Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located off the Strip in the area known as downtown or "old Vegas," the slightly worn, 690-room Four Queens opens via wide entrances to Fremont Street, a high-traffic tourist trap with mobile stands selling T-shirts and customized casino chips. Tacky but not overwhelmingly so, the ground floor is lit by incandescent bulbs arranged in grid formations on the ceiling, and slot machines sit immediately across from the front desk.
Conventional wisdom holds that downtown is for seniors, and the Four Queens, in operation since 1966, plays into that stereotype. I spotted almost no children at the hotel, and a good majority of the clientele come from retiree tour groups who come to the hotel by the busload. Most guests have simple expectations: They're looking to sleep in an affordable room between gambling sessions.
Although there's no on-site pool, no fitness center, and no spa, the Canyon Club theater is still a draw. Decorated with elephant and Buddha statues as well as autographed guitars and posters of performers like Cyndi Lauper, Devo, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, it features "Marriage Can Be Murder", an audience-participation murder mystery/dinner similar in format to "Tony & Tina's Wedding" at Planet Hollywood. On Tuesday nights, the Canyon Club hosts a comedy night presented by Jon Lovitz, and a variety of cover bands and rock performers perform throughout the week.
Generally friendly, and good for small things, but this is a no-frills hotel -- don't expect to be doted on.
Check-in took less than five minutes. And when I complained about the smell in my room, the staff quickly reassigned me and offered to have a bellman help with my bags.
Room service is available from 5 a.m. until midnight, and my breakfast order -- country-fried steak -- arrived fast, in 11 minutes. The presentation was nothing fancy -- a tray with plates wrapped in tinfoil -- but the food was still sizzling.
Located 20 minutes from the airport, in the middle of downtown Vegas on Fremont Street, the Four Queens has a front-row seat to the Fremont Street Experience and offers ready access to a host of other casino destinations.
On Fremont Street in Las Vegas' older downtown section, the Four Queens is surrounded by more densely arranged, smaller hotels than are typically found on the Strip. Guests are just across the street from the Golden Nugget, Binion's Horseshoe, or the Fremont Casino. With the exception of the Nugget, which has spent years undergoing renovations, the Four Queens' neighbors generally look like the weather-beaten 20th-century relics they are.
Generally, hotels toward the western end of Fremont Street offer immediate access to the Fremont Street Experience, a 90-foot-high canopy over the street that offers nightly light and sound shows. Carts selling jewelry, spray art, and customized casino chips sit on the pedestrians-only street. Between North First Street and Main Street on Fremont, large video displays advertise the services of strip clubs like Girls of Glitter Gulch.
It's about a 20-minute, $25 cab ride from McCarran International Airport. The Strip is about 10-15 minutes away and between $10 and $15 by cab.
The rooms at the Four Queens are smaller than at many other downtown Las Vegas hotels, including the Golden Nugget and Main Street Station, and significantly smaller than most hotel rooms on the Strip. Mostly remodeled in 2007, the standard deluxe rooms are furnished with plain, but well-maintained desks, bureaus, and bedside desks. Still, compared to the furniture at the olden Nugget, they feel fairly plain, and occupy an unremarkable 250 square feet.
Beds come with comfortable Sealy Hotel Executive Plush Pillowtop mattresses, but the thin bedspreads feel like plastic. Each room has a 32-inch Philips flat-screen TV with 24 channels (including four advertising hotel and casino services), and pay-per-view movies. The in-room Wi-Fi signal is strong and reliable, but costs $12 a day. One plus: there's a coffeemaker.
The bathroom is smaller than that at the Golden Nugget (40 square feet vs. 54 square feet) and is bathed in cold fluorescent light. With off-white countertops, toilets, tiling, and bathtubs, they're fairly bland. In my room, the metal tissue dispenser was off-kilter, the bathtub bore circular markings from a since-discarded bath mat, there was some discoloration in the shower tiling, and the toiletries were generic.
Prospective guests should watch out for potential noise disturbances from the Fremont Street Experience right outside. North-tower deluxe rooms, like my first room, No. 520, look directly on the Four Queens sign at the casino's entrance, Sam Boyd's Fremont Casino, Binion's, and Fremont Street below. Guests looking to avoid Fremont Street's nighttime noise should request a room in the hotel's south tower.
The Four Queens isn't long on features: no fitness center, and no spa. There's also no pool, although guests can present a room key across the street at Binion's, the hotel's sister property, for free access to their pool. There's also no business center except for a desk in the lobby with a computer and a printer. In-room Internet access costs $12 a day.
The casino floor takes up 32,000 square feet. In addition to slots, there are table games like blackjack, as well as keno, a sports book, roulette, and craps. The clientele, which tends to be an older crowd, gravitates toward the slot machines and video poker.
The Four Queens does provide cribs, but overall, this is not the place to bring families.
Outside the rooms, the hotel is clean, even if it feels a little worn. The low-ceilinged casino and lobby area bears a slight air-freshener scent, which mingles with the cigarette smoke. But litter-wise, there's no trash on the casino floor and the lobby is well-maintained. As I checked in, staff was cleaning up a spilled drink at the entrance, but that's the sort of thing one expects in Vegas, given the amount of all-day drinking among visitors. I found a few minor stains on the carpet and scuffs on the room doors, but there's nothing overly unhygienic about the environment.
My first room, No. 520, had some minor issues in the bathroom. The tub had circular stains peeking out from under the bath mat, and traces of mildew marred the grout between the tiles. The bedroom area, meanwhile, sported a stain- and litter-free carpet, and the furnishings had neither dust nor stains. I took issue with a rotten-egg/flatulence odor emanating from the vents, but the smell problem doesn't appear persistent; I moved to No. 720, which had no odor issues.
Few options, although Hugo's Cellar is a Las Vegas institution. Other offerings are confined to casual dining at Magnolia's Veranda, solid pizza and home-brewed beers at Chicago Brewing Company, and a fast-food court. There's no buffet, but the room service is fast.
More than 30 years old, Hugo's Cellar, something of a downtown Vegas staple, serves classic grilled entrees ranging from grilled swordfish ($33) to filet mignon ($46). Every table gets four servers, free Mountain Valley Spring bottled water, and a single rose for female guests. Yelp.com reviews generally give Hugo's good marks for the food but are more impressed with the service, which is so doting it borders on the theatrical.
Magnolia's Veranda, just off the casino floor, gets a lot of attention -- during my stay, the entire restaurant was full for lunch, and only had one server on duty. It serves American standards -- hot and cold sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, and steak. Entrees range from $15 to $25.
Chicago Brewing Company, a cigar lounge and sports bar, features in-house microbrews and solid deep-dish pizza. There are three flat-screen TVs all tuned to sports -- in my case: ESPN, ESPN2, and the NBA playoffs on TNT. The bar also sold T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, "*@?# milk / drink beer." Specialty pizzas run $8.95 for a 10", and $14.95 for a 16".
Room service from Magnolia's Veranda is filling, greasy, and comes in a hurry. I had a country-fried steak and orange juice for $13.75.
An old, slightly worn hotel in downtown Vegas, Four Queens doesn't offer much -- no pool, no fitness center, no spa. It's just a casino, a theater that books B-list entertainers, and 690 bare-bones rooms. Low rates and relative quiet are really the only draws. For more, book at the Nugget or on the Strip.
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