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Don asked on 06/04/09

Yes hello I love your website and you have totally guided me in what I want out of my Las Vegas trip coming up. Can you please tell me if the MGM GRAND is going to be packed in July and would I have any problems checking-in to my suite? I purchased a Bungalow King suite and I just want to make sure it will be available when I check-in is there anyway I can make sure of that cause I don’t want to get there and they offer me a different room when I have my eyes set on what i bought.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words. I can’t give you a precise answer to your question since crowds vary but MGM Grand is a pretty popular place so medium to large numbers of people are normal. That also means that the staff are very used to this sort of thing so typically volume doesn’t impact you other than a potential wait at check-in. The busiest check-in times are 1pm to 4pm so if you can check-in later (or earlier if your room is available), you will probably be served faster.

While sometimes people do get bounced from rooms, it’s really not all that common. Odds are, you’ll get the room you have reserved but if for some reason they cannot accommodate you, negotiate for an upgrade instead of a downgrade.

MGM Grand is large enough that those sorts of issues are less common than some other, smaller hotels.

Lil asked on 06/03/09

Does the MGM Grand currently have Summer Tasting Menus at its restaurants? Their website still shows the Spring Menus which expired on May 31…..

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They are posted here:

Gem asked on 05/31/09

My sister and I are going to vegas on our annual trip in mid july. We have booked all our shows but hesitate to book Larry Jones at Royal Resort because of the location. We stay at Harrah’s and have no problem waking down the strip that far. However would like to know if you think it is safe walking the 1/2 block off the strip (that they say they are)at night. What is in the area and is it really 1/2 block. Thank you so much. Love love love your site, you are the expert.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,

The Royal is on Convention Center Drive, about a half block down from what used to be the Stardust and Circus Circus.

I’m a little torn what to advise. I’ve walked it many times – it’s not far and I generally consider walking the Strip area to be safe. That said, the decreased pedestrian traffic due to the closure of the Stardust makes me wonder if you’d be better off just taking a quick, cheap cab ride. Vacation is not the right time to be worried about getting mugged.

Chances are you would be totally fine but if it makes you nervous, why risk it?

steve asked on 05/31/09

i know you’ve talked about the steakhouse at circus circus on more than a few occasions,i have to try it out,question is,are kids welcome in this joint,my kids are 2 and 5 yrs old.thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Circus Steakhouse is a great value restaurant. They will often take kids at earlier sittings but the restaurant is designed primarily to be enjoyed by adults.

Ali asked on 05/31/09

I am booked for vegas from July 4th-8th.I’m sure I’ll have plenty to keep me busy on the first 2 days. Regarding Monday and Tuesday however, what are some good nightlife options on weeknights. I know that most clubs are only open Thur-Sunday, a few on Monday. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Actually, there are clubs open almost every night, though not all of them each night.

You should consider XS on Monday, their industry night, and perhaps Pure for Tuesday.

SEAN asked on 05/29/09

Hi Hunter,

On Wednesday I saw a youtube video in titled “Lost Vegas” by Vanguard. It talks about what is really going on around town. I was wondering if you have seen it & what your thaughts were on this. I found it quite disturbing to say the least.

See if you can bring it up on the next podcast.

Thanks Hunter

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I hadn’t seen it… I just watched – thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I think this shows the stark reality of Las Vegas today. That said though, it was a massive boom and in retrospect, this was inevitable.

Las Vegas will adjust, though it will continue to be very painful and different people may own the major assets in the city.

It’s scary for sure but this is happening all over the US and in some places is far worse. Look at places like Detroit – I don’t see a big bounce back in their future.

Mikeymac asked on 05/29/09

Two part question….We are coming into Vegas over Thanksgiving and wondering about the pool situation. Are most of the big pools closed and just the little ones open or are there any pools that are heated year round? Second part, we are getting married with about 50 guests, and we are just doing a after wedding dinner then hitting the bars for “the dance.” Any recomendations for lunch or dinner for about $15-20 a person. Do hotels do buffets for that many and be able to sit in one section?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A lot of the pools start to close in November, yes. Some places do have pools open all year – Bellagio and The Mirage do, as did Wynn last year. With all the cost cutting going on, nothing would surprise me now though.

As far as food, the buffet problem would be sitting together – they don’t take reservations.

You might try the Grand Lux at either The Venetian or The Palazzo (they both have them). Large menu, typically pretty decent food and reasonable prices.

Anthony C asked on 05/28/09

I just booked the Mirage 1 Bed Room Tower Suite for the week of July 6th. I know Mirage just finished the renovation of all the standard rooms and some of the smaller Suites, but I have not heard anything about the Tower Suites. Have they also been renovated? I have a feeling from the low price they are going for now, that they have not.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Almost all of the suites at The Mirage are still the old style, you’re correct.

Joe asked on 05/27/09


Can you tell me a little about the Playboy Club at the Palms?

Is this more of a club or bar? Are the tables their for high rollers?

What type of dress code is required on a weekday? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s sorta a hybrid. There’s a true nightclub, Moon, above it and they are connected.

It’s an upscale environment – no shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, etc…

They have some tables with more reasonable limits, it’s not all high end play (though they can accommodate that as well).

Heather asked on 05/21/09

My husband and I are both in our early 30s and prefer bars to clubs. We also would like to stay in a hotel more suited to that type (Hard Rock would have been a dream come true in my 20’s but now….)we would also like to be on the strip but we do not need super luxury accomodations. Basically, we are a married couple with three kids looking to get away for a few days in September. Any suggestions for hotels and entertainment?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Depending on your dates, you might be able to get a much nicer room than you’d expect due to the current economic situation.

I’d advise you to sign up on the Web sites of the various hotels – you’ll get offers via email that can really save some $$.

As far as where to check, I’d look into The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, and Mandalay Bay. A few years ago these places would be very expensive but they are often discounting. I just saw July rates at Encore for $100/night – unheard of!

If the above are too pricey for your timeframe, also check out Treasure Island and Planet Hollywood.

Anoop asked on 05/21/09

Couple of questions on casino design:
Are there any multi-level casinos in Vegas?
Is it preferable to have a single level casino or can a multi-level casino work just as well?
Thanks for running a great site…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It is now Prive but when Planet Hollywood was the Aladdin, there was an additional small casino upstairs, The London Club.

Encore has a ‘sky casino’ for high rollers on its top floor.

While multi-level casinos are common in places like Macau and even Atlantic City, Las Vegas casinos are almost universally single level.

gilbert asked on 05/20/09

i’m doing the “kid” thing next month,the little one is 2 yrs old,i’m wondering, is there any place where i can “blend” in and maybe have a few drinks with out any body having a heart attack about it,las vegas crowds are famous for kid bashing,haha,hey i’ve done it to! those damn kids! any ideas would be appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A two year old can’t be in a Las Vegas casino or bar so other than drinks in your room or a restaurant, I don’t think you’ll be doing much blending.

Mace asked on 05/20/09

My wife and I are spending our tenth anniversary in Vegas in December. I have reservations at the Wynn for the Salon Suite. However, I am considering upgrading to the Salon Suite at the Encore or the Fairway Villa. Which one would blow my wife’s mind?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you really want to blow her mind, it has to be the Fairway.

WLV Salon Suites are great and Encore’s are a bit nicer but the Fairway Villas are in a class of their own.

Super exclusive and very private, looking out over the golf course from your private balcony is an unrivaled experience in Las Vegas – something you literally can’t get anywhere else.

Brad asked on 05/20/09

Going by myself to Vegas this summer. Two questions:
1. Are the big clubs worth going to for a mid 30 guy, who prefers bars instead of clubs.
2. I reserved a cabana and will be by myself. will this be frowned upon by the waitstaff, in that they won’t be serving as many people, thus less tip

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey Brad,

I’m just about your age and personally, the clubs have never really been my thing. I too prefer bars and there are plenty of those in Las Vegas.

As far as a cabana goes, there are a few bad apples in every service-based organization but depending on where you’re gonna be, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Chris asked on 05/17/09

A couple of questions for you:
1) What have you heard about Wet Republic at the MGM Grand pool … is the cabana scene there appreciably better than the cabanas in the regular pool?
2) Has the plan to renovate the Mirage suites been put on hold indefinitely, or is there a defined time-frame to get these complete?
3) What would be your best recommendation for the largest & nicest suite available around $1000/nt or less (weekdays) with the intent of hosting a few friends (say 20-30, or so)?

Thanks so much for your help, and thank you for running such a fabulous site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey There,

Thanks for the kind words.

Wet Republic is part of a recent trend to try to bring the excitement (and profit margins) of nightclubs to the pool. In addition to Wet Republic you have Encore’s pool area, BARE at The Mirage, Sapphire at the Rio, REHAB at the Hard Rock on Sundays, etc… Wet Republic traditionally gets high marks and if you want to spend a day at the pool, areas like WR are significantly amped up from the regular pool area.

MGM Mirage has basically put all non-essential renovation projects on hold across the entire company, including The Mirage. They’ll be finished when the economy improves.

UPDATE: It seems some Mirage suites actually have been re-done but very few.

As far as picking a suite, $1k a night, when we’re talking weeknights in these conditions is actually a pretty good sum. It depends specifically when you want to go but you can come close to getting almost anything.

I just did some random checking and you can even get Wynn Las Vegas Fairway Villas for that price. Those rooms, along with the SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand, and Salon Suites at both Wynn and Encore would be at the top of my list.

DJ asked on 05/16/09

Do you know if there are any Vintage Roulette tables in Vegas? A table where there is only 1 Zero on it?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Single-zero roulette is also often called ‘European Roulette’ and it not uncommon in Strip casinos.

Claire asked on 05/14/09

My husband and I and another couple are heading to Vegas next week for some R and R by the pool and to enjoy some good (but not outrageously expensive restaurants). We are staying at the Wynn. Could you help me with the following:
Is there any point in trying th $20 trick at Wynn?
What restaurants and lounges would you recommend? We like fusion and Italian.
Is there a reputable fitness club with good aerobics anywhere near Wynn where we don’t have to pay $40 just to get in?

Thanks so much

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The chances of the $20 ‘trick’ working at Wynn are probably pretty low. I’d suggest just asking nicely if they have any upgrades and see what happens. Being friendly goes a long way.

Regarding restaurants, you might take a look at Stratta (Italian), Wazuzu (Asian), Wing Lei (excellent Chinese) or perhaps Sinatra (Italian). The last two can be pricey but the food is killer.

As far as workout facilities, you don’t have a lot of options. I believe the Wynn Spa charges something like $30/day for access to fitness and spa areas. Many of the other, nearby hotels restrict access to hotel guests. One exception is the Venetian next door but the prices are about the same.

louise watts asked on 05/14/09

WE are staying at the The Mirage at the beging of June;what is the amount to tip the valet for the car? thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It is typical to give a tip of $3-$5 when picking up your car, partially depending on if they help with your bags, etc…

Ron asked on 05/14/09

What is the best strip or near-strip place to stay for having a good variety of reasonably priced restaurants, without staying in a dump? Some of the more upscale casino hotels are nice, but the $30 buffets and $60 restaurants just KILL your travel budget, especially when you’re paying for 3 meals a day for 3 or 4 people. Since the old days of the $3 prime ribs are long gone, food cost has become a major issue in traveling to Vegas. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While there’s no doubt that a lot of higher end, expensive food has taken root in Las Vegas, fortunately there are still a lot of options for less expensive routes.

At the lower end on The Strip, you could stay somewhere like The Sahara or The Riviera and have immediate access to a lot of lower cost restaurants.

If you want something more mid-range, consider Monte Carlo, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s or The Flamingo. All have great Strip locations and while they undoubtedly include some pricey places, there are some less expensive as well.

One of my favorite restaurant values is the Steakhouse at Circus Circus – pretty good cuts combined with low prices.

PK asked on 05/13/09

Hi Hunter!

Headed to Vegas this weekend and we have dinner arrangements for SW at Wynn. Do you know of any classy steakhouses that does a nice Chateaubriand – served tableside? Also, which do you prefer – SW or Botero? and why.

Thanks so much!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, a lot of steakhouses serve it. Especially good preparations are available at Delmonico and Botero.

SW and Botero are very different places – Botero is a bit ‘hipper’ where SW is a bit more refined. Both have excellent cuts. SW has a more European influence to some of the dishes.

Kristin asked on 05/12/09

Just was wondering if you had heard anything about Caesars hosting the Comedy Festival this November as they have the past few years. I can’t seem to find anything online.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, they will be doing this again in November.

It’s a successful event for them.

Mike asked on 05/12/09

Hi! Thanks for your help in a previous question re: The Mirage Hospitality Suite vs Tower Suite – we went with the Hospitality Suite. Just a couple more questions:

In doing my research I have found that The Mirage Pool seems more like a 20-something party pool rather than a 30-something relax and sip Margarita pool (like Bellagio). Is this the case, and if so, can you direct us to the best part of the pool complex (we plan on getting there when the pool opens) that is both secluded from the hoopla but relatively close to the pool and its amenities?

Also, could you tell us how long you think it will take to get from Mirage to SouthPoint around 5:30 pm on a Monday via a cab? We have reservations at Michael’s Restaurant for 6:30 but have a Spa appt for that afternoon so we need to know if we will have enough time to get to SouthPoint if we leave the Mirage around 5:30/5:45.

Thanks again for you help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The Mirage has made a conscious effort to appear to a younger crowd, especially at the pool. Generally speaking, you’re probably right that Bellagio trends older. That said though, The Mirage concentrates some of that action to their adult pool area, BARE (additional cover required). Getting there early means you should have a good pick of spots. The far side of the pool from the entrance, near the jacuzzis, is a bit secluded. Depending on what’s going on, you might consider BARE. It really depends on the crowd on a given day.

As far as cab timing, the driver has the option of taking the freeway which should make the trip quite quick, maybe 10 minutes or so. On The Strip itself, it could take 20+ minutes depending on traffic.

Don asked on 05/09/09

Thank you for the info you have provided on this website it really helps alot

Any PROS and CONS I should know about the MGM GRAND while staying there from food to shows to even casino play

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Biggest con to MGM Grand is probably its size – it is huge. Beyond that, some of the rooms are starting to show their age.

As far as pros go, there are a bunch of really great restaurants (especially Robuchon and craftsteak), a popular show (KA) and a good location right in the heart of the action.

Don asked on 05/07/09

If you have reservations and you already paid for your room in months in advance could the hotel your staying at tell you at check-in its not available and downgrade you or will they upgrade you? Cause I’m staying at the MGM GRAND HOTEL and paid in full for a Bungalow Suite and I’m praying I still have it when I arrive or will they give me my Money back and comps?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Technically, yes, they can tell you they are full, just like an airline.

Often times though, they upgrade you instead of downgrading – that’s by FAR more common.

I wouldn’t worry too much. If you do get downgraded, ask to speak to a manager and let them know the downgrade is not acceptable. Be polite but firm.

Don asked on 05/07/09

Yes hello I’m going to Las Vegas in July and I made my reservations in early febuary at the MGM GRAND HOTEL for a Bungalow Suite do you think it is better to check in at the airport or at the hotel if my flight comes in at 2:45pm when check in is at 3:00pm? Cause I did request a few things and wanted to look into a upgrade if possible

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I typically like to check in at the hotel itself if I can special requests or am trying to swindle and upgrade.

The airport is good if speed is of the essence and your reservation is not complicated.

Bronco asked on 05/04/09

Where are all those fabulous deals? I continue hearing how Vegas is struggling and these crazy hotel deals folks are getting? Well, I have been on website after website and nearly all the solid strip hotels don’t seem to have much in the way of off the wall hotel deals? I am seeing rooms in the $150-$275 range, which is what I normally would find at any other time of the year. I guess my question is are all those fabulous hotel deals concentrated to the lesser casino/hotels i.e: Tropicana, Excalibur, Hooters type of hotels? Indeed I have the flexibilty to go during the week, but again not much luck…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I think you need to look harder.

$150/night for a room at Encore is about 50% of what it would have cost two years ago (if Encore had been around then). Seeing Bellagio for $129 is equally surprising. Both of these rates have been available in the past few months.

The deals also include stuff like dining credits, two for one shows, etc…

Sometimes the casino Web sites have higher rates than sites like or

Ali asked on 05/03/09


I haven’t been to Vegas in a few years, and I’ve noticed a few changes, especially in swimming pool options.
I’m heading there with a few friends in early July (males/females, ages 24-30).

What would be an ideal hotel with a fun pool atmosphere, while also located on the strip. We want to avoid renting a car. I have been looking at MIrage, while taking Bare into consideration. Would it be easier to get in if we stay at the Mirage? Any other recommendations at to what pools we should check out?

I am quite familiar with the nightclubs in Vegas, however, any recommendations as to which clubs are best on which specific days of the week?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Mirage is a great hotel for a pool scene. Both the main pool and Bare are quite nice and popular. Getting into Bare is usually not a problem and hotel guests get priority.

Other than The Mirage, perhaps also consider Encore, MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay – all have a pretty heavy pool scene.

As far as nightclubs and the nights of the week, things change often but try XS on Mondays, The Bank on Sundays, Pure on Saturdays and pretty much anywhere on Fridays.

phil asked on 05/02/09

Thanks for the great site, excellent blog and podcast.

4 Mid 20’s guys are heading out for the July 4th Weekend. I was just wondering what to expect (as far as crowds, holiday closings, lines at clubs etc.)? Is it just another weekend or do crowds reach NYE levels?

Also, does Vegas have any special events that weekend to celebrate?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The Fourth is pretty busy. No big fireworks on The Strip or anything but many people take advantage of a day off to come to Vegas and hit the pools and casinos.

You’ll have medium to large sized crowds at the clubs but nothing compared to NYE, not even close.

Some casinos host parties for their customers and the local communities do stuff but traditionally, nothing big and centralized for tourists like you might expect.

Have fun!

Jinee asked on 05/02/09


I see that the Wynn now has special Taste of Wynn menus. Do you know if
everyone at the table has to order off that menu if it is chosen. or can one of the couple just order off of the regular menu?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Good question.

According to Wynn, no they do not. The whole table doesn’t have to order from that menu.

Jessica Longford asked on 05/02/09

Hi me & my friend are coming to stay in Vegas from the UK the week of 25th September, have seen an excellent deal for a resort room at Encore Wynn, we are looking for a relaxing holiday lounging around the pool & hopefully renting a cabanna a few days, what hotel do you recommend for this and also one where we wont be paying really high prices for cabanna hire & drinks all day??
Im worried that the Wynn prices for this will be high.
Are any hotels doing any deals for cabanna hire, im not sure how much we will be looking at?

Thank You

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Encore would be a great choice – the pool was one of the central design focuses for the resort. Cabanas are not inexpensive at any of the nicer places though – still cheaper than losing money in the casino!

During the Summer, the cabanas are in demand at most of the better pools. Encore has quite a few though which helps bring the costs down – not as rare.

Alternatively, check out The Mirage, Bellagio or even The Flamingo.

Daniel asked on 05/02/09


Can you please tell me the most important tips from The Venetian, because Im going to stay there in my hooneymoon

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, The Venetian is a big hotel with a lot of choices. When you include the connected Palazzo, there are even more options.

For dining, check out Delmonico Steakhouse (one of my all time faves), Carnevino (next door at The Palazzo), Zefferino (great Italian) or CUT (at Palazzo).

The Tao nightclub is always a hot spot if that’s your thing.

The hotel has concierge floors in both the main and ‘Venezia’ towers. These are higher end rooms with special lounges and a higher level of service. You may want to look into these.

Bouchon, in the Venezia Tower, is a great spot for breakfast.

Daniel asked on 05/02/09


My name is Daniel, Im from Venezuela, Im planning to spend my hooneymoon in as Vegas ( 5 nigths ) and I have few question for you :

- What are the best 6 shows in Las Vegas?
- What’s best, Le Reve or O
- What are the 3 best hotels ? which one is the Best (overall) ?

Thanks a lot

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Best is very subjective. I can tell you what I think some good options are:

For shows, take a look at O (Bellagio), LOVE (The Mirage), Penn and Teller (Rio), Ka (MGM Grand), and perhaps Lance Burton (Monte Carlo).

I prefer O to Le Reve but both shows are fun.

As far as hotels, my first choice would be Encore, followed by Wynn Las Vegas and then Bellagio.

Neil asked on 04/30/09

Staying at Caesars in July and was wondering when the construction on the pools was supposed to be finished. Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I believe they should be wrapped by then. Even during construction, some pools are open.

Bill asked on 04/26/09

I just booked a package at the MGM Grand, which includes two free meals a day at their buffet. Is it as bad as some say, or just overpriced? Would they let me exchange it for a credit toward a different restaurant, or use the credit at a different MGM property?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s not terrible but it’s not fantastic. Very mid-range but edible.

They probably will not let you exchange the credit, no.

Derrick asked on 04/23/09

Hey Hunter,
Thanks for the years of great service and information…..

I have been making an annual pilgrimage to Vegas for the past 5 years. This year I am spending my 40th birthday in late June in Vegas with 16 (or so). I have 2 questions, I plan to have my birthday brunch at Bellagio’s buffet because reserving a place for that many people on a Friday will be a nightmare. Do yo know if I can call ahead to have a section reserved for the occassion? Secondly, the birthday clan will be staying in various hotels (bigger budgets at THEhotel and/or Manadalay Bay; smaller budgets at Bally’s and Bill’s Gambling hall.) Do you have a suggestion for a fun bar or meeting place that is located in the central part of the strip? My intention is to meet there at a central location.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,


As far as reserving space at the Bellagio Buffet, I double-checked to confirm – they do not accept any type of reservations. Sorry!

As far as a meeting place, you might consider Diablo’s (Monte Carlo) – can be a fun place and they have food too. It’s open all day. If you want something a bit more reserved, the Petrossian Bar in the lobby at Bellagio is a great choice.

It’s only open at night so it may not be a great meeting place but MIX on the top floor of THEHotel is a great hangout spot.

Have a great trip!

Dana asked on 04/20/09

Hi Hunter,

I will be coming to Vegas for the first time this summer with 5 other girls for a bachlorette Party! We are all btwn 23-31. We would like to go to Rehab on Sunday at the Hard Rock! We are not staying at the hotel though!

Do I need to get tickets or should we just wait on line? If tickets are required how do we go about getting them? Would a cabana be better and if so how expensive would you say it would be?

Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Getting a cabana means that you have a reserved spot and can avoid the sometimes incredibly long lines. They’re not inexpensive but between six people, it can be a good option to consider. Rates vary a bit but expect to pay a few hundred bucks. The other nice thing about a cabana is you have a dedicated place to hang out. If you can swing it, I think you’ll be happy.

Otherwise, you’re probably looking at a pretty long line to get in.

Daniel asked on 04/19/09


Great Site!

Are there any hotels that will have room for 3 people in the same room?

We all want our own beds, so I was curious what our options are.

Thanks very much,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure. You could reserve a room with two queens and then have them send up a rollaway bed. They’ll charge you a little extra for the rollaway.

Pretty much every hotel in Las Vegas will do this for you.

Amy asked on 04/16/09

A friend and I booked our trip to Mandalay Bay for late July. This is our 3rd visit there. More than an upgrade to a room with a view, we’d like to have a room with a fridge and/or a bigger bathtub (if such rooms exist). Is it best to try the $20 trick, or just ask – and is one an easier request than the other? we wouldn’t mind paying a little more for either/both.
Thank you for this fabulous website and for all the work you do!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most Las Vegas hotel rooms now have minibars but generally they are bad for storing your own stuff because they have sensors to determine if you’ve removed something.

Mandalay Bay will bring you a fridge for your room if you request it. You don’t need a special type of room for this, as long as they aren’t all in use.

As far as a bigger bathtub, you’re probably looking at what they call a ‘Spa Suite’, which is a bit larger room and a big tub.

I’d say just ask – the clerk will let you know if there’s anything they can do for you.

Have fun!

Joe asked on 04/15/09


Great site BTW.

I have been to a number of great Steakhouses the past few years on the Strip (Crafts, Luxor Steakhouse, Delmonicos, Prime).

Does Gallaghers Steakhouse in NewYork NewYork Compare?

Also, What other Steakhouses on the Strip would you reccomend? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey There,

I haven’t been to Gallagher’s for about five years so I can’t tell you what it’s like these days. For some time, they had a pretty good selection of beef – I don’t know if that’s still true.

As far as other steak joints, check out Botero (Encore), SW (Wynn), CUT (Palazzo), Circus Steakhouse (Circus Circus), 3150 (MBay) and maybe Brand (Monte Carlo).

Lots of steak places in town, some better than others… and yes, I did include Circus Circus. You might find better cuts elsewhere but the prices are incredible and the food is still quite good.

Andrew asked on 04/13/09

Awesome site. I knew I wasn’t the only one who loves the Wynn that much.

I will be traveling to Vegas next week and narrowed it down to staying in either a Wynn Salon or an Encore Salon. (I eliminated the Skylofts and the Bellagio Cypress Suite.) I love the Wynn Tower Pool but hesitant about the Encore Main Pool. I know the Encore Tower Suites do not have their separate pool unlike the Wynn Tower Suites. Also I found out during my last stay, Encore Tower guests do not have access to the Wynn Tower Pool but Wynn Tower guest may visit the Encore pool. That’s the only “drawback” of the Encore Towers, I suppose. But, I love the Encore Spa, ALOT. Which Tower side do you personally prefer?

Which restaurant at the Wynn/Encore do you recommend the most for a romantic meal? I’ve dined at SW, Daniel Boulud, Country Club but curious how others compare, especially Encore’s offerings. I’d prefer something with an outdoor patio.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I prefer the Encore Tower side – it’s more intimate and the rooms are better.

As far as romantic meals go, try Sinatra – it has an outdoor area that’s open in nice weather. Botero also has outdoor dining but it’s more hectic than romantic. Good food though.

Matt asked on 04/10/09

Hi Hunter,

First off, great site – it’s been very helpful in planning our trip. Heading to Vegas next week and was hoping you might help us figure out a few things…

We’re staying at Mandalay Bay – any thoughts on upgrades to ask for with the $20 trick?

Any thoughts on places to watch the Bellagio fountains? Obviously, from the street is great, but are there any restaurants/bars where you can get a good view?

What are the best bars/lounges to hang out at? Ideally, it would be a place you can get a seat, have a drink, and be able to hear each other think – also if it was somewhere on the south strip, that would be best so that we can walk… Not so concerned about people watching, or being seen, just a nice chill place to hang out.

What are some of the better restaurants that are within reason? Would like to have a couple of good meals, would be nice if we can get out for $100-120 with drinks. Any thoughts?

And finally, if we wanted to catch a show like a Cirque show or Elton John, would the best idea be to go ahead and buy tickets now? or can we maybe get discount tickets the day of? We will be there on Sunday and Monday night if that makes a difference.

Thanks a bunch for your help,


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


As far as the $20 trick goes, it’s totally hit-or-miss. Sometimes you can get away with just finding the right clerk, a smile and friendly attitude.

The best view of the Fountains of Bellagio is actually from the street in front of the hotel – that’s how it was designed. You can get a view from the Fontana Lounge inside the hotel – it has an outdoor patio that you can sit on at night.

As far as bars and lounges, the above mentioned Fontana is always a good choice. On the South end of The Strip, consider MIX (THEHotel) which has a fantastic view from the top of the tower. If you can get in, Noir Bar at Luxor is a hidden gem. Further north, Eastside Lounge at Encore is a good chill out spot, as is Parasol Up next door at Wynn Las Vegas.

Restaurants – a lot of restaurants are offering fixed price meals at lower prices these days – something to consider. The entire Wynn complex has a program called ‘Taste of Wynn’ that includes this sort of thing. Details are available at either hotel. Some other restaurants I like that aren’t totally insane: Sensi (Bellagio), Bouchon (The Venetian), and the Country Club (Wynn Las Vegas). If you have specific types of cuisine, I could probably come up with more recommendations.

As far as tickets, for the big shows, it’s typically best to buy in advance because they sell out. These days, many are being offered online at a discount – check the specific shows you want to see as they may be offering these deals on their Web sites.

Have fun.

Bradley asked on 04/07/09

My wife and I come to vegas every summer for a week. We love the pools at bellagio but are concerned that the construction from city center is going to be a problem. How do you see this? Also do you see any problem with the shut down at the st regis project at the venetian for their pool?

Thanks again

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Construction at CityCenter is pretty much non-stop but is far enough away from Bellagio that it shouldn’t be a major issue.

The St. Regis project is, as you said, shutdown so it’s really not disrupting the pool at The Venetian.

Ron asked on 04/06/09

Hey Hunter-
I am going to Vegas at end of May with my wife. Staying @ the Wynn or Encore. Thinking about the Tower Suites. I know the rooms are the same- are there any other major differences? Is there still a food service in the lobby?

Thanks for the awesome site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, it’s a different experience. At both hotels, Tower Suites guests have their own lobby and check-in areas, as well as their own guest elevators.

Service levels are stepped up – better turn down, more newspapers delivered, etc… At Wynn Las Vegas there are two small pools that are reserved for Tower Suites guests.

When practical, I always go Tower Suites.

Mindy asked on 04/04/09

Staying at Mirage mid-May (great deal). Seeing 9:30 p.m. Love. We want a steak place within walking distance. After much research, the best choices I have come up with are SW, Morel’s, or CUT. Which do you like best, and do you have any other suggestions? We have already been to Delmonico’s twice, which is why it is not on the list. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve not tried Morel’s myself but SW and CUT are both great choices. I’d also consider Carnevino (Palazzo) and Botero (Encore).

SW has a French influence, Carnevino Italian. CUT feels like someplace out of Beverly Hills – a bit cold but the beef is good. Botero is new and a hip, exciting place. It’s a bit further away from The Mirage.

Caleb asked on 04/01/09

Hey Hunter,

Me and a group of friends are going to Treasure Island for the week of May 11. It’s our first trip to Vegas and we are on a bit of a tight budget but are still looking to go out and have a good time, have some drinks, but without having to pay high cover prices or wait in ridiculous lines. Do you have any suggestions for some fun bars/clubs that don’t cost too much to get into?

Also, our flights are arriving into Las Vegas around 11 pm, from your experience do hotels usually still have a good selection of rooms/options for upgrades, or will we end up with the worst rooms in the place because we are arriving so late.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey Caleb,

Actually, many of the clubs have relatively reasonable general admission access but it means waiting in line.

Typically, the way to skip the lines is to pay your way in so if you’re on a tight budget, your best bet is probably to brave some of the lines. During the week it’s not as bad as the weekends so try places like XS (Encore), Jet (The Mirage), Christian Audigier (TI) and the earlier you’re willing to go, the smaller the line will be.

As far as rooms and late check-in, you’re not doomed. Some people think it’s better to arrive early and others believe you should arrive late – rooms for people that are no-shows go back into inventory and can be allocated. It really depends on how full the hotel is in general and lately, occupancy levels have been down so generally many rooms are available.

MIKE asked on 03/29/09


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I dunno, do you like dams? If so, you might consider taking the dam tour. They have some great dam guides.

Try not to damn the dam though – people rely on the electricity.


Cammy Stark asked on 03/27/09

Hi there!

Three of us are travelling out to Vegas for a long weekend from Scotland and are looking to attend Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel on Sunday 3rd May. Can you help with any pointers as to how to purchase tickets for this. We are unable to find ways to buy tickets for this and have heard that lines are very long as it’s so popular.

Help appreciated.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Are you going to be staying at the Hard Rock or just cruising over for Rehab? It’s easier for guests to get in.

Yes, Rehab is popular and just like nightclubs, people line up (queue up) for hours sometimes.

If you rent a cabana you can get priority admission as well – these aren’t cheap but if you split it between you guys, it might be doable. At least something to consider.

Some folks sell passes online… while this can sometimes work, it can also be dodgy. You have to be careful not to get scammed as many of the passes are no better than waiting in the normal line.

Other than that, it’s the same as nightclubs and a lot of other stuff in Las Vegas. If you’re not big gamblers at the Hard Rock, tipping people / paying off the doormen can help.

VH asked on 03/25/09




Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’d take a long look at The Mirage – great Strip location, awesome pool, one of the better poker rooms and some good restaurants.

I just saw an offer for rooms as low as $44 for some nights – lots of deals are being offered right now. Be sure to sign up for the guest book at

Mike asked on 03/23/09

My wife and I are going to Vegas beginning of Summer. We stayed at Bellagio last time and loved it but thought we would try another place this time. We went with Mirage since they were offering such good deals on their suites. Both Tower and Hospitality are priced the same so it just depended on what we wanted. We were going with the Tower Suite until the cust serv agent told us that ALL of the Hospitality Suites have been re-modeled whereas NONE of the Tower Suites have been re-modeled yet – also, we could request a non-smoking Hosp Suite whereas there are NO non-smoking Tower suites.

Although we love high floors and views, we thought it would be a better to get a newly remodeled suite instead (especially since I have read some reviews that stated the Mirage rooms were old and worn-down). Just looking for a confirmation/agreement/diagreement from anyone in the know. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While the regular rooms at The Mirage were re-done, most of the suites didn’t get into the pipeline before the company put a freeze on redevelopment projects due to the economy.

I love The Mirage but I’ve been in several smoking rooms there that absolutely reeked – way worse than other hotels.

The Hospitality Suites are kinda a strange configuration as they are setup for meetings but given all of the above, I would probably reserve the newer suite if I were you.

mike asked on 03/23/09

I just booked 2 nights at the Encore in a resort suite at a great price. I’m still not sure about it though, seems so far south on strip. Do you think this place is to far off center strip? First part of trip will be at the Mirage in a King deluxe room and may be better choice for same price and less room perk

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,

Encore is actually on the North end of The Strip… I’ve stayed there four times now and I can say without a doubt it is my favorite place on The Strip. The rooms are incredible, the food top quality and the staff excellent.

Yes, if you’re spending a lot of time on the opposite side of The Strip, you’ll be doing a lot of walking. That said though, the center of gravity is slowing moving North on The Strip. There’s plenty to do at Encore, Wynn LV, Palazzo, The Venetian, TI, The Mirage, etc…