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Deanna asked on 08/06/08

Hi :)
In a question posted on July 20th you were asked about a Tower Suite at the Mirage opposed to a Penthouse Suite. You mention access to VIP services…what does that actually mean?
I have stayed in the Tower Suite many times and I know you get Invited check in, flowers, newspaper and priority seating….is there any added bonus to switching to a Penthouse? Thanks for your help :)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Since the demise of their ‘Royal Service’ benefit (which was awesome and much missed), what you actually get sometimes varies.

The VIP Services access is the same thing extended to high rollers – basically a uber-concierge for helping to make any golf/dinner/show/whatever plans. Of course, you pay for the services you choose (unlike the aforementioned whales).

The Penthouse suites are nice – nicer than the Tower Suites – but not all that much better unless you place a top premium on being on the very very top floors.

It’s not uncommon to have a Tower Suite booked and to get bumped to a Penthouse Suite. That’s happened to me a couple of times.

This may all change when the suites are re-done – I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Penthouse Suites seriously bumped up a notch.

Isabelle asked on 08/06/08

We are staying 2 nights at MGM but want to stay 1 night somewhere hip and fun on our last night. We are debating between Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock. ( we love music) We want a great pool. Worried about Hard Rock location and no clubs/activity on Tuesdays and worried about Planet Hollywood pool. (not great)
Which would be better on a Tuesday night as far as location/activity and pool. Any other suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, you have the relative pros and cons of those two spots nailed. The pool at P-Ho isn’t that great but they have worked really hard at pumping up the rest of the hotel to help balance things out.

I’d also look at The Mirage – great pool, new restaurants, newish club and remodeled rooms.

Deborah K. Damon asked on 08/05/08

Quick question, a co-worker of mine went to vegas last week and gave me some of the photos that he took one of them is a picture of Bally’s with what looks like a monorail track that goes across las vegas blvd. Is that true and is it operational, and where does it lead to? If it isn’t operational, when will it be. Also when will be vocano from the Mirage be completely remodeled and back in action?

Thank You
Debbie Damon

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmm… Well, there’s no monorail that goes across LVB.

What they do have is the Las Vegas Monorail that runs from MGM Grand to The Sahara with stops at several hotels including Bally’s. It runs behind the hotels, not on LVB.

There’s also a tram that runs from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay.

As for the volcano at The Mirage, they are saying October-ish.

Gary asked on 08/05/08

My wife and I are visiting in early October. We are in our mid-thirties and would like to find a dance club with a large floor, good music and reasonable cover and wait.

We are not interested in being seen or celeb-watching at all. We have been married for 10 years so the singles scene is not important either.

We are just looking for a fun time, late night in vegas. Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Consultants often say something like: “Good, Fast and Cheap – pick two”. That’s sorta what I think of when I read what you’re looking for in a club.

Typically, better music and lower prices mean a much longer line, etc…

Still, what I’m hearing is that you care less about how ‘hip’ a place is and more about just having fun.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Rain (The Palms) – As their other club, ‘Moon’, has become more popular, the lines here aren’t quite as long.
  • Studio 54 (MGM Grand) – One of the older clubs, again – not quite as popular as some of the newer places.
  • Polly Esther’s (Stratosphere) – This is wayyy down on the end of The Strip but typically is a much better value and less of a wait than some other places.

I hope this helps.

christine asked on 08/02/08

Hi. Do you know anything about “Mexican Independence Week”. Mirage says it is the weekend of September 12, 13, 14, with some activities the week leading up to the weekend. We were hoping to get a quite weekend after labor day, but are unsure if this has a major impact. Please advise.

thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Some hotels have special events but generally speaking, you don’t typically see any general measurable increase in visitors for that week – usually it’s an attempt to bolster post-Labor Day crowds a bit.

Tommy B asked on 07/31/08

Going to a wedding and we were looking for a bar that specializes in scotch, someplace with a wide selection. Not really for dinner, just a place to sit at a bar and drink a quality single malt. Is there such an animal on the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Good question.

There are several bars and lounges I would recommend. Depending on the size of the crowd you’re with and how large a selection, here are some thoughts.

Generally, the nicer hotels have better selections of booze, be it in the restaurants, bars or even the casino floor.

Wynn Las Vegas has a few spots to check:

  • Parasol Up – Right off the casino floor, it includes full sit down waitress service.
  • Daniel Boloud – If it’s just a couple of you, there’s actually a tiny little lounge in the entry area of this restaurant that’s a great, quiet place to get some drinks.

Over at THEHotel/Mandalay Bay, the MIX bar up top has a wide selection of choices and a great, great view.

At Paris, Napolean’s Bar has a wide selection of scotch choices on the menu.

Bellagio’s Petrossian Bar, while famous for caviar, has a wide selection of top choices.

There are some more little joints but this should get you started. Napolean’s has probably the largest selection if that’s your number one concern.

Chris D asked on 07/31/08

Hi Hunter, love the site. I booked 5 nights at Encore in the Tower Suites and was not given the option of smoking/non smoking. Do you think this is just because the reservation system is new or is it possible that the hotel will be non-smoking?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Smoking vs. non smoking is not a guaranteed preference. They’ll do their best to accommodate your needs. Most floors are non-smoking.

Anthony asked on 07/30/08

I just read that the retail at Echelon might be delayed. What’s the deal with this?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

We don’t really know. As is typical with many projects these days, Boyd outsourced the retail component to another company, General Growth Properties.

They are having trouble raising the money to complete that portion of the hotel which could, maybe, mean a delay in its opening.

Jack B. asked on 07/28/08

You’ve peaked my interest. What is the $20 trick of which you speak of?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Some live by it, others consider it total BS.

Here’s loads of info:

Jack B. asked on 07/28/08

Heading to Bellagio in a couple of weeks for a boys’ weekend. I just checked the rates for a cabana and it’s $400 a day on the weekend. Is this worth it? Do you know what you get besides shade?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Is it worth it? If you’re splitting it multiple ways, it certainly could be.

You get a guaranteed spot to hang out all day, good service from cocktail staff, your own fridge, etc… You could easily lose $400 in the casino in an afternoon – if you want to hang out at the pool all day, it could be a good play. You could even invite some new ‘friends’ to the cabana to hang out.

christine asked on 07/26/08

My friend is going to vegas in either september and october. She is in her 60’s and does not have a computer, so I need to keep asking these questions for her!

Also, I told her what a great site you have and how you helped me with my trip two years ago. Two years ago I booked my Bellagio trip from your website as you said you get credit. Do you still get credit if people book from your home page – if so, I will help my friend book her trip this way.

My main question is this. She wanted to book a Two Bedroom Tower Suite for her and her friend (two bedroom). You mentioned that they are pretty kept up, although maybe a little out dated. She decided that since her age will limit her walking, that this was a good location.

She is concerned about the renovations and noise. A co-worker had problems about two weeks ago.

The hotel said they are on the last few floors of renovation and it should be no more than three weeks until they are finished. They also told her they would be taking a short break and then start the suites the first week in October.

We need to verify this information, as if they are working on the last few floors, we were told floors 23, 24, 25 – the suites start on floor 26. The front desk and reservations all have different dates – both for finish and then re-starting of suites.

Who can we call – engineering? Do you have any telephone numbers besides front desk. Whatever manager is on call has a different timeline.

We will not book this hotel for her if the renovations are still being done.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you – very kind words.

Yes, if you book your trip through the links from our site, we receive an affiliate payment that helps keep the lights on. Much appreciated.

I’m fairly certain you’re talking about The Mirage but if I am wrong, please re-submit your question.

The ‘official’ word on room refurbishments are that the guestrooms will be completely done in August and the suite floors will start in October, just as she was told.

I contacted an associate that works for the company and confirmed this.

They will be shutting down several floors in October for the suite renovations – it sounds like if she goes in September she’ll miss any chance of disruption. If it is in October, the hotel will attempt to place guests as far away from noise as possible but there’s an outside chance she could get unlucky and be in a room that is near enough to renovation to have noise during the day. That’s what I’m told.

I hope this is helpful info. I’ll be trying the new Mirage rooms in a few weeks for myself.

Marsha asked on 07/26/08

This site is awesome! Thanks so much,

1. I’ll be at TI in August. Most of the trip I plan to travel by trolley on the strip. On Saturday night I want to go to the Santa Fe Station for a show. Would it be crazy to take a cab? What are better options?

2. I definitely want to check out Fremont at night. Is there enough there to spend the day hours as well?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, Santa Fe Station is about 16 miles from The Strip so it’s not really super close by but a cab ride isn’t out of the question, especially since you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving if that’s your thing. There aren’t a lot of other great choices besides renting a car, which I wouldn’t recommend for just that.

For Downtown, sure – you could easily spend an afternoon there to check out the hotels. There’s maybe 8 or 10 places worth checking out, all within walking distance.

Gary B asked on 07/24/08

Does the Tropicana still have the “old style” 3 comedian act with seating for 300 people or so? The atmosphere was pretty cool at the event last time through.

Also, what would be a good range for a priceline bid for Mandalay Bay during the first week of October (Sat-Tues)?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’re talking about the Comedy Stop I believe. Yes, that’s still running at the Tropicana LV.

As far as Priceline, I’ve never used the service so I don’t really know how it works with regard to the optimal bidding amount. Rates for that week seem to be in the $150-$250 range, increasing the closer you get to the weekend.

mark davis asked on 07/23/08

My bud and I are heading to Vegas in the heat of August. Just curious, which hotel do you think has a better party vibe and bars/clubs for a weekend: Mirage or Mandalay Bay?


Mark Davis

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Both are heavily slanted towards that vibe these days. They also both have had recent room renovations so it’s close.

I’d probably pick The Mirage due to location but either one should serve you well.

Mandalay has a better pool, though the one at The Mirage is no slouch.

Steve R. asked on 07/21/08

Hello! Thanks for the excellent site! I’m surprising my wife for her 30th with a 3 night trip to Vegas around Thanksgiving, and found absolutely stoooopid deals on some excellent hotels. For virtually the same (shockingly low) price, I can take my pick from the following: Mirage, PH, Bally’s, NYNY, TI, and Red Rock Resort, and I’m driving myself crazy trying to decide which to choose. I know that we’d love the laid-back atmosphere and scenery of Red Rock, but a part of me can’t think of a Vegas trip without staying on the Strip. That said, another part of me can’t think of passing up the Red Rock b/c I know I’ll never get this price again!! Here’s basically what I’m looking for:

-very comfy bed, relatively quiet room
-laid back casino w/friendly dealers
-reasonably-priced food
-don’t want to trip over kids (we do enough of that at home)

I’d love to hear your opinion of my dilemma – and hopefully you can suggest something that will sway my decision once and for all! Thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I think Red Rock would hit all your criteria but it is a good 20-30 minute drive (more in heavy traffic) from The Strip. The real issue there is if you don’t mind being isolated – you can’t walk next door if you get bored.

If you pick one of the places on The Strip, I’d consider The Mirage, Planet Hollywood, TI, probably in that order.

christine asked on 07/20/08

Friends would like to stay at Mirage late August/Early September. They were told room renovations will be complete by that time. Co-worker was there a few weeks ago and she heard people were complaining about the jack hammering and changing rooms. Do you have any confirmation on this.

Was told the Suite renovations will not start till October 3rd. Any info on this.

Have you seen the 2 bedroom Tower Suite rooms. They are not renovated. Are they upkept or old. Is it worth the upgrade to the Penthouse Suite. It is another 600 more.

Thanks for all your input

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Room renovations are scheduled to be complete next month, yes.

There are always people complaining about something in a hotel that large – I know several people that have stayed there recently in the new rooms and have had a great experience.

The suites, while now a bit dated in look, have been kept up well.

The upgrade to the Penthouse suite means being on the top floors of the hotel, some additional amenities and upgraded furniture (leather instead of fabric), etc… They’re great rooms with great views and access to VIP services so if the cost difference isn’t a big deal to your budget, it’s worth considering.

musicmansimpson asked on 07/20/08


what is the most hopping club for a Wednesday evening in las Vegas to get bottle service?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A lot of clubs are closed on Wednesdays.

You might try LAX at Luxor.

richard asked on 07/17/08

Greetings Hunter!

Looking at staying at Palms place in late July. Does these rooms have dvds in them? Also, besides Chinatown being close by, are there any grocery stores withing walking distance? Thank you for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The standard rooms do not include DVD players. There are some upgraded rooms, suites and the Palms Place tower which do often have DVD players.

Regarding grocery stores, probably not within walking distance unless you really like to walk. A short cab ride? Sure.

Danielle asked on 07/16/08

Your site is fantastic! So, my question is this. I have been to Vegas twice (Caesars and THEHotel) and my husband and I are looking for a 5 Star Hotel(debating on Bellagio or The Wynn) however Palazzo was my number one choice bc its so new but the not so good reviews on tripadvisor are scaring me) to have a last hoorah (before kids come along)for a week. We are from New York and know good food :) So we are going for the amazing restaurants, romantic gorgeous pools with Cabana rentals and over all service. We basically want to eat like KINGS and (you know what) like Rockstars. With that said, any suggestions on which Hotel to stay in for out Labor Day Weekend getaway?
I was thinking of breaking it up at Bellagio for the first 5 nights and the Wynn for the last 2 (when the price drops to half for those last two nights. Although we are open to anything. Also, while my husbnad puts some time into his other love Black Jack, I wouldnt mind some luxury hours alone. So basking by a magnificant pool with an amazing cocktail dreaming of the next best restaurant we will be eating at that night would be the perfect day.
Thanks for your time!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy There,

Well, I’ve tried Wynn Las Vegas, Palazzo and Bellagio so hopefully I can help.

While I enjoyed my stay at Palazzo, other than the great room the rest of the place isn’t superior to other hotels like Wynn Las Vegas.

Personally, I still put Wynn Las Vegas at the top of the heap for great rooms, great food, nice pools and a great casino.

That said, I think breaking it up can be a great way to experience some different things and if the first few nights are cheaper at Bellagio, I wouldn’t redirect you.

Bellagio’s great, even after being open for 10 years this Fall. Every time I stay there I’m impressed by the service and while the rooms are nicer at the newer places, Bellagio has awesome pools and food.

So, if it were up to me, I’d rate them as #1 Wynn Las Vegas, #2 Bellagio and #3 Palazzo and then I’d mix and match as the costs and schedule made sense.

Hope that helps.

RICH KOZAK asked on 07/14/08

Do you know of any strip hotels that have a car rental agencies,I would like
to rent a car for a daytrip and rather
not go to the airport. Thank you,Viva Las vegas!!!!!!!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Quite a few do, actually… Not sure where you’re staying but here are some examples: Wynn Las Vegas, Treasure Island, Bellagio, New York New York, MGM Grand… A lot more do too.

Matt asked on 07/12/08

This info is invaluable, thank you!

My wife and I will be spending four nights (Mandalay Bay: Sunday – Thursday) at the end of July and would like to plot out a few hot spots (clubs/ultralounges) during our stay. We’re in our early 30’s and are relatively young at heart, but would prefer a crowd that has predominantly been “legal” for a couple of years. We would also tend to shy away from places where you wait in line for two to three hours with admittance being contingent on getting bottle service. Essentially a place that you could grab a cocktail or two, people watch and then move on to another place. Am I out of my mind to think such places exist on a weekday?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I think I totally get the vibe you’re going for – the problem is that often times, whenever there’s any sort of crowd worth watching, you’re going to get lines.

Still, here are some suggestions:

  • MIX Lounge (on the roof at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay)
  • Blush (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • Fontana Lounge (Bellagio) [a little bit older crowd]
  • Revolution (The Mirage)
  • Eyecandy (Mandalay Bay)

I hope that helps a bit. I hate waiting in line myself so I understand what you’re talking about.

gilbert asked on 07/11/08

hellow Hunter, you don’t seem to care much for the Tropicana so hopefully you’ll be able to answer my question. i’ve been staying at the south strip for a few years now Excal. Trop. Mgm, and i really fell for the Trop’s “celebration lounge” and they’re band “friend’s”.it’s been a blast seeing them in action,i found out on my last trip in May that they were replaced,what a bummer, the tall blonde was alway’s very you know if they’re playing anywhere else, or if they went there separate way’s? i ’d really like to know. thank you for your time!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sorry, I wasn’t able to track down much info other than this You Tube video:

Danny asked on 07/11/08

What is the status of the Mirage remodel? Is it still distracting in any practical way?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s basically done. The rooms will be complete next month and the public spaces have been finished for some time.

The only major thing is the volcano, which will be done later this year but it’s outside and not a distraction.

Loreal asked on 07/10/08

Hey Hunter,
I work as a reservationist here at Rosemary’s Restaurant. I saw that someone recently asked a question about us, how do I get a listing for the restaurant? I feel that we are truly a treat to anyone who hasn’t heard of us or who hasn’t dined here. I have all my family dine here and I rave about this place on a regular basis!!!

Loreal M.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey There,

As we’re currently setup, we only list restaurants that are part of hotels that we’re listing.

That said, for anyone reading this, Rosemary’s is a Las Vegas treat that consistently gets rave reviews, local awards and fills with happy customers.

Windee McCullin asked on 07/10/08

I’m going to Vegas at the end of this month. I have reservations at the Mirage for a Premium View (Strip) Room for $820 for 6 days. I just came across an offer for a Grand Tower Room at the MGM Grand for $451 for 6 days. Which would you recommend I do? I’ve never been to Vegas.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, this is a little hard to answer because I don’t know how big of a difference having that extra cash will mean on your vacation.

While I love The Mirage and recommend it all the time, that’s a big enough price difference that unless the money doesn’t mean anything to you, I’d probably re-book at MGM Grand.

stacey asked on 07/07/08

Hi Hunter-

I will be in Vegas next week and am looking for a way to exercise while there. Paying the daily fee for the hotel gym is expensive (usually upwards of $20 per day)and running may not be an option in the 100 degree heat. Would you know of any other options? Maybe a mid-strip hotel with a low daily gym fee? (We will be at Caesars)I’m just looking to hit the treadmill or something similar a few of the days we are there.

Thanks in advance!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Many of the hotel gyms don’t allow non-guests except on weekdays so if you’re not there over the weekend, you might have an option there…

I’d look at Monte Carlo, Paris, Bally’s and the Flamingo for sometimes-low rates.

Other than that, in the Strip area you don’t have a lot of other choices beyond doing the gym thing. Off-Strip are local gyms but you’d have to drive and honestly, I wouldn’t know which one to recommend.

Danny asked on 07/07/08

I play $25-$100/hr BJ for between 8-12 hours/day. Between 2000-2005, this was good enough to get me RFB at many strip casinos. Now, though, that does not get me nearly as far. I’m thinking about moving my action downtown. What Casino downtown offers the following combination: 1) nice place with good food and 2) will treat that type of Blackjack action the best in terms of comps. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’m admittedly not a comp expert and these things do shift from time to time but I would venture that generally any place Downtown would welcome your action.

The nicest place down there is the Golden Nugget so maybe start there. Main Street Station also gets high marks.

SEAN asked on 07/07/08

Did you by chance read an article called Down & Out in Las Vegas? It was in the London Independent.

A must read

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, thanks. We discussed it a bit here:

RateVegas Blog

Windee asked on 07/07/08

I’m looking to go to a “O” show and when viewing the limited view seats on the website the 200 levels don’t look too bad. Do you have any feedback on this? Is there a bad seat? What’s the balcony like? Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The balcony can actually be a really interesting way to see the show as you get a different view. I enjoyed it.

The thing to watch out for is being partially blocked by railings – some limited view seats have that issue.

Adam asked on 07/03/08

My wife and I will be in vegas in october for 7 nights, we can’t decide on a hotel. We are not concerned with the price of the rooms we just want a nice room on the strip at a hotel that does not have snobby staff and outrageous food and drink prices. a pool is a must. we are thinking the mandalay bay or the venetian? Can you suggest anywhere?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, those two wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Wynn Las Vegas is always my top pick but the food prices are certainly higher there than elsewhere.

I’d give both The Mirage and Bellagio a good look – great rooms and pools with a wide array of dining choices. The Mirage is typically a particularly good value.

Timmy D asked on 06/28/08

Hi Hunter,
Timmy D here. My buddies bachelor party is happening in late August. We are thinking about getting a fairly large suite that can sleep a lot of people. I don’t think we can about it being in a nice hotel, but we would like it cheap. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks Buddy

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey Man,

Lucky for you, rates in the Summer are typically lower than other times of the year.

I would check on some of the following for your dates and your budget to see if they might work:

  • Bally’s – Located Central Strip, the rooms were renovated a couple of years ago and while not super fantastic, the suites are typically large and often very affordable.
  • Planet Hollywood – Also Center Strip, P-Ho often has some significant deals on rooms.
  • Monte Carlo – Recently renovated. Construction noise from the nearby City Center project but worth checking for a deal.
  • Bill’s Gambling Hall – Used to be the Barbary Coast. Older hotel, sometimes some incredible deals.
  • Imperial Palace – Really not the nicest place but probably the best suite deals on the Strip.

A couple of other notes:

If you book with the hotel directly (instead of Expedia or a travel agent), you almost always can change your reservation up to a day or so before you arrive – this means you could book something now and then keep looking for a better deal, if that interests you.

Also, rates change constantly, like airline prices. They are controlled by a computer and it often pays back big time to keep checking.

Hope that helps.

Jeff asked on 06/25/08

I keep hearing that room rates are falling, some precipitously. However, I’ve been trying to plan a mid-October trip and haven’t seen much movement at all. Do they usually wait until a month or two ahead to really discount or are they anticipating a swift turnaround in occupancy?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Rates fluctuate all the time. The best specials right now end in about September. If times are still tough in October, expect to see more offers in September, unless for some reason your dates already have strong demand.

wildmandxb asked on 06/23/08

Hi Hunter,

I have reserved at the skylofts this august, been checking the rates on the internet daily only to discover today that on the first day of my arrival it shows ‘NA’ meaning no arrival! does this affect my already confirmed reservation in anyway? wanted to check with you before calling th hotel. Thanx.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nope, if you’re confirmed you should be all set.

That should only apply for folks w/o current confirmed reservations.

Tom asked on 06/20/08

Walking has become sooo crowded on the strip that I have begun staying and playing at nice off strip hotel casinos. Is walking room for pedestrians ever considered in planning on the strip? Does a planning commission look at this topic when deciding whether to approve plans?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Great question – the answer is ‘sorta’.

When MGM Mirage was designing City Center, they were required to take this heavily into account and had several back and forth exchanges with the county on this.

I read a lot of the planning commission filings myself and this is often taken into account.

That said, they attempt to strike a balance between pedestrian traffic and the developer’s needs.

On-going construction makes it worse – when City Center, Cosmopolitan and other projects are completed, hopefully it will ease a bit.

Deborah K. Damon asked on 06/19/08

Hi Hunter:
Can you tell me off-hand the dates to when all the hotels that are renovating will be completed? I want to plan my vacation around that. I am getting confused on what would be finished when. I also want to take a friend at is legally blind, and not to have to worry about him bumbing into some of the areas that are closed off due to renovations. By the way i love your podcasts.

Debbie Damon

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, Las Vegas is always re-inventing itself but I assume you’re talking about major renovations, like those we saw at The Mirage over the past few years.

The property will basically be ‘done’ with its big projects by the end of the Summer. Another property with major renovations is Luxor – don’t expect things to quiet down there until mid-2009.

In addition to renovations, there are several openings on the horizon including Encore in late 2008. 2009 will see the openings of the new tower at Caesars Palace, the Fontainebleau hotel, City Center and more.

I could go on and on but my friend Chuck at Vegas Tripping did a nifty timeline:

Vegas Construction Timeline

David asked on 06/19/08

Hunter: I will be in Vegas in a couple of weeks. The hotel has offered me free limousine service from the airport. What dollar amount would I tip the driver? I usually take a cab but the free limousine service sound like fun.
Thanks David

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Typically if I was in the limo for one hour or less, I’ll tip $20. That might be a little excessive but if it’s a free trip, why not?

Typically an airport to Strip transfer in the limo would cost between $40 – $70 if you paid for it.

fabiola asked on 06/16/08


I want to go to Vegas in September to see a concert at Caesars palace coliseum. The decently priced tickets are for seats located at the first or second level mezzine at the coliseum. I was wondering if anyine has watched a show from that level at the Caesars colisium? if so is it worth buying tickets for? or is it just not worth it due to the fact that the seats are basically nose bleed seats?? please let me know. Thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Actually, that venue doesn’t really have bad seats. It was designed to have good sight lines and great sound from all areas.

Combined with big video screens that they use inside, I would say that a seat way back at the Coliseum is a much safer bet than one in a similar spot in another venue.

Jackie asked on 06/16/08

This is not a question more of an FYI
I was in vegas this past week & stayed
on the strip.I have been going the same week for the last 6 years crowds have always been about the same, but this year there was really no one there.To drive up and down the strip was a piece of cake all times of the day.Im sure the hotels are going to soon be offering great deals to get the people there.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks – actually, we already see this happening. The Summer offers I have been getting are much more generous than last year.

musicmansimpson asked on 06/16/08

Hi there,

I thought I read somewhere on this blog some time ago that Encore was starting to book reservations on June 15th…so I put it in my calendar. The date has arrived, but, alas, I can’t find anything. What’s the scoop? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Encore is taking reservations, both online and by phone, for dates in February 2009 and onward.

A Bit More on Wynn’s Encore…

Ben asked on 06/15/08

Thanks for taking my question. I love reading this site for Vegas info! I was just wondering if you had heard anything yet about Brand Steakhouse, the new place by the Light Group that just opened up at the Monte Carlo. We made reservations for our trip in July, but I haven’t heard any feedback yet. Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Actually, yes. I’ve heard that while the food is solid, the decor was a bit strange, with the restaurant open to the casino floor, with all of the noise and smell ‘pollution’ that brings.

You might ask to be seated away from the casino side.

VIV WATKINS asked on 06/15/08


Going to Vegas for Christmas from the UK. Would you be able offer some advice on where to eat for Christmas day lunch or dinner. Does anywhere do a traditional Christmas meal – as in turkey and all the trimmings?

Many thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Actually, full on Christmas meals are quite common in many of the best restaurants on the Strip. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a good outpost.

You might start by checking to see if a steakhouse or other restaurant in your hotel is offering it.

Beyond that, check some of the following:

  • SW Steakhouse (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • The Palm (Caesars Palace)
  • Craftsteak (MGM Grand)

chris asked on 06/11/08

In your last post you said that BLT is going in the space where the white tiger exhibit was. Does that mean that the white tiger exhibit is closed or just moved? Thought they weren’t closing that area until after the end of this year.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The white tiger area, near the South entrance, has been closed for a few months and will not re-open. The ‘Secret Garden’ back near the pool will remain open.


Mungroo asked on 06/11/08


Great site and great answers to the questions.

I understand that Tangerine at TI has been closed. Do you know what will replace it? Does TI have plans for a new club?

Second, someone told me that Social House is a bar as well as a restaurant. The description on the TI website makes it sound like it is just a restaurant. What can you tell me about it?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey There,

Yes, a new club is going into that TI space. There’s been a few rumors as to what it will be / who it will run it but I don’t think a formal announcement has been made.

Regarding Social House – I’d say the answer is both. By that I mean that it is primarily a restaurant but there is a bar in the restaurant – you could go in for a drink at the bar, though it’s not a club – it’s a restaurant.

Deanna asked on 06/10/08

Just wanted to first off say I LOVE your site :)
Have you checked out the Palazzo pools yet….wondering what they are like?
Also I have heard a rumor that the Mirage closed the small pool(used to be the kid pool with the 2 slides) do you know anything about that?
If you have any clue as to where the new restaurant BLT burger is going in the Mirage?
One last one….I saw that you answered a question from a woman staying at the Mirage over the week of July 21st…do you have any clue how she scored a rate of $55.00 a night….sounds too good to be true?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Thanks for the kind words!

When we were at Palazzo in January, the pools were not yet open. They are indeed open now – and from the photos I’ve seen, it looks like a nice pool area but nothing out of the ordinary.

I checked in on the small pool thing – it had been closed but they expected it to be re-opened very soon.

BLT is going into the space formerly occupied by the white tiger exhibit, the Southern most entrance into the hotel.

A $55 rate is low but not unheard of, especially mid-week as part of a promotion.

Steve asked on 06/09/08

I am going to Vegas the week of July 21st and staying at the Mirage. I got a great rate of $55 a night.

Should I expect to see alot of construction going at that time as I hear that they are remodeling the hotel.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Not really, no. The public areas have basically been completed for some time. The volcano is still under construction and the rooms are being remodeled (request a new room!) but nothing that should disturb you.

Mark asked on 06/09/08

I have a future room comp at an MGM property. I booked a flight/hotel package for an upcoming trip, so can’t use the room comp this time around. But, 2 questions: 1) In general, are there expirations on comps; and 2) in general, do hotels ever let you use a room comp for something else (i.e. food, line passes, etc.) Not real sure on the etiquette – so thanks for any insight before calling the hotel.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as expiration goes, it depends. Some types of comps may expire if you don’t use them within a reasonable period of time. It’s best not to tempt fate there if you’d like to get the benefit.

As far as transferring things between types of comps, again, it really depends. A host should have the power to make these changes, at their discretion.

Hope that helps.

Debbie Damon asked on 06/07/08

Hey there Hunter, I thought that you would like to know that after all the planning and all the questions that i had asked you I had to cancel my trip to Vegas because i had gotten sick three week prior to going. I came down with a case of Virtigo. I want try to go again this year but not sure where to stay. What is your input on Bally’s, TI or something that is good for someone that is on a budget. I was thinking about going in late September or middle of October. Let me know. Just to let you know i am listening to your Latest podcast as i am writing to you right now. Let me know

Debbie Damon

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sorry to hear you had to cancel your trip.

While the US economic slowdown has a lot of negative points, one nice thing is the deals it is generating out of Las Vegas. Not only are great choices like Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and The Mirage offering great deals, so are mid-range properties like Treasure Island and Bally’s.

Here’s what I would suggest – first, check The Mirage. They have been running a lot of specials and are completing a renovation of their rooms. You could really score a good thing here.

Beyond that, for more mid-range places, I usually recommend Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood, and Paris Las Vegas, probably in that order. All offer great deals and well appointed rooms.

Places like Bally’s, Flamingo and Harrah’s aren’t bad choices but I think you can do better at one of the other places.

Try to take advantage of the deals if you can – sign up for hotel email lists (on their Web sites). They offer a lot of good options.

Hope that helps.

Mike asked on 06/04/08

Staying at the Wynn in the fall – is it true the only way you can reserve a seat in the sports book is if you’re betting a ton?

Last time I was there on a Sunday when the NFL was on – every single seat was reserved (and more than 1/2 were unoccupied).

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s basically true, though, as with many other things in Vegas, if you slip a tip to the right person, you can get around this rule.

Eric asked on 05/31/08

Well, I’m within a week of heading out to Vegas with my wife. We are staying at the Flamingo (mostly for the location/price). We’re flying in from Detroit on Sunday-Wednesday. Do I have a better chance at a complimentary upgrade during a weekday stay? I’ve heard they also have swim up blackjack. Are these higher limit tables? Thanks as always!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hopefully you’re getting this in time, sorry for the delay. Typically your chances for upgrades are better when the hotel is less full – more options… So yes, the logic follows that this would theoretically be better.

As far as swim-up games, they’ve talked about adding these in the past but as far as I know, they’re not actually offering this at this time. Let me know if I’m wrong.

Melissa asked on 05/30/08

I m visiting Vegas from Jun 9-14th. Is there any Hollywood bus day tours from Vegas? All I seem to find is for Grand Canyon only thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You mean like a day-bus trip to Los Angeles? The bus trip would like ~6 hours give or take in each direction, not leaving much time for sightseeing. If you want to visit Los Angeles, probably best to hop a short flight or visit after you leave Las Vegas.