El Cortez Las Vegas Review

I wrote a couple of months ago about my trip to the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas. The Waldorf is a non-gaming property where everything is as upscale as it might possibly be. However, for our Spring Break trip we decided to do something different. I had stayed there on a solo trip in August 2022 (YouTube link), and we decided to go back to El Cortez Las Vegas. This hotel is a phenomenal place to gamble with a great location, but I am not sure I would stay there again.

Dine Drink Vegas Podcast Episode 11- Live from Luxor! Dine Drink Vegas

The football watching trip over Labor Day weekend was epic. Bill and John recorded this episode live in the Luxor to give you the rundown on an excellent trip to Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Delano, and every sports book we could find. Dine Drink Vegas is the podcast for everyone who is stuck at home and who wishes they were in the land of neon lights and bad decisions. Come join us! #football  #lasvegas  #podcast  #dinedrinkvegas  #dinedrinktravel 
  1. Dine Drink Vegas Podcast Episode 11- Live from Luxor!
  2. Dine Drink Vegas Podcast Episode 10- Rock you like a hurricane?
  3. Dine Drink Vegas Podcast Episode 9- Bargain Booze Blues and Pinkies up at Luxury Non-Gaming Hotels
  4. Dine Drink Vegas Episode 8- NYNY, Salt Bae, Night Swim, and Rum Old Fashioneds.
  5. Dine Drink Vegas Podcast Episode 7: Luxury on a Budget

If you want to hear our thoughts at more length, please check out our podcast. We provided the RSS feed above. We will also link to our various YouTube videos during this post. Be sure to check out our YouTube channels Dine Drink Travel Vegas and Dine Drink Travel Cruise if you haven’t already. The El Cortez does have several strengths.

What does El Cortez Las Vegas have going for it?

Like I said, I am not sure I would stay here again. However, this hotel does have several things going for it. The links below are mostly to our YouTube channel, and I promise that those videos are as short and focused as they can be to answer the relevant question. However, without a doubt the strength of El Cortez Las Vegas is that they have the best gambling rules in town. We have YouTube Short about both blackjack and video poker rules. There is both single deck and double deck blackjack. Betting minimums are reasonable. Video blackjack earns slot points, pays 3 to 2, and even allows you to double after split. I have won several decent slot jackpots. You just don’t find deals like that anymore.

Siegel's 1941 at El Cortez Las Vegas has my favorite breakfast in town.
Siegel’s 1941 at El Cortez Las Vegas has my favorite breakfast in town.

The primary hotel restaurant in Siegel’s 1941, and they have my favorite breakfast in town. The location is great. El Cortez is an easily walked block from the Fremont Street Experience, and it is across the corner from Container Park. There are multiple great restaurants within a block– just decide what you are in the mood for. The Speakeasy Barbershop is amazing, and I schedule a shave and a haircut there every time I am in town. They are officially my barbers. El Cortez also has several classes of rooms, and they are often available at great prices. While we have not stayed in one of the cabana rooms, we have walk throughs of most of the other room types:

So what’s not to love?

El Cortez Las Vegas does, indeed, have several strengths. I am delighted to go back there to gamble, see my barber, or eat breakfast. However, there are two primary reasons I do not intend to stay there again. One is the age of the property, and the other is the difficulty of receiving basic hotel services.

The age of the property is actually the less significant issue. However, a lot of the place is dimly lit with low ceilings. More importantly, it means that spaces such as the pavilion rooms are simply past their prime. There aren’t always enough power cords. None of those things is a dealbreaker individually, but adding them up leads to a suboptimal experience.

I have twice checked into a room at El Cortez which hadn't been cleaned when I arrived.
I have twice checked into a room at El Cortez which hadn’t been cleaned when I arrived.

The much larger issue is poor service. I want to be exceptionally clear here– the problem isn’t with the people. They are almost always great, and folks like Leo (the valet) add richly to the experience. The problem is that there aren’t enough of those great people. That problem is compounded by a stunning lack of automated processes, which means you need those people more often.

You can make reservations online, but you cannot change them without calling someone. On my most recent trip I didn’t even get a confirmation email (although I usually do). That made changing my room type tricky, although we eventually got it done. Check in takes the far end of forever. John didn’t have a working refrigerator or coffee maker in his room and nobody ever replaced them. Twice I have checked in to a room that wasn’t cleaned upon arrival. The second time that happened they just left dirty towels in the hallway overnight and then locked me out of my room. That required another long visit to the check in desk. Turns out they checked me in to the wrong room in the first place. The service just isn’t good enough.

Bottom Line on El Cortez Las Vegas

There is a lot to like about El Cortez. The part I haven’t mentioned enough is that they really have the feeling of old school Vegas cool. It seems like you might see the Rat Pack walk by at any moment. However, the dated property and lack of basic hotel services means I would probably stay somewhere else.

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