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Taura Casias asked on 03/15/07

I’m looking for the best value hotel on the strip (preferrably center) for $150 or less a night the weekend of May 11th. What’s your suggestion? I’m mainly looking at room comfort and cleaniness. I’ve gotten so many different answers. I’m not sure where to book.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I don’t usually do price quotes for specific dates but here’s some feedback:

Weekends under $200/night on the Strip means that you’re in the second or third class tier of hotels. Probably no Bellagios or Mirages, Wynn LVs or Mandalay Bays. You’re looking at places like Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and perhaps low-end rooms at Caesars.

It appears that weekend isn’t abnormally busy, which is good for you.

I would look at the following hotels, in this order:

  • The Mirage
  • Caesars Palace (Augustus or Palace towers)
  • Aladdin/Planet Hollywood
  • Treasure Island
  • Paris
  • Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon
  • Monte Carlo
  • Bally’s

That’s a good place to start.

Teresa asked on 03/12/07

My question is this: I have a choice of comped rooms at the following hotels: Harrahs, Flamingo, Bally’s or Paris. Of those choices, what would be your pick, I have stayed at all of those except Flamingo and Paris. We will be there in June and our two daughters are in their late 20’s and are wanting to do some pool time, have heard Flamingo has a great pool, but how are the rooms? Any info would be greatly appreciated, Thanks! Great site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would pick in this order: Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s. That’s for the rooms and overall amenities. If you’re banking on the best pool, The Flamingo would be the pick, yes.

The rooms at The Flamingo are average – not great but clean and certainly not ‘stay away’ material. Some of the rooms are totally re-done and called ‘Go Rooms’. These cost a little more.

Clara Kangas asked on 03/12/07

What are some reviews on Barbary Coast? Also should we book hotel and airfare seperate?

Thank You!
C. Kangas

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Barbary Coast is now Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon – click the link below to see reviews.

As far as booking airfare and hotel together, sometimes that’s cheaper. You give up the benefits of booking the hotel directly, such as easily changing your reservations, rates etc… I guess it would depend on how much you save.

Derrick asked on 03/10/07

We’re coming to Vegas in May for a wedding, and while we have the ceremony itself booked, we’re trying to find a place to stay. Since we’re heading elsewhere for the honeymoon, we’re not looking to stay at the Bellagio, or Wynn, etc.

There are three conventions and a major poker tournament in town that weekend, shooting hotel prices to 3x their normal price.

We’ve come across Bill’s Gambing Hall and Saloon, and the price is right, while the reviews are fantastic… although I’m still skeptical.

No pool, no lobby, and nothing that makes the place ‘stand out’ is fine. We won’t be in the hotel much anyway, but I’m still nervous. I understand it was recently renovated, so that helps.

I just want the thoughts and opinion of an expert.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Bill’s used to be called the Barbary Coast and it’s long been a favorite for people who wanted a good deal in the middle of the Strip.

The renovated rooms are nice and they are some of the only in town that feature a window that opens (that sounds like a minor thing but it is very rare in Las Vegas).

I think that Bill’s is a fine choice as long as you understand that it doesn’t have a pool, etc… It sounds like you’ve got that side of it handled though.

I have no problem telling you that Bill’s is a good choice, given your criteria.

Jeremy asked on 03/10/07

Love the site, and have valued your opinion in the past. On to my question, my wife and I are coming to Vegas in August with a couple that have never been there. Since they haven’t been there, and gamble very little, it’s going to be a full price room somewhere. I’ve usually stayed at either Paris or Caesars and love them both. I’m leaning towards Mirage and right now they have a Spring special of $109 per night through the week, which I’m okay with. Do you know if they offer anything similar during the late summer? Any recommendations on getting their best offer? Both women will want to spend time at a pool, get pampered at a spa for a day, and I want to be located in that area of the strip. Any info would be appreciated.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy – thanks for the kind words.

I’m a fan of The Mirage and keep coming back when looking for a place to stay. The pool is top notch, the restaurants have recently been remodeled or replaced and service levels are high.

As far as special rates, they are offered at all times of the year, you just need to keep looking. If you know your dates, I would suggest booking now. You can book directly with the hotel using this link (we get a slight commission on the sale if you use our link – the rates are direct from the hotel):

The Mirage

Make sure you sign up for their mailing list and then, if a better offer comes along for your dates, call the hotel and they can apply that to your reservation – you can do this as many times as you like, right up to 48 hours before you arrive.

chris barone asked on 03/10/07

Love the site great job. I’ll be in town weekend of 4/6/07, just how big is this Las Vegas Grand Prix going to be and should I avoid going downtown those 3 days?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you very much!

No one really knows what kind of impact this is going to have – it is the inaugural run of the event.

It certainly could be very disruptive downtown in terms of traffic, etc… so if you are looking to avoid that, maybe stay away.

Alternatively, it could be fun to join the crowd!

Travis Lauricella asked on 03/09/07

I’ll be in Vegas for a convention; my company is picking up the tab for food and hotel. My gambling is usually $3/$6 poker, nickel or quarter slots, and low limit blackjack ($5 a hand, if I can find it). Is there any point in asking for comps?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most Strip hotels won’t comp at that level but it never hurts to ask!

Antea asked on 03/09/07

Okay, we are from the midwest and really pasty in color by now. So heading to Vegas in the next few weeks to get some SUN! My question is in the number of times I have gone; I can never really find a good/casual OUTDOOR seating place for cocktails, appetizers and people watching. I have been to Ahi, Mona Mi Gabi, and even Jimmy Buffets. But that’s the extent of finding some good outdoor spots to cocktail or lunch. Anyplace I’m missing?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Mon Ami Gabi is a good choice, as you’ve mentioned. A couple of others that might be fun:

  • MIX – This is on the top of THEHotel at Mandalay Bay so it’s not a street cafe but the view is incredible.
  • Wynn Country Club – Out in back on the golf course but a great place for some drinks and to be outside.

Other than what you already mentioned, you’re right – options are very limited for outdoor seating.

One place that isn’t open yet is Diablo’s at Monte Carlo, opening this Fall.

Jill asked on 03/08/07

great site – glad I found you – we have stayed in LV the last 6 yrs at Harrahs or Rio – always in January. This time were coming in May for our anniv. The comps/good rates are just not the same in May – so we are opting for The Orleans…I dont mind the location- how different will the hotel/rooms be? Is Big Elvis still at Barbery Coast? Thanks for the info…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Big Elvis is still at the hotel formerly known as the Barbary Coast – it’s now called Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon as it is now owned by Harrah’s.

The rooms at The Orleans are nice, tidy and reasonably sized. Most of the rooms in the Rio are as large or larger than standard Strip hotel rooms (it was designed as an all-suite hotel) and thus the Orleans rooms will be a bit smaller but there’s certainly nothing ‘wrong’ with the rooms there.

It’s a bit more of a budget place but they work hard to provide good value. I’m sure you’ll be fine there.

Scott P asked on 03/07/07

Simple question I hope. Why did the Palazzo build the elevator shaft and other construction photos of Encore or City Center don’t? Will Palazzo only have one elevator shaft?

thanks for your feedback

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Palazzo is a new project being built by Las Vegas Sands, owners of The Venetian. It is going in between The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas.

I believe what you’re asking is why they built the elevator core first (it is much higher than the completed floors) instead of floor by floor as is more common.

I believe that it was for several reasons. One is cost – this method is supposedly less expensive. Also, I read something about it being designed to make the structure more stable in how the steel connects to the core.

It is a technique not commonly used in building these places.

As far as shafts, that central elevator core has many shafts for guest service and back of house operations.

Becky asked on 03/07/07

I was wondering if there are any places to eat an actual brunch. We do NOT want to go to a buffet type setting. Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure, some restaurants serve a nice brunch. Sensi at Bellagio has a nice brunch often. Unfortunately, many restaurants are closed for lunch and old favorites like Circo (Bellagio) are dinner only. Also look at Olives (Bellagio), Corsa (Wynn Las Vegas) and the Country Club (Wynn Las Vegas) – those are a few suggestions.

Don asked on 03/07/07

What about off strip hotels like the station hotels. Any good?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Some are very nice, yes. Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch are stand-outs.

JimmyC asked on 03/07/07

Great site you have here!! Me and my wife are going to Vegas for our first time March 13-17, do you know if these dates will coincide with March Madness at all?? and we are staying at TI, any comments or tips on TI??? thanks alot, and keep up the good work!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you!

According to the NCAA Web site, there are games 3/13, 3/15 and 3/16 so it looks like yes, it does.

As far as TI goes, I suggest you look at our page here on the site and perhaps do a search to look at past questions on the hotel – a lot has been said over the years.

carcip asked on 03/07/07

Hi Hunter,

Do you happen to know the recipe for the Monorail cocktail served at Wynn Las Vegas? It’s blue and peachy tasting. We had it on the terrace that overlooks the lake. Thanks.

The site is great. Keep up the good work.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yikes… I don’t. Let me see if I can find out for ya though…

JO PYLE asked on 03/07/07


I am getting married in April at the Little Chapel of the Flowers at 6pm. Can you recommend any places to go for dinner that would suit a wedding party? We are planning on going for a great dinner and then hitting the strip afterwards :-)


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve been getting group dining questions more and more often and honestly, they’re tough because often the good places are pretty expensive, etc…

Depends on how many you’re going to have of course – I’ll assume 10 in order to make some suggestions. I’m also going to assume you want something good, since you say ‘great dinner’.

  • Delmonico Steakhouse (The Venetian) – Always great food and with enough notice, they can accommodate larger groups.
  • STACK (The Mirage) – Much less formal than other places, a good setup for larger groups and a lot of fun. Good ‘American’ food.
  • FIX (Bellagio) – Similar to STACK but at Bellagio, in case that is more convenient.

DEBS asked on 03/06/07

Hi there.

I’m heading to Vegas in September with my fiance, for a joint wedding/honeymoon vacation.

We’re staying at the Four Seasons, as we didn’t want to stay in a gaming casino. Could you give us your opinion about the hotel? Reviews I have read on line seem very promising.

Also, can you recommend a good restaurant for our wedding night meal? We don’t want anything too ‘celebrity chef’ – just a really good meal that isn’t at an overly inflated price.

First time visitors to LV – any other suggestions that will make our trip memorable? We’re there for 10 days.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Four Seasons is part of Mandalay Bay – there is a separate lobby and pool but the rooms are in the Mandalay Tower.

If you’re trying to go for something quieter and more personal than a Las Vegas casino, the Four Seasons should deliver for you – it’s a very nice place. I think you’ll be happy there.

As far as a restaurant goes, I have a few suggestions:

  • Alex (Wynn Las Vegas) – one of the top two restaurants in the city – not cheap but you get what you pay for here. The food is incredible, as is the service.
  • Joël Robuchon at The Mansion (MGM Grand) – the other top place in town is equally impressive.
  • Picasso (Bellagio) – another multi-course extravaganza.
  • Delmonico Steakhouse (The Venetian) – this is a go-to for a great meal in Las Vegas. It actually is a ‘celebrity chef’ joint but they don’t make a big deal about that at all – it’s about the food, which is awesome.

Sheila asked on 03/04/07

OK, we have narrowed our choices down to the Stratoshpere or Golden Nugget, not sure if you want to stay downtown or not. I was wandering, if we book our trip through a travel agent, can we still get some of our room comped since we will be paying through a travel agent? not sure how this will work. Our trip is not for another year, so I am sure there will be more questions to come, so thanks for all your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, staying at the Strat is far enough from the main action on the Strip that Downtown might not be that much of a stretch – plus the Nugget is a very nice property.

As far as getting things comped, I guess that depends on how much you are paying up front – are you pre-paying the entire room cost? If so, getting room comps will be tough but food comps would work as they normally do – charge the food to your room and it can be removed at the end of the trip.

jagger65 asked on 03/04/07

Hello Hunter and kudos on a great site!

My question is this: I’m staying at the Wynn in early May(I was so impressed one month ago I’m coming right back!)in a resort room. I didn’t notice a dvd player along with the crystal-clear hdtv. Do they offer rentals, or does any other resort rooms have them? Luckily, the room is comped and I’ve got “Blade Runner” and “Gladiator” on dvd waiting to be unleashed.

(ps, what’s with the gigantic frog at night?)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The suites are all equipped with DVD players and for standard rooms, they can be rented if you desire.

Ryan asked on 03/04/07

Great site!! going to vegas 3-6 through 3-9. need 2 things. 1) Do they serve alcohol at the smaller hold em tournaments? And can you reccomend a good place for a low buy in no-limit tournament? Thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You can get booze in pretty much every poker room but many other players may raise an eyebrow as the serious folks don’t usually drink alcohol while playing… For low end play, check out Luxor, Excalibur or something Downtown.

Jul asked on 03/04/07

Hi Hunter:

I am planning a trip in Nov. for my 50th birthday. I have stayed at the Bellagio the last two trips and have been very happy. However, I would like to try the Wynn this trip but am concerned about construction. Where are the rooms to be avoided? Also, what do you think of the Signature at MGM? I understand it is a condo, are all rooms/suites furnished alike? I found some very reasonable prices by dealing directly with owners in stead of the website. Any thoughts? Thanks again for your insightful website!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There’s construction on both sides of Wynn Las Vegas (Palazzo to the South, Encore to the North) but honestly, the building is pointed in such a direction that noise isn’t as bad as some other hotels. A room in the center of the building, facing the golf course probably has the least impact due to building position and curve of the tower.

As far as Signature goes, I haven’t stayed myself but I’ve heard good things. It’s pretty detached from MGM Grand so that’s something to keep in mind but that’s an experience that some are looking for. All rooms that are available in the hotel program are furnished the same, yes.

If you deal with an owner directly, it’s on you to make sure you don’t get screwed. Not to say that you would but just take precautions to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable person.

Samantha asked on 03/04/07

My brother and I are heading to town for the first weekend of the NCAA tourney. We are trying to decide where to stay, as we have three comped nights available at either Bellagio or Wynn.

I have stayed at Bellagio and love the hotel, the center strip location, and the casino. I have never stayed (or even gambled) in the Wynn. My brother has never stayed at either. Watching games over the weekend will be a priority.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Wynn or Bellagio?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Honestly, I’m confident you’d be happy at either hotel. Bellagio may have a location edge and Wynn Las Vegas has an edge on the rooms – larger and better equipped. Both have excellent, very comfortable sports books, though I might give a slight bonus to Bellagio here, it’s very close.

If you’ve never done WLV, perhaps this is a good chance?

Brenda asked on 03/04/07

Hi and thanks for answering my previous question! I am planning my trip to Vegas for sometime this spring/summer and found some good rates over the 4th of July (Sun 7/1-Thurs 7/5). I am wondering if there is anything in particular I should know about going over this holiday… for example, does it get super busy compared to the surrounding weeks, or does it pretty much stay the same? Basically, would you recommend taking these dates, or should I try to find others for some reason? Thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Las Vegas has gotten to the point where pretty much every holiday has become popular and crowded. Some, like the Superbowl, March Madness and New Years are especially bad but even the 4th, despite a lack of Strip fireworks, is a popular time to visit. Still, Las Vegas is reasonably equipped for large crowds. The airport can be a pain but once you’re past that, other than some lines at restaurants without reservations, it shouldn’t be too bad. Your mileage may vary.

danny mcgraw asked on 03/03/07

My wife and I will be at wynns in June for a conference she will be attending. I have read that the table limits are quite a bit higher there and food comps are harder to come by for lower limit players. I am a PlayersClub member from the MGM Mirage via the Beau Rivage in Bilouxi, MS. Any suggestions on wher to go that is close to recieve some decent comps. I usually play BJ and play for 12-15 hrs at a time. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s true that Wynn’s table limits are a bit higher than some of joints, usually starting at about $10/hand instead of $5. If you’re already a Players Club member, I would recommend checking out Treasure Island and The Mirage, both within easy walking distance of Wynn Las Vegas. On top of those, if you like Beau Rivage, you need to see Bellagio, which is like Beau’s older sister – the similarities are a lot of fun.

scott asked on 03/02/07

Just a quick question on the Augustus Tower at Caesers. I have a room booked in this tower. I already plan on requesting a high up room overlooking the belagio fountains. Are the rooms all pretty much the same in this tower,or are there better rooms I should be requesting at check in ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unless you get into a suite, the rooms are all the same.

Mark C asked on 03/02/07

We are going to Las Vegas on a timeshare deal, and a 22 anaversary. We have 6 hotels to choose from:
1) Circus Circus
2) New Frontier
3) Tropicana
4) Riviera
5) LV Hilton
6) Hooters
We enjoy a nice Jaccuzi to relax by. We plan on drinking, relaxng, and making love all 4 days. We don’t care about the gambling. Which hotels do you suggest and why.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


All of these hotels are older places (with the exception of Hooters) and in some cases it shows more than others.

I would eliminate Circus Circus and the New Frontier as options as they are both pretty scummy. Less so for Circus but the clowns are everywhere!

The LV Hilton is a nice joint but it is not on the Strip so there might be some driving or monorail riding involved if you stay there.

The Tropicana is in a great location. Most of the rooms are little old but the pool is very nice so this might be your best bet.

Hooters is off the Strip and while it was recently renovated, it’s pretty small and the pool is tiny. I wouldn’t make this my first choice.

Hope that helps.

Colleen Curry asked on 03/02/07

Hi Hunter,
Thanks for all your info. Our weekend was great. You wanted to know if I liked KA or Mistere better, I personaly liked Mistere. It had some amazing acts! Also the story was kind of hard to follow in KA, but they did have some great special effects. We are going back fathers day weekend to see The Police at the MGM! Do you know of any large conventions that weekend? Also I want to book O tickets but I don’t want to be in a “wet” seat. Any suggestions? We saw Phantom of the Opera and it was just OK. Craftsteak at the MGM was perfect! Diego’s at MGM was awful! The food was so bland and my fish tacos were really over cooked. The Price is Right show at Bally’s was super cheesey but I won the Showcase Showdown, $500. Also won $5000 at nickel Monopoly 30 min befor we left! A final note, NEVER go when the NBA All Star Game is in town, the hotel staff told us there were shootings in the parking garage, pepper spraying in the buffet, and a riot on the 6th floor. All at the MGM.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for your feedback – we love it when readers visit the individual pages here on the site and submit their reviews – then everyone benefits from your experience!

On the ‘O’ tickets, your best bet is to BOOK EARLY. It’s still maybe the most popular show in town and it sells out early, especially if you want one of the better seats. Only the front rows have a chance of getting wet.

Scott Anthony asked on 03/01/07

I am staying at the Red Rock in a few weeks. What is the fastest way to and from the hotel and or strip; 215 or Chareston? Is the 215 still under perpetual construction and is it slow going north or south during rush hour?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There is still construction on 215 but when I’ve visited Red Rock, that’s been my route of choice and it seemed to flow pretty well.

Due to many LV workers being service industry, rush hour is different in Las Vegas than it is in other cities, as there are three dominant shifts per day.

AMY NANGLE asked on 02/28/07

Hello! I booked a trip to stay at Bally’s the first week of April for 5 nights. Now, I am having second thoughts of my choice after reading that Bally’s rooms are very run-down. I considered Paris, TI and Mirage. I chose Bally’s for the location, and the size of their standard rooms. I already planned to request the north tower and try the $20 trick to get a decent view. Please give me your opinion! Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Of all the hotels you mentioned, Bally’s is the ‘worst’ of the bunch… Now, I don’t think Bally’s is terrible – it’s a Motel6 class room in an average casino. I have heard several reports of people getting run-down rooms despite a recent renovation – not a good sign.

I’d pick The Mirage from your list – one of my favorites… Also, Paris is next to Bally’s so you’d get a similar location and the rooms there are nice enough.

Mike asked on 02/28/07

I am visiting vegas in early april and staying at the monte carlo. can yo tell me it the tram between the monte carlo and bellagio will be up and running again by then? Also i heard the brewery is no longer- now they just have a lot of different types of draft beer, but do they still serve your table in the really tall cylinders w/taps on them? and do you know if the pool is done with its renovations yet?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No, the tram is down and will not re-open until CityCenter is completed in 2010.

The brewery is not currently making beer, no – they are still serving beer but in normal glasses.

The pool is opening mid-March.

Bill Batson asked on 02/27/07

1) I have reservations at N9ne in April based on the recommendation of a friend and it’s proximity to Ghostbar. What is your opinion on the food and are there any “musts” on the menu worth noting?

2) What are the best lounges and clubs these days? I know you have answered this before, but I wanted to get an updated answer, as it’s been a year since my last visit.

The site continues to impress me. Thanks,


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

1. I’ve eaten there a few times and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s a good choice but it is pretty loud in there. For a desert, try their ’Smores.

2. This answer is highly dependent on what kind of vibe you’re looking for. I recommend reading some past answers since this has come up recently… Or check out the top ten lists from the home page. Tryst, Tao, Jet, Pure, Light and Moon are all popular dance spots these days.

Drew Nelson asked on 02/27/07

Hello, and let me say thanks for all the help you have been answering all of my questions. On my upcoming visit I plan on visiting VOF and see you can take the freeway to it. Is there a more senic relaxed way to get up there then the hetic freeway?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I believe that’s the best way – and it’s really only hectic when you’re in town. Once you get out, it’s actually quite beautiful.

Chris asked on 02/27/07

Hey Hunter.
Is there a confirmed date for the Stardust to be imploded yet? I’m visiting at the end of March so thinking it’ll already be gone by then.
Great site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

March 6th I believe…

Paulette asked on 02/27/07

About 7 years ago I visited Vegas. I found 2 stores I absolutely loved. Thinking I would never return, I negelected to write down the name or the location. Now I am in the position to return. Can you possibly help me find the stores? The first store sold Estee Lauder sold perfume compacts. They had a huge selection – maybe 150. These are highly collectible items created in various shapes such as animals or furniture. I am remembering that the store was in a mall outside of Vegas near a Peir 1 Imports. But this may be incorrect. The other store was on the strip and sold American Indian items such as inlaid jewelry, very beautiful and high-end. I have never seen such nice stores and I want to visit them again. Unfortunately, I will not be in Vegas long enough to search for them. I realize both of these stores may have changed locations or gone out of business. If you have any information on them, that would be great. Thanking you in advance, Paulette

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I will open this up to anyone that might know – drop me a message at and I will update this message.

Hunter R. asked on 02/27/07

Hunter -

I saw a readers question regarding the 2 bedroom grand suite at Bellagio, and I will be in one of those suites in early April. I would be happy to provide some photos as well. Maybe that will help that reader if his trip is after mine takes place. If not, maybe he/she could help me out with the pictures. Thanks!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, to whomever visits first, we’d LOVE photos. Send them to for publication.

Soledad asked on 02/26/07

Over the past three years I have stayed at Ceasar’s on my last 6 visits. I have ONLY had one upgrade (Palace Tower) in any of those visits. I’m curious whether or not that almighty computer in front of those check-in clerks knows how many times I’ve stayed there, and my loyalty to the hotel? I am not a gambler, so I’m not part of their player’s club, but I make it a point to stay their at least twice a year. Does that count toward getting a room upgrade?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Good question… Most of the hotel system CAN indeed determine if you are a repeat visitor but they are not truly geared with a loyalty program for anything but casino action. This many change in the future as non-casino revenues are heading to eclipse casino earnings as the major driving force but for now, it won’t get you a whole lot in most situations. If you get into an argument or dispute, being a frequent guest may tip it in your favor but as far as I know, there are no institutionalized programs for this sort of thing.

Margaret asked on 02/26/07

Is this you Hunter? I was just wondering…we met someone who has a fairly prestiges job at the Wynn, we were told they would get us a friendly rate, got any ideas what a friendly rate might be? Also any good shows to see March 26-31, pretty tired of all the cirq du soile. Thanks alot as usual, I think your great.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, indeed it is me! It depends… They probably mean casino rate, which ranges but is usually about $120/night or so for a standard room… Maybe less if the person really has a lot of pull.

Other than CDS shows, Spamalot just opened at Wynn Las Vegas and The Producers at Paris if you like Broadway!

Ross asked on 02/25/07


You have a great site with a lot of useful info … keep it up. I have a 2BR lakeview grand suite booked at the Bellagio, and was wondering if you could tell me what you think of these rooms. While I’ve seen the floorplan, and know that they overlook the lake, I know little/none about the interior. Specifically, are the furnishings/surrondings updated & top-notch? The only suite of this size that I’ve stayed in before was a Penthouse Suite on the 29th floor of MGM, before the SkyLoft conversion. We were very pleased with those suites … are these comparable, or better? Thanks for your help!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The Grand Suites at Bellagio are great – you’ve got one of the best rooms in Las Vegas! Perhaps surpisingly, the interior decor of the suites at Bellagio has not been re-done since the hotel opened in 1998. They are scheduled to be renovated later this year.

Never fear, the suites are still very nice – they just lack some items like plasma TVs that you see in most other hotel suites of this type.

I would put this suite in the top tier of Vegas offerings, not counting the insane high-roller accommodations that aren’t available without shelling out $10k a night (i.e. villas, suites with basketball courts, etc…)

Not knowing your tastes, I still feel confident saying that I think you’ll really enjoy yourself. Not only is the room large with a great view, you’re getting Bellagio’s service, which really impressed me on my last trip there in December. They were very attentive and accommodating.

I’d be thrilled to hear about tour trip when you get back – we’d really love photos. Feel free to email with any thoughts.

Eli Bertrnad asked on 02/25/07

I will be coming to vegas in March and playing in my first slots tournament. Any info you have on these and how they work?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, they’re not always the same but generally here goes:

There will be the play events, sometimes one and sometimes more than one, where you will sit at a machine and hit the spin button has many times as you can inside the time limit allotted. Usually they have the machine setup not to take credits, just spin. The person with the most points/credits at the end wins. Often there’s a dinner for the participants at the end where prizes are awarded.

Now, this is the simple version. Some tournaments have multiple events with qualifying rounds and more. They’ll give you the breakdown when you check in.

Hope this helps.

Evan Armstrong asked on 02/25/07

I visited vegas last year and in my room was a magazine with coupons, ads and such on vegas. I am looking at another visit come May, is there anyway to get a copy of those magazines sent to your home before your visit?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, they aren’t typically mailed – you’d have to find someone in town to send one to you. They are available all over town for free.

The Doc asked on 02/25/07

I have booked 14 nights in Imperial Palace starting 24th March for myself and my wife.Have read a lot of extremely mixed reviews.Arrive Sat 7pm and have booked a deluxe room, non-smoking. Can you advise if my room will already be allocated or are rooms allocated as you turn up. Wary that as I will arrive late on a busy time, I may not get what I ask for, and after a 20hr trip from UK,I do not want to waste energy arguing over rooms.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most hotels allocate rooms when you check-in. Suites are typically allocated in advance and some special circumstance standard rooms, such as lake view rooms at Bellagio, which cost more.

The best way to get the room that you want is to pay for it, meaning if you want an upgrade, reserve it in advance. If you’re talking about a specific view or floor for a standard room, if you’re arriving late on a busy day, you very well could get whatever is left over.

That said, since you’re staying 14 nights, if you get a room you don’t like you could move after a night or two and since it’s that long of a stay, I would consider that option. Once a weekday approaches, get them to put you in whatever room you want even if you have a less than desirable location for your first night or two.

Big Mikey asked on 02/24/07

I really enjoy the great information provided here. Two weeks ago, my buddy and I wee discussing how many years we have been coming to Las Vegas. I have also lived here and plan to reurn in the Spring. We have stayed in almost every hotel here since 1970 since on our own, and a few when we were kids with our families since 1960. We have decided to try to see if we can do Las Vegas as inexpensively as possible and still call it a vacation. Our report will take us to about 10 of the most inexpensive (not jail, Salvation Army or the Bus Station) places we can find to sleep, eat, gamble and have fun. We will not use coupons, 2×1, beg, or do anytjimg illegal. JUST BE CHEAP. Our report will not be for profit and we will allow anyone to use the information. We will also not steal information from other great websites. What we want to do is just have fun and see if all this information really works! We will begin in March and publish our report by the end of May. If anyone would like to join us on our pleasure tour please let me know. You are respeosible for you own expensises but you can share a room with us if you desire. Bring you camera as well. Anyone interested?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! If anyone wants to contact Big Mikey, send an email to and I’ll put you in contact. Also – I hope that Big Mikey will write up his report and allow us to publish it on our blog or if published elsewhere, provide a link!

Paul asked on 02/23/07

Hello Hunter,

I know that the questions I’m about to ask below have likely already been answered in bits and pieces elsewhere on this site but not in one place, so here goes.

As background, I’m heading to and staying at the Mandalay Bay for a conference in early March. I’m not thrilled about the location so plan on being most of the time near the “heart” of the strip near Bellagio, IP, Mirage, O’Shea’s, Paris, etc. and maybe once downtown. A buddy from university is going to join me in Vegas. My buddy is 34 and single. I’m 35 and very happily married with kids. Nothing too crazy but yet wild enough to feel somewhat youthful again — till the hangover anyways!

First question (with supplemental): How long of a walk is it to the “heart” of the strip? Are there alternatives that are relatively fast and relatively inexpensive?

Second question (with different permutations): with so many choices for things to do in LV, I’m looking for something to do with my university buddy. I have several different outings that come to mind all with different themes. One is a casual bar where we can grab drinks and chat; Another is a place where we can have a decent steak; Another is to gamble (without loosing our shirts); Another is where we can do some karaoke.

Any thoughts on the foregoing would be appreciated.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s a bit of a walk from say, Mandalay to Bellagio but not undoable by any means. Probably three miles or so… If you like to walk and have the time, it’s no problem at all. Other than that, you could take the MB monorail from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur, cross over to MGM Grand and take the Las Vegas Monorail to Bally’s or the Flamingo.

Regarding your activities, here are some suggestions:

  • For a casual bar, since you’re at Mandalay Bay, how about the Mix lounge on top of THEHotel, the all-suite tower adjacent to the casino? It’s got the best view in town and if you head up there early, it’s usually dead quiet. Later it heats up and some nights they charge a cover but Mix is a great spot for a drink. Beyond Mix, you could also check out the Petrossian Bar at Bellagio – upscale and elegant, right off the lobby you can have a cigar and appreciate some good liquor.
  • For the steak, my top choice is Delmonico at The Venetian. Owned by Emeril Lagasse, the place frequently is recognized for the best meat in town. It’s awesome and I make a point to go for every trip. Besides Delmonico, SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas and Prime at Bellagio are also good choices but Delmonico is a cut above (pun intended).
  • As far as not losing your shirts when gambling – you’re on your own for that one! Unfortunately I’m not sure where to direct you for good luck. If you’re there during the week, limits will be lower than the weekends. Strip casinos typically have few $5 tables on the weekends, with high end joints like Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas starting at $10/hand.
  • Karaoke – I think it’s the first time I’ve gotten this question… Barbary Coast has it some nights, though the property was just sold to Harrah’s so I don’t know if that will continue.The Bootlegger Bistro, South of Mandalay Bay sometimes has it and I’ve heard they also do it at Gilley’s (New Frontier) from time to time.

Drew Nelson asked on 02/23/07

On my upcoming visit I plan on seeing Penn and Teller. I would also like to take in a “true” vegas type gala show with all the glitz and glamour. What type of shows like that are still happening, at which hotels and where can I find ticket price.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Check out either Folies Bergere or Jubilee – both are showgirl, singing and dancing type shows – pretty much the last ones left in Las Vegas.

Brenda asked on 02/21/07

My partner and I are planning a trip to Vegas in early to mid June- this will be our 4th time going. We have always stayed in a standard room at Mandalay Bay and absolutely LOVED it. However, this year we are throwing around the idea of trying something else, and found very comparable rates for a standard room at Caesars. A great pool and nice, clean rooms, great service and a variety of good restaurants are important to us. I would say that location is not really a factor when comparing the two properties. What would you suggest between them, or is there somewhere else in that price range ($160-$220/night) that you would recommend more? Thanks so much and love your site.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I think that Caesars would be a great place to try – it’s a nice property with a lot to offer, plus the location swap will likely mean you’ll spend more time visiting properties in that area – change is good!

The rooms at Caesars have quite a range. The Augustus and Palace Towers are the newest and nicest. The other towers are pretty old and the quality of rooms in the older towers doesn’t compare to MB so be careful where they want to stick you.

Other than Caesars I might also check out The Mirage, a great property in the same price class.

Drew Nelson asked on 02/21/07

Okay poker question follow up, how do I find out which hotels offer “begginer friendly tables”? Also I want to stay away from the no limit, on the limit tables does that mean you can only bet so much per hand? How much chips do you have to buy and are the chips equal to cash. If I buy $100 worth of chips do you get $100 or do you X amount of chips for X amount of dollars and so on? I am so confused….

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I mentioned two in my previous answer – Luxor and Excalibur. Generally, the nicer the hotel, the heavier the action in the poker room. You don’t want to play at Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas or Caesars!

Sometimes there are chips that are not 1:1 with cash but that’s usually tournament play. I’m not a poker player so there may be other situations here that I’m not aware of but as far as I know, it’s usually just like chips in the main casino – $100 in chips is $100USD.

You can buy whatever chips you want as long as you can cover the minimums at the table.

Different rooms and games have different rules on re-buying during a game as it impacts strategy.

My suggestion would be to go to one of the slower rooms, like those I mentioned above, and watch for awhile. See how it works. Soak it in. Once you think you have an idea, sign up for a game and tell them you’ve never played in a casino before. They’ll point you in the right direction…

Oh, and also ask about classes – sometimes they have beginners sessions to cover over the basics of playing in a casino.

With the popularity of online poker, they are getting very used to players that have never played a live game before.

Cathy asked on 02/21/07

Hi! Plan to go w/family (3 rooms, 6 adults) to Monte Carlo Hotel in August of this year. Read about construction noise and pool area shut down for remodeling. Any or all of this true? If so, will pool be open Aug.? Will construction be completed by then and, if not, how can I insure I do not get stuck w/a room on the noisy side? Plan to use Liberty Travel, so can they insure rooms w/no construction noise? Thanks for any help you can provide, you do a great job.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Monte Carlo has construction on several sides. Out front, a new restaurant called Diablo’s Cantina is going in. On the other side is the major work and that’s the CityCenter site next door. CityCenter is a massive hotel/casino/condo project that will be opening in 2010 – so no, the construction won’t be completed for quite some time.

The pool is being renovated but will re-open late March.

As far as a room away from the noise, since it is coming from multiple sides, this will be tough. Given that you haven’t book directly, it can be even more tough as the hotel often doesn’t get all the details of your reservation until closer to check-in and thus it’s harder to call and have a request noted on your room.

Either way, they will only do their best to honor requests for rooms in certain parts of the hotel – no guarantees. Given that, the earlier in the day you can check in (usually starts at 3pm but often you can go earlier) the better chance that someone else hasn’t already occupied a room you want. Checking in late in the day usually means no requests can be honored.

Hope that helps!

Sara asked on 02/21/07

Hello again Hunter! I asked a question a couple months ago about a recommendation for family dining and I need a little more help. First of all there are no children in this “family” dining, I am interested in finding a good chinese/japanese restaurant for meal sharing. It would also be great if there were sushi (good sushi at that) available at this restaurant. Moderate pricing is best (around $50 a person not including alcohol). Any thoughts? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A lot of the Asian foods tend to be a little more expensive but here’s a few places to check out:

  • China Grill (Mandalay Bay)
  • Red 8 (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • Okada (Wynn Las Vegas – great Tepanyaki!)

Hope that helps!

Mary Kay asked on 02/20/07

Hello. Your site was so helpful last year I am back again planning for this years trip! We are celebrating my 40th birthday in Sept. About 5 couples will be going, probably staying at the Flamingo. my question is this. We likely arrive on a Sunday about 11:00 am. My husband wants to bet on the NFL games that day and thinks he needs to get there at 0830 in order to get his parlays in (which would require a different much earlier flight ugh!). is this true? Is it possible for him to phone or fax them in with a credit card before we get there? Weird question i know but trying to get it straight!! thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

My understanding is that you’ve got to get your bets in before the game starts (I’m not much of a sports bettor). They can’t accept bets unless you’re right there at the window unless you’re a Nevada resident, then there are some special programs you can sign up for to bet at home or online.

So, yeah, if he needs to get a bet in, best to be there early.

Drew Nelson asked on 02/20/07

HI, I am interested in “trying” to play some poker on my upcoming visit. I have an understanding of the game, but how do you get into a game, what are the costs involved in getting into a game and on average how much time do these games last? Also are there places more suited for the newbie like me?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It depends. If you’ve never played in a casino before, I would recommend visiting one of the more ‘beginners friendly’ rooms like those at Excalibur or Luxor. Some even offer training sessions so ask about that. Most rooms offer a wide variety of games and limits, from $1-$2 to no-limit games with millions on the table. The games last until they’re done – the average poker game depends on the variation but maybe 30-60 minutes depending… Most rooms will have you sign in and then they’ll give you an idea of how long the wait is for whatever type of game you want to play is. Hope this helps – casino poker can be a lot of fun and generally people are friendly and accommodating.

Juan Bronco asked on 02/19/07

Hunter I see that some Hotel’s now offer check in at the airport outposts at McCarren airport. Should I stick with the hotel lobby check-in’s for upgrades, or do the airport folks have the same authority?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I get this one from time to time and based on what I’ve seen and heard, there’s no definitive answer but the folks on site at the hotel have more access to information and thus can probably do you the most good so I’d probably use the hotel’s on-site desk if I was going to look for an upgrade.