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gary asked on 12/25/08

1st time in vegas,Staying at new york new york..was that a good choice? Do they have match plays?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

New York New York is a solid mid-range hotel in a very good location – easy walking distance to many of the major attractions in town.

MGM Mirage’s (hotel owner) Players Club card offers match play as part of their rewards system – make sure you sign up for the free program when you arrive.

Carol O'Reilly asked on 11/10/08

Visting Vegas in April and going to buy Cher tickets. I hear she sings only a few of her original songs but mostly songs of other pop artists. Have you had any feedback on her show? I am sure it is visually tremendous but we are more concerned about the music she performs. Thanks. Carol from NC.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I haven’t seen the show and don’t know that much about her set list but here’s a review from the local newspaper:

Thomas asked on 11/02/08


I’ve booked a room at ti for my stay the first weekend of Dec. I was having a hard time choosing between Mirage and TI but chose ti because it was a bit cheaper. ($30 night)

I’m a huge sports fan and plan on doing a lot of sports gambling at the book. I’ve read that the Mirage sportsbook is one of the best and I’ve heard nothing about the book @ ti.

Should I consider changing my reservation to The Mirage since the sportsbook is a big part of my stay?

I do know they have a tram from ti to mirage so maybe I can just tram it when I want to watch a game? What do you think?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The sports book at TI is pretty small, tucked away in a corner. The book at The Mirage is larger and more plush.

The two properties are very close together – you wouldn’t have any problem taking the tram or walking over if you wanted to watch a game at The Mirage.

Deborah Damon asked on 10/31/08

Hi Hunter:
Happy Halloween. I wanted to let you know that my friend and i had a great time in vegas even though both of us got sick. Next time i will go but with out the flu shot. Anyway while i was there i my friend and i ate at a place called Hash House a go-go and i wish i could send you a picture of the size of the pancakes that they served there. Can you tell me how i can get this picture to you and to let every know about this resturant. It should be something everyone who comes to Vegas ought to try, just make sure that you come hungry.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hiya there,

Feel free to send any correspondence to – thanks.

I’ve been told Hash House-a-Go-Go is a great spot, though I haven’t tried it myself.


JB asked on 10/30/08

I booked a room at the Mirage over December called a Tower room. The website says there is a private elevator to access the room. Is this the same floor where the Tower suites are located? And do you know if the elevator is the only primary amentity I am paying for?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s the main amenity, yes. The bathrooms are also a bit larger and the tubs have jacuzzi jets in them.

Tower Deluxe rooms are on the upper few floors.

SEAN asked on 10/29/08

Hi Hunter, I came across several articles in the past few days reguarding General Growth properties, the first is from the Chicago Tribune & the second is from the Review Journal. I’m posting them below, just wondering if you have seen them. I realize this is not normally what is posted here, but it semes quite importent based on the ecconomic climate as of late.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for sending but I snipped this off a bit since it’s off-topic.

We do discuss this stuff all the time, just not on this part of the site.

We talked about GGP on the podcast this week and on the blog, here:

chris nicoll asked on 10/18/08

thanks a lot for answering my last question it was a great help. just a couple more things, What is the deal with smoking in the casino’s at the moment? (i am a smoker myself) and are there any places you can go to play poker and smoke? And finally what way would you reccomend for casino hopping?
Thanks very much for your help and i think you have a great site and has been very helpful.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You can smoke in the gaming areas but not in other public spaces or restaurants. You can also smoke outside. All hotels offer both smoking and non-smoking rooms. Most poker rooms have gone non-smoking as well.

Not sure exactly what kind of casino hopping recommendation you’re looking for. All the Strip casinos are worth seeing – I’d check as many as you can but don’t miss The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand and New York New York.

Terri Jones asked on 10/18/08

We are taking our daughter to Vegas for her 21st birthday next. Our state handles license renewals just like Nevada in that they provide an iterim the day of the renewal and mail the ‘hard copy’ later. If her ‘hard copy’ license does not show up before we leave will the casinos, bars and clubs accept her interim license as valid for entrance, etc.?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It would be at their discretion.

Ideally, do you have any other form of photo ID that she can bring along as a backup? It would be a bummer if you guys couldn’t do everything you wanted to do because of an ID being stuck in the mail.

John Garvey asked on 10/17/08

Can you please describe the Diamond Suites at the Monte Carlo? What is in them, the layout? The Price? And also is that on a Concierge Level and what is all included with the room. Is the concierge floor still down due to re-building after the fire? I have stayed at Monte Carlo 3 times but only in the Standard Deluxe Rooms.

Why is the pool closed in November, do they offer alternatives? I am going the last week of November.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Monte Carlo Web site has a complete description of the Diamond Suite rooms. Of course, prices vary almost by day.

The pool is being closed due to construction at the nearby City Center complex. Monte Carlo has not yet announced if guests will have an alternative though it’s possible given that MGM Mirage owns other hotels on The Strip.

chris nicoll asked on 10/16/08

hi this is the first time i have used this service and was hoping you could help. I am going to vegas for the first time with one of my mates. How much money would you recommend to take for 9 nights on a average budget? I was also looking and i see there are lots of poker tournemants on, do the casino’s supply dealers or not. And finally which casino would you recommend for the best poker events. Thanks a lot.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Welcome! This is a really tough question to answer because it’s typically very personal. Many people divide their budget into a portion for gambling and then a portion for everything else (food, incidentals, maybe a show).

For gambling, decide how much you’re willing to lose. You might win but it is better to assume the worst. 9 nights is a pretty long trip but maybe you won’t be gambling every day. I don’t know what your situation is but I can give you some statistics – the average person on a 3 night/4 day trip typically gambles about $500. Some people much more, others far less.

Other than gambling, you should be able to predict costs easier – Las Vegas has a complete range of food options, from very inexpensive to very high end.

For poker, yes the casinos supply the dealers and charge a small rake for that service.

As far as where to go, if you’re a pro, try Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas or The Mirage. If you’re just getting started, maybe check out Luxor or Excalibur.

Hope that helps.

Debbie asked on 10/16/08

My husband and I are going to be in Vegas for a wedding the weekend of October 24. Because we received an offer from NYNY for 2 free nights, we decided to take them up on their offer. We have not stayed at this hotel and are curious if there is construction going on inside and what other disruptions we might encounter during our stay. We would also appreciate any other tips that might make our stay more enjoyable. Thank you for your help. This is such a great site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

New York New York is in the middle of a pretty large scale casino renovation. What this means is that blocks of machines are out of service and you’ll see some construction walls inside.

It’s not impacting the rooms and you shouldn’t have anything nasty like loud noises at night.

NYNY is connected via bridge to MGM Grand and Excalibur so you have plenty of nearby options for food alongside what’s on the property.

One other thing to keep in mind with NYNY is the roller coaster – if you are a very light sleeper, the noise can sometimes be annoying at night. It’s not terribly loud but some folks are sensitive. If so, ask for a room with less of a noise problem – some are a bit better than others.

Hope that helps. Have fun!

Michelle asked on 10/16/08

Hey! Heading off to my yearly trek to Vegas next year, and want to try something different. I’ve heard that one of (if not the best) Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. I’ve read boasts of an “excellent” rating in Zagat’s.

Is it worth a short trip off the strip to try this place out? I like authentic mexican food and, of course, margaritas.

Thanks, and Cheers!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I asked around a little bit when I saw this and it sounds like this place has a lot of fans.

If you have the time, check it out – sounds great.

cedric asked on 10/16/08

Hi Hunter

Your realy have a great site, congratulaitons !

We have booked a penthouse suite from November 1st to November 5th at the Bellagio

Do you recommend to be on the SPA tower or the main’tower ? I’m wondering if the rooms were renovated in both towers.

Also do you know if these suites are facing the lake or the parking ? The hotel reply was very hesitant

Do you think that we can have line pass and use the invited guest check in ? (we don’t gamble)

Thank you for your help & have a great day


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The rooms in both towers are basically the same but the main tower has a much better view of the Fountains. If you want a good view, try to end up in the main tower.

You’re staying in a suite so you have a good chance of getting line passes – just ask when you check in. As for using the invited guest check-in, maybe. The rules for this are constantly shifting but with that type of room they might do it. Maybe give it a try? If not, they’ll direct you to the right spot.

Brian asked on 10/16/08

I have been to Vegas a few times in the summer, and have always had a blast at the Hard Rock. I am headed there on a Sunday and Monday night with 4 of my buddies and were all in our mid twenties and single. I could use some advice on where to stay and get the most room for my money, along with having a younger singles crowd. Tips on some good night life would be great too! Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, the Hard Rock is certainly an option but it sounds like you want some other suggestions…

Prices change all the time but here’s a few spots to check rates for:

  • Mandalay Bay – good scene, always busy, lots of younger people. Killer pool and jacuzzis.
  • Palazzo – newer hotel, very nice rooms that have been inexpensive lately because not as many people are coming to Vegas right now. You might get a great deal.
  • The Mirage – often good deals, awesome pool, very busy nightclub (JET), lots of young people.
  • Luxor – in the middle of a major renovation, some rooms are nicer than others (try for the Tower). Large club (LAX) that is always busy.

Club-wise, I’d check out JET, The Bank (Bellagio), Tryst (Wynn Las Vegas) and maybe PURE (Caesars Palace).

Not everywhere is open on Mondays so check first.

Alana asked on 10/14/08

Hello Hunter,

What would you prefer, Flamingo or Ballys and is the GO rooms at Flamingo worth it at the Flamingo from the conversation you have heard?

Who has a nicer pool, amenities as well?

Hooters off the strip did not sound too appealing but good rate, is that worth it? Won’t be in the room much, going to a convention for 4 days but wanted to go home to a nice, clean, safe room with (some) upgraded amenities and a nice place to hang out when not at work!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,

The nicer pool is no doubt at The Flamingo. Bally’s pool is just a large olympic size – nothing special, though it does have a rare-in-Vegas deep end.

I know people that will only stay in the GO rooms at Flamingo – they are a nice upgrade from the standard offering.

Hooters is right across from MGM Grand so it’s not that huge of a trek. Still, I know that if I booked it, I’d probably regret it unless the satisfaction of saving a little money was very, very strong.

From what you’re saying it sounds like a GO room would be your best bet if you can get a rate you can live with.

Have fun.

Marc asked on 10/10/08

I will be staying at the Luxor next week – Oct 16 – I last visited in late June & the construction was everywhere! Can I still expect much of the same & what new “motif” are they going for? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Construction at Luxor is still going on but the casino floor is basically complete.

The upstairs ‘Atrium’ level is still having work done but it shouldn’t interrupt the regular visitor.

Luxor has actually come a long way in improving its internals from the shabby pyramid it was a few years ago.

You won’t find much of the original Egyptian motif left though – it’s been replaced with a sorta sleek, dark, blue neon design.

Adam asked on 10/09/08

Hi Hunter,

Coming to LV for Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in November, staying 15th through the 20th with six other people.

Looking at booking a few rooms, and 1 suite.

A) How are the Tower Suites at Treasure Island, any other suites you would look at?

B) Would you take a Van Taxi to and from the Airport or a Bus Shuttle?

C) Do any hotels offer a “Concierge Lounge” with breakfast, cordials, desserts ? TI says they do not… we are looking for a property for the best value.

Thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey Adam,

G2E can be an interesting show, I’m sure you’ll have a good time. As for your questions:

A) TI’s Tower Suites are nicely done. Not huge though, depending on what exactly you’re looking for in the suite. I’d also look at Mirage Tower Suites which are a bit larger. With more and more hotels offerings deals due to the slowing economy, you might even find a good rate on a Wynn Las Vegas Salon Suite, which is quite large and very nice.

B) There are lots of airport transport options but if all 6 of you are arriving together, you might want to consider chartering a van. It would probably be just as economical and if you make arrangements in advance, they can be waiting for you when you arrive. Waiting in line if you do not have prior arrangements can be a real drag with the line sometimes taking an hour or more.

C) Some do, yes. Monte Carlo has a special VIP room upstairs on the 32nd floor for those guests, as does Paris Las Vegas. Both The Venetian and Palazzo have ‘concierge’ floors that have similar amenities.

Dustin asked on 10/04/08

Some buddies and I will be in Vegas the last week in Oct.

Can you tell me what kind of Halloween events are going on during that week.

Also what are some websites for entertainment, such as UFC fights, concerts, etc.

Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A couple of good links for Halloween info:
Boxing at MBay on the 1st

And always, for good general nightclub info:

Hope that helps.

SEAN asked on 10/04/08

Hi Hunter,

I herd that Wheel of Fortune slots are being pulled from casino floors, is that true? If so, what’s the story behind it.

Thanks Hunter, great work as always.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sort of true. We did a story on the blog and talked about this on the Vegas Gang podcast.

Basically, Harrah’s decided to test removing WoF and other co-branded slots at a few properties in an effort to boost their revenues.

Some slot brands are of this shared revenue type where the operator splits the income with the slot manufacturer. By replacing WoF slots with another brand, Harrah’s can keep all the income generated.

This test is currently underway. We’ll see how it works out but my guess is that we’ll see these machines back on the floor soon.

Dave asked on 09/28/08

Do you know which casinos have 10/7, $1, Double Bonus video poker machines? Preferrably casinos on the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is a tough question because this stuff literally changes all the time. The casino managers are constantly adjusting pay outs on VP machines.

Generally speaking, the better VP is off-Strip and Downtown. On The Strip, again generally, places that are trying to lure people in typically have better games, i.e. the places that aren’t the nicest and newest.

Two links for more info:

Mel Ford asked on 09/23/08


I will be in Vegas this weekend (September 26) and will be staying at TI. Have you heard anything (good or bad) about the Christian Audigier nightclub that replaced Tangerine? I have not been able to find out much of anything about the place.

Thanks for your help and my compliments on your great site.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The setup is very similar to Tangerine – outside patio, bar and tables inside. It seems busy every time I’ve walked by on Fri/Sat nights.

Amanda asked on 09/23/08

I have a group of 50 people coming to Vegas during Thanksgiving. Where is a reasonable ($20) place that we can all eat together on Thanskgiving?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, most if not all LV Strip and Downtown restaurants are open on turkey day and offer a special menu.

That means you could do something like a trip to a tasty buffet (i.e. Bellagio, Spice Market at Planet Hollywood, Paris) or maybe even one of the better coffee shops like at Wynn Las Vegas or Planet Hollywood.

melissa asked on 09/21/08

Hello. We are headed to LV, staying at Caesars for 3 nights. Looking for a steakhouse within the CP compound. Right now we have res. at The Palm but we are wondering your preference The Palm vs. Neros?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nero’s is fine, The Palm is probably tastier, in my experience. You might also want to consider Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill as it includes many steak dishes on the menu.

Amy asked on 09/19/08

Looking at your dislike of the Venetian and Palazzo, I started researching more about the Wynn. Why I appreciate that it’s got a lot of things to offer, the rooms don’t look that impressive to me…while they claim 650 sq ft, it seems like a lot of that is lost with the entryway. (The size of the room has always been my complaint of the Bellagio too.) Have you been in the new renovated TI Tower suites? Would you choose that over the Venetian/Palazzo? They are the same price.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While it is true that I’m not a huge fan of The Venetian or Palazzo, it is impossible to deny that the rooms themselves are the strongest part of their offering.

The rooms at Wynn Las Vegas are not as large as Palazzo or The Venetian, that’s true. Still, the WLV rooms have a lot of nice little design flourishes (lots of plugs! hi-tech phone system! super awesome beds!). The WLV rooms, in my experience, are extremely comfortable. They do not feel cramped, as Bellagio rooms sometimes can.

It sounds like the room itself is pretty important to you as part of your trip – if so, you shouldn’t be at TI, even with the renovations. Things are better but the base dimensions are a room built in 1993 – smaller room, smaller windows, smaller bathroom, etc…

Sara asked on 09/15/08

I’m organizing a 2-night weekend trip in January to Vegas for a group of friends from all over the US (and me, from Canada). I have never been to Vegas, or really planned a trip before, so all this is new to me.

I was just hoping for some advice on hotels. We’ll be about 7-10 people, and we’re all hoping to make this trip not too expensive (maybe $200-350/night?) – but we’d like to be on or close enough to the Strip to get the experience of it. We’re not going there to gamble much, mostly to just have a bit of a reunion and see the sights, maybe find a good bar or lounge to get some drinks in.

Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated! :)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Depending on what time in January, you might get hit with high rates – there are a couple of events that month that spike room prices that you should be aware of.

First is the CES convention, January 8th to the 11th. This brings in over 100,000 people and causes prices to go crazy.

The other thing is Chinese New Year, starting on the 26th I believe. This is a big holiday, especially for Asian gamblers and can have some impact on rates.

Lastly, the Superbowl on February 1st brings many to the city.

I’d avoid those times if possible.

For hotels, I’d suggest checking out the following: The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood and THEHotel at Mandalay Bay.

All offer nice rooms and should give you a nice spread of prices to choose from.

Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio are the very high end but sometimes aren’t all that expensive.

The Mirage and Planet Hollywood have both recently been re-done and feature great amenities at reasonable prices.

THEHotel is an expansion to Mandalay Bay and offers large rooms (all suites) in modern decor.

I think you’d be happy in any of those places, they are strong choices.

Jim Allan asked on 09/13/08

We will be in Vegas this coming weekend to attend the UNLV/ISU football game at Sam Boyd Stadium. We are staying at the I.P. and wonder what the best way to get to the Stadium for a 0600pm game would be. I was told that cabs might be scarce out there after the game due to being Saturday night and most cabbies on the strip. Any shuttles run that far out?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’re right that cabs could be in demand. As far as I know, the only shuttles available are for students only, not general ticket holders.

I’d say your options, depending on what you want to do are:

  • Risk a cab
  • Hire a car service to drop you off and pick you up (more expensive)
  • Rent a car for the day and maybe combine it with something else that you’d want to drive around for, such as Red Rock, Hoover Dam, etc…

Listed below are directions by car in case you need them.

Sam Boyd Stadium is located in Henderson approximately seven miles from the UNLV campus. From McCarran Airport, exit via Swenson, turn right (east) on Tropicana Ave. and continue until reaching the stadium. From the Las Vegas Strip, head east on Tropicana Ave. and continue until reaching the stadium.

Sarah asked on 09/10/08

We are heading to Vegas in early October for our 10th Wedding Anniversary (with NO Children). We have reservations for the GO Rooms at the Flamingo, but see only slightly more expensive ($50 or so) deals for Planet Hollywood and Rio. For an adult oriented trip, spending time at the casino, pool and 1 or 2 shows, what would you recommend?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’d probably be better off staying at The Flamingo and trying to see if you could maybe upgrade to a Go Mini Suite, a slightly larger version of the Go room.

P-Ho and the Rio are fine choices but I don’t think they really completely match up with what you’re looking for and the pool at Planet Hollywood is its weakest link.

Mark asked on 09/08/08

I just opened a bag from a recent Vegas trip and realized I had $20 worth of those printouts you get from the machines. (TI) They say they expire after 30 days and can’t be redeemed by mail. I understand the no mail redemption part, but any chance I’ll have any luck convincing them to let me cash these during my next trip, or is this a brightline kind of deal and I’m sol. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most of these tickets expire in 30-90 days but the ticket itself should include a mail-in address to have it cashed in.

As far as convincing them to cash them – maybe. It’s at their discretion but this is not unheard of.

Deb asked on 09/05/08

I will be a first timer in Vegas Sept 13-17 with hubby. We are 36 and I would like to know a good/less expensive bar to go to. I know nothing is cheap in Vegas, but would like to keep some costs down. What places would you recommend and what is the ave cover and drink (beer) price?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,

It somewhat depends what you mean by bar. There are basically a couple of different places that may fit that description…

  • Bars/Lounges – These are all over the place and typically have no cover charge. Some are open on to the casinos themselves without much separation. Some of my favorite bars in this category include Fontana (Bellagio) and Parasol Up (Wynn Las Vegas).
  • Ultra-Lounges – An ultra-lounge is a Las Vegas invention – basically a nightclub without dancing (or a bar with a cover, depends on how you look at it). These are typically separated from the casinos and often have a cover charge. Some are a lot of fun though, including MIX (Mandalay Bay – great view), Blush (Wynn Las Vegas), and Revolution (The Mirage).
  • Nightclubs – Crowded, long lines, high covers – this is the current Las Vegas nightclub scene. Still, if you want to feel that energy of all the dancing people, it can be a fun night out. Some of my faves are Tryst (Wynn Las Vegas), The Bank (Bellagio), and Body English (Hard Rock).

If you’re just looking to chill out and have a drink, try Fontana or Parasol Up. For a great view in a fun spot, MIX is still one of my number one suggestions. Hope that helps.

SEAN asked on 09/04/08

Hi Hunter,

Just wondering what was happening with some of the large construction projects along the strip.

As a separate question, did I read correctly that City Center’s cost rose to over $11 billion? At this pace CC’s costs will double over original projections.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, City Center’s cost is currently at $9.2 billion. Quite a bit over the original projections but it still hasn’t broken $10B.

As far as construction status, to keep up to date I recommend reading our blog site on a regular basis: Blog

We cover this stuff as it happens and on a regular basis. Also, our photo gallery above is frequently updated with new photos.

mmm asked on 09/04/08

My friend and I were arguing that if I brought a tub full of coins of various amounts I couldn’t get them exchanged at a cashiers’ window in Vegas. I disagreed. She said they wouldn’t be accepted.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmmm… Well, since most casino floors are now coinless, you would probably have a harder time than a few years ago.

You might be able to get them exchanged, if you got a clerk that wanted to help you.

Debbie Damon asked on 09/03/08

Hey Hunter:
Quick question have you ever stayed at the Golden Nugget. Which tower would you prefer the best. Also since i am going in October from the 16-22 what is the temperature there like.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Both towers have had a lot of attention so either one is probably fine.

I’d probably advise the North Tower just because it is closer to the casino.

As far as temperatures, expect things to be cool in the evenings and mild during the day. Bring long pants and maybe a light sweater to prevent being too cold at night.

murph asked on 09/01/08

Hello, going to Vegas in June 2009 and want to plan way ahead. There will be a group of 25 somethings going (about 6 to 8 of us). Do you recommend any hotels? We want lively action but the rooms to be fairly big enough to contain all of us (probably 2 rooms). Also, is there anything that we just HAVE to see and or do in Vegas??? Just looking for general input. My mom said to stay at the Venetian but i can’t get rates to come up on their web…basically we don’t want to spend over 50 bucks pp. per night…..

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Personally, I would probably not pick The Venetian. It’s more of a hotel for your parents, not you, especially based on the pricing you’re hoping for.

I’d check out the following:

  • The Mirage
  • Treasure Island
  • Mandalay Bay
  • The Palms

As far as ‘must sees’, there are a few:

  • Bellagio Fountains (at night!)
  • View of The Strip from MIX (THEHotel at Mandalay Bay)

Those two pop out as I’m thinking about it.

Gary asked on 09/01/08


Will Encore be open for guests the week of December 21, 2008? I had read of a December opening but the Encore web site has only Febuary 09 dates as the first available.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nobody knows yet.

Wynn Resorts is trying to open the resort in December but they aren’t accepting those reservations yet and won’t until October or so.

ron asked on 09/01/08

i want to use vip hosting service while visiting vegas
i understand the RED CARPET VIP is the best that vegas has to offer
do you agree or is there another vip hosting service that beats red carpet in service and price
i want to go with the BEST
will be booking hotels,shows,clubs, and limo service for about 20 people and want the experience to be top notch all the way
give me your best choices

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While this is not an area where I’ve had a lot of experience, the one company/person I have dealt with is Bill Le at Mecca Entertainment.

djt asked on 09/01/08

My Mom and I are coming to Vegas to celebrate her (very young), 70th birthday. We have 2 of the 3 nights at the RIO comped. Is this a safe property? Any advice to get a nice room there?

Also, what shows do you recommend and should we wait to get tickets? Any discount sources? Our travel dates are mid-Sept. Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Rio is a nice, safe property. One of the great things about it is that all of the rooms are fairly large and well appointed.

The Masquerade Tower is newer with better views in case you are offered a choice.

Regarding shows, waiting to buy tickets can sometimes mean deals but if you have a specific show in mind or can only see a show on a specific night or time, you probably want to buy in advance.

Discount tickets are available for some shows – check the in-room advertisements that are in almost all Vegas hotel rooms.

The various Cirque du Soleil shows are often cited as some of the best in the city. If you want to see a Cirque show, I’d suggest ‘Mystere’ at Treasure Island. It’s less expensive than some of the others and tickets are easier to come by. ‘O’ and ‘LOVE’ are two other great shows.

Cheri' asked on 08/30/08

Why are hotel and air packages higher in the month of October?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Rates change all the time. Fall rates are usually higher due to convention traffic.

Steve asked on 08/29/08

I will be going to Vegas in 4 weeks and will be saying for 3 nights at Caesars Palace. 2 of the nights are comped. Anyways my host has booked me into the newly renovated Forum Tower yet the past 3 trips to Caesars I have been put in the Augustus Tower. My question is has anyone stayed in both rooms and if so which one is better? Should I stay with the Forum Tower and try something new or should I go back with the Augustus Tower. When I look at the website the Augustus Tower costs more so I’m thinking it is better somehow but I would appreciate any responses. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Augustus Tower is currently the nicest tower in the complex, followed by the Palace Tower and then the original towers.

If you can get into the Augustus Tower, do so. The rooms are nicer and larger.

Chuck asked on 08/24/08

Hunter, I enjoy your responses and opinions. I’m a big college football fan and my alma mater is playing a night game on ESPN2 while I’ll be in Vegas. Any favorite places on the strip to catch the game (sports book/restaurant/bar)? It’s a 7:30pm start, so a good dinner/viewing combo would be great (wife and I are both foodies). We are staying at Mirage if that helps. Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmm… Well, there really aren’t any restaurants of any significance I can think of that would show the game.

The Sports Book at The Mirage is situated next to a California Pizza Kitchen but that’s hardly where I would send a foodie.

That sports book is a winner though, as are those at Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. The 40/40 Club at The Palazzo is a dedicated sports bar but does not have gambling at this time.

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill is located just steps from the book at Caesars but I doubt you’d be able to see the game from there in any fulfilling manner. Also, ESPN Zone at New York New York is a possibility but the food isn’t very good.

Angelo asked on 08/22/08

I’m interested in your opinion of Voga Resturant in the Flamingo. We find it enjoyable and service is good. Was wondering how you rate it. Thank you. Enjoy your site.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Haven’t tried it yet myself but I’ve heard it’s solid.

christine asked on 08/21/08

In regard to taking a limo to the stip hotels, cam you explain what everyone is talkig about when they say “do not take the tunnel”. I don’t understand what they are talking about.

Thank you,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Typically this means that the driver is trying to ‘long haul’ you – take you the long way around to reach your destination to increase the fare. The tunnel at the airport is rarely the best way to go when heading to The Strip.

It’s a bigger issue with a taxi since you are charged per mile.

AZ asked on 08/19/08

Hunter, my wife and I (mid-30s, but young at heart) are making our annual Vegas trip in early September. Considering Mirage or MGM. Mirage is about $20/night cheaper, which isn’t a deal-breaker for us. We are looking for fun pool scene, nice spa (for wife) and lively casino for evenings. Thoughts? Will Mirage construction be complete? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Construction at The Mirage is basically complete. The volcano will re-open late this year but the hotel is basically in one piece.

The new rooms at The Mirage are a much needed update – some very nice touches. They did a really nice job.

I can’t think of a reason to suggest MGM Grand. Not that it would be a bad choice – I just think The Mirage edges it out and if it is less expensive, that’s even more of a reason.

Good pool, updated casino, good restaurants.

The new spa at The Mirage is also a winner – the latest in everything with some great looking design.

SEAN asked on 08/18/08

Hi Hunter,

love the site & podcasts, very informative,. I have a question, I just booked a trip for two in October & we are staying at Golden Nugget. Based on what I have been reading & hearing lately, there are a lot more rooms available now then in the past, so I wondered about getting a room upgrade at check in. What kind of suites does GN have & is it worth pursuing?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Nugget has several different levels of suites – really no harm in asking on check-in to see about getting upgraded. The other thing to consider is which tower you want to be in – one is closer to the casino, the other is closer to the pool.

christine asked on 08/15/08

Please advise as to which Limo company you recommend to and from the airport and back from Fremont Street.

Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve used Las Vegas Limo many times with great success. Professional with reasonable rates.

rich kozak asked on 08/14/08

HUNTER,great site for vegas info.
Will be visiting vegas late Sept.
would like to take a cruise on Lake meade.Staying at Mandalay Bay,any tour recommendation. So many sites to choose from,we were thinging of renting a car for the day, out to the lake.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I don’t really have a specific recommendation but I’ve heard that Look Tours is a popular vendor.

Many tour companies will pick you up at your Strip hotel – you may not need to rent a car if that was your only reason.

christine asked on 08/14/08

Any more updates on the room renovations at the Mirage. Calls to the hotel are giving different reply’s. Is it confirmed that the suites (Tower and Penthouse) will start at beginning of next year? Also, when will the last two floors be completed – front desk replies varies from one week to three weeks? thank you

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Just got back from a stay at The Mirage.

No construction noise anywhere that we could find. We were on the 20th floor this time around.

I keep hearing October for suite renovations but that could change – they’d like to have them done for New Years / Superbowl / Chinese New Year in a few months.

I didn’t see anything on property that would suggest avoiding due to construction issues.

Rob asked on 08/12/08

I was wondering I am booking a trip in January with several friends for a 30th birthday and we want to see a show. When are shows announced for January?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’re asking about something like a concert? Most of the permanent shows have consistent dates about 6 months out so if you’re thinking like a Cirque show or some other permanent performer, you can check those dates now.

Concert dates – they vary. Big shows are usually announced at least 2 months prior. January is traditionally a quiet month for the concert biz though.

Gary asked on 08/11/08

My wife and I are going to Vegas the 3rd week in October and would like to play some golf while we are there. I don’t want to shell out the money to play Cascata or Shadow Creek, but would like to play a desert course in good condition. I keep reading mixed reviews online of the various Vegas courses. Do you have a course that you recommend? We won’t be renting a car, so I would like something that we can take a cab to for around $20 to $40. We are staying at the Palazzo. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I don’t play golf so I had to ask a trusted friend for a recommendation.

He gave high marks for a few courses:

  • Bali Hai (near Mandalay Bay so it’s close. Airplane noise can be annoying.)
  • Tuscany (this one is in Henderson so it’s a bit further out)
  • Painted Desert (a nice desert course)

I hope that helps. I wish I could give first hand advice on this one.

christine asked on 08/10/08

How has the strip traffic been compared to the last few years. Some are saying traffic is very light except for weekends.

Thanks for all your hard work keeping this board up and running.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s down, no doubt about it. Weekends still feel full but the lines are shorter. Weekdays, depending on the convention load, can be downright sleepy in a few places but it’s not a ghost town or anything like that.

Lets just say it’s easier to find a room, make reservations or get show tickets these days.

martin asked on 08/08/08

Hi Hunter, just found your site great insite thanks.
My wife and i are going to be there the end of august. it’s been 15 years since last vacation, so long time coming. Were booked at the palazzo for 8 nights and have considered splitting that up with another hotel, preferably a suite with a view. I’ve tried the HOTEL but mid week sold out of V-suite. I’m considering signature at mgm it seems reasonable. rate it for me please and any other suggestions. thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Mmmm, you might not want to do the Signature. If you’re not aware, its a set of condo towers located on the back of the MGM Grand property. The rooms are nice but it’s a very different kind of experience – quiet, lots of walking, etc…

You might also look into a Tower Suite at The Mirage or maybe a Parlor Suite at Wynn Las Vegas. Both are great choices.