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jim asked on 04/08/10

Besides the light show, can you give me some things to do and see downtown. Any good places to eat? Any hidden gems?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure – there’s lots of great stuff Downtown.

For restaurants, Firefly (The Plaza) and also Hugo’s Cellar (Four Queens) are both highly regarded. There are other great places at the Golden Nugget and also the Triple Seven Brew Pub at Main Street Station.

Other than that, maybe grab a drink outside at the Golden Nugget pool or check out the famous Binion’s casino.

Debbie Damon asked on 04/05/10

Hey Hunter:
It’s has been a long time since my last question to you and now i have one that i think you have answered before if not to me but to someone else. Has the Monte Carlo been renovated and what is your best advise for someone that wants to go there. Have i made a good choice, what do you think. I will be going in September in the middele of the month and i can not wait.

Debbie Damon

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hello Debbie,

The hotel was renovated in 2004 and partially renovated in 2009 after a fire destroyed rooms on the top few floors.

Monte Carlo is right next door to CityCenter, the newest thing in town. It’s a reasonably priced option that’s close to a lot of great stuff.

I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

Mike asked on 03/31/10

Just wanted to ask a general question – I was last in Vegas in early October and it seemed like the recession was having a real impact. Both the casinos and nice restaurants seemed half full. We were able to score some good rates but I missed the “buzz” you feel when things are really busy.

Anyway – what’s your sense of the city now? Is it getting busy? Is the higher end stuff picking up or is it still dominated by people looking for crazy deals?

I know this is a pretty general question but I’m debating between coming back this spring or waiting until the fall with the hopes that things will be more active.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The state of the economy had a HUGE impact on Las Vegas.

That said though, things are starting to pick up, at least in terms of occupancy and volume. People are starting to come again because the casinos slashed prices on rooms to get folks in the door.

People are coming but they are spending less money when they do come.

Fallon asked on 03/30/10

I really love the whole concept of exciting, “big time” life. Las Vegas has always been one of those places that has a reputation for excitement. Huge hotels, casinos, shows, it’s all there. The glitz, the glamour, it’s all amazing, but can it really live up to it’s reputation? Traveling to Las Vegas has always been one of my life long dreams, and before I go, I would like to learn a little bit more from an expert. The cost is probably one of my biggest worries, along with where I would stay. Is there a hotel that you recommend that is in the middle of the “fast action” scene? Do you have a favorite, or one that is a famous landmark in Las Vegas? If so, how much would it cost (the hotel and the rest of the trip)? However, my last question is a little more abstract. I live in New York, and I love long car rides in fun, exotic cars, but would New York to Las Vegas just be too long? My final question for you is, what do you recommend, driving or flying to Las Vegas? I totally understand if this one is a little tough to answer, but I still value your personal opinion on that question. Thank you so much for your time and expertise. I very much value your opinion. Thanks so much again.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi Fallon,

Driving from New York to Las Vegas is 2,500 miles so you’re probably looking at a few days at least. If that sounds like fun to you, then go for it. I’ve driven many times from California but that’s only a few hours.

Flying is far more convenient, of course. If your plan is to visit The Strip and perhaps Downtown Las Vegas, you really don’t need a car. There are a zillion taxi cabs and a bus system available if you want to use them.

As far as hotel ideas, if you want to stay somewhere centrally located that is well known, you might want to consider The Mirage, Bellagio or perhaps Caesars Palace.

Costs are very hard to pin down because they depend on when you come and where you stay. If you can come during the week instead of the weekend, hotel rates will be significantly lower, even at the nicest places such as Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas or Encore.

A nice Las Vegas hotel room can cost anywhere from $150-$400 a night depending on time of year and which part of the week. Suites go up from there. There are certainly rooms in the $50-$100/night range, though those hotels are typically ‘no frills’ and probably don’t fit the ‘big time life’ you describe.

I hope that helps.

chris asked on 03/29/10

Have been to Vegas once before and loved the breakfast at a couple of the buffets we tried, we got there a little late so we tasted a little on the lunch menu too. However, we didn’t have time to try a lot of the ones on the strip. Is there a big difference between say the Bellagio and the Luxor buffet for breakfast? And can you let me know what the top 5 are for it. Thank you, I love your site.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Yes, there is a huge difference between top tier buffets and their lower tier cousins.

At the top of the list would be Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Wynn Las Vegas and perhaps the new Aria buffet. Paris used to be consistently good but I’ve heard from many people that the quality has dropped off.

jenna asked on 03/28/10

I am getting married in Vegas on a Saturday evening. We want to go to the brunch buffet at the Bellagio the next morning with whoever would like to join us. Turns out, there will be about 35 people joining us. Since we can’t make reservations, what should we do? Do all 35 of us have to wait in line for 90 minutes? Will we have to sit all over the place? Any thoughts?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for you. The buffet doesn’t have any accommodation for group seating – you do indeed have to all wait in line and probably sit in smaller groups.


Taylor asked on 03/26/10

Love your site. Are there any outdoor Go-Kart places around the strip, if not, are there any indoor ones? Also, we are looking for a liquor store to go and get like a case of beer and maybe a bottle of booze, any suggestions to anything close to Bally’s?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The only place I’ve ever heard of for Go-Karts is this place called ‘Fast Lap’. It’s actually not all that far from Bally’s (though you want to drive or take a cab).

For the booze thing, there’s a liquor store right across the street from Bally’s on Flamingo, between Bill’s and the Westin. You can’t miss it – literally right across the street.

Abe asked on 03/25/10

Hi guys,

Love your site.. Headed to vegas for a 3 day weekend in May and looking to stay at one of the Harrah’s properties where I can get a comp – Harrah’s, Ballys or Rio.. Can you rank them? A bunch of friends are coming with me so wondering how strict hotels are with getting more people in the room than the max allowed. Also do you have any info on how to use Diamond Total rewards card to get into nightclubs in harrah’s properties?

Thanks in advance,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I’d probably say Harrah’s and Bally’s are a tie with the Rio coming in last, mostly due to location.

All three will have rooms that are clean but also in need of a little bit of renovation.

The location at Bally’s is probably a little bit better than Harrah’s, though both are walkable to anywhere.

As far as limits on people in rooms, the max is supposed to be four but I’ve never really heard of anyone checking up on you unless you’re super loud or something along those lines.

Marcelo asked on 03/18/10

Hi Hunter,

Great site and thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions. I’m going to Vegas in May with my wife to celebrate our first anniversary. We’re staying at Encore and we’d like to have dinner at one of the steakhouses, I’m looking for a romantic place with great food and a nice ambiance (we’re both on our late 20’s).
What would you recommend between Delmonico, Prime and SW ???
Thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Thanks! All three of the restaurants you mentioned are good. I’d probably vote SW, then Delmonico then Prime and here’s why:

SW is a perfect combination of great food and a great room. In May, the entire sidewall should be open to the lagoon, creating a magnificent indoor/outdoor environment. Chef Walzog is a true magician – his food is excellent (and he’s a really nice guy).

Delmonico I picked over Prime because I think the food is much better. Prime isn’t ‘bad’ by any stretch but it’s not all that interesting. Delmonico is typically a better meal, though the room at Delmonico is like a really nice basement compared to Prime, which has a great view of the lake at Bellagio.

Hope that helps!

cedric asked on 03/16/10


Sorry for this second e-mail.

Do you believe that the parlor and salone suites at Wynn start to feel “old” ?

I prefer the suite’furntiures of Wynn than Encore, but maybe they’re a little old now ?

Thank you again


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They are a little old, yes. They’ve held up quite well but they’re going on year six so they have some wear.

The rooms at Wynn Las Vegas should be re-done this year, though it will be towards the second half of the year as they’re still in the design phase.

cedric asked on 03/16/10


Always a pleasure to visit your web

Do you have an idea when the mirage suites will be renovated ?

Thank you & have a nice day


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nobody really knows – MGM Mirage slowed down all their expenditures when the economy went sour.

Jon asked on 03/14/10

Taking my uncle to Vegas in July for the first time. What are the best strip clubs in town, and can you walk to them from the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I wouldn’t recommend trying to walk to any of the strip clubs – some aren’t that far but there’s no good walking route. Some of the popular clubs are Sapphire, Cheetah’s, Spearmint Rhino, and Deja Vu.

Kasey asked on 03/14/10

We will be staying at the Flamingo in April but want to head to the M Resort for the buffet we have been hearing so much about. Is there a shuttle to it and if so, where does it leave from? Is there anything else around that area to visit as well?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, there is a shuttle to and from the Fashion Show Mall on The Strip. Schedule

Jaime asked on 03/14/10

Hey there great site!
My boyfriend and i will be in Vegas from March 22 till the 25 i believe. We will be staying at the Mirage in one of the premium view rooms. Good choice?
We were thinking of getting tattoos while we are there. Are there any good tattoo parlors on the strip that you know of? We will not have a car so something on the strip would be good. Do you know how much it would be for something small on the wrist? I was planning on getting something small on my wrist like my nieces name or something. Any help would be appreciated thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Mirage, while being an older hotel, has done a good job of keeping its amenities up to date. I stay there often. As far as tattoo parlors, there is one at Mandalay Bay and also one at O’Sheas.. There is also one opening at The Mirage but I don’t think it will be open by the time you are there.

As far as costs go, no sorry, I have no idea.

Jennifer Z asked on 03/12/10

I’m getting the girls together for my bachelorette party in April. We are looking for a place that is mid-price range (Monte Carlo maybe?). I’d also like to know what you suggest as far as the pool scene (adult-kind of fun)
Thanks for your suggestions.
Jen Z-

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Monte Carlo could be a good choice – central location, reasonable prices. The pool area is pretty small but the pool is nice. You might also want to look at Aria (next door at CityCenter – rates have been pretty low), The Mirage (great pool) or even Mandalay Bay, depending on prices for your dates.

Peter asked on 03/12/10

Was wondering about the Executive Suite Lounge at the Bellagio. Where is it? Can you go there any time if you book a suite?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It is located directly adjacent to the check-in desk as you walk in to the lobby, on the left hand side. Yes, it is for your use as a suite guest.

Kristin asked on 03/10/10

Hey Hunter,

Heading to Vegas in April with a few friends..wanted to check out Lagasse’s Stadium on Sunday mid-morning in order to watch east-coast baseball. Saw on their website there is a reservations line. Are ressie’s needed for mid-day like this, or are they for the sky-boxes they mentioned? Finally, what exactly are the skyboxes and are they worth checking out?

Thanks for the info..any other info you have on Lagasse’s worth mentioning would, as always, be appreciated :-)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve heard many good things about Lagasse’s – sounds like a great place to watch a game.

You don’t need a reservation for general admittance, unless it’s a major event. That said, a reservation will mean better seating – might be worthwhile to get your name on the list.

The skyboxes are kinda like beach cabanas but for a sportsbook – deluxe hang-out spot, plush and comfortable.

Christine asked on 03/10/10

My sister has dreamed of a trip to Las Vegas all her life, now at 47 she has decide to go and take her 2 sisters, niece and her Mother. We are planning to go in Mid-April – What hotel would you suggest – I also want to see the Grand Canyon since i doubt I will ever make it out that way again – what is a resonable tour. We only have 4 days I hope we can take it all in.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as a Grand Canyon tour, if you want to go by helicopter, I like Maverick. They are a top notch operation.

For hotels, since I don’t know what you want to spend I will make a few suggestions. If price isn’t a huge issue, take a look at Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Las Vegas (sister to Wynn and next door), and Bellagio. All are top notch hotels – very luxurious.

Less expensive options would be The Mirage, Aria (part of CityCenter and brand new), Mandalay Bay or Treasure Island. All should be a good experience.

Hope that helps.

Jean asked on 03/10/10

Can i sleep in the Luxor alone at 18 ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No, you have to be 21 to book a room at Luxor.

EYK asked on 03/09/10


First of all – Great Site! Very Informative. I came accross it yesterday 8th March 2010.

I am getting married at the Little Chapel of the Flowers (any opinion on them?)in May 2010.

My concern is the Bellagio – We ended up reserving a Partial Lake View Room (I believe this is situated in the Spa Tower – according to their website)
As well as rave reviews, I have read numerous negative reviews regarding the hotel going downhill, very rude staff, not very nice rooms etc. Now for a 5* hotel, that would really irk me, as it’s a pricey place. You get what you pay for, as they say. So, What’s the deal with the Bellagio? Plenty of time to cancel reservation. -:)

Our inital choice of hotel was the Trump Tower, as we like the reviews of their guest rooms/Service & Non-Smoking environment. We are not too concerned about the distance from the Strip area or that train noise I keep reading about. -:)

However you advised one of the readers to pretty much forget the Trump. -:)

Kind Regards & Thanks
A very nervous and Confused 1st Time Vegas Visitor.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


As far as the chapel goes, I don’t really have an opinion other than I know it is popular and has been around forever – they must be doing something right!

Regarding Bellagio, yes, the ‘partial lake view’ rooms are in the Spa Tower.

I’ve stayed at Bellagio many times, from right after opening in 1998 to as recently as this past December (that time in the Spa Tower, actually).

I’ve always found Bellagio to be a great hotel experience.

The staff are professional, the rooms are nice (if a little small compared to the newest hotels), the pool is opulent and it’s in a fantastic location.

There certainly was a time, maybe in the 2001-2003 time period, where Bellagio seemed to have lost its way. It’s looked to me that they’ve made a great comeback.

Now, every hotel screws up sometimes, even the good ones. I’ve heard bad stories too, even recently. That hasn’t been my experience though.

As far as Trump, my advice would be to stay away… The rooms are not the issue – they are nice enough. The problem is that it is isolated and empty. I know you say you don’t care but the place is like a ghost town – you might not even see other guests the entire time. The low occupancy has meant cuts in staff and service levels, etc… I really wouldn’t recommend it.

If no-smoking is a big thing, you might also look at Vdara, part of CityCenter and next to/behind Bellagio. They are a non-smoking hotel, though I will also say that they’ve suffered from very low occupancy as well. The difference at Vdara is that you can easily walk to Bellagio or CityCenter’s Aria.

I hope that helps. Have you looked at Wynn Las Vegas? If there’s a hotel I like more than Bellagio, it would be Wynn and Encore. They’re my personal top spots.

Simone asked on 03/04/10

Hi, we are a family of 4 (kids 16 & 13) from Australia visiting Vegas from March 20 to March 23 and are not sure where to stay. What we know is we’d really like to stay on the strip amongst the action and would like to experience the whole casino glitzy atmosphere. We dont need a big fancy room – just somewhere to sleep & shower. Based on our research so far, we have found that Luxor, Ballys, NYNY & Monte Carlo (plus others) are in our price range. What do you recommend? Should we book or just wing it when we get there (we arrive on a Saturday)?

Also, I’ve noticed some posts mention the $20 trick, and some later ones refer to it as a $50 trick – what’s the going rate?

We plan to take a Sunset Helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon – it returns to Vegas after sunset via the strip. Do you know if this is the best option?

Love your site. The qu’s & a’s are addictive!!!!!!



Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Based on your requirements, any of the hotels you mentioned should be fine. I’d personally rank them as follows, based on overall criteria: Monte Carlo, Bally’s, NYNY, and Luxor.

I would NOT recommend winging it, especially for a Sat. arrival – many hotels don’t allow them. You need to get this setup in advance.

re: $20 trick – it really depends. Many people get the same preference with a smile and nice attitude. It honestly comes down to the clerk and what’s available, plus how close the boss is watching. It’s an art, not a science.

As far as the Grand Canyon, any reputable operator is fine. I typically recommend Maverick but other operators do a good job as well. I’ve not heard of Sunset… do you mean Sundance?

Liz asked on 03/04/10

Going to Vegas in May for our honeymoon. What hotels do you recommend? We want to stay somewhere nice and luxorious! Running is a must for me so I want the fitness center expenses included in the mandatory hotel fee or if there is a free running trail/track nearby..?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Top hotels for luxury would be Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Las Vegas, Bellagio, Mandarin Oriental and Bellagio – all great spots where they will take good care of you.

As far as fitness center, all of the above have great facilities but none are included in the price. None of the hotels listed above have mandatory fees though – the top tier properties are ironically better about not nickel-and-diming guests that way (they get ya other ways though).

Some people like to jog The Strip itself, which is of course free. Other than that, not really any good outdoor tracks in the nearby area – you’d have to get out into the burbs to do that, though some spots like Red Rock Canyon are amazingly beautiful and great for running if it’s not too hot.

Jill asked on 03/03/10

If I fly to Vegas without a hotel reservation, will it be difficult to get one?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This depends completely on the dates you have in mind. These days, occupancy is around ~80% average, so typically, no. You might not get your first choice of hotels but you can find a room.

Now, for a big weekend, all bets are off. Those are still selling out.

Ron asked on 03/02/10

My wife and I are going to vegas from Mon-Fri in mid April and are on somewhat of a budget.What are some of the cheapest places near the south end of the strip to eat at? (breakfast/lunch/dinner)…Thanx

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Generally speaking, buffets and hotel coffee shops/cafes offer the lowest prices, plus the occasional food court at places like Excalibur or MGM Grand.

Riverrat asked on 02/28/10

I am planning on a trip to Vegas in the fall and have considered a stay at the Imperial Palace. What floor would you suggest I stay on since I have heard that the elevators are very slow. Also, if I have a strip view, will I be bothered by a lot of noise at night while I’m trying to sleep? I’m not as young as I once was and lots of loud noise can be a bother

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The IP’s regular rooms are pretty basic. They are a generally clean place to sleep and clean up but that’s about it. If that’s all you need, it’s a fine solution and usually very inexpensive.

Slow elevators are a constant complaint with the IP. If that bothers you, probably the lower floor the better.

Noise from The Strip does penetrate the rooms, yes (as it does at many hotels) but it’s really not all that bad unless you are very sensitive. It’s really not much worse than any major metro.

One issue – Harrah’s has an outdoor lounge that is on the Strip side of some of the IPs rooms – some of that noise sometimes impacts some of the IP rooms.

Dre asked on 02/26/10

I am going to Vegas twice in 2 months. Once for a convention, early march and once for a bachelor party in mid april.

During the convention, I just want to play some poker. Which casinos have the best poker rooms? Where do you think the weakest players play at? Which poker room will give me the best chance to run into a poker pro?

For the bachelor party, we are currently booked at the Wynn. I was thinking of upgrading to Encore? Would you recommend, or we also have the option of staying at Aria. Some in the group were complaining about the location of the Wynn as they say its away from all the action. What are the hottest clubs right now? Do you recommend using a VIP service for setting up our nights out or will the concierge at the hotel be able to hook us up. We have 15 guys, so I know bottle service is going to be our only option. If we stay at say the Wynn, will we automatically get VIP at Tryst since we’re staying there?

Thanks for your help. Keep it up. Downloading your iPhone app as I type.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you – looks like I missed your first trip. Hope it worked out!

As far as Wynn vs. Encore, I personally prefer Encore – the rooms, pool and spa are better IMHO. Both hotels are closely connected so it’s easy to play at either.

I think Wynncore are far superior to Aria, where I have stayed twice since opening. Yes, Aria, is center Strip but it is still going through its awkward opening phase. A lot of cylinders are not firing. Wynn is on the northern end but it is the top hotel in town – typically plenty of action.

As far as clubs, XS at Encore and Tryst at Wynn are still at the top of the heap, as is The Bank at Bellagio, and Pure at Caesars.

With VIP services, it really depends. Some of those outfits charge for stuff you can get for free, taking advantage of people that just don’t know. The hotel concierge can certainly help hook you up – I’d recommend doing that in advance though, just to get plans solidified.

Tryst does give preference to hotel guests but 15 guys will be tough anywhere unless you get some bottle/table reservations. Yes, it’s expensive but it is just the way it goes.


Daniel O asked on 02/25/10

Coming out for annual trip for opening of March Madness with 6-8 guys, staying at MGM with Age group of 30-40 years old, We are looking for a good night spot for drinks and some dancing with the ladies. Not really interested in the younger crowd and the huge chic’ nightclubs. Just a bunch of guys looking to have a good time, any ideas? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unfortunately most of the nightlife industry is geared towards younger crowd, loud music, crammed clubs, etc… You might check out Fontana Bar at Bellagio, the MIX lounge at Mandalay Bay, and for drinks, the best spot in town is the Mandarin Bar at Mandarin Oriental (CityCenter). The Mandarin Bar has a strict dress code – no tennis shoes, t-shirts or shorts allowed.

Ann asked on 02/24/10

My husband and i are traveling to Vegas the last week of March.. with our two kids (8,16).. We would like a hotel that has some amenities for the kids & with a pool that is open.. also, a nicer hotel with a great room & vu of the strip. We are driving so ideas off the strip are welcome as well as on the strip.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Excalibur is the go-to recommendation for traveling with children and you’ll find other families there as well. The rooms were recently remodeled but I wouldn’t call it a ‘nicer hotel’. It’s typically considered mid-level at best.

The brand new Aria hotel at CityCenter has an arcade nestled upstairs as well as a very nice new pool area.

The Mirage has the Secret Garden where you can view tigers and an elephant.

Circus Circus has the Adventuredome, an indoor theme park complete with roller coaster.

Steve asked on 02/24/10

Quick question: Plain and simple, Wynn, Encore, Bellagio, Trump. Young couple first trip together to Vegas. Where to fellas? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Encore, Wynn, Bellagio, in that order. Don’t bother with Trump at all.

Tammy W asked on 02/24/10

My husband and I are returning to Vegas for our 27th anniversary Mother’s Day weekend. Vegas Uncorked is that weekend, and I’m really excited. Have you attended this event? Specifically, I’m wondering if the Grand Tasting is worth the price of admission. We have purchased tickets to one event so far…are there discounts for multiple events?
We are in our late 40’s, and would like to find a nice blues or jazz club too. We have offers from Mandalay Bay, NYNY, and Mirage…your preference? We’ve stayed at the Mirage a few times, and enjoy the location more than anything. I’m curious about MB. Thanks for the terrific site, I look forward to your response!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve never been to Uncorked, no. I’m sending someone this year to write a story about it for this Web site and it sounds awesome but I’ve not personally attended.

Those I have spoken to really enjoyed it though, despite some of the events being pretty pricey. It’s a unique event so if you love food, it could be a night to remember.

Mandalay Bay is a fine hotel that recently remodeled their rooms. It’s comfortable and has a fantastic pool. The downside is the location, which you noted. If you don’t mind doing more walking or taking more taxis, that may not be a problem. There is a monorail that connects to Excalibur.

Lenny asked on 02/23/10

We are going out to Caesars Palace for our Seven Stars trip in March and they are giving us a Augustus tower two bedroom suite.Have you ever stayed in one of these suites or know anything about them?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Augustus Tower is the newest at Caesars and compares against the nicest stuff at Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio or The Venetian. The room is very nicely appointed – you should be thrilled.

Carol asked on 02/23/10

Have you had any feedback on the Elvis show at Aria. So far it hasn’t been rated so good.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve only seen bits of it so far, not the entire show. In talking to colleagues, it sounds like it’s maybe a B-/C+ show at this point.

Kristin asked on 02/20/10


I am going to Vegas April 8th. Not sure how long I am staying. I am 27. I am flying down with my boyfriend but then he is going to be with his friends for a bachelor party until April 11th. He will be staying at a differnt hotel then me so I will be by myself for 3 days. He will then pick me up at my hotel and we are going to start ou vacation in Vegas.

My questions are what is the best and safest hotel to stay at by yourself in Vegas?

What is the best value for spa treatments, thinking of just pampering myself.

What can you recommend that I do by myself for those days?

What are some good tips or advice you can give me for being alone down there?

And then what hotels are the most romantic because we will probably be down there for at least a week after the other guys leave so what are the best things to see and do couple related?

Thanks, love this site think it is great, very helpful!!!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey There,

Generally speaking, any Strip hotel is going to be safe, though for a single female staying alone, I’d probably recommend something between Mandalay Bay and Wynn Las Vegas, which is most of The Strip. Some examples: The Mirage, Bellagio, Aria, Monte Carlo, Planet Hollywood, Paris Las Vegas, Wynn Las Vegas and MGM Grand.

As far as spas, by far my favorite in Las Vegas is at Encore, which is part of Wynn Las Vegas. It’s not cheap but it is amazing. You have to be a hotel guest to be able to use the spa, a policy in place at many of the nicer spas.

In addition to Encore, the spa at Mandarin Oriental is very beautiful. The new spa at Aria is nice, though a bit sterile feeling.

Generally speaking, I don’t think you need to worry much about being alone – just keep your wits about you as you would anywhere. Since Las Vegas always has crowds of at least some size and since the casinos have very large security forces, you should feel safe to roam about The Strip without worry. I wouldn’t venture off unless you know where you’re going though.

If you like art, there is a gallery at Bellagio that can be fun to tour. The hotel pool will be up and running in April which can always be a good way to kill a few hours here and there.

Hotels for romance… Bellagio with the dancing fountains are always a hit. Wynn and Encore in general work hard to be romantic destinations. At many hotels there are opportunities for meals together, shows, etc…

Hope that helps.

Andy asked on 02/20/10

I’m a big three card poker fan but I know many of the LV casinos pay only 3-1 on a flush (instead of 4-1 like most online or non-LV casinos) tilting the house advantage to +7%. My question is are there any casions in Vegas that pay 4-1 on the flush.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unfortunately, not really. Sorry.

John and Janine asked on 02/18/10

As a middle aged couple travelling to Vegas for the first time for 5 nights in mid April, we are looking at staying in the middle of the strip. Which resort do you recommend for mid range price and value with a bit of luxury. What would be the best attractions or most popular events for our short stay to make it a memorable trip.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’d take a look at The Mirage, Monte Carlo and perhaps even Aria, part of the new CityCenter complex.

As far as activities, be sure to see the Fountains of Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage and pick a show to see – Cirque du Soleil is very popular (perhaps look at Mystere at Treasure Island, O at Bellagio or LOVE at The Mirage).

mike asked on 02/17/10

Are all the rooms at Bill’s facing Ballys or are there rooms looking at the Flamingo. Every review or picture I have seen all have the view of Ballys. Also, I believe I read somewhere that if you stay there, you can use the pool at the flamingo, is this true?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, if you stay at Bill’s, you get access to the Flamingo Pool.

There are some rooms overlooking The Flamingo as well, yes.

Carol asked on 02/16/10

Girls trip. 17 years so we have seen tons of shows. Any feedback on the new Elvis show. Would you suggest buying tickets on line or waiting until arriving in Mid April? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I always suggest that if you really want to see a specific show, buy the tickets in advance.

As far as VIVA Elvis, I’ve only seen bits and pieces. In speaking with colleagues, they didn’t hate it but didn’t love it either.

Mark in Kansas City asked on 02/15/10

Great site. You have always given us great advice when it comes to Vegas! I go to the first weekend of March Madness every year with 6 other guys. We always get a nice suite to stay in each year. You highly recommended the Vista Suite at Mandalay Bay which we loved. We currently have the Media Suite reserved for this trip at Mandalay. I was checking out the suites at Planet Hollywood as well as Palms Place. It would save us a few hundo for the trip, and I wanted to get your thoughts on these two hotels. I also hear that the Mirage has remodeled their suites too. Any suggestions would be helpful. Do you know of any other nice suites that you could offer advice on? Don’t care to stay at the Wynn or the Bellagio.

Thanks for all your help…

Mark in KC

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Palms Place is a very nice place but it feels very disconnected from The Strip and even from the Palms itself. If that doesn’t bother you, the rooms are quite nice though the pool is pretty small.

Planet Hollywood has some great suites and is in a killer location. If you can get a good deal on one, it’d be a very strong contender. The hotel was recently taken over by Harrah’s Entertainment and so some things may be changing there soon.

Beyond that, you might consider Aria, part of the brand new CityCenter complex. The suites are very nicely setup and given the low occupancy, you might get a killer rate. I’d take a look for sure.

Danny Z asked on 02/11/10

Love your site, I’m always looking forward to new questions…

Heading out for a co-ed trip in June and we have a pretty good mix of girls and guys. I have a couple questions about some of the VIP packages for nightclubs that you can purchase at some online sites, (some even reputable!)

Some are pretty decent deals for a table, bottle service, etc. Are they worth it and will I still be waiting in a line even though I pre-purchased? Can I get pretty much the same deals directly from the hotel? And what is included in a “hosted bar” deal that some places advertise?

We’re going to check out some places and will order bottle service, just wanted to figure out my options.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Even people with bottle service sometimes wait in line… This doesn’t happen as often in 2010 as it did in 2006 but it’s not totally unheard of if the club is overbooked. A lot of the hotels are a little cagey about these deals – the promoters that place them with other companies have a fair amount of latitude to offer these sorts of things, knowing that the more savvy consumer will find them. The hotels go for the low hanging fruit and rarely offer discounts directly.

A hosted bar deal typically includes a ‘bottomless’ drink situation with one or two brands of drinks. The liquor company partially underwrites the cost of the package.

One of my favorite nightlife sites is

jon asked on 02/11/10

3 guys coming in for a week. When we fly in, what is the cheapest way to get to the Flamingo? I know they have shuttle buses but would a cab be cheaper? Are there any new restaurants going to be opening soon?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The shuttle is probably cheapest but you’ll end up waiting around – the last thing you want to do when you get to Vegas. A cab might be slightly more but not much. The Flamingo is probably a $15-$20 cab ride tops, it’s not far.

These days, more Vegas restaurants are closing than opening, unfortunately. If you mean in general, CityCenter/ARIA has a ton of new restaurants, though most are high end.

taylor asked on 02/10/10

We are coming in mid-May during the week(mon-fri) and are looking for the best hotel on the strip for cheap. We are trying to get a room for under 80 a night, but the cheaper the better, but we dont want to stay in a “dive.” We looked at Ballys, Flamingo, Bill’s, Excalibur and Tropicana. Any suggestions? Second Question, Are there any go-kart/batting cage places with-in walking distance of the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

None of the hotels you mentioned are really dives but out of your list, I would stay away from Tropicana and Excalibur – they are like semi-dives (Excal’s rooms are nicer than they used to be but Trop still has a long way to go).

Out of the the rest of your list, I’d probably pick them in this order: Bill’s, Flamingo, Bally’s. Bill’s is really small but is in a kick ass location and the size means it is super easy to get to your room. Flamingo is next door with a great pool. Bally’s isn’t bad but out of the three, I’d put it last.

Your list is probably pretty close to what I’d suggest so I’d run with it.

Harrison asked on 02/09/10

Im going to vegas for my girlfriends 21st bday for four nights starting on febuary 14th(her bday). We have reservations at the ARIA hotel, I was wondering if it was worth trying the $50 trick and try to upgrade to a suite or do you think ARIA doesnt do those types of things.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

ARIA is pretty new so it’s hard to say. Never hurts to try though – they have some amazing suites at ARIA!

Katie asked on 02/09/10

I am going to Vegas in April and want to get tickets to LOVE. Do you have an opinion on whether the 7pm or 9.30pm show is better?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The shows are the same so it’s really just whatever fits best into your schedule.

David asked on 02/09/10

Hi my family and I are going to vegas and have never been there before. we have 2 sons 21 and 23. we dont have a ton of money to spend but enough to have a good time. looking for the best hotel value for our money. we are thinking about either going thurs june 17 – sun june 20 or sun june 20 – thurs 24. which dates would you recommend? im sure it would be more fun over a weekend but will there be less lines during the weekdays and still a fun time? we are thinking about either TI, Mirage, Ceasars, Planet Hollywood, Paris, or MGM Grand. What are your recommendations for best hotel for price wise? would you recommend stayin in the center of the strip or does it not matter that much? Looking for the best clubs, shows, pools, and restaurants. If you could respond to my questions that would be wonderful! were vegas rookies!! any help is appreciated for the best vegas experience for all of my family! Thank you very much! Love your site finding great information on it!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, room rates for Thu-Sun are always far less expensive than over weekends – your dollars will stretch much further if you can go during the week.

Also, things are less crowded – this translates into shorter lines for coffee shops and buffets, as well as other attractions.

That said, Vegas always has a party vibe, even during the week. You’ll still get that electric feeling that keeps people coming back to The Strip year after year.

All of the hotels you cited have pluses and minuses. From your list, I’d probably rate them as follows: Mirage, Planet Hollywood, TI, Caesars (though it depends on which tower – they range from awesome to ancient), Paris, and then MGM Grand. Any of those spots are in good Strip locations – it’s very walkable.

For people trying to maximize their dollars, I think nightclubs are some of the worst ways to have fun in Las Vegas. They can be a fun night out but they can also be very expensive. Instead, grab a dollar beer at Casino Royale, play some cheap craps and then have fun checking out the sights.

For shows, Cirque du Soleil has so many outposts now, feels like they’re in practically every casino. I think Mystere, their first Vegas show, is still one of the best. It often has tickets below $100, something rare for Cirque.

Other shows like Penn and Teller (magic @ The Rio) and Mac King (comedy @ Harrah’s) are also popular.

Overall, I hope you have a great time!

Sara asked on 02/09/10


I found your website through google search. I have been looking for answers to my questions but yet haven’t found anyone who can answer them. Please help!

1.) I am leaving for Vegas in April to celebrate my SO’s birthday. I want to book the Mirage Tower or Penthouse Suite. I looked around a bunch but haven’t found any promos for these rooms? Do these usually go on sale closer to the date? I am wondering if one should book now or wait closer to the date when more sales might come up.

2.) I am also looking for a way to enter XS at Encore for a largish mixed group (10-12 people). Table service seems insanely expensive. Is there a way to pay for VIP entry without table service?

Thank you ahead of time! I really need an experts opinion.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi! Happy to share my thoughts:

1. The rates fluctuate all the time. If you book directly with the hotel, you can always take advantage of a lower rate if you see it on the site – just call and they’ll change it. That’s why I recommend booking early to secure whatever rate you can get now but keep on top of the changing rates to see about getting a deal. The key here is that you have to book with the hotel directly to get this benefit.

2. The club thing can be a bit of a trick to get it all dialed in. Part of it depends on the day – if we’re talking a weekend, XS is busy and they take full advantage of that. Do you use Twitter? I’d recommend following the club and sending them a message letting them know you want to come in – they may be able to help.

LZ asked on 02/08/10

My friends and I (5 in total) are going to Vegas at the end of March for 2 nights. We will be there on a Monday and Tuesday night since we are doing the weekend in LA. Where do you suggest we stay and what clubs do you recommend? We are all law school students on spring break and all love to party, but want to do it the right way. That means a young hip hotel and the best clubs. We’re obviously looking for a young, fun spot but want it on the strip (no hardrock). Anything else to help make our trip, please feel free to add. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Since you didn’t talk about cost, I’m going to go for the best… XS, the nightclub at Encore is one of the top in the nation. They have industry night on Monday – one of the most fun times to visit a club as it’s filled with mostly locals.

For hotels, both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore are at the top of my list. ARIA at CityCenter is starting to hit it’s stride and Bellagio is a tried and true spot with The Bank as a fantastic club.

Renee asked on 02/04/10

What nightclub would be best for 70’s disco music?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Probably Studio 54 @ MGM Grand – they do some disco stuff, more than a lot of other clubs.

Patricia Greenbaum asked on 02/04/10

I would like to know a place to rent a private karaoke room for a large group which includes some children and one pregnant woman. So, it needs to be kid-friendly, smoke-free, or at least in the rented room, and maybe have food as well. Some of the members of the 20-person party would like a drink or two, but this is not imperitive. Thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Interesting question. I have no personal experience but in talking with friends, you might want to check out to see if they can help you. Also, sometimes movie theaters like Rave (Town Square) can offer private rooms for this sort of thing. Lastly, you could always try a hotel suite with room enough for everyone.

cedric asked on 02/01/10


Thank you for your fast reply

I was at the MO last month and I really enjoyed the room. I tried to find some photos of the Dynasty suite on the web but they didn’t find any :o(

We were thinking of making a strip tour with a limo, believe you like Las Vegas Limo but the 3.5 hours strip tour offered doesn’t stop downtown to see the light show. Do you recommend any other company ? For example Presidential, CLS, beltrans, Ambassador ? They seem to all offer the same tour including downtown at about USD 220 with a small stretch limo.

Also do you know any web site to buy discounted Cirque du Soleil show tickets, we were thinking of Mystere, Le Reve, Love and the new show at Aria (I can’t remember the name)
We have already seen O, Mystere, Reve and enjoyed them, do you know if Love and the “Aria’show” are about the same ?
We didn’t like Ka so if Love and Aria is about the same than Ka it’ll be good to know.

Do you know if David Cooperfiled will be in Vegas around 02/21 to 02/25 ?

Last do you know any web sites specialized in Las Vegas discounted suites ? I love the salone Suite at wynncore but the price is USD 650 / 850 during the week day so it’s little bit to high for us.

Hotel 32, believe this is the 32 floor of the Monte Carlo; hotel, the prices are reasonable for a “loft” but is it really nice ?

Thank you again for all your help & sorry for all my questions

Have a pleasant day


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The trick with most limo companies is that they’re typically willing to negotiate, at least to some degree. If you tell them what you want, they’ll often try to accommodate, especially since lately times are tougher. I’ve traveled with both Presidential and CLS without incident. If they have a package you want, I wouldn’t try to discourage you from using them.

Up until a few months ago, discounted CDS tickets were basically unheard of. Lately though, some shows have been appearing with the discounters, though typically not online and instead in person at the Tix4Tonight locations like on the one in the Hawaiian Marketplace across from CityCenter. BTW, the show at Aria is called ‘Viva Elvis’. Many critics have given it lukewarm reviews so far. From the scenes I saw (not the whole show), I’d say that I VASTLY preferred LOVE. Being music focused, it’s very different from Ka.

re: Copperfield – yes, he’s at MGM Grand during those dates.

Hotel32 is much nicer than a standard Monte Carlo room but it’s still Monte Carlo. There are much nicer places in town.

Ricardo asked on 02/01/10

Hi There,

First of all – great site! Just spent the last hour browsing and making notes.

Now the questions…

Am visiting in March and staying in Downtown (G.Nugget) hotel. I am very interested in Vegas’ (infamous) history hence the location. Apart from Strip attractions you have already mentioned, is there anything I should see elsewhere that will show the ‘real’ Las Vegas (Is there such a thing?!?)?

Is there a restaurant or bar (or both)you would recommend because of it’s past? I don’t mind if I need to taxi to it.

Finally, as I will be based in Downtown, what restaurant or bar close by should I not miss?

Thanks for your help.

Cheers, Ricardo.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Last part first – if you’re on Fremont for meals, be sure to check out Firefly (The Plaza), Hugo’s Cellar (Four Queens) and The Ranch Steakhouse (Binion’s). All are highly regarded. Firefly has an amazing view of the canopy where The Ranch is on the top floor with great views of all of Downtown.

As far as restaurants with history, you might try the Golden Steer. This place is out on Sahara so you’d need to take a cab for sure. It’s been around forever, Dean Martin used to eat there. It’s an old school steakhouse, very good.

As far as other historical attractions, it’s tough… Vegas has been very good at re-inventing itself but the side effect of that is that history is often tossed to the wayside without much preservation. There are some very cool old neon signs that they’ve stuck around Downtown – you may see them as part of your comings and goings.