El Cortez Cabana Suites : The VegasTripping Review 2011

The Best Kept Secret In Las Vegas

Posted by Chuckmonster

El Cortez Cabana Suites  Review Bed2

The bed, framed slightly off center by a black bordered button tufted white vinyl set on a trippy black and white wall paper pattern, is on the opposite wall facing the TV set. Striking. To the right side of the bed is a small swamp cooler AC/heater mounted into the wall. It worked great, but did require some futzing with to get the temperature right. Another downside is that if you are sleeping on that side of the bed, you get ice cold air blasting on your buns all night... not optimal.

El Cortez Cabana Suites  Review Gatr

On the bathroom side wall is a body length mirror, perfect for eyeballing your look before hitting the town. It is framed by the same gator skin coverings that surround the artwork mounted in the hallway. This level of design consistency and inventiveness is inspiring. Did I mention that I paid $20/night for this hotel room? I'd be jazzed if i paid 4x that.

El Cortez Cabana Suites  Review Bed

The alternate view partially shows the shutters on the somewhat small windows. The shutters do NOT block out the constantly changing lighting that sets the mood on the hotel exterior. The slowly changing lights add a "cheap motel" vibe to the room that I find to be actually charming.

I had trouble sleeping at the El Cortez and it wasn't due to a lack of alcohol. The mattress wasn't uncomfortable, it just didn't suit my specific tastes in mattresses. If you really enjoy the 'out like a light within minutes of laying down' mattresses that many Las Vegas hotels have been using as of late, you might find these disappointing. Perhaps I was 'over tired' from all the excitement of the Cosmopolitan opening, mind racing over all the details I learned and how I was going to go about sharing them with y'all. Did I mention that I paid $20 a night to stay in this room?

At the foot of the bed is another piece of retro modern furniture, a black vinyl gator skin covered end of bed curvy table couch thingy. This piece did sextuple duty as a chair, storage device, clothes valet, luggage stand, bar area and technology staging area. Great.

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Comments & Discussion

Isn't this the old Ogden House? If memory serves me that was where they filmed the scene in Casino where Sharon Stone's character died.

Looks nice enough I guess.

2 obstetrical towelettes might be the oddest thing I've ever seen, I hope something was lost in the translation from some other language.

I'm very impressed.

The price is insanely low. It looks kind of like a mix between Cosmo and the Go Rooms at the Flamingo. Very indie/quirky/deliberately-alternative with just the right amount of whorehouse chic.

I hope that these are a good investment for the EC. Any business that offers great deals deserves customers.

I must add one comment...

I think the choice of labelling with the, ahem, "intimacy kit" is quite suboptimal.

Terms like "lubricating jelly" and "obstetric towelettes" make the kit feel like something more appropriate to a trip to the Gynecologist than a long and breathtaking night of passion.

Award for best Vegas bathroom design.Someone had a nice concept that translated to coolness very well.

Looks kewl, but Chuck, how much did you pay again? I couldn't find that anywhere in your review........

Great review and great looking room. The bathroom reminds me of the West Wing bathroom though (although the sink is outside of the West Ring bathroom itself). I'm not saying it's a bad thing and I have to go look and see if you did a review on the West Wing Rooms for what you thought of those. If you haven't reviewed them, have you had a chance to look at those and what were your thoughts, since they are 'cozy' too.

I do love how your excitement for the room really leapt out from review as well. The green is very cool.

Gorgeous. I'll definitely be hitting this place up. Smashing!

i think "holy shit" sums up my reaction. Do you have any pictures of the casino? im curious what that looks like as my gambling addiction requires that to be decent


The casino looks like the opposite of the rooms, they might as well be two different hotels. Low ceilings, perma-smoke, old degens bolted into the slot stools. It's your basic $20 a night Vegas casino, but not hotel.

Great review, Chuck. I've stayed at the Cabana Suites a couple of times and I am consistently impressed. The value is unreal. Not sure if Chuck mentioned it, but it's only $20 friggin' dollars a night! True, the casino is dated and a little smokey, but it offers the best odds anywhere in Vegas and the new ownership is constantly working on the casino and tower hotel as well. If you haven't seen it check out the article in the Vegas Sun regarding the Design a Suite contest. They new suites are going to be amazing!

Dang, I just reserved the Rec Room suite for my 40th. i will definately stay at the Cabana on my next trip.

An interesting idea, love the concept. In practice, however, I think the green tint would give me a headache, and I'm not crazy about the shutters which don't keep out the neon flashes from outside. Don't think I'd stay here.

@ersetz the lighting is really reaally reaaaaaally low in these rooms. the green walls have more of a deflected filter vibe than an eye gouge vibe. the exposure on these photos has been heavily amplified to see the details.... it isn't this bright in person.


"Isn't this the old Ogden House? If memory serves me that was where they filmed the scene in Casino where Sharon Stone's character died."

Yes, it is... And that's why the room is only $20 per night. Not only is it Downtown, but it's in that "SCAAAAAAAAAWEEEEEEE!!!!" part of Downtown that we were all once told NOT to hang around.

However, another reason why Mr. Chuck is correct about this being the best kept secret in Vegas is that Fremont East stopped being "SCAAAAAAAAAWEEEEEEE!!!!" years ago. Nowadays, the scariest thing that might happen is getting panhandled somewhat aggressively by some loopy homeless person "armed" with today's R-J. Otherwise, one now encounters more local hipsters grabbing coffee at Emergency Arts and cocktails at The Griffin.

OK, so El Cortez's casino isn't glitzy and glamorous. Well, one shouldn't go Downtown for glitzy and glamorous. One goes Downtown to rediscover that lost "Old Vegas" charm, and IMHO El Cortez is rekindling just that nicely with its continuing renovation.

^^ wooks wike someone mistwook the west of us fouw cartoon cowacters.

While the area south of the Fremont Street Experience has a reputation of being a sketchy area, it's definitely getting better. I still wouldn't walk through Neonopolis though, as that place is creepy any time of day. The Gold Spike and the ElCo are not the same properties they were up until about 2-3 years ago. These are not fleabag no-tell motels like those along LV Blvd. north of Sahara. These hotels feature rooms that are definitely value for money.

The reason why Chuckmonster was able to get a room at the ElCo Cabana Suites for $20 in the middle of the week is because the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of the slowest times of the year. Even with the NFR falling in the early part of that time period, cheap room rates are quite common. Back in 2008, I actually stayed at Binion's the second weekend of NFR for free just for registering for a special slot tournament. If a hotel can comp a significant chunk of their rooms over the course of a weekend, you know it's slow going for them.

I'm one of the biggest (if not the biggest) booster of Fremont Street here on VT. Cheap room rates for fairly decent rooms does factor in to my love for Fremont Street. You can get a room in the Rush Tower at the Golden Nugget for less than the standard room at many Strip properties. My property of choice Downtown is the Golden Gate because it is not only a small property, I've been able to get some pretty cheap room rates (even on the weekends). Many of the rooms are on the small side and the bathrooms in them are essentially closets with a toilet, sink and shower, but the rooms have been renovated in the last few years and are kept up rather well.

I love Fremont Street because it only gets crowded in the evenings for the Viva Vision shows, and even then, it's not tightly packed like it is around parts of the Harrah's to Bill's stretch of the Strip. The gaming at many of the Fremont Street casinos is more bankroll friendly and not filled with gimmicky side bets like at most Strip properties. Who needs to go to the Strip to have a Strip-like experience when one can go into the Golden Nugget, which has a Strip-like feel because of Steve Wynn's years owning it and some of those design elements making their way to his Strip hotels when they got built.

i signed up just to echo chuckmonster\'s review. nice to see someone else finally raving about the cabana suites. i\'ve been to vegas 3-4x a year for the last 6 years, staying at multiple places every trip. i've stayed at 21 different casinos and no rooms have impressed me more than these. i've had nicer, but at literally 10x the price. i first stayed there for the price (during one of their deals where you get comped food and free play equal to the cost of your room) and i've been back 3x since just because it's the best place in town. my only complaint was that the soap was too nice (shea butter doesn't lather and therefore sucks). pretty sure they had hbo and starz, too. the casino doesn't get enough love, either. it's got 3 bars, poker, low stakes tables and machines where you can actually find a seat, a sportsbook that gives drink tickets, 3/2 bj, the cafe makes great milkshakes, good drink service at the machines, good comps and prizes, a free ride back to the airport... everything a low roller could want. my 2 nights for $40 (acg 2 for $30 coupon, then just ask to upgrade) at the beginning of march madness can't come soon enough.

I think the scariest thing that's ever happened to me downtown was having a bum ask me for $20 for a sandwich, me saying no, then him asking another bum for $20.
I love that part of town, the Fremont East district. I could definitely stay down there for a night or two. I've found some of the coolest shops, people, and bars in Fremont East. I'm actually looking at a Queens of the Stone Age poster right now that I bought from a little music shop in the basement of a bar over there. Funky x100

I am impressed. If I stay there can I take the bathroom foxtures with me, they would look very nice in my bathroom.

Just stayed in a standard room at the Cabana Suites two weeks ago and it was amazing for the $35 rate I got on the El Cortez's Web site (on a quiet Tues. night). Sure, the room was super-small, but the bed was comfortable and the TV had tons more channels than the average Vegas hotel room. It's also true that there's always a host/hostess in the Cabana Suites lobby, as well as a security guard outside. Just watch your step when crossing the street from the casino to the C/S, as traffic doesn't yield well to pedestrians and the crosswalk. It's also worth noting that most every employee I encountered greeted me and seemed to like their job. As a hotel night auditor, this spoke volumes to me that the El must treat them well. I look forward to staying here again and can't recommend it highly enough.

I'm a sucker for old Vegas and a great deal. I just booked one of these rooms for three nights at $41 per night (including tax), based on this review.

I'm bummed there's no pool (that I know of). But I'm armed with a rental car and a bevy of room keys to various Strip hotels, so I should be OK, right?

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