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This $1,000-per-night Las Vegas suite takes you back to the 1980s

Nov. 29, 2021
6 min read
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You don't need Marty McFly's DeLorean to travel back in time to the 1980s.

You just need to book a stay at the El Cortez hotel's Jackie Gaughan suite – a $1,000-per-night space that's frozen in time.

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Steeped in history

(Photo courtesy of Chris Wessling)

The El Cortez Hotel, located off iconic Fremont Street, is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. It's one of the oldest and longest continuously operating hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and part of the historic downtown Las Vegas skyline.

The El Cortez's story began in 1941 when John Kell Houssels, John Grayson and Marion Hicks built the hotel with 59 rooms off Fremont Street.

These historic rooms have been renovated and are still available to book today.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

The El Cortez was sold four years later to a notorious group of mobsters that included Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and Meyer Lansksy, but the group's ownership of the hotel and casino was quite short, with Houssels buying back the hotel in 1946.

Houssels then kicked off an expansion featuring a barbershop, nightclub, swimming pool and a four-story wing.

In 1963, Las Vegas legend Jackie Gaughan took over the ownership of the hotel and casino. He lived at the hotel with his wife, Bertie, until his death in 2014.

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Jackie Gaughan in front of his El Cortez Hotel/Casino on April 22, 1965. (Photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau)

Gaughan was a key force in downtown Las Vegas’s development and he actually owned one-third of the land in the area at one point. Under Gaughan's ownership, the El Cortez’s hotel room count was expanded to 297 with the building of Tower II in 1980.

Gaughan later sold the property to his business partner, Kenny Epstein, in 2008.

The Jackie Gaughan suite

In 2017, the El Cortez opened the Jackie Gaughan suite to guests as a bit of "one-of-a-kind vintage Las Vegas." However, you won’t be able to book this suite on the hotel’s website like you would their other rooms.

The suite is by special request only and goes for $1,000 a night during the week and $1,500 per night on the weekends. Despite the price, the suite gets booked about once a month, according to the hotel.

The 2,800-square-foot space features two master bedrooms, a "romper" room, four balconies, two and half bathrooms, a kitchen, a vintage wet bar and large dining and living room – all done up in fabulous retro style.

The suite has been featured in magazines like Billboard and music videos like Ellie Goulding’s “On My Mind.”

Getting there

The Jackie Gaughan suite is located on the 15th floor, which is the top floor of the main tower of the hotel.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

It is located at the end of the hallway – you follow signs pointing to the "owner's suite."

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

When you get to the door, the first thing you'll notice is a call box to the left.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

It is a still fully functioning, black and white, Unisonic video door phone system from the 1980s. It projects an eerily ghostly image of whoever is on the other side of the door when you answer a call from within the room.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

Once inside, you are immediately greeted with the letters "J" and "G" on the handles leading into the suite's living and dining room area.

The living room

When you open the J and G doors, the room is filled with a lot of natural light due to the many windows in the space.

A pale pink color palette is consistent throughout, from the walls to the '80s-style light fixtures and curtains.

The hotel has tried to preserve as much of the original furniture in the suite as possible – although not all of it is original in this room.

The kitchen

In the kitchen, most of the working appliances are from the 1980s, including the refrigerator and oven.

The bedrooms

The suite features two master bedrooms, one for Jackie and one for Bertie, and each has a dedicated bathroom.

Both the bedrooms (and bathrooms) have windows offering spectacular views of the city.

Jackie's bedroom

Jackie's room features a large walk-in closet in this western-themed room.

Connecting the rooms is the so-called "romper" room that features colorful artwork, swag pillows and a balcony. It's an ideal place to relax and entertain guests.

Bertie's bedroom

Bertie's bedroom features two large queen beds and a walk-in closet in the adjacent hallway.

Bertie's bathroom

The suite features several bathrooms, but the one that screams "Las Vegas" is the one in Bertie's bedroom.

It has stunning views of the Las Vegas skyline and mirrors everywhere. There's clearly no detail that was overlooked – including the golden swan faucets in the marble bathtub.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

And yes, the toilet is made of marble – and feels it like when you try to lift the cover.

Bottom line

If you're looking relive a little piece of Las Vegas history, the El Cortez Hotel may have what you're looking for.

One of the hallmarks of the El Cortez is how seriously it takes preserving and honoring its history. It's the only standing casino today that has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

El Cortez was also a place that was special to Tony Hsieh, the late Zappos CEO, who often used the Parlour Bar as a meeting spot throughout the years. The casino has dedicated a special corner to Hsieh, dubbed "Tony's corner."

For me, though, the crown jewel of the El Cortez is the Jackie Gaughan suite. Visiting it gave me the chance to relive the 1980s for a little bit – not to mention the chance to experience how a Las Vegas mogul lived for a day.

The view from one of its four balconies can't be beat, either.

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)
Featured image by (Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more