|Location:||Phoenix, Arizona, US|
|Casino Game:||Pai Gow|
Vegas Fave 10 (The Hard Way)
|1:||THE COSMOPOLITAN! All of it!|
|5:||Fountains of Bellagio|
|7:||$7 Steak Special at Ellis Island|
|9:||Pinball Hall of Fame|
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El Cortez is a no-nonsense great deal. Cabana Suites (which aren't actually suites) are *the* best value in town, perfect for someone like me with Cosmopolitan tastes and Imperial Palace budget. The casino exemplifies old-school, with lower ceilings and lots of dark wood. Games are reliably loose. Video poker is excellent, with (wow) a couple of 100% payback machines. $5 double-deck blackjack is a player's dream.
Wow, the energy in this place! If they manage to keep up the excitement level for another year or so, they stand to rewrite the Las Vegas hotel playbook. There's stuff all over the place; it's small, but there's a lot to explore and find. Definitely not for everyone (very modern and busy), but if you like it you'll REALLY like it. Buffet is the best in town.
The grande dame of Vegas casinos is starting to show her age, but she's still a class act.
Beautiful modern place. Much darker color palette than most casino hotels; lots of wood tones, complemented by cool color jewel tones, mostly blue (especially in the rooms). Casino design (massive casino split into numerous rooms) is disorienting at first, but once you get used to it there's an intimacy missing from places like MGM Grand. Hotel is worth wandering around; the entire CityCenter complex houses a world-class contemporary art collection, all of it in public spaces. Rooms are gee-whiz wonderful as long as the control panel works the way it's supposed to. I missed opening the blinds from bed once I got home. Bathroom is a voyeur's or exhibitionist's dream, with transparent glass shower and tub enclosure, and lightly frosted toilet enclosure. Tub is excellent for soaking, shower is big enough possibly for 3. I'd love to stay here any time.
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