Step into the world of vintage Las Vegas at the historic El Cortez Hotel, a place where the glitz and glamour of the past merge with chilling secrets and ghostly encounters.
In this article, we’ll uncover the eerie tales that haunt this iconic hotel, from its mobster roots to the mysterious events that continue to intrigue both skeptics and believers alike.
The El Cortez Hotel's Haunted history
Built in 1941, the El Cortez Hotel has seen its fair share of famous guests and notorious incidents. In 1945, mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and his cohorts purchased the hotel, leaving a lasting legacy of intrigue and mystery.
Among the spectral residents of the hotel is “Fat Irish” Green, a former henchman of Siegel who now haunts the vintage wing, still guarding his briefcase full of ill-gotten cash.
Hotel staff and guests have shared spine-tingling experiences, such as disembodied hands reaching from the darkness, loud knocking sounds in empty hallways, and shadowy figures that vanish upon detection.
Some of the most haunted locations include the basement, where the cremated remains of several bodies were discovered, and the hotel’s vintage rooms, where paranormal activity is especially prevalent.
The El Cortez Hotel: A Pillar of Las Vegas History
The El Cortez Hotel, standing tall at 600 Fremont Street, has witnessed the evolution of Las Vegas since its inception in 1941. Originally built with 59 rooms at a cost of $245,000, the hotel has a rich history intertwined with the city’s development, its owners, and the mobsters who once walked its halls.
In 1945, original owners John Kell Houssels and John Grayson sold the El Cortez to a group of investors from the Midwest, including notorious mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.
Siegel’s involvement with the hotel marked the beginning of a fascinating connection between the El Cortez and the underworld of organized crime.
The hotel continued to expand and evolve throughout the years. In 1952, the iconic neon arrow, marquee, and large roof sign were installed, turning the El Cortez into a downtown landmark. During the 1950s, the hotel experimented with various themes, including a pirate motif, complete with cocktail waitresses dressed as buccaneers.
In 1963, the El Cortez was purchased by Jackie Gaughan, a man known for his loyalty to customers and commitment to maintaining an excellent standard of care.
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However, Gaughan harbored a dark secret in the hotel’s basement: the cremated remains of several individuals, rumored to include former employees without family and other “rivals.” This macabre discovery has fueled the El Cortez’s reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in Las Vegas.
Throughout its existence, the El Cortez has been a microcosm of the broader Las Vegas community. As the city evolved from a small desert town to the bustling entertainment capital it is today, the El Cortez adapted and grew with it.
The hotel’s vintage aesthetic pays homage to the past while offering guests all the modern amenities they could desire.
A visit to this historic establishment not only offers a glimpse into the city’s past but also provides an opportunity to explore its fascinating connections to the mobsters, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who helped shape the Las Vegas we know and love.
The El Cortez Experience: Vintage Glamour and Modern Amenities
When you stay at the El Cortez Hotel, you’re in for a delightful blend of classic Las Vegas charm and contemporary comfort. The hotel proudly showcases its vintage aesthetic while offering guests all the luxuries that modern hospitality has to offer, ensuring a truly memorable visit.
One of the highlights of the El Cortez experience is the opportunity to stay in the hotel’s original rooms from the 1940s, thoughtfully renovated to provide 21st-century convenience.
For a touch of added elegance, dine at Siegel’s 1941, a 24/7 restaurant named after the hotel’s infamous former owner, where you can savor delicious dishes in a classy, retro setting.
With an array of amenities, including a swimming pool, fitness center, and business center, the El Cortez caters to all your needs. And when it’s time to unwind, you can enjoy a drink at one of the hotel’s bars or try your luck at the casino, where the slot machines are known to be 40% looser than anywhere else in Vegas.
So why stay at the El Cortez Hotel? It’s simple: for a unique, immersive experience that combines the irresistible allure of vintage Vegas with the spine-tingling mystique of its haunted past.
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Embrace the thrilling possibility of encountering the hotel’s resident spirits while enjoying the creature comforts of a modern resort. Step back in time, and make some unforgettable (and perhaps supernatural) memories at this iconic establishment.