor (I think it is why she said we could stay downtown- hiking at Red Rock is nicer, though).
     
  9. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Yes. I rented here. The rooms were nothing to boast about, but the deal breaker was each of my neighbors playing a different television station at 2 AM. It was terrible.
     
  10. FullPay

    FullPay High-Roller

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    The vintage rooms are simply small, most of the room is taken up by the bed, there are no closets, and no place to put anything in the bathroom. I have heard people complain of casino noise but I have never experienced it. Best room to avoid outside noise is the tower facing south. This puts your window above the casino roof and away from the streets.

    The most 'vintage' feeling rooms I have ever seen in Vegas are the vintage suites at El Cortez. Years ago my brother used to upgrade his comped room (low-roller) to the vintage suite just by asking at the desk. The bathroom isn't much better, but the suite has a bar and sitting area where you can just imagine Frank and Dean letting their drinks 'rest.'
     
  11. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Actually there are a number of different types of vintage rooms. The standard vintage room is small for 2 people (a little tight for 1 person even). There are some vintage rooms facing west (downtown) that are roomier, one or two even have a big room that you can see from the street. Outside noise could be a factor because you can hear the music being played outside. There are 2 vintage rooms close to the stairs going down to the casino. Those rooms are awesome with a king sized bed, 2 closet areas, a "waiting" room that has a desk and a closet for company. The living room has a big L shaped couch that probably can fit 4 or 5 people comfortably. A wall unit with a tv, a fridge to keep your things cold (small freezer on top). The only drawback with this room is that there isn't much of a view (top of the casino).

    There are also a couple of rooms that are on the next level that are also roomier than the standard room.

    I would say that one drawback to the vintage rooms is that there is no elevator to get to the room, you either have to walk up some (relatively) steep stairs (probably best to get the porter to take your bags to the room) or you can take the "back" way from the parking structure - you have a short stairway (probably 10 steps) to get to a hallway that gets you to the hallway to the vintage rooms.

    As others mentioned, do not stay at the pavilion rooms. Those rooms are on the top of the parking structure. You need to swipe your key card to get to that floor. There is a cement walkway to get to your room so you can hear people walking along it at all hours of the day and night.

    The Tower rooms are a little "dated" but very roomy, most of the rooms have a couch or loveseat and coffee table so you can lounge in your room. The cabana suites are newer and nicely done. Make sure you get the upgrade because the standard "deluxe" suite is very small for 1 person.

    Here are some pictures of the hotel. The cabana suites rooms have a green tinge.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g45963-d111692-Reviews-El_Cortez_Hotel_Casino-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html#photos.

    For 2 people I would recommend the cabana suites or the tower room (no guarantee you will get a larger vintage room or a good pavilion room).

    Pros and Cons. As some people mentioned, the El Cortez is away from the fremont st. experience (5 minute walk) and while the walk is safe (there usually is a guard on the street corner looking up to the fremont st. experience), it can be a pain if you are tired and want to get to your room (no real activity the next 2 blocks to get to the fremont st. experience). Some people like the GG, Fremont, 4 queens and D because they are right on the FSE so very quick to get in and out of the different casinos. Parking is plentiful at the El Cortez and free, you just show your room key card to the security guard and he will let you into the lot attached to the hotel/casino.


    Golden Gate. Beware as the standard rooms are....substandard. Small and dated with a small bathroom. It would be unacceptable for 2 people. There are newer suites that are located in the back (along Main St.). These suites are large and nicely done and highly recommended. Note that while parking is free you have to valet it (no self parking) so add in a few bucks to your daily rate for going in and out of the place.
     
  12. alburtis26

    alburtis26 Tourist

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    Thanks again to all - we have booked a tower room at the El Cortez. I think the easy parking may be a big plus, too, since we will probably be driving somewhere almost every day. With (almost) daily trips to Red Rock, walking the few (six small blocks) in the evening to get to ANYWHERE downtown will still be easier than walking anywhere from the Riv the last few years. Now on to the restaurant threads for food help! Thanks again.
     
  13. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Great. After your experience, let us know how it was.
     
  14. wantobeonvaca

    wantobeonvaca Tourist

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    I stayed in a Vintage room in February 2014. The smell was bad,real bad. But I did enjoy my stay.
     
  15. debitncredit

    debitncredit Tourist

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    One thing that I really dislike about ElCo is that their hotel reservations are done by front desk clerks. When I call in, I always feel rushed.
     
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