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Questions & Answers Ask The Experts

George asked on 05/29/08

What is going on inside NewYork NewYork? There seems to be major construction going on inside?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, they are doing a complete casino floor remodel at NYNY. Several previous features, like the trees, ‘river’ and more are being removed and the floor being reconfigured.

chris asked on 05/24/08

Hi. A co-worker is going crazy booking her hotel room and reading all the trip reviews. I told her I would post this question for you, as you always have good advice!

Question is in regard to THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay. All posts say that the MIXX night club is on the top floor of the property. People claim that even on floors in the 30’s they can hear the music until 2AM. Is this true?

How do you rate “THE Hotel”?

Thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmmmm, interesting question. I’ve stayed at THEHotel three times and always thought it was a good experience – I typically recommend it.

I think the highest floor I’ve stayed on was maybe 28 or so – I don’t know if I’ve been high enough to really say definitively.

Nightclub noise IS a problem in some hotels – people complain about similar problems at Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian and elsewhere…

I’d say it’s possible – lower floor rooms are less popular though – probably an easy request to have filled at check-in.

Bronco asked on 05/22/08

Hunter, saw a TV commercial last night for a Vegas visitors bureau (I think?) and they showed folks laughing, dancing, swimming by the pool at NIGHT, or what seemed to be late evening? I have never really been to Vegas in the summer, but would really consider it, if those pools are open past 8pm or so. Are pools open late evening at some hotels. This commercial suggested it and from what I could tell was shot at the Paris hotel?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, this is BS. Unfortunately, it’s an idea I’ve thought would be brilliantly successful for years but I’m guessing insurance issues make it difficult to swallow.

The pool at Paris closes at 8pm, if not earlier.

Surprisingly enough, the latest pool I know of open is at The Horseshoe downtown.

Jackie asked on 05/22/08

I will be staying @ the riv June 8th-16th.I know there are renovations going on Is there a tower I should avoid due to noise and mess?I usaully like the monte carlo tower is that tower renovated yet? Also last year I believe it was nickel heaven, the spot where hound doggies is was closed for remodeling it that open yet?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They’ve had some ongoing renovations due to fire code violations but nothing that should disturb too much.

Monte Carlo accelerated its renovations plans post fire a few months ago but there is still a lot of work to be done and the top floors won’t be back online for a few months.

David asked on 05/19/08

Hi Hunter!! REAL quick question, aside from DOLLAR (which is in NYNY), what other car rental agencies are located near NYNY? Thanks for the help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Dollar has a deal with MGM Mirage putting their kiosks right in all of hotels in that immediate area.

The McCarran Car Rental facility isn’t all that far away though, where all the major agencies are located.

diane asked on 05/17/08

I am staying at the Trump hotel and plan on gambling. Is it too far for a female to walk alone to the casino in the Wynn ? How far to the other casinos ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The closest would be Wynn Las Vegas… Too far to talk alone? During the day, no problem at all. At night, I would probably think twice for a woman alone, just to be extra careful. It’s not far but there’s not much there so it’s not a high visibility area and at night, I would probably not advise… As an example, I probably would feel weird about having my wife walk between them alone at night.

SEAN asked on 05/16/08


Lucy, a woman i commute with asked me this, so I’m passing this over to you. Are both Tony ‘n Tina’s wedding & Bada Bing still playing? If so at wich casinos?
She & her husband are going at the end of August. Let me know & i’ll fill her in on any & all details.

As a footnote I saw both shows & enjoyed every moment of them.

Thanks for the good information you provide.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hello There,

Tony n’ Tina’s wedding is running at the Rio while the Bada Bing show still has slots in Vegas but not in a major hotel/casino. They’ve been rotating between several local restaurants.

Dai asked on 05/16/08

where should I stay? MGM Grand or Paris? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’d probably pick Paris but they’re pretty close in terms of quality.

chris asked on 05/15/08

Hi. Both me and my friend (sue) have been writing to you in regard to going to Vegas and asking about Mandalay Bay and the Four Seasons, and we thank you for your reply’s.

Unfortunately, I found out tonight our trip has to be postponed until next year (and that is if we are lucky).

We bought show tickets for two events. Is there any person at the hotel to write to in order for us to get our money back. Would any of the conceierge’s at any hotels purhcase them from us?

Thanks for your info!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Typically they are non-refundable but you might try selling them on EBay – I know many folks do that.

chrisnomoi asked on 05/15/08

Is there still rapid roulette in any of the casino’s. I remember seeing at the Rio, but is it anywhere else.

Thanks for your great site.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, games are moved in and out all the time but Harrah’s has also had it at Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, Bally’s and Paris.

Mark asked on 05/12/08

I know this has been asked ad naueseum and I apologize in advance for being the gazillionth version, but here goes anyway:

I have a room comp at TI. Is it even w/in the realm of possibility to ask to use that at another MGM property, or is it generally property specific?

Also, is video blackjack officially dead in vegas?

Thanks, great site, by the way.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The comps are property specific – you can’t transfer them. The MGM Mirage properties, despite having a common corporate owner, compete with each other for business.

Now, if you were comped at TI, there’s a good chance that a host at another property would consider comping you… and since they have a common database, the host can easily verify your play.

Video Blackjack? I haven’t seen it in quite some time, though I hadn’t thought about it until just now.

Mathias asked on 05/12/08


I am arriving in Vegas next week Friday.
With wife and our friends. We are staying at Luxor. Do you know if the East Tower rooms or West tower rooms are the best and have recently been renovated?
And would the ongoing consturction be a problem for us in the Casino?

Do you also know what the new addition to Luxors Pool area is and do they usually have all pools open at the end of may?

Thanks in advance for all your info!

Best Regards

Mathias, Sweden

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Last question first… the pools should all be open.

Regarding the tower rooms, they were renovated a few years ago – right now the pyramid rooms are being remodeled. While both towers are a little bit further walk to the casino, I think those rooms are far superior.

While construction at Luxor is ongoing, it’s not really that disruptive. I don’t think it will bother you.

Have fun! asked on 05/10/08

Hi. We are staying at Mandalay Bay and were wondering if there was a store in walking distance that sells beer, chips, cookies, milk, etc.

People are saying to take a cab for that, but we would rather walk.

Any suggestions that are not far away?

Also, does any food chain deliver to your hotel?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Ummmm, let’s see… There aren’t a lot of retail stores at that end of the Strip. I think the closest pharmacy (i.e. CVS/Walgreens) is all the way up at MGM Grand. Not too far but some might not dig the walk.

As far as food delivery, not really. Of course, the hotel has 24-hour room service.

Derrick asked on 05/09/08

A friend of mine and I will be in Vegas Sunday-Wednesday of Memorial Day weekend (early 40’s and late 30’s). What clubs are busy Sunday-Tuesday? Are the lines just as long during the week as on the weeekend? I haven’t been to Vegas in about 18 months, and I know how quickly the landscape can change.

For the record, I have been followng your site for years…and it has ALWAYS provided me with good information. Thanks for the service!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The lines are nowhere near as long on the weekdays and many places aren’t open.

Tryst at Wynn Las Vegas is hopping on Sunday nights, as is PURE at Caesars. JET (The Mirage) is open Monday night…

Have fun!

RICH KOZAK asked on 05/09/08


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks. Please no shouting next time though. :-)

At MBay, the main tower’s rooms all enter the casino at the same spot and are the same distance from the pool (other than higher floors being a longer elevator ride of course).

THEHotel, the all suite tower, is quite a bit further from the pool.

william pearsall asked on 05/08/08


I wrote a few months ago about recommendations about pet friendly resorts, and you suggested I check with Southpoint, unfortunately the answer was no.
Thanks for the info anyways, I don’t know if you remember specifically, I mentioned that the $20 trick is now the $50 trick and Vegas is not free anymore.

Just a note to the inquiries about Harrah’s properties diamond lounges, we are in Vegas at least monthly and frequent them as time allows, my 2 choices are Paris and Caesars. We always stay at Flamingo ( I know some peoples opinions) we have been diamond members for a long time, and we have a great host there, even though we can stay at any of their properties. I suggest that people should consider where they are treated well, and believe me loyalty to one property is rewarded !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Again thanks for the information, I have become a fan of your column, and from what I gathered you had some family health concerns, I hope things are well now.
Great job, you are always on the mark with your recommendations.

p.s. If people could see the suite we stay in at the Flamingo, they would understand how loyalty is rewarded.
One question, we have friends who are meeting us in June, it is their sons 21st birthday, he wants to rent an exotic car, and I did a little research on their websites, do you have any info
on this type of service, or recommendations, I feel that his age is going make this almost unaffordable.
Thanks again, Bill

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Finding a pet friendly hotel experience in Las Vegas is next to impossible unless you are a high roller and can write your own ticket

I agree with you when it comes to property loyalty/host loyalty – building those relationships can be the difference between being lost in the crowd or being treated well.

Thanks for the kind words. In case you’re looking for more content, in case you’re not already aware, I’ve got this site, plus the blog which is linked in the header and then as of a few months ago, a new podcast – The Vegas Gang – If you’re interested in Las Vegas and the gaming industry, I recommend the podcast. It’s a lot of fun.

re: Flamingo Suite – if you want to share photos of your suite, we’d love to publish them. Send any photos to

Re: exotic cars – there are several vendors that provide this service but you’re right, the prices can be extremely exorbitant, reflecting both the luxury aspect of the rental and the insane cost of insurance. I don’t have a good read on which vendors, if any, are reputable or worth doing business with. I would simply recommend doing what it sounds like you’ve already done – research via the Web and maybe make a few follow-up calls. Personally, while I’d love to drive one of those monsters, I think I’d rather splurge on a nice meal… To each his own I guess!

Seanymoss asked on 05/08/08

My wife and I are comming to Vegas in mid May. We were in vegas last April and casinos like TI you could of fire a cannon through the casino, it was so dead. This time when we go we want to go to casinos where it’s real busy and there are lots of people. Do you have any advice on any hopping casinos.

Edmonton, Canada

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, weekends are always much busier than weekdays, that’s the first thing.

I was just at Bellagio for about a week and it was busy every single day.

I would say any Strip casino should have healthy amounts of people but some seem to always be busy:

  • Bellagio
  • Wynn Las Vegas
  • Caesars Palace
  • Paris
  • Harrah’s
  • The Mirage
  • The Palms (at night)

David asked on 05/08/08

Hi….quick question. My fiancee and I are going to Vegas, in January, for our Honeymoon. We booked the Penthouse Suite at NYNY (yes, I am sure it is the Penthouse Suite, and, not the Ziggurat Suite). In the room description for the Penthouse, it says “VIP Lounge, Check-In”. What exactly is that? I tried not only emailing NYNY, but, calling the Casino Marketing dept., with no or limited success. Do we check in at the regular front desk, or, just go straight to the VIP Lounge? Thanks for any help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi There,

So, you guessed right. When you arrive, proceed directly into the VIP lounge, leaving the unwashed masses behind.

There will be no regular front desk for you, you will be taken care of like a true high roller and if there’s any time you deserve it, it’s on your honeymoon.

I like your style my friend, I tip my hat to you.


Paul asked on 05/08/08

Nice site Hunter,
What’s your take on Rosemary’s Restaurant and Todd’s Unique Dining Restaurant? Also, who gets to stay in the Mirage Villas and Lanais?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I haven’t eaten at either restaurant but I have a friend that swears by Rosemary’s – loves it to death.

Regarding the Mirage villas and lanais, of course there’s Mr. Papagiorgio (hahaha) but seriously, they are typically reserved for casino guests only and serious bettors at that. Now, sometimes they are available for rent if you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket. It’s at the discretion of the casino manager and expect to may between $1,500 – $5,000 a night and up. Even though other resorts have eclipsed The Mirage when it comes to amenities, the villas and lanais are still serious business.

Carla asked on 05/08/08

Is there room for authencity in design in LAs Vegas

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is open to interpretation. I would say yes but of course authenticity means different things to different people. MGM Mirage is taking design seriously with City Center – they’ve hired world renowned architects like Cesar Pelli and others – heavy hitters. They believe an investment in ‘timeless’ architecture will pay dividends greater than the faux NYC skyline of New York New York or the South Seas vibe at The Mirage.

Tim asked on 05/07/08

My girlfriend and I are going to Vegas for 5 days at the end of May. We are staying in the New York New York Hotel. This is our first trip to Vegas. We are younger (early 20’s) so I was just wondering what you would recommend for us to do. I already booked a show to see Dane Cook in the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace and we are planning a trip to the wax museum. We will also check out the 40/40 club and a few other nightclub. We are interested in going to shows and museum and anything that is exciting. We are not big gamblers but will be doing a little gambling so where would you recommend for us to go? any restaurants or romantic places I could take her? thanks a lot for your help!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ll do my best to help – there are so many things I could recommend, it’s hard to know where to start.

A few things not to miss:

  • Fountains of Bellagio – free dancing fountain show in front of the hotel, best viewed from the street. This would probably fall into the ‘romantic’ category – it can be a truly moving experience that is hard to explain until you see it. It’s powerful, no doubt about that.
  • Sirens of TI – I don’t recommend this show like I used to because it changed and in my opinion, it’s pretty darn cheesy now but for a first timer, probably worth checking out. In front of Treasure Island, a few times per evening (I think it is every 90 minutes or so).

As far as places to go hang out, the nightclub scene in Las Vegas is hopping, as you might know. There are many popular clubs but some of the hottest include Tryst (Wynn Las Vegas), The Bank (Bellagio), Jet (The Mirage), Moon (The Palms) and Pure (Caesars Palace).

There are also more mellow lounges/ultra-lounges/piano bars like Fontana (Bellagio), Caramel (Bellagio), Tabu (MGM Grand), Nine Fine Irishmen (NYNY), Coyote Ugly (NYNY), Blush (Wynn Las Vegas) and many, many more.

A few lounges that are good for people watching: Parasol Up (Wynn Las Vegas), Fontana (Bellagio), Sports Bar (The Mirage), Party Pit (Harrah’s) and more.

In all of these categories, there are literally dozens of choices.

That’s it for now – if you have more specific questions, please feel free to submit them.

Have fun! asked on 05/04/08

So sorry to hear about the sickness in your immediate family. I am sure I speak for everyone who writes to you, that we really appreciate all the great information you provide, and say “thank you”.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You are very welcome!

chris asked on 05/03/08

Hi. Is there a computer problem with your question and answer site? I submitted two questions a while ago, and I also noticed that nothing has been posted for fifteen days. Do I need to resubmit my question?

Again, thanks for all your information posted!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No, the site is working.

Sickness in my immediate family has taken up most of my time, plus the site has been inundated with spam posts that I had to clear out (10,000 postings that were not legit).

We provide this service on an ‘as-available’ basis and while I do try to get back to people as quickly as possible, sometimes that’s not possible.

No need to re-submit questions, they are all here.

Heidi asked on 05/03/08

Hi Hunter,

I am visiting vegas in June for the George Michael concert at the MGM grand arena. A group of fans are trying to plan a pre-show get together for drinks and or eats. Any suggestion as to where might be informal and relaxed and not mind a largish group gathering.


PS: I can recommend the show 100%, a great evenings entertainment!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I don’t know how big the group is but MGM Grand has a center bar called ‘Centrifuge’ that could be a good spot… Not much food though.

The Rainforest Cafe is also in that region if food is a priority.

Across the street, Nine Fine Irishmen at NYNY has food and drink – it’s quite a fun spot to relax. Diablo’s at Monte Carlo also features both food and drink, just down the road.

linda asked on 05/03/08

We are planing a 6 ay trip in mid May/08
I looking for a hotel on the strip that isn’t too expensive. Say under $200 per night
But I really want to lie by a nice pool and chill for a few afternoons.
Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, prices vary all the time but here are some places I would check that often have prices in that range:

  • The Mirage
  • Treasure Island
  • Mandalay Bay
  • MGM Grand
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Monte Carlo

Now, sometimes even higher end places have good rates – I just spent several days mid-week at Bellagio for $199/night.

John asked on 05/01/08

I have read a lot of reviews for buffets, but nothing for breakfast buffets/brunch in particular. which is a good value breakfast buffet on the strip? Which is a good value brunch? We are staying at Bill’s, and we don’t have a car, so we would like to stay within walking distance.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Virtually all offer breakfast and it’s typically the least expensive of the day.

The ‘Le Village Buffet’ at Paris has a lot of great French-style breakfast options. Bellagio’s breakfast is full of just about any morning concept you can imagine. Wynn Las Vegas’ breakfast is similar to Bellagio’s.

The buffets at Planet Hollywood, The Mirage and TI occupy a ‘middle tier’ in terms of price and quality.

Most buffets also offer a special ‘Sunday Bunch’ but typically that’s one of the more expensive meals of the week as it usually includes champagne.

Overall, the ‘big name’ buffets offer good breakfast just as they do lunch and dinner: Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Paris, Wynn Las Vegas, and the Rio.

moni asked on 05/01/08

My family and I (two kids 8 and 11), will be driving to Disneyland in June. On our way back we will be stopping by in Vegas. We are not into gambling. We know Vegas is not a place for kids, but we thought, why not since it’s on the back. We are staying two nights at the Venetian. How is the Venetian hotel with kids? Probably not a very kid friendly hotel, right? Thank You very much for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Not really kid friendly, no… But no more kid-unfriendly than any of the other high end hotels in town.

My position on kids in Vegas has been stated many times in the past so I’ll skip the lecture and just give you some suggestions on stuff to do:

  • The Pool – a fairly nice, large pool is available at The Venetian
  • A Show? Something from Cirque perhaps? The kids probably would never forget it and shows like ‘LOVE’ at The Mirage are musically based – lots of fun.
  • Circus Circus Adventure Dome – A small theme park type place at Circus Circus.
  • Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden at The Mirage – they have tigers, elephants, etc… along with the dolphin exhibit.

That’s just a few ideas – I’m sure you’ll do fine.

SEAN asked on 04/30/08

What is the story reguarding the Monti Carlo fire & the fact that there was no permit autherizing work there. I also read & herd on this site that there are other types of strange goings on with Harrah’s & it’s properties, just wondering what is happening with that company.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, this is a hot issue.

I do a podcast along with some Vegas journalists and site operators called the Vegas Gang and we spent an entire hour on this issue recently:

Vegas Gang Podcast

Windee asked on 04/29/08

We are going for 6 days in July. This will be my first trip to Vegas. I’m going with a friend and her mom. I like to gamble and they mainly want to hang out by the pool and sightsee. We’ve narrowed it down to the following hotels: Mirage, Planet Hollywood, MGM, Flamingo, Luxor, Treasure Island and Paris. What would you recommend to us to get a true “Vegas experience?” Are there any of these hotels that don’t charge to use their fitness equipment? Thank you so much for all your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would recommend The Mirage as tops from the list – they are currently doing a room renovation that will be almost complete (you should get a new room) by then plus they have an amazing pool, nice casino and are right in the middle of The Strip.

Beyond The Mirage, P-Ho, Treasure Island, Paris, MGM Grand, Luxor and Flamingo would be my choices, in order… But The Mirage would easily be my top pick – I stay there all the time and always enjoy it.

Wade asked on 04/28/08

My girlfriend and I will be getting married in August. We will be doing this at the little Church of the west across from Mandalay Bay. We will have anywhere from 50 to 75 people showing up, where is a good place to go after the wedding ceremony with this many people? Is there a place we can call ahead to and let them know we are coming? Someone reccomended Rum Jungle.

Thank you for all of your great advive.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve actually been to a reception at rumjungle – it went very well and seemed like a good space for that sort of thing. I think that’s a good recommendation, especially since it is nearby.

sue asked on 04/26/08

Hi. Once again, thank you for your response. Wondering your thoughts on the Four Season hotel at Mandalay. Room we were thinking about was the one bedroom (1100 sq.ft.—- not the executive which is 800 sq.ft.). Do you get to use the Mandalay pools?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Four Seasons is a good choice depending on what you’re looking for… It’s quiet and more reserved than a typical Strip hotel, though you are connected to Mandalay Bay’s public spaces in case you want that experience.

Yes, you do get MBay pool access when staying at The Four Seasons.

Mandalay Bay has been putting a bunch of money into upgrading the public spaces, casino, etc… Much needed and paying dividends. asked on 04/26/08

Great Site! Friends are concerned about all the web postings about the problems with Mandalay Bay and elevators. Some reviews say 1/2 hour wait for elevators! Everyone is complaining about lines out the elevator corridor! Any truth to this?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmm, I haven’t heard this one. I just spent several days in and out of MBay for a conference and while I wasn’t staying there, I walked by the elevators many times and never saw anyone standing in the corridors.

MGM Mirage said they didn’t know anything about elevator problems at Mandalay Bay.

So, this may have been one or two folks bad experiences or perhaps a bunch of people that got hit by a specific malfunction or service outage but I don’t see signs of an epidemic.

Joe asked on 04/25/08

Do you know if Planet Hollywood has any plans to redesign the pool area. The pool appears outdated compared to all the other improvments they have made to the hotel. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, there are no plans to make any significant changes to the pool area, no.

Robert asked on 04/22/08

Great site! Keep up the good work!

Can you please tell me what bars are the most fun on the strip for day drinking. We are trying to find the best bars with a fun view.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


For day-time drinking, there are a few spots that always seem to be rockin’.

  • Harrah’s Party Pit – right outside between Harrah’s and the Imperial Palace.
  • Hawaiian Tropic at Planet Hollywood – a large outdoor area right on the Strip.
  • Diablo’s at Monte Carlo – also right on the Strip, they have food as well.

That’s just a few ideas with outdoor access. Most indoor bars are open as well if you’re interested.

Melrose asked on 04/18/08


Love the site, thank you in advance for the assistance. I’m planning a 4 day trip to LV to celebrate my 40th birthday with a group of 10-20 people. My 40th is Dec 29, 2009…(I know, a year and a half from now) I have 3 questions. If we go between Christmas and NY’s (Dec 27-30), is Vegas packed those times, even though we’re leaving before NY’s? Also, what is the best way to try and get a group reservation / discount for a party of 10-20? We want to stay on the strip, and would consider Flamingo, Bally’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Mirage, etc, nothing terribly upscale. Lastly, when is too early to put the wheels in motion?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Actually, the time between Christmas and New Years is typically one of the most quiet of the year – of course that starts to change as New Years approaches – it can be a great time to visit, both in terms of crowds and rates.

As far as a group reservation, all of the hotels have a ‘group sales’ department and if you qualify (each has different criteria), you can get better rates for your group, etc… Certainly worth looking into – just call the hotel and ask for ‘group sales’.

When is it too early? I don’t think you’d be able to even get in their computer until 6-9 months in advance. Again, each will be slightly different in this regard but that’s probably the time frame to start getting the details in order.

By December 2009 you’ll have some new hotels open like Encore and City Center, both of which will radically alter the Strip. It will be an exciting time!

Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

Steve asked on 04/17/08

Can you please give me the run down on the Planet Hollywood hotel? (casino, pool, rooms, type of people there).

In the past I have stayed at Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage & MGM. I liked them all. How does PH compare to these?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Planet Hollywood has recently undergone a radical transformation from its previous existence as The Aladdin.

The casino and exterior got the most dramatic upgrades and I view them all as positive changes. The interior now consists of wood and wood-like finishes, darker colors and a more ‘hip’ vibe. If you liked Mandalay Bay and The Mirage, you’ll find a similar design sensibility at Planet Hollywood.

The rooms are spacious and well appointed, especially for the average price which is typically a great value. The hotel’s location is also tops – right across from Bellagio.

The restaurants have all been basically replaced and I’ve had limited exposure since that occurred. I’ve heard good things about Trader Vic’s and the Strip House.

jackie asked on 04/16/08

Are there pools you can pay to use if you are not a guest of that hotel? I thought I was told you can pay at the nugget if so do you know the amount they charge?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most of the time the answer is no.

Sometimes the Hard Rock pool is open to the public with a cover charge for the Sunday ‘Rehab’ pool party.

The Golden Nugget does offer access to non guests with a cover charge but they reserve the right to only offer that when they want to.

Ann McG asked on 04/12/08

I recently heard that Caesar’s has updated their rooms in the Forum Tower. Is this true? I have the opportunity to be comp’d there for 2 nights, but they are only offering rooms in the Forum Tower. The other opportunity is at Harrah’s or The Flamingo. Do your reader’s have any suggestions as to which one they would prefer?

Thanks so very much.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Why yes indeed, a long needed renovation is, at this point, complete I am told. They really needed it to keep pace with the other room types on property, which vary drastically between towers.

From those options, I’d probably pick Caesars. The Forum Tower rooms are small but with the updates, the furnishings are pretty nice.

The Flamingo and Harrah’s are distinctly mid-range properties while Caesars trends to the high-end overall.

Caesars would be my pick.

Mark in KC asked on 04/11/08

Just wanted to thank you for the great advice. Six of us stayed at the Vista Suite at Mandalay Bay for March Madness. Wow what a suite. Over 1700 sq feet of luxury. The king bed was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in (which wasn’t much) Granite countertops in the bar, plasmas everywhere and the best view of the strip i have seen. Eye level with the light on top of the Luxor. Great service from the maids and the steam shower was to die for. Thanks again for the reccomendation. Anyone who wants to splurge a bit its well worth it….Anyone have an advil, my head still hurts


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Awesome, glad to hear it was a good time. Always fun to hear it.

A request to anyone that’s appreciated my advice – this site is based on ratings – if you have 5 minutes, please consider visiting the hotel and restaurant pages and adding your ratings and reviews. That allows everyone to benefit from your experience.

That’s the best way you can ‘repay’ us for our help.

Lorri asked on 04/10/08

Hi Hunter……..Another question?? I am trying to make reservations to see O at the Bellagio while we’re in Vegas in a couple of weeks. The seating is limited at this point. It seems the choices are either balcony….or limited seating…Which would you recommend?
Thanks for your input!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Eh… The balcony probably. I liked sitting up there – you get a different perspective from what you have on the ground level. Pick up tickets as soon as you can – they go quickly!

Lorri asked on 04/08/08

Hi Hunter!!! Great………informative……website you have, here!!
Question??? My husband & I will be going to L.V. at the end of April. We are staying at The Mirage. I am going to request the $20 trick complimentary upgrade. Any ideas on how MUCH of a resonable upgrade I might receive from the standard room we have reserved now?

Thanks again for all your input!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! Well, the key is not to expect anything in particular – the tip-for-upgrade thing is a gamble and sometimes nets zero. At The Mirage, you could possibly end up with an upgrade to a ‘Tower Deluxe’ room, which are a nice step up from the standard rooms, sure.

Eric asked on 04/05/08

My wife and I are coming to town in early June. We both love seafood and are looking for a great seafood buffet. She particularly likes steamed or hot crab legs. I’ve read some reviews mentioning that the Village Seafood Buffet no longer has all you can eat lobster tails. Is this true??? If you can also suggest a couple of good seafood buffets. Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Village Seafood Buffet is, as far as I know, the only dedicated seafood buffet in Las Vegas. Of course, most of the buffets include seafood items, though there is a huge variation in offerings and quality.

As far as lobster tails at the VSB, I hadn’t heard that so I called the hotel to check it out. I was told that they do feature ‘slipper’ lobster tails as part of their regular menu – which means that barring a supply disruption it is an item they should have all the time.

Along with the VSB, the buffets at Planet Hollywood, Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio also feature a large selection of seafood items in the mix.

SEAN asked on 04/03/08

Hi hunter, fantastic site.

about 2 weeks a go i asked you about issues reguarding mobility on the strip, and you said that more trams & overhead walkways would be built. Where are those bridges being constructed & when will they open, if they haven’t already.

Thanks Hunter, this will make things a whole lot simpler for getting around.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, this is an ongoing thing. Of course, the walkways near Wynn Las Vegas and Palazzo opened recently and dramatically improved flow at Spring Mountain/Sands.

Down the road, expect more of these as new hotels like Echelon, Fontainebleau, and City Center open up.

This is a longer term plan to reduce congestion over the next decade.

Steve asked on 04/03/08

I am going on my annual trip to Vegas this summer. Over the few years I have been to the Italian Restaurant IL Mulino at the Form Shops at Caesars. I enjoyed it a lot but want to try another Italian restaurant this year. What would you reccomend?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are quite a few great choices. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Bartolotta (Wynn Las Vegas) – Extremely fresh fish, great pastas and more. Everything here is fantastic.
  • Circo (Bellagio) – More traditional Northern Italian food, great stuff.
  • Zefferino (The Venetian) – Another quality, traditional outlet.

Lastly, I hear Carnevino (Palazzo) is good but I haven’t been there yet myself.

Joe asked on 04/03/08

A bunch of us do a guys trip to Vegas once a year and we always make a stop at the Crazy Horse. Last year it was closed and we went to the Rhino instead but just didn’t get the same feel. Has the Crazy Horse reopened? If not where else do you reccomend.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Honestly, strip clubs aren’t really my thing so I don’t have a ton of experience here to share. I talked to a friend that frequents them on each trip and he says that people should go visit Sapphire and Treasures, though I can’t vouch for either myself.

Here are some more details:

Deborah K. Damon asked on 04/03/08

Hi hunter:
Hunter i have a what i call a stupid question, I am thinking about taking the Grand Canyon West Rim tour and i was wandering when should i think about booking this tour. I will be coming to Las Vegas on June 5, 2008, which is two months and 2 days away. Let me know.

Also do you know how far they have gotten on the remodeling of the Luxor hotel, I was just wandering.

Deborah K. Damon

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Luxor’s remodeling project includes almost all areas of the hotel but won’t be complete for many more months – they started on the public areas and the pyramid’s guest rooms are coming last.

As far as your tour, I would typically say ‘as soon as you can’ in regards as to when to book. That will help with availability but as with all things, make sure to check the cancellation/refund policy for your own protection.

Greg asked on 04/03/08

We’re gonna be coming in to Vegas later this month. Was thinking about booking a car service/limo for airport transfer to and from airport. Considering there will be four of us traveling (with luggage) going to two separate hotels (Caesars and Circus), i’n guessing a taxi would not be too practical. What are the best companies and best deals available? GREAT SITE!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are quite a few reputable options. Personally, I usually do one of two things:

  • Have the hotel send a car (even if I have to pay for it).
  • Use Las Vegas Limo (they have towncars too and are reliable, fairly priced and available).

andy asked on 04/02/08

When cansinos list a minimum bet of $25 on craps, does that mean just placing at least one bet of $25 (say $25 on pass line) and then you can bet less (say $10) on the numbers? Or does every bet anywhere on the table have to be $25? What about prop bets? Surely the house cannot expect us to throw $25 down on elevens and hardways?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Typically, if the limit is $25 that means that you would have to bet $25 EACH on your pass line and/or come bets. The pit has discretion to waive this though and they may sometimes allow you to combine bets to reach the total limit.

It almost never applies to hardways or prop bets where you can typically bet anything you’d like.

Dan asked on 04/01/08

We are going to be staying at the Mirage in May. Unfortunately my wife is not a big fan of their spa. What spa would you recommend for her to visit outside of the Mirage? Ideally we would like for the spa to be in a nearby casino. I know that some of the spas only take hotel guests though.

Thanks in advance.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, something to keep in mind is that the spa at The Mirage was recently gutted and completely replaced so unless you’ve been there recently, she might want to give it another chance.

If not, across the street the Canyon Ranch Spa Club at The Venetian accepts the public and is a nice facility.

Matt asked on 03/31/08

First of all, great site. Anybody that has ever gotten even an iota of info off the site should make a donation today.

I’ve seen more of Vegas through serendipitous cab rides and am grateful for it, but sometimes I just want point A to B. Specifically, I’ve learned to go the car service route from the airport to my particular hotel (the only way to travel, imo) – but is there a specific route to give the cab driver from a hotel to the airport? (e.g. TI to the airport.) I have heard telling them to take Paradise Rd is the way to go, but was curious what’s the best expert approach to take these days. (lol, I have learned, like in all major cities, to never say “fastest” or “shortest” or something subjective like that.) Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, the tough thing is traffic varies depending on the time of day. As a general rule, the Strip is going to be slow almost all the time so doing Paradise from TI is probably the most common route that I would expect drivers to take.

Other than being stuck in dead-stop Strip traffic, as long as the driver uses back roads like Paradise, Frank Sinatra, Industrial, etc…, he/she is probably doing their best to get you there in a reasonable amount of time.

Thanks for the kind words!