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Alex asked on 03/28/11

Hey Hunter,
I stopped by the Sahara on my last trip since it was closing and was wondering Is the Casbar lounge in the same location now as back in the 50s and 60’s where the Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, etc. use to play? Also, is there still any parts of the casino that are still there from the Rat Pack era before the major renovations happened in the 70’s?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Great question.

Someone once told me that the coffee shop had some of the original brick walls but beyond that, almost nothing was original. The current casino was built on top of motel rooms and other low slung buildings.

I haven’t been able to get a 100% straight answer on Casbar but it sounds like it’s in the same spot but most of the original structure has been replaced through previous remodels. I feel odd answering a question without having 100% of the info but that’s all I’ve got so far.

Dave Jones asked on 03/23/11

Going to vegas in Oct. thinking about staying at the Trop in the Penthouse suite is it worth $900 for 3 days or is there a better place to stay for that kind of money?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I assume that’s $900 total and not per night? For a suite of that size, that $900 for three nights would be a pretty good deal – there are many suites at Wynn or Encore that could cost $700+ per night easy, sometimes more.

The Penthouses, like all the guest rooms, have been fully re-done. That’s good. The only bad part about the penthouses at the Trop are that they’re somewhat sparsely furnished, leading to what can feel like some cavernous living spaces.

There’s a lot to like about the ‘new’ Trop but it’s still a solid mid-market property. As long as that sounds good to you, it could be a great three nights.

Joanne asked on 03/12/11

I am wondering about transportation times. We are looking to go to a show at the Excalibur that ends at 10:30, but we also have table reservations at Tryst for the night, and I’m worried that if we don’t get there by 10:30 we will end up waiting in line / with a crappy table location. Should we skip the show or do it another night or is it possible for 11 girls to find cabs and get up to the Wynn quickly?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Max per cab is five people (by law). You might be better off hiring a limo to drive you. It might sound expensive but Given that you’d need three cabs, it’d probably be about the same amount of money… If you go that route, you can get there pretty quickly (though make sure they don’t drive on The Strip – parking lot).

Susan asked on 03/10/11

My husband and I are looking at going to Vegas mid to late April, we want to stay on the strip at a medium priced hotel. I want a decent pool to lounge at and we are also wanting to go to a couple shows one being a cirque de sole show or a good comedy, what do you recommend?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’d take a look at rates for the following properties for your stay: The Mirage, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood, Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay and perhaps Aria.

As for shows, LOVE (Cirque @ The Mirage), O (Cirque @ Bellagio) and Mystere (Cirque @ Treasure Island) are all very popular. For comedy, it can be a little tougher based on who’s around. Some people like Penn & Teller (magic + comedy @ The Rio) and Brad Garrett’s got a comedy club at The Tropicana at which he regularly (but not always – check the schedule) performs.

Good luck and have fun!

Ron asked on 03/10/11

Is there any strip club/show that features both female and male strippers in one show. I am aware of Olympic Gardens that has separate upstairs for men and downstairs for ladies, but our group of 6 ( 3 guys and 3 gals) would like to stay together and not separate. Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, Olympic Garden is as close as it gets.

andy asked on 03/09/11

I saw that they are closing one of my favorite place – the Fontana Bar – so that the space can be turned into yet another club with canned music. You have recommended it many times in the past with good reason. NOW what would you suggest for people interested in live music and dancing in a good atmosphere? I’,m not old but I am beyond any interest in the club scene, noise, crowds and ridiculous pricing.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They are indeed. Fontana Bar will be replaced with Hyde Lounge this Spring.

As far as other spots – not a ton. Mandarin Bar @ Mandarin Oriental is a good pick, as is Parasol Up @ Wynn, though neither typically have live music (Mandarin does sometimes).

More on this as it develops.

Bronco asked on 03/07/11

Recently went to Vegas to celebrate a milestone birthday party. We had three rooms at the Mirage that has always been my go to hotel. This time just ran inot a myriad of problems and was very dissapointed in the service and follow up we received from check in to spa departments. I fired off a letter to their website contact for customer service and received nothing in return. Not even an apology? I was somewhat saddend given the amount of money I have poured through there over the years. I guess I’m asking which large scale hotel group, in your opinion, really takes its guest complaints seriously enough for a response, or because I’m a once twice a year guest with no players club tracking, if I’m just “another guest” take me or leave me?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Interesting question.

Despite the fact that MGM Resorts International, the owners of The Mirage, are a very large company, the hotel still operates autonomously. If you contacted them, they should have responded.

I always recommend that a guest with a problem send a real, physical letter – not an email. It may take a few weeks but you’re more likely to get a response. You don’t say how long it’s been but it is possible you’ll still receive something.

Generally speaking, Wynn Resorts is pretty damn good at this sort of thing. I’ve always gotten a response from them – 100% of the time – when I’ve had an issue. I haven’t sent anything to Mandarin but I’d bet they too are pretty good at this.

Sorry to hear you had an issue. It may have been bad luck or it may be a sign that service is slipping a bit at The Mirage.

Romaman asked on 03/04/11

I’m heading out to the big V for spring break and staying at Paris. I saw the new rooms they just redid and it looks very go- roomish and tacky but I heard from some people that they still have some of the old, French themed rooms available. Is this true?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Maybe you’re referring to the ‘Red Rooms’? These are upgraded rooms, similar to the Go rooms at Flamingo. The original plan was to redo all the rooms in that style but they ran out of money. There are also still standard rooms in the hotel.

Heather asked on 03/02/11

My husband and I are planning another trip to Vegas. We’ve stayed at TI and Venetian in the past. We love the Venetian’s standard suite, but after a few years of going there it feels like we’re in a rut. We’ve looked at similar hotels and found floor plans we like at the Aria (Corner suite) and the Hotel at Mandalay Bay. But we’ve heard complaints about Aria and little to nothing about The Hotel that we’d like your opinion. If you could choose, which hotel appeals to you? Our preferences are based on the total package (rooms, spas, pools, slot machine play, shows, and restaurants). Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Aria has been much maligned since it’s opening in December 2009… and much of that bad press came for a good reason. The property had a lot of problems with service and the in-room technology in the months after it opened. At this point though, I think Aria has a few things going for it – the location (despite the setback from the street), typically low prices (far lower than other luxury hotels of its caliber) and some interesting restaurants. The service problems at Aria seem to have generally been worked out – I hear a lot more good things in recent months.

As for THEHotel, the rooms are spacious but a bit tired. They haven’t been refreshed in a few years and are starting to show wear. The other downside is the location – Mandalay Bay is wayyyy down there. The upsides include a nice spa and access to the Mandalay pool complex, perhaps the best on The Strip.

If I was choosing between the two, I’d probably pick Aria – especially if it was cheaper. Aria’s location means that you can easily skip over to Bellagio or Cosmopolitan for dinner if the mood strikes you. It’s spa is large, if a little boring looking and it’s got a great pool complex, even if it’s not as nice as Mandalay.

Good luck and have fun!

Dan asked on 03/02/11

Better time to visit Vegas and stay at WynnCore with my wife (think: dinner, drinking, shows, relaxing and gaming)? May or September?

Oh, and for the record, I bought VegasMate over a year ago by chance. It is an AWESOME App, and it’s easily one of my most used Apps! Great work!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

First off, thanks for the kind words about Vegas Mate – very nice of you to say.

As far as timing your trip, both of the months you pick are good – they’re warm but not hot, the pools are open and people are having fun. Early September is going to be a bit warmer than most of May but they’re pretty close. Honestly, both are excellent choices. May is a tiny bit lighter on the convention beat but only by a hair. You really can’t go wrong with either month.

Wes asked on 03/01/11

My wife and I are coming to Vegas May 5th-8th to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We are staying at MGM for the second straight year. Do you have any tips on how to successfully upgrade our room at check-in relatively cheaply? We are staying in a grand tower room and would like to upgrade to a bungalow king. Should we play off our loyalty to MGM, our anniversary or something else? Thank you and love the site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

First off, congrats!

As far as your second question goes though, there’s no concrete answer. If an upgrade is important, the simplest way to handle it is always just to pay for it. These days, that’s often not even all that expensive of an option so that’s where I would start.

If you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, it wouldn’t hurt to let them know you’re there to celebrate a special occasion, though of course there’s no guarantee that will help.

Good luck!

Sean asked on 02/28/11


I know this might seem like a stupid question, but I just have to ask and I trut your advice. I’m a big-time Wynn/Encore guy. I got engaged on a trip where I stayed in the Wynn Tower Suites, my bachelor party was held in the Encore Tower Suites. I just love the restaurants, casino, service, etc.

That said, I feel compelled to try Cosmo because I’m hearing (mostly) good things. So for my trip at the end of July, I have two nights booked in the ETS, and two nights booked in a Wraparound Terrace Suite at Cosmo. I’m wondering if I should just stay the whole time at the ETS (standard room), or keep what I’ve got booked. I know each opinion is different, but I think we feel the same way about Wynncore. So, my question is, should I stay at Encore the whole time (my wife’s preference would be to stay put), or should I give the Cosmo Wraparound Terrace Suite a chance for half the trip? If it has an impact on your advice, the ETS are $290 for the night in question, with teh Cosmo Sutie at $340. for those night

Thanks very much.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Cosmo is still, 60 days after opening, having a lot of hotel operations problems. If you’re already setup at Encore and especially if your wife doesn’t want to be disturbed – just stay at Encore.

It seems Cosmo needs more time to get their crap together.

Terry asked on 02/27/11

Hello Hunter,

We’re heading back to Vegas in late June. Of the regular resort rooms at Wynn, Encore, Aria and Bellagio, which hotel do you prefer, in order? (Last year we stayed at Bellagio.) The room rates with early booking are about the same for that time.

Also, if you had to pick one show to go to, which one? (We’ve already seen Jersey Boys, O, and Love.)

Thanks, as always, for your advice. Its most appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I’d probably rank them as: Encore, Wynn, Aria, and then Bellagio. I’m a big, big fan of the standard rooms at Encore. Also keep in mind that the rooms at Wynn were just re-done with new furniture.

As for shows, you’ve already seen some of the very best options. If you like Cirque, many folks like Ka, though I personally found it boring. You might consider something like Human Nature (Imperial Palace) or Penn and Teller (Rio).

Have fun!

denise asked on 02/25/11

Are there any places on the strip that cater to the 50+ crowd musically? Looking for 60, 70, 80’s music at night. Thanks!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unfortunately, not a whole bunch. You might try Encore’s Eastside Lounge for some of that, some nights of the week.

Rob asked on 02/21/11

I had 2 quick questions. I am staying at a Planet Hollywood in a Resort Vista Junior Suite and was wondering if you knew how these rooms are? Also, I read that they are adding a Margaritaville Casino in Flamingo, do you know when it’s supposed to open? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, Flamingo is adding a Margaritaville Casino. That is supposed to open in the ‘Spring’ but as far as I know, no official date has been announced yet.

As for the PHo room, if you can, get that in a ‘Fountain View’, as they’re more fun. The bathrooms have a large soaking tub with a window. It’s a nice room, even if it could use a little extra furniture to liven up some of the spaces.

Ron asked on 02/19/11

Can you please tell me where i can find a Bellagio Room Service Menu online?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, you cannot.

Michelle asked on 02/15/11

My husband and I are coming to Vegas for the first time in March for our anniversary.
1) Are there any deals for first time visitors?
2) What’s a good place to eat that is highly rated but still quite affordable?
3) WIll the pools be open during our stay? (march2-march 6)
4) Is it true that you can have an open container of alchol on the strip?

Thank you!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi Michelle,

As far as first time deals, not really… That said, it never hurts to mention that when you check-in or make meal reservations – sometimes the hotels or restaurants will go above and beyond to make your trip special.

Without knowing exactly what price range we’re talking about, here are some restaurant suggestions with tasty food but reasonable prices:

  • La Cave Wine Bar (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • Sensi (Bellagio)
  • Stratta (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • Wazuzu (Encore Las Vegas)
  • Grand Lux Cafe (The Venetian / The Palazzo)
  • Olives (Bellagio)
  • Stack (The Mirage) or FIX (Bellagio)

Those are just a few ideas.

Depending on your hotel, the pool may or may not be open. The weather is just starting to be warm enough to handle it (though it can still be chilly depending on the day). Some hotels have year-round heated pools and most at least have a jacuzzi open if nothing else.

As for carrying booze on The Strip – yes, it’s true. Be respectful of others and don’t stumble around but otherwise, feel free to imbibe as you meander.


Sam asked on 02/09/11

Just finding this feature and trying not to freak out and ask 100000 questions.

We’ll start with a comps question, in three parts (really three questions).

When it comes to getting comps/rated at Table Games, which games do you think are the best? Judging by some information I’ve gotten from CET, it seems that $25 Pai Gow is much more valuable to them than $25 BJ or $10 Craps, which surprised me, given Pai Gow’s slow pace of play. Any thoughts on this?

Secondly, let’s say I want to get rated as a $25 player on Total Rewards. While in theory it shouldn’t matter, do you think you would do better playing $25/hand at a $10 table in IP, or at a $25 table in CP?

Finally, I’ve heard a vicious rumor that, when calculating your ADT, many programs (TR, Mlife) will count gambling at multiple strip properties as many “trips” in one day. i.e. If I gamble $500 at just IP, I’m doing better than gambling $900 at IP and at Harrahs (which would be 900/2 → $450 ADT). Can you comment on this?

Okay that’s more than enough to get started. Looking forward to your responses! Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi Sam,

Lotsa questions here so let’s get started:

As far as which game is ‘best’ for comps, I should start by saying that I’m one of the people that believes you should play to play and not to ‘chase’ comps. Almost universally, if there’s a perk you want, you’re better off just paying for it vs. trying to play enough to ‘earn’ it. That said, if you’re going to be playing in the casino, you should certainly take advantage of any comp program that you can.

I’ll also say that while I do read a lot on these topics, comps and the specific comp programs are not an area where I would consider myself an expert, at least not compared to others I’ve seen like the folks at Wizard of Odds. Some people have spent a lot of time analyzing these programs.

The other thing to keep in mind is that many of the details of these programs are not public and thus change – and change they do, all the time. Just recently, The Venetian/Palazzo folks basically cut off all comps below a certain level. Yikes!

You’re right that casinos rate certain games in slightly different ways, based on the theoretical losses of each type of bet. For example, some casinos do not include your craps ‘odds’ bets as part of your rated total, as the house doesn’t have an edge on this bet. For a game like roulette, with a higher house edge, your theoretical loss is higher and that means a higher rating.

Without knowing specifically what info you’re referring to, a game like Pai Gow typically has a higher house edge than 21 or certain bets on the craps table and the rating is based on that fact, despite the slower pace of play. As with many casino games, how you play can influence that house edge so well-trained players can sometimes take advantage of that disparity. Some of the figures I’ve seen for Pai Gow house edge are typically pretty close to 21, somewhere between 0% and 2.5% – way lower than some other games like roulette where sometimes it creeps up to 5%+.

You bring up a few interesting questions about multi-property rewards programs like Total Rewards. According to Total Rewards documentation, it shouldn’t matter where you put in your play – they are supposed to used a standardized rating system across all TR properties based on length of play, average bet and the type of game. That said, I can think of a few things that might influence your accumulation a bit.

It’s not uncommon to hear stories about people that maybe got a little ratings boost because he was tipping the dealer, the waitresses and other staff, etc… The floor staff and sometimes the dealers (the floor person might ask a dealer what your action has been if they haven’t been paying close attention to your game) are typically the ones coming up with the data going into the ratings system. In that case, where you play could have an impact, though it may not be as simple as ‘big action at smaller place’ vs. ‘normal action at nicer place’. This sort of fishing probably takes a fair bit of experimentation. Vegas is a relationship town – if you can, make some with floor-people and dealers that you see each trip.

As far as ADT (Average Daily Theoretical (Loss)) calculation, I had heard in the past that moving between properties, as you suggest, can impact the calculation (though it’s not clear if it is about negatively impacting a score vs. just influencing which properties market to you in what ways). A big-time TR player recently told me that they no longer reset your trip status when you move between properties in a single region (i.e. Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi). I don’t have any way to confirm that information.

Of course, TR doesn’t publish any data about exactly how it is computed so the only information we have is anecdotal.

My general advice here would be to play where you feel comfortable – where they have the games you want, in the denomination you want and with people that are friendly. Hopefully that also means playing where you stay so that you can take advantage of the perks afforded by your play.

I hope this was helpful. As I’m sure you’ve seen, there’s a ton of info on these topics across Vegas related message boards – people sharing their experiences. For a lot of this stuff, that’s the best info that we have (at least until someone from CET leaks me the Total Rewards manual).

Dustan asked on 02/06/11

do you know of any casinos other than luxor that have a jacuzzi in the room.
Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Do you mean in the actual living room (i.e. Luxor jacuzzi suite) or in the bathroom? Imperial Palace, Bally’s, NYNY and others have in-room jacuzzis in some of their suites.

Most any high-end room will have on in the bathroom.

For common queries, I encourage folks to use the search function:✓&q=jacuzzi

Joe asked on 02/04/11

Any idea why the price of airline flights are through the roof these days? Most flights From NY to LV are over $500 these days which is a huge increase from prior years. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sorry, I don’t follow the airlines very closely so I can’t give an informed answer. Some capacity has been slashed in recent years, that may be partially to blame.

Marc asked on 01/31/11

Hey there. My fiancee and I are coming to Vegas from the UK in August this year to get married. We have 15 friends and family also coming for the big event, all making their own way and staying at various places along the strip. My question is about the clubs… We want to have a combined stag and hen (batchelor and batchelorette) night at a club but I’m concerned about

a) Cost of admission, as some will be on tighter budgets than others ($30 entry will be fine but no way can we do $hundreds). Once we’re in people can make their own choices of how much to spend.

b) We will be a very mixed crowd – 28 to 60+ year olds. I dont want the embaressing situation of someone on the door only letting the pretty young people in, and the in-laws being left out on the street.

c) It will be a Tuesday night. I’ve seen this limits the number of places that are open.

Any help, advice or contacts you can give will be so greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,

All good questions. Here are a few thoughts, not necessarily in order:

Tuesday night will work in your favor. Friday, Saturday and to a lesser degree Sunday nights are the most crowded. By coming in on a Tuesday, the clubs will be less busy and thus it will be easier to get in.

As far as the age range, that should be okay, as long as everyone meets the dress code (general rule is not to wear clothes you’d play sports in – no shorts or t-shirts and tennis shoes are discouraged if not banned outright). Whichever club you choose, make sure everyone understands the dress code.

The earlier you arrive, the easier it will be to get in and the less amount of time you’ll have to wait in a line. Of course, the clubs are less full…

The last question is where to go… Tuesday night means places like Pure (Caesars Palace), Tao (The Venetian), Blush (Wynn Las Vegas), Foundation Room (Mandalay Bay), Moon (The Palms), and maybe Lavo (Palazzo). Both Blush and Foundation Room are smaller than traditional nightclubs.

For a good site devoted to Vegas nightlife, check out

Have fun!

Shane asked on 01/31/11

Is there anywhere, preferably on the strip, that has dollar black jack? If not on the strip, maybe somewhere close by or downtown?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’ll still find dollar 21 at a few tables, part of the week at Sahara on The Strip. $3 21 is more common – you can also check Circus Circus, Slots a Fun and sometimes the Riviera.

You’ll find some low-limit (though it may be closer to $3 than $1) Downtown at places like Binion’s, The California and Main Street Station.

AL WOJDAK asked on 01/30/11


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It depends on how old they are. Some casinos may still cash them, though they are allowed to remove them from circulation if they are very old. You’d have to check with each casino cage to determine if they will accept them.

You might also put them on EBay – they can be collectible.

Ron asked on 01/29/11

I am thinking about staying at the Cosmopolitan and booking a wraparound terrace room. I have seen various reviews saying that these rooms are in the East Tower and West Tower also. Which tower has the best view? I am looking for a view of the Bellagio fountains and the strip. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, they have those suites in both towers…

We stayed in one of these, in the West Tower, on the northeast corner. This is what I’d consider to be the best view – you get the full-on Bellagio lake plus Paris, Planet Hollywood, MGM Grand, etc…

Here’s a video taken from a room in this corner:

Our room number was 5078, so I’d assume the xx78 room on each floor is in the same position. Go for that if you can!


Sam asked on 01/27/11

Coming to Vegas in March for my 21st B-day celebration…spending 3 nights. Where would you suggest we stay…looking for young crowd, gambling and drinking. Lookinging at Hard Rock, Mgm, Venetian but would like to know your thoughts on any of the hotels. Also interested in what you think about importance of a hotel on the strip.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’d strongly recommend staying on The Strip unless you’re specifically looking for an ‘off-Strip’ experience. Otherwise, you’ll spend a ton of money on cabs or other transport back and forth. For that reason, I typically don’t recommend the Hard Rock (or The Palms) unless you know you really will be spending most of your time there (i.e. Vanity, Rehab, etc…).

The rooms at MGM are starting to show their age and the place is just huge in general. The Venetian has nicer rooms than MGM Grand but still isn’t one of my personal favorites. You’ll find young people in every single Strip hotel, more or less, even the ones that don’t specifically market to that category.

I’d include a few more hotels in your search:

  • Aria – The second newest hotel to open in town, they are still struggling to fill rooms. That means deals… Plus, the place is still pretty much brand new.
  • Cosmopolitan – The latest and greatest Strip hotel. A bit pricey most nights but this place includes a ton of young people, a ton of gambling, and a ton of drinking.
  • The Mirage – Lots of bars, a successful nightclub and some great dealers make The Mirage a winner. A semi-recent room remodel means that they’re still pretty fresh.
  • Treasure Island – Next to The Mirage, it’s typically pretty inexpensive and usually has a pretty good vibe. Rooms aren’t anything to write home about but they’re clean and reasonably sized.
  • Encore at Wynn Las Vegas – can be pricey but with two huge nightclubs on property, there’s a ton of young people pretty much every night.

Andraya_411 asked on 01/26/11

I’m having the hardest time deciding on a hotel. My top choices are Bellagio, the standard deluxe room. Venetian Bella Suite or the Palazzo Bella Suite. I keep hearing the rooms aren’t as advertised. What’s your opinion about those 3 room choices?

The Bella suites (and mostly all other suites) require a security deposit of $150/nightly. Do you know if the hotels actually return that deposit back immediately at the end of your stay (if you pay cash) without any problems or is that a way to get extra money?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The standard rooms at Bellagio are a bit small by more modern standards, a fact that is not helped by the giant armoire they included in the last renovation. Bellagio’s rooms are scheduled to be changed up again this year, though no other details are available. Other than the size, they’ve got nice bathrooms and very comfortable beds.

As far as the ‘suites’ at Venetian and Palazzo, they’re bigger but many folks, including myself, feel like they’re a bit worse for wear. Service is typically considered to be superior at Bellagio and if I was the one choosing, I’d much rather stay there than Palazzo or The Venetian.

As far as the deposits go, if you pay it in cash, they are supposed to return it to you in cash when you check out. The deposit is more about room charges and incidentals than actual damage. One important thing to realize is that if you were to use a debit card (and sometimes a credit card), the charge may take a few days before it drops… so that’s one advantage to using cash, if that’s an option.

Paul asked on 01/23/11

In Vegas in a week, looking to do a couple of things in between gambling. Have you experienced Zip Lining Downtown? The new Mob Exhibition at the Trop? Are they worth the time? Thanks for a great site!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I didn’t try the zip line myself but I watched other people do it and it looked pretty fun. It seems to be better at night… Be advised, they have long lines a lot of the time.

As for the Mob Experience, it’s still not open. There’s a preview center you can check out, which is free, but it’s not something I’d go all the way over to the Trop for. The actual experience will be opening soon.

Nina asked on 01/21/11

I am interested in coming to Vegas from 2/16 – 2/20 2011. Do you think there are certain days of the week that are better to book flights to Vegas than other days? Also, there are so many hotel options, I can’t decide! (Yes, it also takes me an hour to decide what i want for lunch each day, so a bit indecisive naturally lol) I want something close to the strip, the most economical, but still nice hotel. We’re willing to bargain right in the middle between having a good location but less cost for less services. We don’t plan on getting much sleep and therefore will rarely be in the hotel room. Oh and we would like a hotel preferably with a casino.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I’m definitely not an airline expert, beyond the basic rule that a Saturday stay-over will reduce your fare.

Most Las Vegas hotels near or on The Strip have casinos so that won’t be a difficult requirement to fulfill. Here are a few recommendations for you to do a little more research on:

  • Stratosphere – very far end of The Strip but recently renovated and usually quite inexpensive. You’ll be further away from the action but if the price is right, this could be an option. Neighbors are Sahara, Riviera and the ghetto.
  • Planet Hollywood – located at Center Strip and often has some good deals. Neighbors are MGM Grand, City Center and Paris.
  • Flamingo – admittedly, the rooms are aging but again, a great location. If you can get a good rate and are okay with an older but clean hotel, this could work. Neighbors are Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Bill’s.
  • Tropicana – Further south down The Strip but another hotel that is experiencing a bit of a renaissance – all the rooms were re-done in 2010 so they’re fresh and clean. The casino is still being transformed. Your neighbors are MGM Grand, NYNY and Excalibur.

Hope that helps – good luck and have fun.

rich kozak asked on 01/21/11

thinking going out to vegas last 2/28 thru 3/1 I sure the pools are not opened but are there any hotels on the strip that have indoor pools to spend a few hours a day? thanks for the info.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The only indoor pools you’ll find will be in the hotel spa… None of the hotels have general purpose, indoor pools.

Some will have jacuzzis open on the pool deck, it varies by property.

Chris C. asked on 01/20/11

What happened to the strip walk and are you going to bring it back?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The main ‘strip walker’, Mike, moved out of town. He’s actually back now, so we’ll see about getting it re-started.

Andrew asked on 01/12/11

Good afternoon
I’m going to arrive in Vegas on the 20 of Jan. I’m from Australia and when I get there I want to buy a pay as you go sim card with a data allowance to use for skype calling to family back home and also general Internet use when I’m out and about. Do you think I’ll have much trouble buying one since I’m not a citizen. What shops do you recommend to look at near or on the strip? I’ve got an unlocked iPhone by the way. Also, I’m staying at NYNY. Whats your opinion of it at the moment? Thanks for taking the time to read this

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is a great question.

AT&T Wireless is the iPhone carrier in the US. The only other carrier, T-Mobile, uses different 3G frequencies and thus, if you got a SIM there, you’d only be able to use EDGE (2G) data. According to AT&T’s site, they have the ‘Pay As You Go’ SIM cards you can buy and fill, instead of signing some sort of term contract, which you obviously don’t want to do. The AT&T in-store folks should be able to help.

Unfortunately, there are no AT&T Wireless stores right on The Strip. There is one at 710 E. Flamingo, which isn’t very far – just a few blocks from Bally’s or Bellagio, though you’d probably want to drive or take a cab, not walk. As far as not being a citizen, I’ve not heard of that being a restriction, though you may want to contact AT&T in advance to make sure. There’s some more talk on this topic here:

As far as NYNY, they’ve been re-vamping the casino lately, though that’s now mostly done. I’ve never been a huge fan of the hotel at NYNY, mostly due to the way the rooms and elevators are configured to accommodate the shape of the building. NYNY is in a great location, with tons of stuff nearby.

Have fun!

rodolfo vasques asked on 01/10/11

superbowl weekend 2011 or week after. 20 fifty somethings, couples, trying to decide which week works better. some sport fans, some not, all want 4-5 star hotels, gambling, good food, maybe saturday golf. done SB weekend before, but just guys, alot of drinking, prop bets, not much food or rest. Is there a big difference in costs, lines, service, availability?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wow, that’s a lot of people. SuperBowl weekend is crammed with people that came to town to bet on and watch the game. The casinos are tuned to serving that sort of customer and the costs and volume of people are up above normal.

If you’re coming with a big group and some aren’t sports fans, I’d pick another weekend. Chinese New Year is before the SuperBowl this year so that week after is probably a good candidate.

Amanda asked on 01/09/11


Sorry one more question any suggestions on were to go for some payable slots we don’t ever have much luck when we go I have a feeling we are going to the places with tight slots. Your Site is Awesome

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


There’s really no good answer to ‘where should we play’, other than the general truth that The Strip is tighter than Downtown which is tighter than Off-Strip. It’s not always the case but generally, the more expensive / more desirable the joint, the tighter the slots. Of course, people still hit jackpots at the tightest of casinos so… good luck!

Amanda asked on 01/09/11

Hi I was wondering what your opinion is on Bally’s these days. We are looking to go to Vegas June 2010 going Mon checking out on friday. I found a deal on there site for about 55 bucks a night for a north tower room or 45 a night for a south tower room thats tough to pass up that great of a deal. I have stayed at Flamingo Fairfield Suites MGM and Excalibur in the past and the only one I did not like is Excalibur (hated that place not really sure why though). Also we are thinking about checking out the jabawakees at the Monte Carlo have you heard anything on that show? We are also looking to check out a comedy club or act of some sort any suggestions

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

For a long time, Bally’s was a reasonable choice – often low rates, good location. Lately though, the rooms are really starting to look worn. The hotel needs a makeover and soon. If you’re willing to put up with that, it’s a reasonable choice, especially at a low price.

Regarding Jabbawockeez, I haven’t been but I’ve heard good things. If you dig live music, check it out.

As for comedy, you might try Rita Rudner (Venetian) or Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club (Tropicana). It’s often not him but there are a regular slate of people performing.

Romaman asked on 01/09/11

I heard in your blog that the Bellagio (along with mgm grand) is getting their standard rooms renovated. Is this just a rumor or is it true?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, the MGM folks said on their last conference call that they’d be renovating the rooms at Bellagio in 2011. No designs have yet surfaced.

patrick bateman asked on 01/09/11

just wanted to congratulate you on all the awards! jeesh you really cleaned up, hope youve got a good mantle! very impressive. youre site is easily the most accessible and comprehensive ive ever seen for everything vegas. no question here really but i wanted to give credit where credits due.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks. Very kind. Big thank you to everyone that voted.

Joe Nardi asked on 01/03/11

I am coming there at the end of January and since the weather will be cold can you recommend some things to do during the day for couples

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, the resorts are well heated so things don’t have to be all that different – couples activities typically include gambling, shopping, or generally exploring. Some spas, like Aria, have co-ed areas.

Glam_Girl310 asked on 01/02/11

I will be visiting Vegas in March 2011 during Spring Break. I wanted to know a few things:
1.) I’m turning 23 so I wanted to know about the nightlife that appeals to my age group. What are the best hip-hop/party clubs?

2.) I keep hearing mixed reviews about service & cleanliness. Which would you prefer…The Venetian, ARIA, Caesars Palace, Wynn (or Encore at Wynn)…by the way what’s the difference between those 2 hotels?

3.) How far is the strip? Would you suggest staying at a center strip hotel due to “far walking distances”?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Strip stretches about four miles. It’s certainly walkable if you want to, though few folks actually walk the length. The distances are deceptive – things look closer than they are. Cabs, trams and other transport are very common so you really can stay anywhere and still see the entire Strip.

As for service, it can vary, even at the best hotels. That said, I would argue that Wynncore (Wynn and Encore) consistently have the best service and have a great service culture. When I can, I typically stay at Encore and the service is a big part of that decision. Wynn Las Vegas and Encore are two separate towers that are connected by casinos, restaurants and shops. Encore is newer, opening two years ago (Wynn opened in 2005). The rooms at WLV were just re-done so they both have top notch everything. Either one is a good bet.

As for the clubs, the city has some of the best in the world. You might check out XS (Encore), Tryst (Wynn), Marquee (Cosmopolitan), Haze (Aria) and Pure (Caesars Palace). That’s just a small sample – pretty much every major hotel has a club that, if it were in its own city, would be the top club in town.

Alfred Bondegas asked on 12/30/10

Wow! your site is incredible. Great job and beautiful work. I bet it would be fun to go on a vegas excursion with you! moving back tomorrow. crazy. love you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wow, thanks. That’s incredibly kind… but I have this feeling I might be related to you. Does that still count? Thanks for the props.

Dick asked on 12/29/10

Can you tell me the top 5 sports bars and sports books on the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

For comfort, probably Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas would be at the top. Also check out Aria, Book and Stage at Cosmopolitan, Bally’s and The Mirage for great spots to watch a game.

frank glenn asked on 12/27/10

best BAR video poker?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Best is subjective… if you mean pay tables, it changes all the time. The Strip typically has pretty poor VP tables by expert player standards. Near The Strip, check out The Palms or head further off-Strip to places like Sunset Station, Fiesta Henderson or Eastside Cannery.

The VPFree site is a great resource for this.

Kelly asked on 12/24/10

Are there any car rental companies that are on the strip? We would like to rent a car for the day to drive around and see more than the strip. Is there a better option than picking it up at the airport and bringing it back and then still having to take a shuttle back?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, you’ll find Hertz and Dollar counters at several resorts like Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, Treasure Island, Bellagio and more.

gervais asked on 12/17/10

i am looking for 5 dollars blackjack do you think i ll find some in downtown area.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yup, I saw some this past week actually, at the Golden Nugget and at Binion’s.

Joe asked on 12/13/10

We are planning a trip in late January and usually stay at the Flamingo because of the location, cheap rates and the pool has always been open to use the hot tubs. I recently went on there site and it says the pool is closed til March. Can you tell me any hotels that will have the pools or at least the hot tubs going in January?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, it’s very common for hotels to close their pools for maintenance during the colder, winter months. That said, almost all of them typically will leave a hot tub or two open for folks just like you. Your best bet is to call them up and see if they’ll be doing that during the dates of your stay. If not, you could shop around in the neighborhood – Monte Carlo, Bally’s, Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood should have rates in the same range. Have fun!

Casey asked on 12/11/10

Hey, I heard that the Trop is opening up an exhibit about old mobsters and such. I also heard that it’s a pretty interactive experience where they call you on your cell phone and give you ‘hits’ or ‘missions’ to carry out while inside. Do you know if this is true or not? If so, any ideas when it opens? Thanks and keep up the great work.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, they are opening the ‘Las Vegas Mob Experience’ in the next couple of weeks.

As far as the hits and missions, I hadn’t heard that and I wasn’t able to confirm… but I’ll see what I can find out.

Jenn asked on 12/08/10

Hey there…love your site! My husband and I are coming back to LV the day after Christmas for a 4 day stay. We have had 4-5 visits to Vegas over the last few years and it remains one of our favorite spots to vacation. We like to gamble and spend alot (too much) time doing that. We love O’Sheas because of it’s cheap tables and fun loving dealers. Any suggestions on other places that are similar? We are staying at TI for the second time cause we love the location.
Also-we see a show every year…if you could spend the money to see 1 show what would it be??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you’ve never been down to Fremont, I’d suggest doing that for sure. A lot of the same kinds of attributes – lower limits and people having a good time.

As for a show, it really depends on what you like. If you’re into Cirque, you might want to check out ‘Mystere’, which is at TI and you might be able to get a good deal. Beyond that, I’ve been hearing really good things about the ‘Dance With Me’ show at Wynn, if you like Sinatra and dance. For magic, Penn and Teller are always a good bet. They’re at The Rio.

Have fun!

Mike asked on 12/07/10

Love your site. We have been to Vegas once, and ate at BLT Burger at the Mirage. We loved it, but can you recommend a few other good American food places. Can you also tell me if the construction in front of Paris is done too?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words.

As of now (December 2010), the construction in front of Paris is not yet complete. They’re putting in a Sugar Factory retail store and a new nightclub. Supposedly will be done in the next few weeks.

For other American food, there are other burger joints, such as Burger Bar at Mandalay Place, next to Mandalay Bay. Beyond that, I’d check out First Food and Bar at the Palazzo – really tasty versions of American classics.

Hope that helps!

Joe asked on 12/07/10

I was considering staying at PH Towers this year. Is the Tower seperate from the main PH hotel? Are they the same hotel? What are some of the positives and negatives of the hotel?

Particularly how is the pool compared to the Mirage/MGM Grand/Mandalay Bay pools.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It is a separate tower, connected via the Miracle Mile mall. They have their own pool too, which is good because the pool at PHo actually kinda sucks. The pool at PH Towers is nicer and quieter, if you think that’s a good thing.

The rooms at PH Towers are brand new, and since it is a condo-hotel, they have kitchens and are generally larger.

They’ve had trouble filling the rooms so often times you can get some pretty good rates, especially for the suites, if that interests you.

It’s in a good location – I’d consider it if the rates are reasonable for the dates you’re considering.

Kris asked on 12/06/10

My husband and I have been to Vegas a few times in the last couple of years and have always wondered what the big outdoor arena space at Caesars is. One more question, we will be coming in about a week, can you tell me a few good itialian places to eat. We are looking at something not too expensive but still a good meal. It would be best to be on the strip, but if there is a hidden gem off the strip, we can get a cab too. Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Originally it was just that – an outdoor arena. It was originally envisioned for boxing and that sort of thing. The reality of the situation is that it just wasn’t as workable as they thought, for many logistical reasons. Since then, there’s been talk of adding a restaurant or even casino space there but the parent company has a huge debt load and isn’t building anything right now.

For Italian, you might try Baccio at the Tropicana – it’s new(ish), inexpensive but tasty. Beyond that, you might also want to look at Sirio (Aria). More expensive than Baccio but still has many reasonable dishes, served in a traditional style.

Richard asked on 12/05/10

what is the best Helicopter tour and where can we get discounts

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’m personally a fan of Maverick – professional crews and nice new helicopters.

They have some special offers on their Web site: