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El Cortez Hotel and Casino: A Historic Gem in Downtown Las Vegas

If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas and looking for a unique and memorable hotel experience, look no further than the El Cortez Hotel and Casino. Located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, the El Cortez has a rich history and vintage charm that sets it apart from the glitz and glamour of the Strip.In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the El Cortez Hotel and Casino, including its history, amenities, and what makes it a must-visit destination in Las Vegas.

History And Architecture

Origins And Early Years

El Cortez Hotel and Casino, located in downtown Las Vegas, has a rich history dating back to its origins in 1941. The hotel was built by Marion Hicks and J.C. Grayson, who were successful businessmen in the gaming industry. They envisioned El Cortez as a luxury hotel that would cater to high-end clientele.

The original building was designed by architect Wayne McAllister, who was known for his work on other iconic Las Vegas buildings such as the Sands and Desert Inn. El Cortez was one of the first major hotels to be built outside of the downtown area, and it quickly became a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

During its early years, El Cortez was known for its glamorous atmosphere and luxurious amenities. The hotel featured a large casino floor with slot machines, table games, and a sportsbook. It also had a rooftop pool, several restaurants, and a nightclub that hosted famous performers such as Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr.

Year Event
1941 El Cortez Hotel and Casino opens
1952 First high-rise tower added
1963 Second high-rise tower added

Over the years, El Cortez has undergone several renovations and expansions, including the addition of two high-rise towers in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite these changes, the hotel has maintained much of its original charm and character, making it a beloved landmark in downtown Las Vegas.

Today, El Cortez continues to attract visitors with its vintage Vegas atmosphere and affordable room rates. It is also home to several popular restaurants and bars, including Siegel’s 1941 and The Parlour Bar.

The Mob Era

During the 1940s and 1950s, the El Cortez Hotel and Casino was a hub for organized crime in Las Vegas. The hotel was owned by several notorious mobsters including Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. In fact, it is rumored that the top two floors of the hotel were used as a secret meeting place for the heads of various crime families.

The Mob Era brought about significant changes to the architecture of the El Cortez. The hotel underwent multiple renovations during this time period, including the addition of a new tower and a redesigned entrance. These changes were made to accommodate the influx of high rollers and celebrities who frequented the hotel.

Despite its association with organized crime, the El Cortez remained a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. In fact, many people were drawn to the hotel precisely because of its connection to the underworld. The hotel’s reputation as a “mob joint” added to its mystique and allure.

Notable Figures Role
Bugsy Siegel Owner (1945-1947)
Meyer Lansky Co-owner (1945-1947)
Tony Cornero Owner (1941-1945)

Today, the El Cortez has been restored to its former glory and remains one of the oldest hotels in Las Vegas. Although the hotel no longer has ties to organized crime, it still retains much of its historic charm and character. Visitors can take a trip back in time and experience the glamour and excitement of Las Vegas during the Mob Era.

Restoration And Renovation

El Cortez Hotel and Casino is a historic hotel located in downtown Las Vegas. The hotel has undergone several restoration and renovation projects over the years to preserve its unique architecture and history.

In 2006, the hotel underwent a $25 million renovation project that restored many of its original features, including the façade and neon sign. The renovation also added modern amenities such as a fitness center and upgraded guest rooms.

Another major restoration project took place in 2013, which focused on restoring the hotel’s iconic dome. The dome was originally built in the 1950s and had deteriorated over time. The restoration project included replacing the dome’s copper roof and updating the lighting system to make it more energy-efficient.

The El Cortez Hotel and Casino has also been recognized for its efforts to preserve and promote Las Vegas’ rich history. In 2011, the hotel received a historic preservation award from the Nevada Preservation Foundation for its commitment to preserving the city’s architectural heritage.

The hotel’s restoration and renovation projects have helped to maintain its status as a beloved landmark in Las Vegas. Visitors can still experience the charm and character of the original building while enjoying modern amenities and world-class gaming.

Accommodations And Amenities

Room Options And Rates

When it comes to accommodations, the El Cortez Hotel and Casino offers a variety of room options to suit different preferences and budgets.

For those who prefer a more budget-friendly option, the Tower Rooms are a great choice. These rooms are located in the 15-story tower building and offer basic amenities such as a TV, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Rates for these rooms start at $29 per night.

If you’re looking for something more spacious or luxurious, the El Cortez also offers a selection of suites. The Vintage Suites, for example, feature classic decor and furnishings from the 1940s and 50s, while the Jacuzzi Suites come equipped with a private hot tub. Rates for these suites range from $99 to $199 per night.

For those seeking a truly unique experience, the El Cortez also has a limited number of Cabana Suites available. These suites are located on the hotel’s rooftop pool deck and offer stunning views of downtown Las Vegas. They also come equipped with a private outdoor seating area and a hot tub. Rates for the Cabana Suites start at $299 per night.

It’s worth noting that rates can vary depending on the time of year and availability, so it’s always best to check the El Cortez website or speak with a reservation agent directly to get the most up-to-date information.

Dining And Drinking

El Cortez Hotel and Casino offers a variety of dining and drinking options to its guests. The hotel has four restaurants, a coffee shop, and a bar.

The Siegel’s 1941 restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in the hotel. It serves classic American dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, and salads. The restaurant has a retro vibe and features a jukebox that plays music from the 40s and 50s. Another popular restaurant is the Flame Steakhouse, which serves premium steaks and seafood dishes. The restaurant has an intimate atmosphere and is perfect for special occasions.

The hotel also has a Mexican restaurant called the Cabana Cafe. It serves authentic Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. The restaurant has a casual atmosphere and is perfect for a quick bite. For those who prefer Asian cuisine, the hotel has a Chinese restaurant called the Wok and Roll. It serves traditional Chinese dishes such as dumplings, fried rice, and chow mein.

For those who want to grab a quick cup of coffee or a pastry, the hotel has a coffee shop called the Cafe Cortez. It serves a variety of coffee drinks, pastries, and sandwiches. The coffee shop is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Parlour Bar is the hotel’s main bar. It serves a variety of cocktails, beers, and wines. The bar has a vintage feel and features live music on weekends. The hotel also has a sports bar called the Ike’s Bar. It has several TVs showing live sports events and serves a variety of beers and pub food.

Casino And Gaming

El Cortez Hotel and Casino is a popular destination for those who love to gamble. The casino floor features over 1,000 slot machines, as well as table games such as blackjack, craps, and roulette. There are also several poker tables available for those who enjoy the game.

The casino offers a variety of promotions and events throughout the year, including slot tournaments and giveaways. One popular promotion is the “Jackie’s Club” rewards program, which allows players to earn points that can be redeemed for free play, meals, and other perks.

In addition to traditional gaming options, El Cortez also has a sports book where guests can bet on their favorite teams and events. The sports book features multiple screens showing live games and races, and there are comfortable seating areas where guests can relax and watch the action.

For those who prefer a more private gaming experience, El Cortez offers high-limit rooms where guests can play with higher stakes. These rooms feature a variety of table games and slot machines, as well as personalized service from dedicated staff members.

Pool And Spa

El Cortez Hotel and Casino offers a variety of amenities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. One of the highlights of the hotel is its pool and spa area.

The outdoor pool at El Cortez Hotel and Casino is an oasis in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. The pool area is surrounded by lush greenery and features plenty of lounge chairs for guests to relax and soak up the sun. The pool is heated year-round, making it a great spot to take a dip no matter what time of year you visit.

In addition to the pool, El Cortez Hotel and Casino also has a spa on-site. The spa offers a range of services, including massages, facials, and body treatments. Guests can choose from a variety of packages or customize their own spa experience.

If you’re looking for a little extra relaxation, consider booking one of the hotel’s suites with a private Jacuzzi. These suites offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort, with spacious living areas and stunning views of the city.

Why Choose El Cortez

Vintage Vegas Vibes

El Cortez Hotel and Casino is a historic establishment located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. The hotel was built in 1941 and has been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike ever since. One of the main reasons people choose El Cortez is for its vintage Vegas vibes.

The hotel has managed to maintain its classic charm over the years while still offering modern amenities. Guests can enjoy newly renovated rooms that feature vintage decor and artwork, as well as high-speed internet and flat-screen TVs. The casino also boasts a mix of classic and modern games, including slot machines, table games, and a sportsbook.

El Cortez is also home to several iconic restaurants and bars that have been around for decades. The Flame Steakhouse has been serving up delicious steaks and seafood since 1960, while the Parlour Bar has been a favorite spot for locals since the 1950s.

If you’re looking for a taste of old-school Vegas, El Cortez is the perfect place to stay. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you walk through the lobby and explore the casino floor. And with its prime location in downtown Las Vegas, you’ll be just steps away from all the action and excitement of Fremont Street.

Room Type Description Price Range
Classic Room One queen bed or two double beds, vintage decor, flat-screen TV, high-speed internet $29 – $79 per night
Premium Tower Room One king bed, modern decor, flat-screen TV, high-speed internet, mini-fridge $89 – $149 per night
Jacuzzi Suite One king bed, vintage decor, flat-screen TV, high-speed internet, separate living area with sofa and jacuzzi tub $149 – $249 per night

El Cortez is also home to some rare items that have been sold for high prices at auction. In 2012, the hotel’s original neon sign was sold for $60,000 at a Bonhams auction in Los Angeles. The sign, which had been in use since the 1940s, was replaced with a replica in 2009.

In 2018, a rare silver strike from El Cortez sold for $1,500 on eBay. Silver strikes are collectible coins that were once given out as prizes in slot machines. El Cortez is one of the few casinos that still offers silver strikes as a prize.

Affordable Luxury

El Cortez Hotel and Casino is a top-rated hotel in Las Vegas that offers affordable luxury to its guests. The hotel has been operating since 1941 and has undergone several renovations to provide a modern touch while still maintaining its vintage charm.

The rooms at El Cortez are spacious, comfortable, and elegantly designed with classic furniture and modern amenities. Guests can choose from different room categories that suit their needs and budget. The hotel’s Tower Rooms offer a more luxurious experience with stunning views of the city skyline.

Despite the luxurious features, El Cortez offers affordable rates that are suitable for all types of travelers. The hotel also provides various promotions and packages that allow guests to save money while enjoying premium services.

El Cortez’s affordability does not compromise the quality of its services. The hotel’s staff is friendly, professional, and always willing to assist guests with anything they need. The hotel also has several dining options that serve delicious cuisine, including Siegel’s 1941, which offers a fine dining experience.

Furthermore, El Cortez’s prime location in downtown Las Vegas provides easy access to popular attractions such as the Fremont Street Experience and the Mob Museum. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s casino, which features a wide range of games and entertainment options.

Room Category Price Range Features
Classic Room $29 – $99 per night Flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, mini-fridge, coffee maker
Tower Premium Room $69 – $139 per night City view, marble bathroom, upgraded amenities
Tower Suite $129 – $209 per night Separate living area, wet bar, spa tub, VIP check-in

El Cortez is also known for its rare and unique items sold in auctions. One of the most famous items sold was a vintage slot machine that was auctioned for $60,000. The hotel’s history and vintage charm attract collectors and enthusiasts who are willing to pay high prices for these rare items.

In conclusion, El Cortez Hotel and Casino offers affordable luxury that is suitable for all types of travelers. The hotel’s prime location, quality services, and vintage charm make it an excellent choice for anyone visiting Las Vegas.

Service And Hospitality

El Cortez Hotel and Casino is known for its exceptional service and hospitality. The hotel has a team of dedicated staff who are committed to ensuring that guests have a memorable experience during their stay.

The hotel’s front desk staff are available 24/7 to assist guests with any queries or concerns they may have. They are knowledgeable about the local area and can provide recommendations on things to see and do in Las Vegas. The hotel also offers a concierge service, which can help guests with restaurant reservations, show tickets, and transportation arrangements.

The housekeeping staff at El Cortez are meticulous in their work, ensuring that guest rooms are always clean and comfortable. They pay attention to even the smallest details to ensure that guests have everything they need during their stay.

El Cortez also offers a range of amenities to make guests’ stays more enjoyable. These include a fitness center, a beauty salon, and a gift shop. The hotel also has an outdoor pool, which is the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun.

Location And Accessibility

One of the main reasons why many people choose to stay at El Cortez Hotel and Casino is its prime location in downtown Las Vegas. The hotel is situated on Fremont Street, which is one of the most iconic streets in the city. This area is known for its vibrant nightlife, numerous casinos, and various entertainment options.

In addition to its central location, El Cortez is also easily accessible from different parts of the city. The hotel is located just a few miles away from the McCarran International Airport, making it convenient for travelers who are flying in and out of Las Vegas. Moreover, the hotel provides shuttle services to and from the airport for the convenience of its guests.

For those who prefer to explore the city on foot, El Cortez is within walking distance to many popular attractions, such as the Mob Museum, Neon Museum, and the Container Park. Guests can also take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service that takes them to nearby attractions and landmarks.


In conclusion, the El Cortez Hotel and Casino is a true gem in downtown Las Vegas. With its rich history, unique architecture, and exceptional amenities, it offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors looking to escape the glitz and glamour of the Strip. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of vintage Vegas, or simply looking for affordable luxury, the El Cortez is a must-visit destination.So, what are you waiting for? Book your stay at the El Cortez and experience the best of old-school Vegas for yourself!

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