I like the El Cortez, and I stay in the Pavillion on an ACG coupon almost every time I go to Vegas, but if I had a choice between Pavillion and the Gold Coast, I'd go with the Gold Coast.
I am perhaps the least fussy person on rooms, but Pavillion rooms are basic. There is no desk space to set a computer and while I don't get wifi in the room, I like to write, save on the computer, and send when I get free wifi at the Krispy Kreme. And I keep all my travel notes in my computer.
Pavillion rooms are very different from the tower rooms.
The beds, the shower, the space, the privacy all rates poorer.
My last visit the hot water was erratic and the key took four swipes to register before the door opened.
I love the balcony over the neon, but if there is any noise along that balcony, you hear it and window curtains need always to be drawn for privacy so forget view from the room.
If you are driving, the Pavillion does have good access to parking.
I don't smoke, so I don't know much about that.
I do know that there is now no smoking in Vintage rooms.
My next trip I am going to try one of the Vintage rooms on my coupon. I have heard that sometimes there are nice old suites up there that can be had.
Also, some claim that they get upgrades on comped Pavillion rooms to tower or Cabana by just asking.
“Never marry a casino; just have affairs until the love is gone.” -Jean Scott-