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Magnus asked on 08/22/07

I’m planning to go to Vegas for the first time. I love poker and plan on playing mostly cashgames so I dont want to spend too much on the hotel (max about $150/day).

Which hotel would you recommend? Where’s the best action (worst players)?

Thx for a great site!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I continually hear that the poker rooms at Excalibur and Luxor are full of a lot of inexperienced players – plus those rooms should be inexpensive as well – probably a good place to start. Thanks!

Ben Stott asked on 08/20/07

I am visiting Las Vegas for 5 nights between 9-13 September 2007 and staying at the Planet Hollywood.

Is it expected that the facade, marquee and remainder of exterior work will be completed by then?

Also – are they expecting to have all of the rooms renovated soon as I would like to stay in one of those.

Many thanks for your help.

United Kingdom.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The work will almost certainly not be completed by then – it is, as of this week, still in progress and there is a lot to be done. Now, the big parts are complete and it now looks like it should.

Here’s a photo from the Strip Walk series on our blog, which covers Strip construction projects:

Planet Hollywood

As far as room renovations, don’t expect much. I am told at this point most of the work is sprucing things up a bit and adding movie memorabilia but not any major changes. The suites are getting a more in-depth make over and will be themed – various movies for the different rooms, etc…

mrgame101 asked on 08/19/07

Hey Hunter. This may seem like a silly question in comparison. But I have stayed in 3 different Vegas hotels and forget the size. Wondering if a 17inch widescreen laptop would fit into the inroom safe??


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Not a silly question… The answer is ‘probably not’.

Some of the safes are bigger than others but even the largest only barely fit my 15" MacBook Pro – I have never seen one that would fit a 17" notebook.

Cheri' asked on 08/19/07

Coming to Vegas No. 25-29 with a co-worker. She has never been before. Of these hotel choices, which would be the best one to stay at as far as comfort, location, cost, andamenities?

1. Caesar’s
2. Paris
3. Treasure Island
4. Excalibur
5. Las Vegas Hilton

She likes to shop a lot, do a little gambling. and see the sights. Thank You. Love your site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, cost varies and only you can determine what you can/want to pay so I assume you mean ‘value’?

From your list I would probably strike Excalibur and the Las Vegas Hilton unless extremely low cost is the most important thing. The Hilton is fine but it is off-Strip and for a Vegas virgin, it will put a damper on the experience. Excalibur is not a place I recommend ever.

Your other three choices are all fine. One important note about Caesars Palace (note that there is no apostrophe in the name – that is on purpose – everyone is a Caesar!) is that they have several hotel towers that range from new and deluxe to old and busted (well, not that bad but nowhere near as nice as the newer rooms). At Caesars you want to try to get into the Augustus or Palace towers, in that order. The older tower rooms will be renovated in the next couple of years to attempt to bring them up a few notches but those two are the best. For shopping, Caesars has a huge mall, the Forum Shops, right on property and then Via Bellagio is next door with Prada, Tiffany, Hermes and more.

At Paris, try to get a ‘P’ room – they have more windows for better views.

I used to stay at Treasure Island (TI) all the time but renovations over the past few years have really stripped it of a lot of its identity. It is still a fine place to stay with good service but it used to be a much better deal.

Have you considered The Mirage? I would add that to your list to see how the rates compare and it would be my top or second choice (after Caesars) based on your criteria.

rich kozak asked on 08/19/07

hunter,I recieved comps from the mirage.
I plan on using them for a limo ride from
mccarran airport to the mirage. Do you think there will be a problem if he drops us off at the bellagio??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

So, you’re planning on using The Mirage limo to take you to Bellagio from the airport? Are you staying at The Mirage for this trip and just need to spend some time at Bellagio? If so, probably no problem – just explain to the driver what’s up.

If you’re not staying at The Mirage, I doubt they are going to let you use your comps.

Cheri Crowe asked on 08/19/07

My daughter is getting married Sept. 28th in a small ceromony at The Grove. We are looking for a nice place on the strip or near by for about 30 people to have dinner together. Price range 18-35

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Ok, your daughter submitted the same question the other day. We ask that you don’t submit the same question more than once.

This is a free service and some questions require a good bit of research to give a good answer. Sometimes this takes time. Please be patient.

I am working on answering her other question. It should be posted soon.

Ryan & Katie asked on 08/17/07

We are having a small intimate wedding, in Vegas at The Grove, September 28th, 2007.

We are looking for a restaurant for approx. 25 people for after the ceremony with a price range of $15-35 a plate. We tried The Embers/IP, but they said they could not accomodate a party of that size. Could you reccommend a couple of restaurants that I can see the menus of on-line?

We are also looking for a nice hotel that we can stay at just for the wedding night. We are staying at Harrah’s for the week with our family and friends, but don’t want to stay there on the wedding night. Again, looking for something clean, yet affordable. Are there any specials you know of that we can look into?

Thanks for any suggestions you might be able to provide. We are trying to make all of these accomodations from Detroit, so its been a little frustrating.

Ryan & Katie

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Many/most restaurants don’t have online menus so you’re probably going to have to contact them directly and have them fax them over to you, FYI.

I would consider looking at some of the following:

  • Circus Steakhouse – despite being in Circus Circus, this is a great spot with good food at reasonable prices. Not sure if they can do this many people though.
  • STACK (The Mirage) – some interesting twists on American classics. I’ve only had good meals here.
  • China Grill (Mandalay Bay) – I went to an after-wedding meal here and it was quite good.

Hopefully those will get you started, plus you can view our ‘Top Ten’ lists page for more info by cuisine:

Top Tens at

Regarding the hotel, I would check into the following:

  • The Mirage – Tower Deluxe room – a step up from the standard room on higher, keyed entry floors. Larger bathrooms with two sinks and jets in the tub.
  • THEHotel at Mandalay Bay – sometimes very reasonable rates for this all-suite addition to Mandalay Bay.
  • Wynn Las Vegas – if it is in your budget, this is the most comfortable standard room on The Strip.
  • Planet Hollywood – I mention this one because they have often had some very good deals. The rooms are clean and spacious.

Those would be my picks – hopefully one of those will fit into your price range.


JT asked on 08/16/07

Which strip casinos near Bellagio offer the most comfortable, best equipped sports betting rooms?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You mean besides Bellagio itself? It has a great sports book. Nearby, I would also look at Caesars, The Mirage and MGM Grand.

gilbert asked on 08/15/07

Hellow Hunter,i’m going to Vegas next week 24-26, i’m a huge fan of The Ultimate Fighting Champoinship. The UFC is having a big show at the Mandalay Bay on the 25th, question is, is it possible to order the pay-per-view through the hotel i’m staying at, the Excalibur? thank you…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy… The hotel’s TV system does have pay per view movies but they are not planning on carrying that special event. Sorry!

I asked a friend at Mandalay and they said that some of the TVs in the bars in the casino may be tuned to the event.

Chris asked on 08/11/07


This is my second time writing in, and you were really helpful last time.I was wondering if you knew anything about the penthouse suites at the Monte Carlo.They are on their website and they sound pretty big(the 2 bedroom is 3500sq. ft.),but im not the biggest fan of the monte carlo…i was wondering if you heard if these were worth it.
thanks alot,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

These suites are basically just what you’d expect – the best thing a second or third rate Strip hotel can put together is still just that – and the overall Monte Carlo ‘experience’ (if you can call it that) is pretty lacking itself.

Look – the room is large and well furnished but as soon as you get in the elevator, you’re still at the Monte Carlo, a hotel that I really don’t care for very much at all.

The whole building was built bargain basement and if you care to look, it shows all over. Plastic vs. glass, etc…

Personally, I would rather take that money and stay in a smaller suite or even standard room at nicer places like Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Augustus Tower, or even older joints like The Mirage.

That’s my opinion.

stevan asked on 08/11/07

does your pool have a diving board?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I actually don’t have a pool at my house but you can still come over if you want.

Seriously, I assume you’re asking about a specific hotel – I just don’t know which one.

Virtually (and probably physically and metaphorically as well) no Las Vegas hotels have diving boards for liability and insurance reasons.

Sandy asked on 08/07/07

Just a comment on Debs questions on getting downtown. Over the 4th of July we rode The Duece, new double decker,air conditioned and friendly fun drivers bus all over all day for 5 bucks! They only have 5 minute wait times at all the stops which are near all the hotels on the strip and it was the best way to hit Fremont Street.You can get on and off as often as you like so we were happy to kiss the Taxi good-bye!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Good tip. I often forget about the bus.

Debs asked on 08/05/07

Hi Hunter

One further question – during out trip we are spending some time down town. What would be the best way to travel from the Hilton & Stratosphere to down town – from what I have found out, walking wouldn’t be the best option for first time visitors to LV.

Thanks again.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No, no… You don’t want to try to walk Downtown from anywhere. Take a cab if you don’t mind the expense or the CAT bus if you really don’t want to spend the money… Walking should not be considered an option.

Debs asked on 08/05/07

Hi Hunter

This site is fantastic! I’ve found so much great information about LV before myself and my fiance head off to get married there in September.

I’d really appreciate your comments on the following questions?

1. What is the weather like in September? We are getting married at the Valley of Fire on the 21st.

2. We are having our wedding night meal at Mon Ami Gabi – hoping to be seated outside on the patio – is this a good choice?

3. We’re staying at the Four Seasons (wanted somewhere romantic and quiet as we are on honeymoon too). Have saw recent reviews stating there is construction noise problems – do you have any information on this?

4. Do you think it would be worth while trying the $20 trick at the Four Seasons when we check in? We have a Superior Room and would love one with a strip view instead….just not sure if it would make a difference if I just asked or added the $20 trick too.

Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


September is usually pleasantly warm, though it will start to cool off toward the end of the month. Evenings are usually nice but can get cool so pack accordingly.

I’ve eaten at Mon Ami Gabi several times and always had a nice meal. The outdoor dining is somewhat rare in Las Vegas and certainly a nice touch. The Bellagio fountain show across the street is a nice diversion – I’m sure you’ll have a nice time.

As far as construction at the Four Seasons/Mandalay Bay, they have been working on the pool area all Summer but generally, it should be nice and quiet. Make sure to ask about it when you check-in so they can put you on the other side of the building if required to avoid the noise.

As far as the $20 trick, it never hurts to try, IMHO.

Margaret D asked on 08/05/07

Hi Hunter,

Sorry to bother you again about the taxi question but we will be arriving at terminal 2, does this make a difference to the wait time for a taxi?
Thanks again.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Actually, yes, it does. The cab lines are shorter at Terminal 2 but still can be a pain.

Margaret D asked on 08/04/07

Hi Hunter,

We leave in about 3 weeks for Vegas and I have noticed in the last few weeks a couple of visitors mentioning the long wait at the airport for a taxi to go to their hotel. It will be approx. 11:00 pm when we arrive should we expect there to be a long wait for a taxi? Is there a limo area if you do not want to wait for a taxi or do you have to reserve one in advance? Approx. how much will it cost for a limo from the airport to the Venetian? If we need to reserve a limo can you give me a phone number as we are out side of the US. Thanks for your help and love your sight.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Honestly, I have seen hour long waits at 1am – the airport is ALWAYS busy.

For me, the last thing I want when starting my vacation is another long wait when I get off the plane. If you exit the baggage area to the West (doors 8-13 I think), you will almost always see limos waiting for passengers. The rack rate is about $75/hr and they won’t discount a trip to the Strip even though it couldn’t ever possibly take that long to get there (20 mins max in bad traffic). Still, you might be able to haggle with them if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you want to reserve a limo, call your hotel (The Venetian) and ask for the concierge. They will assist you with making all the arrangements. Alternatively, I like Las Vegas Limo, who often does the contracting for them anyway.

Jim asked on 08/04/07

How are the Petite suites and Tower suites at TI. I heard they were going through renovations on the rooms, will they be done by mid September? How do those suites compare to a P room at Paris?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They have been doing some work on the suites, yes. As with all MGM Mirage renovations, expect some updated furniture and decor but no major changes in the level of amenities offered.

A P room at Paris is not a suite, just a nicer view – the suites at TI offer more space and arguably friendlier service.

Stephanie Sanders asked on 08/03/07

Hey Hunter. Your website is great and I have picked up a lot of useful info for our upcoming trip. I have a question of my own now. I have heard a few good things about Dick’s Last Resort at the Excalibur. I wanted to get your opinion on it. Is it worth our time when we head to Vegas next week to give it a try? Thanks for your input and keep up the good work.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Dick’s just opened at the Excalibur – I haven’t seen it since it has been open but I did take a look pre-opening and it was coming along. The one in San Diego can be a fun time – it’s sorta like a frat party w/ lots of drinking, etc… I assume the LV version will be similar. As far as food goes, not terrible, not fantastic. Good mid-range.

Jonathan asked on 08/02/07

The last time I was at the Mandaly Bay Beach, it opened an hour later than the pools, where everyone stood around until they blew a whistle and everyone would run for a lounge chair. Back then every lounge chair was taken by 10am. Do you happen to know, with the new expansion, if it’s still necessary to join the morning run? Also, do you have any tips with regard to the Mandalay Bay Beach/Pools (ex. best spot, best cabana, etc.)?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Honestly, it’s not really changed much. The new facilities are almost all per-day rental areas like cabanas. As far as a tip goes, renting a cabana or day bed will give you a place to hang out but it is usually not cheap.

Other than that, tipping a towel person can sometimes magically make chairs appear.

jen asked on 08/01/07

Hello Hunter! Heading back to Vegas Oct staying in a penthouse in Mirage again. Our last visit was spectacular!
I am looking to do a couple of high end things. My first question is where is the best place to rent an exotic car? I have been to all the sites but I have heard some sketchy things on the quality of the vehicles.
Looking for a Ferrari or Lambroghini. Also I have had very little luck finding sites that offer interesting options for dining etc if you have some coin to spend. We want to have a unique dinner catered just to us that is not usually offered to the general public. Do you know of any places that have a “secret” room or a priviate balcony you can obtain for only 2? Any other adventures you can think of that dont require flying that is VIP? Trying to do something unique and we work so hard in our ‘real’ lives, so just want to do it memorable.
Cheers and thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve had this exotic car question once in the past – I suggest doing a search above… Honestly though, it’s an area where I don’t have personal experience and I was relying on a few things I’ve heard.

As far as interesting dining, a few things to check out… My first choice would be the outdoor, waterfall-side table at Okada (Wynn Las Vegas). It’s typically for more than two but everything is negotiable. Actually, most high end Vegas restaurants have in-kitchen chef’s tables or private dining rooms for a higher end experience. The chef’s table that I’d like to be a guest at is at Delmonico, one of my favorite restaurants in town. Now, these experiences will be expensive so be prepared.

As far as other VIP ideas, I like your style. If any readers have ideas for this young lady, email me at

sam asked on 07/31/07

Hunter, any info on Indian food? What’s the best place for indian in Vegas on or near the strip? Thank’s….

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Ya know, despite having lots of great food choices, the Las Vegas Strip really doesn’t do Indian food well at all.

The only place I even know of is in the Hawaiian Marketplace, across from the City Center construction site, near Planet Hollywood – I think it is called Tamba.

Evan Armstrong asked on 07/30/07

I would like to check out the Mix lounge in TheHotel on my next visit, how do I get to it? Where would be the best place to park and is there a cover charge?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The elevators to MIX are located in the hallway that connects THEHotel to the Mandalay Bay casino. Parking is best in the back lot or using the valet for THEHotel. There is usually a cover, yes. It varies but is typically around $20.

phillip larrivee asked on 07/30/07

what is the best way to try and get a room upgrade at one of the hotels on the strip,and if able is it usually at no costs other than what you entice the hotel clerk with

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This has been answered about a billion times. I suggest doing a search on the ‘20 dollar trick’ in the box at the top of this page.

James asked on 07/30/07

How are the standard rooms at Paris compared to Bally’s. Which of theses two has the better pool? Do you think its worth $20 a night more to stay at Paris.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The rooms at Paris are nicer – if the differential is $20 and you enjoy a nicer room, I would go for it. The hotel is MUCH newer and thus is more modern. The pool at Bally’s is a rectangular olympic style outfit with a real deep end (rare in Vegas) while Paris has a couple of pools up on top of the casino. The pool at Paris is more stylized though some people really love that Bally’s deep end.

sam asked on 07/28/07

Hellow Hunter, please help me out with my question, i would appreciate it! i love doing my thing in Vegas but i can’t seem to hang with my buddies when it comes to drinking! I seem to “crash” way to early, i’ll have a few drink’s here and there and by 5:00p.m i’m balled up in my bed and then i go at it again by 9 or 10p.m, that suck’s cause i would love to stay out more. I feel like i’m missing out on a whole lot, meanwhile my friends are having the time of there live’s!!It’s not like i get drunk too fast, Question is, is there a trick i could use to avoid the early crash? i heard drinking water along with your drink’s work’s wonder’s, any feed back?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmm. I don’t really have this problem but let me see what I can suggest. A couple of things to think about… Are you dealing with jet lag or a time change? This could be a factor. How about the sun? Time in the sun can really tire you out – limit that if you can. You might also consider spending some time in the hotel spa – the sauna and steam room can be very rejuvenating. Also, there’s nothing wrong with taking a nap in the mid-afternoon to make sure you have a rockin’ evening. Last option is to sell your house, take the cash and get all the hookers and blow you can afford for one week long non-stop party. Just kidding. Anyone else have ideas?

Ray asked on 07/28/07

Hey Hunter,

I have read about an Old Vegas style crooner named Bobby Barrett who used to perform at The Brown Derby at MGM, and then Casa Di Amore Italian Restaurant off of E. Tropicana. Do you know if he still performs? Thanks for your always helpful and useful insight. Your website is great!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Ahh yes, Bobby Barrett. I’ve seen him a few times and he was pretty good with the old standards… Sinatra, etc… As far as these days, I have no idea where this guy is. I haven’t heard of him performing in Vegas for the last few years. Sorry.

Diane asked on 07/27/07

I have read that the pool at the Wynn is topless. I am a little bit concerned about this since I will be bringing my 75 yearold mother. Thank you for all your help.Diane P.S. Love this site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


There is a part of the pool at WLV that allows European (topless) sunbathing. Don’t worry though, it’s only part of the pool – there are multiple pools and the largest area is traditionally setup.

Even in the ‘Euro’ area, most of the folks are guys gawking and women with-top – only a small number are usually sans-top.

Drew Nelson asked on 07/27/07

My parents are making their first trip out in Dec. They would like to have a drink and check out the view at one of the bars that offer great views. I know there is the Voodo, Mix and Ghost, but are there any other choices? Also which one would be best for “older” adults who are looking just for a nice drink and a great view for a little wise? Also what is the average coverage charge and when do they go into effect (time wise)?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, you could throw the Playboy Club into the mix there but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend that. Also the ‘Top of the World’ at the Strat but again, not my pick.

For a drink or two with a great view, I always pick MIX at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay.

Mix is split in half – one side is the restaurant, the other a lounge. The lounge side has the best view in town and a sophisticated wait staff that will take good care of you. It’s true that the crowd gets younger as you get later into the evening but the most breathtaking views are usually around sunset anyway, and that’s just about when they open. At this point it’s very quiet – my favorite time to go. I think you’ll like MIX.

As far as a cover goes, sometimes it will be $20-$30 but often that will be just for males.Still it all varies, sometimes as often as night-to-night.

Robert asked on 07/27/07

My mother has been talking about going to vegas for as long as I can remember. I have never been either, well I have the money to take her now and was hoping for some advice. She now thinks she is to old to go because she has a bad kne and does not get around well, I was hoping for a suggestion on a hotel that we could stay at the was maybe all inclusive or very little walking to get from the hotel to some nice dining and some shows. We will do a little gambling but the main reason we are going is for the shows and and nice dining spots. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Unfortunately for your mother, Las Vegas Strip hotels are very much about walking. These places are huge – even the trip to the bathroom is a hike.

Now, given that, let’s talk about options. As I see it, I would make two recommendations…

1. Stay Downtown – If you stay at a hotel like the Golden Nugget, you are in a spot with short walking distances and nice amenities. The Nugget is a great hotel and will treat you well. The whole vibe down there may be more up your alley anyway- more like Vegas used to be in the 50s and 60s.

Beyond that, if you guys really want to be on the Strip, talk with your hotel to see if they offer scooter/wheelchair/electric chair rental or would simply provide you with one. On the Strip, everything is a long way and she’d need something like this. If you are looking at the Strip, stick to smaller (relative!) hotels like Wynn Las Vegas, Paris, Bally’s, Bill’s, or Treasure Island.

Melinda asked on 07/27/07

I’ve seen a lot of books that say that downtown casinos have better odds than the strip, Boulder Strip better than downtown, and North Las Vegas better than Boulder Strip. Do you think there’s enough difference that you can tell? (We’re primarily slot/video poker players). What are the North Las Vegas casinos like? Is it a safe area?

Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Those statements are generally correct in a broad sense. Of course, it can vary by machine and nothing is for sure…

I think you’ll find that the biggest distinction is Strip/Non-Strip and once you get off the Strip, the paybacks are going to change a lot less between Downtown, NLV, Summerlin, GV, etc…

NLV is getting better than it used to be and in a few years, with some new properties, will have a few nicer places – right now they are more mid to lower end.

Some parts of NLV do have high crime, yes.

Kate asked on 07/27/07


Great site!

Do you know if any if the major resorts offer dental treatments? I’m looking for somewhere that can do ‘Zoom’ whitening, but can’t find it offered at any of the Spas.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! I’m not sure of ‘Zoom’ specifically – is that a brand/method for whitening? I know a lot of spas, like Bellagio, Wynn LV, and even Luxor do whitening.

Chris asked on 07/24/07

We are traveling to Vegas on Aug5-9. How hard will it be to get a cab from the airport to Monte Carlo on Sunday morning about 11? Is the McCarran hack stand still the chaotic scene it used to be? Would it be better to hire a limo? Anybody know of other options?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The cab line at LAS (McCarran) is just as long and terrible as always, maybe worse. Waits of an hour, even in the middle of the night, are not uncommon. I typically advise folks to get a limo – it’s really not all that expensive and it is a great way to start the trip. EIther ask the concierge at your hotel to arrange one or call Las Vegas Limo – I typically use them and have had good service.

rolando asked on 07/23/07

I am gay and I like to party!!!How is the Gay Scene in Vegas?Me and MY girlfriends want to paint the town red. Any info on gay bars?What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas chow!!!!!!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I can’t tell if you’re joking or not but it is a good question. Actually, at the moment I’m not all that qualified to answer but I hope to know more soon. I’m reading a new book, ‘Gay Vegas’ by my friend Steve Friess. A review will be posted on my blog site very soon now. This book has all sorts of great info.

Miranda asked on 07/23/07

Hi Hunter! I asked you for advice lastyear regarding my honeymoon, and you helped us out a lot on our decision making. thanks! Now, I have another question regarding our next trip to vegas which will be for Christmas. We will be there from Dec 23rd-Dec27th. What can I expect as far as what will be opened and available on Christmas day? I would like to have a really nice Christmas dinner somewhere with my husband, but i’m afraid some of the nicer restaurants may be closed? Also, we couldn’t believe how cheap the rooms are around Christmas, is it normally very busy? or very slow?
Thanks again,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Great, glad I could help. As far as Christmas Day, Las Vegas is pretty much totally open for business – you’ll find the Strip as bustling as a regular Saturday.

Some spots may be closed – check with them specifically. You really are going to want to make a reservation for dinner in advance as things will fill up.

Christmas is typically busy, then a lull for a few days and then full-bore for New Years.

Jenifer asked on 07/23/07

We are beginning to plan a trip to Vegas for this fall—I have a free flight to use before mid Dec. Any suggestion as to the best time between now and mid Dec to visit?? and which mid price strip hotel is best?? Thanks for any help—we have only been to Vegas once before—7 years ago and stayed at TI then. Thanks for any help!!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

When picking a hotel, I suggest reviewing all the info here on the site – there are so many variables that while it may seem like a simple question, far from it. Most are good at some things and less good at others – review the options and even read some of the past questions here. You’ll get a much better impression of things. Check into The Mirage, Paris, THEHotel, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood and maybe MGM Grand.

As far as timing, the weather is great in mid-to-late September – cooling off from Summer but not cold like in December.

paul masters asked on 07/23/07

Is las vegas tower going ahead or not

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No one knows yet for sure but the project appears to be moving along. We’ve been discussing this on the blog a bit:

Tower On Life Support

Construction Update

Search Results

susan asked on 07/22/07

Hello Hunter, love this site !! Going to Las Vegas the last weekend in October. We are staying at The Mirage in a 2 bedroom penthouse suite. Will there be any construction or remodeling that will effect my visit???

We stayed here last year and it was great! Also, any local bars that have live reggae music? Thanks for your time.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nope, you should be good. The Mirage is pretty much construction free at this point – all new facilities are already open!

As far as reggae goes, this is one area where I can’t help as I am really not a reggae fan. Sorry ‘bout that. I haven’t really seen much reggae advertised around the Strip.

gilbert asked on 07/21/07

love this site! i like to stay in the excalibur, i like the bargain and the location. my question, any info on the new bar at the “ex”? i’m going back aug 24-26 for the ufc fights at mandalay bay.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Excalibur has been re-doing several parts of the hotel over the past year, including some rooms and restaurants. They now have a Dick’s Last Resort – maybe that’s what you’re asking about? It is located near the entrance from NYNY/The Strip.

Margaret D asked on 07/20/07

Hi Hunter,

Julies question regarding a nicer hotel with a balacony. The Venezia tower at the Venetian has some suites called “Terrazzo” that have a patio outside the patio doors. This is not a balcony but actually even nicer. They would want to specifically ask for the Terrazzo suite with a patio. Hope this helps. Also it will be quite expensive as the suites in the Venezia are all more expensive.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the mention. There are also some other high end suites at Bellagio that have balconies and that’s what I was referring to in my answer. Generally, Strip rooms don’t have balconies but as you can see, there are some exceptions for some of the high roller digs.

Brent N asked on 07/20/07

Great site!

Just returned from 3 days at the Venetian.

Rooms were comped but I used the $20.00 trick to get a newly redecorated room with a great strip/pool view. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself, perhaps the desk clerk just got a tip for giving me what she was prepared to give me anyway!

The newly decorated rooms (in the “old” tower) have three flatscreen TVs and a great automatic blind system that completely blocks out all light if you want it too (we slept in past 1000 on the first morning a didn’t even know it was light out).

One experience we had was when we went way out to the Texas Station for a concert (show was really quite good), we had trouble getting a cab back to the strip. In fact, a drunk wanted to fight me for the cab that I called…long story, no blows exchanged though. anyway, since it seems that most cabs populate the strip or airport, would a car service be an option? Seems it would be a waste to have them wait for during a 3 hour show, do they have a “pick up/drop off” service or is it always by the hour.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure, a car service is always an option. They are typically by the hour but you might be able to negotiate different terms – just make sure you do that in advance to avoid a nasty surprise.

Katrine Hejlesen asked on 07/20/07

Hi Hunter,

In response to Jessica’s question regarding a hotel room with a balcony, I might add that many of the jr. suites at The Signature at MGM have balconies. Perhaps this could be an option for her?

Kind regards,


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Great! Thanks for sharing this. Not on the Strip but a good option if a balcony is important. Condo-hotel rooms like this are probably the only places we’re going to see balconies in the future as well.

JENNIFER asked on 07/19/07

I got married in Vegas and stayed at Caesars. We are going in a few weeks August 2-6 and I want to stay at a hotel that has a balcony, the only place I know of is the Imperial Palace and I hear it’s a dump. Any other balconies in Vegas? Friends are staying at the Luxor. What is the best choice? I thank you in advance for your advise. Jennifer Vancouver, BC

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, balconies haven’t been built on Strip resorts in about two decades – other than a couple of high roller suites, you’re just not going to find a good spot with a balcony.

Andrea asked on 07/18/07

Am going to Las Vegas Aug 16-20 with my mother in law. We booked a room at Mandalay Bay mostly for the pool and b/c I loved TheHotel when I stayed in December. I have read (on this site) some very negative reviews-what is your opinion on this hotel?? Is it worth it?? My mother in law has had a pretty tough year and I really don’t want to have any problems with the hotel. Thanks, Andrea

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Mandalay Bay proper? It’s a fine place that has been slightly neglected in recent years. Things are turning around over there now so this won’t last for too long. Things should be okay for your M.I.L.

April asked on 07/17/07

I just discovered this site and I think it’s great. Your advice seems to be spot on. I was hoping you could help me out.

I am visiting Vegas July 26-30th. I go to Vegas once a year and am pretty familiar with the clubs. Body English, Tao, and Pure are some of my favorites. However, I have never been in Vegas on a Thursday night. Do you have any recommendations for clubs on Thursday night? I was considering dining at Nove Italiano and then going to Moon sice I’ve never been there. I am with a group of girls ranging from mid 20’s to mid 30’s. What do you think?

Thank You!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you.

Thursday is like the new Friday – very happening. Moon’s a good choice and if you do Nove, good chance you won’t have to wait in line.

Other than Nove, the big Thursday night places are usually Rain at the Palms and Tao at The Venetian, which you are already familiar with.

Ross asked on 07/16/07

Again, great site & I appreciate all the good info.

I’m looking to host a cocktail party in a 2-BR SkyLoft later this summer. It certainly would not be a rowdy function, but there would be 20-30 people attending. I don’t want any trouble with my guests being denied access because he/she is not a registered guest staying in my suite. What is your understanding of the SkyLoft’s stance on having gatherings of this size, assuming I keep the overnight occupation of the suite to the limit of 7?

I’ve spoken with 2 different people in registration, and each said that a gathering of this size is fine … but, again, I don’t want to get a different story from management on the day of the event.

If a SkyLoft, in your opinion, is not a good option for an event like this, could you direct me to another hotel with excellent accomodations that would have no problem with a gathering this size?

Final part of the question: how challenging is it to get your own alcohol into a SkyLoft? I know all hotels expressly state you can’t bring in your own booze, but it’s never been a problem, including in the former penthouse suites of the MGM, before conversion to SkyLofts. Is it different with them now?

Thanks for your help!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, management will discourage this. If you get a different answer, get it in writing!

Even with an official ‘no’, you can still pull this off. Guests would have to be escorted up and you’d probably want to invite the neighbors to smooth things over.

Ray asked on 07/15/07

Have you seen The Legends concert? If so
what is you opinion? We are wanting to see some shows. Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

That show is a lot of fun. Go for it.

Drew Nelson asked on 07/15/07

Hi, my parents are making their first trip to Vegas in early December and staying at the IP. My questions are:

1. What is vegas like in early december? Cold, warm, crowded?

2. What is the IP like? They are getting a delux room.

3. My mom is big in having a “dinning” experience. She loves dinning at resturants with a view. What might be some options?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Here’s some info:

1. Early December is cold and crowded. The desert is cold in the winter – bring jeans and jackets… Plus early December is when the big rodeo is in town so everything is busy.

2. The IP is like a Motel 6 with 3,000 rooms. Large, impersonal, inelegant and inexpensive. Most people choose it for the last reason.

3. For a view, consider the Eiffel Tower Restaurant or MIX. Both have great views.

Lilly Andrews asked on 07/15/07

Im a traveller from Australia who is stopping off in vegas straight after arriving in the US. Im travelling by myself for this part of the trip and was just wondering where the best place to stay would be? Keeping in mind im keen to meet and go out with other people so im not solo for the trip. Also im a 22yr old female so safety is also an issue

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as being alone goes, the Strip is generally very safe and inside the hotels even more so – they take security seriously. If you did feel hassled by someone, I would speak with a guard immediately – you will see how fast they get rid of someone giving a single lady a hard time. When walking around, use common sense – the Strip is crowded and when you’re walking with others nearby, you’ve got basically nothing to worry about. Don’t venture off to side streets, especially by yourself.

Ok… So now you’re safe and having fun… Where do you want to stay? Well, a lot of that is going to have to do with how much you want to spend. In the higher end of the scale, look at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, and Wynn Las Vegas. For mid-range, check out Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and Paris Las Vegas.

Off-Strip, there are two important properties for those looking to party and hook-up: The Palms and the Hard Rock. Both are smaller hotels with a raging pool scene. If finding other people your age is your top priority, these are places you want to see about getting a room.

If you’re looking to save some money, consider Luxor, Excalibur, Bill’s, Tropicana or Planet Hollywood – these guys often have bargain rates that can make it easier on your wallet.

Hope this helps.

Ray asked on 07/14/07

Where would you recommend for good Mexican food? We ate at Willy & Jose’s in Sam’s Town when we came last year, and were extremely disappointed with the food.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I live in SoCal and we have a lot of choices for good Mexican food and I’ve always been surprised about the lack of quality Mexican on the Strip in Vegas (not saying anything about local joints).

I have had some good food at Isla (Treasure Island) and Garduno’s (Palms) – both offer fresh ingredients and the stuff is tasty. I wouldn’t say they were the most authentic but I’ve enjoyed myself at both several times.

Ray asked on 07/14/07

We are making our annual pilgrimage to Vegas on Aug 11th, and are looking to do and see a few new things. How is Fat Elvis
at BC (Bill’s)? Is the Elvis museum worth the time? How is the Casbah lounge? We have heard mostly positive comments on all three, but wanted your opinion. Thanks for the info.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Fat Elvis can be a fun stop as you’re walking down the Strip – grab a drink and check it out…

The Elvis Museum was a big waste of time in my opinion. I guess if you’re super into Elvis you’d like it but it’s a pretty small shrine to the King and honestly, I was waiting for leave.

The Casbah at the Sahara? Sometimes they have live music over there that has been popular with other readers.