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El Cortez gives tropical feel to remodeled ‘Original 47’ rooms

Updated September 27, 2022 - 6:50 pm

The original hotel rooms at El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas received a modern upgrade while still keeping its vintage feel, thanks to a $3 million renovation that was completed Tuesday.

Dubbed the “Original 47,” the rooms debuted when the casino first opened its doors in 1941 and were used as boarding and meeting rooms. Now, the 47 rooms feature seafoam green walls with green fawn wallpaper, brass bed frames and midcentury-style furniture with marble and brass accents — a nod to Havana, Cuba, where the Mob first ventured into gambling before buying El Cortez.

“We’re proud of our history at El Cortez Hotel & Casino,” General Manager Adam Wiesberg said in a news release. “With this renovation, we’ve elevated the Original 47 rooms to meet the needs of today’s modern traveler while keeping the timeless, vintage charm our guests expect and appreciate.”

The renovations are the final piece of the hotel’s $28 million property renovation that began in 2020. The property remodeled its 200-room tower, redesigned its casino floor and revamped the high-limit room.

El Cortez also announced the launch of a Vegas History Hallway. The project is a partnership with the Mob Museum and features authentic images and information plaques about the city’s history and El Cortez, which was once owned by mobsters Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway.

The Mob Museum said in a statement: “The Mob Museum and The El Cortez are iconic Downtown Las Vegas institutions, are well-suited partners and have had the opportunity to work together on a number of occasions. This exhibit felt like a natural way to extend the story and the Museum’s mission to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society, as the El Cortez is Las Vegas’ longest continuously operating hotel-casino, and was once owned by mobster Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel. We’re excited to have been able to assist in curating this historic photography exhibit.”

El Cortez — the only casino property in the city with a National Register of Historic Places designation — also transitioned to a 21-and-older-only resort on April 1. It joins Circa, which instituted a similar policy when it opened in October 2020.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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