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Amy asked on 06/03/13

I have been to Vegas twice before… several years ago stayed at Circus Circus… and last year stayed at Mandalay Bay for my honeymoon, which I thought was amazing! My partner and I, along with my mother, will be returning to Vegas next year in the Spring, probably late April/early May. We are wanting to stay somewhere more mid-Strip, that’s not too overly pricey, and we are looking at Flamingo, Harrah’s or Planet Hollywood. How would you compare the 3? Which one would you recommend? Also, when is Vegas usually busiest for Spring break? We want to try to avoid going at such a busy time.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Out of those three, I’d first take Planet Hollywood followed by Flamingo and then Harrah’s last, though Harrah’s and The Flamingo are pretty close. Planet Hollywood has nicer rooms and is overall a better facility. That said, by next Spring there will be a new attraction, The LINQ, located next to Flamingo (it’s a giant outdoor shopping and dining area with a large observation wheel at one end). That will likely make Flamingo (and to a lesser degree Harrah’s) busier than it is today.

As far as Spring Break goes, weekends in mid March to early April are the busiest times for partiers.

Pete Jenkins asked on 06/02/13

my wife and my self is going to Vegas and would like to know a good place to have an anniversary dinner that has speical drinks to help us have a real good anniversary night. Both in good heath.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Depending on what sort of special drinks you are looking for, here are a few ideas:

- Sinatra (Encore) has a bunch of speciality cocktails and amazing food to boot (Italian inspired).

- Picasso (Bellagio) is less about specialty drinks but it is maybe the top place for a special event dinner in town. Amazing views of the lake.

- e (Cosmopolitan) only serves several covers a week but is the embodiment of service and style.

- SW (Wynn) for a more ‘straight-up’ steakhouse experience, SW at Wynn Las Vegas has great views of the Lake of Dreams along with meat that melts in your mouth.

rebecca asked on 05/31/13

What source would you recommend for getting tickets to Le Reve?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Simplest route is the Wynn box office. The show is not a 100% sellout most nights, not hard to get tickets.

sivled asked on 05/17/13

I do not think this Vegas questions has been asked before. I was wondering strip hotels have doctors on their properties ? How about the Fremont street hotels ? If a Vegas vacationer does become ill in say the Wynn what would happen next ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This used to be a thing but nowadays they rely on security staff with EMT training and then call 911. If you become ill you will be sent to the hospital.

Aaron asked on 05/17/13

This may be a stuped question but I live in aus And looking at going 2 vagas and do you have to be 21 to drink & gamble???

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You do, yes.

jerry goodman asked on 04/16/13

taking my 85 year old mother to vegas was going to stay at the orleans but reviews dont look good will it be ok?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hard to respond specifically not knowing what the reviews you read said… The Orleans is a fine mid-level property located off the Strip.

Jen asked on 04/12/13

Hello – My boyfriend and I will be in town the first weekend in May. We love the horse races and are looking forward to doing some wagering on the Kentucky Derby. Do you have any suggestions for a sports book to spend our afternoon and money?

Also, it is an expensive weekend on the strip so we are staying at TI which is considerably less than the places we typically stay, most recently The Venetian and The Mirage. Will we be disappointed and should we consider spending more? It will also be Cinco De Mayo and I see that there is a Señor Frog’s at TI so that makes it more attractive to me.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


A great Web site for information on sports books (not my most knowledgable subject) is The Vegas Parlay. It has all sorts of info on specific books and events. Recommended.

As far as TI goes, it’s a fine hotel. Rooms are actually a bit larger than The Mirage and kept clean. The casino is small and the lower prices typically attract a slightly rowdier clientele than either Mirage or The Venetian but if you don’t mind people whooping about their good time, you should be fine.

Mike asked on 04/06/13

Hi, I’m a Vegas veteran. Gambler, partier, degenerate. I try to drive out a couple times a year from San Diego area. I am planning a trip this summer to see one of the starting days of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event (there are usually 4 day 1’s. Day 1a, 1b, 1c, etc. I’m sure you know) My question is: Do you know of any ‘specialty’ sporting events? I attended the world championship of darts, which was a blast! I’ve been to a number of UFC events. Indy race at the speedway. And a bowling tournament. Im hoping to see a billiard event, trick shot competition or 9 ball tournament. Something along those lines. I don’t care if it’s an indoor wood chopping competition with axes. I want to get drunk and cheer for something I don’t really care about. Maybe put a little money on it, then I’ll care more and cheer louder. Thank you for what you’re doing. Very cool service for all the Vegas newbies and us veterans. I gotta check out that app everyone is talking about!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Really interesting question… I didn’t really have a good answer so I asked some friends and got a few suggestions for you to check out… one thing to remember is that events in Vegas come and go and I haven’t checked the schedules to see how they overlap with your WSOP trip. Still, some things to look at:

- Wranglers Ice Hockey @ The Orleans
- Las Vegas Speedway – check out whatever is happening at the race track

and since you mentioned darts, I could not resist including this:

Playing Darts in Vegas

daveb asked on 04/05/13

I’m staying at the Rio for a few nights. Is it as bad as trip advisor and other reviewers say? Any advice on what tower to stay in or any insight? What about their shuttle to the strip, does that still exist? I see it’s still a 4 star hotel.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Rio has fallen behind a bit in terms of renovation and upkeep. The Ipanema Tower is the older one but has been more recently renovated so I’d pick it over the Masquerade Tower, personally. There is a shuttle that goes to Harrah’s on the Strip, yes. Details here

Ken R asked on 03/24/13


Heading down in early May. Looking for a nice restaurant for me and my gf that will not break the bank, also she is not a steak fan, any suggestions? Upgrading to Iphone in a few weeks and already bought vegas mate app, cant wait to use it!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hi – thanks for buying the app! As for restaurant choices that are not steakhouses, here are a few to consider:

- Olives @ Bellagio: great view, tasty food. Not super cheap but not super expensive either.
- Scarpetta @ Cosmo: can be expensive depending on what you order but really tasty Italian.
- American Fish @ Aria: seafood restaurant from Michael Mina. Tasty dishes.
- Bouchon @ The Venetian: best known for brunch but every meal is good.
- Sinatra @ Encore: can be expensive but it depends on what you order. Food is really good, Mediterranean inspired stuff. Yum.
- Sage @ Aria: I’ve not been to this one yet but it gets raves.

Hope that helps. Check out some of the menus in Vegas Mate or on the Web and see how these places match up with what you’re looking for. Have fun and good luck!

cschoony asked on 03/21/13

Love your app Hunter. My question is…after having visited Las Vegas regularly over the last 20 years, what would you recommend that is different.? We have seen a lot of shows, been to museums and even zip lining in Bootleg Canyon. Any ideas? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! Have you been to the Neon Museum? I totally recommend that as a way to see some great history. Also, the Pinball Museum? Another sorta odd-ball choice if you want to try something new. I’m not that into pinball but I found it interesting. If you like the outdoors a drive to Valley of Fire can be a nice afternoon too.

epidicus asked on 03/01/13

My wife has had a longtime obsession w/ getting steak & eggs at the Victorian room at Bill’s after late night gambling sessions for the last several years. With Bill’s untimely closing, is there another alternative in the area?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

On weekends the cafe at The Flamingo is open 24 hours and has a similar menu.

Bill asked on 03/01/13

We used to stay at Bill’s Gambling Hall on the Strip.

What was the old name before they changed it?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Barbary Coast

Marian pullara asked on 03/01/13

Hi great website
How much would a limo cost from MCCurran to the venetian. One way for three people arriving 15:00 march 4th

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Should be about $14 or so, give or take. If you have an iPhone or iPad, grab our app ‘Vegas Mate’ from the App Store – it has average cab fares for all major Las Vegas hotels from the airport. Have fun!

shadow asked on 02/25/13

Afternoon The one downtown hotel that is one of the older ones I think is the Gold Spike hotel. What is your opinion of it and how far is it from Fremont st . Do you know if cabs are easy to find there ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Good afternoon.

Actually, the oldest hotel is the Golden Gate – first hotel in town. As for the Gold Spike, I’d recommend staying away unless you are a pimp or a hooker.

If you’re determined to go there, it’s a very short cab ride from Fremont or it is walkable though I might not at night and definitely not alone.

mark fitzsimons asked on 02/24/13

Hi – Is there a good restaurant/bar you can watch the Mirage volcano from? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Not really. Ironically, one of the better views (but still partially obstructed) is across the street at Denny’s.

Dennis asked on 02/21/13

Hi Hunter I am almost afraid to ask but the main reason we stay at the C.E.T. hotels is they do not have a resort charge. Is it true that will change and all of their Vegas hotels will have a resort charge ? Now we almost always have comped rooms thanks to their Total Reward players program. Will the comped rooms not be charged a resort fee like they are in a lot of the other hotels ? I guees Southwest will start having a baggage fee next.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

‘tis true, starting in March… They haven’t yet announced all of the details but as you noted, many comped rooms have this charge covered.

warren asked on 02/21/13

my hostess is submitting me for 2 nites @ the Mansion in the mgm grand.
she told me that acceptance is based on the "suite committee’s decision.
do you know what factors they use to decide who gets the villas?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

How much you play and who else might want them during the same time period.

davey asked on 02/14/13

I get comps from M Life. In the last year I’ve stayed at Aria and Bellagio. Aria was MUCH better. Bigger and better room. Newer etc. I’m comped again and want to pick a new place. I’m thinking MGM or Mandalay Bay. How is the construction going at MGM? I’ll be there in late-April.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s interesting, Aria and Bellagio’s rooms are actually about the same size in square feet… but Aria definitely has the benefit of floor-to-ceiling windows (makes the room look bigger) and better technology. Bellagio is a great hotel that was built right before consumer demand changed towards large bathrooms and semi-suites… Anyway, I think Bellagio is a great hotel and Aria is a good hotel that has been getting a lot better over the past 18 months. They’re finding their stride at Aria.

So, MGM vs. Mandalay… Well, MGM has recently completed a room remodel. Mandalay did theirs about a year and change ago. Mandalay is currently changing out most of their restaurants and showroom stuff, plus a massive change at THEHotel next door. MGM is adding a massive nightclub complex. They’re both under construction but the work shouldn’t mean that you can’t sleep at night…

MGM has always been a little big for my tastes. I’ve stayed there a bunch and while comfortable, I never really felt at home.

I stayed at Mandalay Bay a few months ago and enjoyed it. The only thing I’d knock it for is location but if you can manage that, I’d probably give it the edge, especially if you love the pool.

mel asked on 02/13/13

hi , your service and advice is brilliant , we are staying for a week early august , 2 adults and 2 children , can u suggest any other amusement activities besides circus circus for the children , are there other places with rides games and roller coasters in the area , or other amusement places

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Unfortunately for parents that bring their kids along, the number of options have been shrinking over the years. Beyond Circus, places like New York New York, which used to also heavily cater to families have been scaling that back.

Hotels like Bellagio still have arcades but they’re small and won’t occupy most kids for more than a half hour at most. Not a great distraction.

Since it’s August, the pool is always a reasonable choice. Beyond that, I might suggest the Pinball Hall of Fame (fun!), touring the Neon Boneyard (depends on your kids and their ages, probably), Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum at The Venetian, Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden at The Mirage, Mandalay Bay’s ‘Shark Reef’ aquarium, the roller coasters at The Stratosphere (not good for really young kids) and maybe something like Bodies or the Titanic exhibit at Luxor (though they may gross out some kids – again, depends on yours and if they like that stuff).

Good luck, have fun.

andy asked on 02/11/13

Hey Hunter, glad you’re still offering advice. I miss the blog but understand why it’s gone. After doing the Mandalay Bay for last couple of trips, decided to go back mid-strip. Between Paris or Mirage, which one has been more recently overhauled? Stayed at Mirage # of times in past (small bathrooms) but never across the street. Or should I just suck it up and try Aria?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! Loved the blog but it was time to let it go… As for your question, The Mirage will always have a very special place in my heart. It has had 20+ years of benefit of being Steve Wynn’s first foray on The Strip and has help up well. Yes, the bathrooms in the standard rooms are ****really**** small but that’s the main knock. Great casino, nice employees and a facility that was designed to be the Wynn Las Vegas of its day.

Paris is fine but between the two, I’d be Mirage all the way. No question.

Now, as for Aria, they’ve been seriously picking up their game. The opening was a bit of a disaster but they’ve gotten that stuff figured out. Aria is a great place to stay and worthy of a try. If you want to change things up, I’d give it a go.

frank asked on 02/09/13

About 5 years ago I took my gf to Vegas and I bought her a chocolate covered strawberry from a store at the Wynn. I know that place is no longer there but can can you tell me a place on the strip (not a godiva) that would sell these. Its been kinda a ritual on all the trips we go on.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’re right, the chocolatier at Wynn is now gone. You might try Jean Phillipe at Bellagio or at Aria – both should have you covered.

Dennis asked on 02/07/13

Thanks to you Hunter we have narrowed our first downtown choices to either the California or the Main Street Station . We almost picked the El Cortez but my wife still says the walk late at night still bothers her . My questions are since this is another big anniversary if you were me comaring the two hotel location and comparing rooms bathrooms included and of course their customer service which would you choose ? thanksbig time

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’d say Main Street Station. It’s got more charm and personality. In both cases, the standard rooms are pretty small compared to the Strip but the Cal’s rooms are typically ~100 square feet smaller. Pretty tiny. Both have small bathrooms, comparable to a Holiday Inn or the like. Clean but not exciting.

Cheryl asked on 02/06/13

Can you take a bus from the downtown area to the car rental center? If so what bus is it that I will need to catch? Thank you so much for the information

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, there’s a shuttle to and from the airport, so that’s an option. Direct to the rental car center, you should be able to take a bus to the South Strip Transfer Station and walk the rest of the way. It’s not far. Most of the Strip buses end up there.

Amanda asked on 02/06/13

Hi, can you offer suggestions for what to do with a 1 year old toddler? I have a buisness conference coming up at the end of March, and will be bringing him and my husband along for the 5 days.

I believe he’s too young to be allowed in to shows—and gambling’s out—so any help here would be appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, not a lot of options. I’d suggest giving this site a read:

MEL asked on 02/04/13

hi , we are travelling from Australia to las vegas , wife , husband and 2 boys aged 4 & 8 , we are staying from the 1-8th august , are there any sporting events at all we could attend ??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I was going to suggest a Las Vegas 51s game (baseball) but they only have away games while you’re in town… Too bad – that would have been fun!

Las Vegas doesn’t have any professional sports teams so you’re somewhat limited to the 51s or whatever UNLV’s doing but they’re not around during the summer either. When it comes to sporting events, you’re kinda out of luck for the first week in August, sorry!

Dennis asked on 02/04/13

Linda has almost the same type of questions about downtown travel. I do not think that any Fremont street hotel has any type of shuttle from the hotels and back. Boy could cab driving expensive and so far no mono rails have been built yet. Now that does bring me up to my downtown questions. The Deuce ( bus ) seems to be the only way to go back and forth but over the years I have heard about pick pockets and fighting on the bus so that makes me leary about riding it. Hunter have you heard any of these storys ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The bus system is used by tourists quite often and while it’s always possible to have a bad experience, I don’t think there’s any reason to be scared of that option. General common sense should apply – probably wouldn’t recommend taking it all alone, at night, from a sketchy stop in the middle of nowhere, etc…

Linda asked on 02/02/13

Thanks for your reply Hunter about those downtown Vegas hotels. Now that brings me to another downtown question . Do you know if any three star hotel on Fremont St or that area do offer some type of shuttle service from their hotel and back ? .

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Between where and where? The Strip and Fremont? At various times over the years there have been shuttles. They come and go… The Sam’s Town-California-Harrah’s shuttle still runs some days but really your best bet is to take the Deuce (city bus) or a taxi.

gabriel asked on 02/02/13

im looking to stay at the circus circus hotel and casino in vegas at my question is,im looking to get a room,does the skyrise rooms view overlook the strip ? or can u tell me which rooms do ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sort of. The way the tower is oriented, some rooms have views up and down the Strip. You probably want a high floor looking south.

Linda asked on 01/31/13

This is such a fun site for Vegas info. We are planning an early May Las Vegas trip. We normally stay at one of the CET hotels on the strip but this time we thought we would give downtown a try. Now of course the Golden Nugget is the best on Fremont st but how go or bad are the following the Plaza hotel , the El Cortez cabana rooms, the Las Vegas Club ? We see them on every trip but have never stayed in one Is the Main Street Station fairly decent ? I guess what I am trying to say are any of the ones I mentioned dumps and are not safe ? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! From the hotels you mentioned, I’d probably rank the El Cortez Cabana Suites first (though the location is not ideal if that bothers you), the Plaza next and then the Las Vegas Club. Main Street Station is a fine place too – not as recently renovated as the ElCo or Plaza but a nice casino for downtown. Fremont casinos are safe in general – the whole area has had a bit of a resurgence over the past few years.

Paula asked on 01/30/13

can a 19 year old gamble any where in vegas?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nope, sorry, you have be to 21 – Nevada state law.

Carol asked on 01/30/13

The Beatle show at Planet Hollywood. Any feeding back on it and can you give me an estimate about what to expect if we get the tickets the night of at those tickets for today places on strip. Is it usually half off? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s a medium-tier show that people seem to have fun at. Don’t expect any super-grand spectacle but it’s a good way to spend a few hours at a reasonable cost. Most shows (other than Cirque and the like) don’t sell out most nights and that means that discount tickets are often available if you wait until the last minute. You’re taking a chance – you could miscalculate – but if you don’t mind taking that chance, you can get a great deal at places like Tix4Tonight, all over town.

Grace asked on 01/29/13

I can get get a employee discount at the Palazzo through my company. It is about half the price of a terrace one-bedroom suite with a view at the Cosmo. I love a nice bathroom to soak in the tub and my boyfriend is a big shower guy. I also want to enjoy the pool. What is your opinion on where to stay based on rooms and pool area.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, a half-off discount can be a pretty big deal. Hard to pass up.

The Palazzo rooms have nice bathrooms, though the Cosmo bathrooms are probably a little bit nicer – it’s pretty close until you start getting into the really big rooms.

Pool-wise, Cosmo has Palazzo beat with three different pools to choose from. That said, the Palazzo pool is also nice – the hotel in general is no slouch.

For me, if saving money on the room meant that we could do other stuff on the trip – like eating at nicer restaurants or seeing more shows or whatever – I’d go with the cheaper room.

John asked on 01/25/13

In town for a bachelor party in a month and I have a couple questions:

1. Do your recommend organized bar crawls? If so, which service?
2. In town for three nights, 8 of 10 have never been before, is a trip downtown worth it one night?
3. Best bar to pre-game before nightclub. Good atmosphere, informal, etc.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


1. Personally, no. I like freedom to do what I want when in Las Vegas and commitment to something like this wouldn’t be in my game-plan.

2. Hmmm. Depends on many factors. If it is an older crowd, probably makes it a better idea. If all younger folks, less so. Fremont is good for cheap(er) gambling, cheap(er) food and cheap(er) booze. It’s not good for clubbing and the bars down there are more no-frills (with some exceptions). So, I’d probably say that it’s not worth it unless you’re out of stuff to do on The Strip and you want a change of scenery. Could be a good afternoon trip perhaps.

3. Well, since I don’t know where you’re staying or the age range, I will make a few suggestions.

- Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan: multiple levels and plenty of place to sit. Good hanging out and people watching.

- Hyde at Bellagio: it is a club at night but during the afternoon it’s a very chill bar with an amazing view. It’s not cheap though.

- Eastside Bar at Encore: just as long as the piano players aren’t there.

- MIX at Mandalay Bay: rooftop views of the city. Really nice place around sundown when the crowds haven’t shown up yet.

Hope that helps

Halfy asked on 01/25/13

are there any pull tabs in vegas?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

What is a ‘pull tab’? Like a lottery thing? Nevada does not have a lottery.

Sonja asked on 01/24/13

Thank you for your site. It is awesome. We got some cheap flights to vegas in a month and now are looking for hotel rooms. There are a few that are around the same price, Vdara corner suite, Cosmo standard, or a little cheaper is Elara one bedroom suite. Can you give me you take on these. And can you tell me about the steakhouse in the Flamingo. Have you heard if its good or should I try somewhere else we havn’t tried.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Of the places you mentioned, only Cosmo is actually on the Strip and contains a casino. The others are near the Strip and have short walks to gaming but that is a difference. Personally I would go with Cosmopolitan. Vdara’s rooms are nice enough but the property’s location is a bit of a buzzkill for me. As for Elara, the rooms are spacious but not really notable.

All of the restaurants at The Flamingo have been going through changes the past few years and I haven’t tried the new steak joint but in general, I’ve not heard much about it, good or bad. It’s not a standout. Try something new – it’s fun!

Stuart asked on 01/24/13

I have a tipping question – not sure what the practice / etiquette is about tipping. If you are playing slots and get a jackpot that requires a hand-pay, say $1,500, what would the ‘expected’ tip be? Is $20 OK? What about a good win of $10,000? Still $20 or would you give $50 or $100?

If you have a casino host who comps you rooms, food and beverage etc based on your play, are you ‘expected’ to tip them? Let’s say they gave you RFB comps to the total of $1,5000, what would you tip them? What about $10,000 worth of comps? I feel as if I should be showing my appreciation (although they would not be providing the comps if I did not have the required drop) but I have no idea what or how to tip. Cash? Gifts? Most of the slot hosts seem to be women (or at least mine do) and I feel awkward giving cash but more awkward giving gifts and even more awkward/mean not giving anything.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The proliferation of ticket-based slot machines have made the hand pays of old mostly obsolete, though there are situations where they still occur, sometimes for tax form reasons. The most common thing I’ve seen is 1-2% of the won amount, though tipping is personal and some folks don’t tip at all. Some players do tip the cashier if they had a particularly good run but my sense is that this is becoming less and less common.

When it comes to your host, it’s a lot like any other professional relationship (gifts are very common in business transactions outside of the US). They are your liaison to the casino so having one that likes you and remembers you never hurts. Of course, your play is the most important thing but if you’re on the bubble as far as qualifying for a comp, they can be tiebreakers.

Many players will bring gifts, especially if your home region is known for something (I.e. wine). If the host has any hobbies you know about, that’s another idea. Doesn’t have to be super over the top but if will set you apart. Spending $100-$150 on a gift for a host that is helpful and you have a relationship with if you’re being comped thousands of dollars wouldn’t be outrageous but it really comes down to what you’re comfortable with.

In some places the hosts are not supposed to take cash tips.

Christy asked on 01/21/13

I know Las Vegas has many great places to eat, but my husband and I really don’t like the fancy food. Can you give us some more casual places to eat that has more american food. Also, we have not been back since the Fontana at the Bellagio closed and wanted to know if there are any bars that have a great view like that.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are many food options that aren’t that fancy. Pretty much every casino has a coffee shop that includes traditional American fare. Also, restaurants like Stack (Bellagio) or FIX (Mirage) include a more amped up version of modern favorites. Generally speaking, a search like this is a good place to start:


Regarding Fontana, unfortunately there’s no great example of a direct replacement. You might check out the Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan or Mandarin Bar at Mandarin Oriental for some approximate analogs.

dave asked on 01/20/13

I have one that may test you. My buddies and I love to be mobile and walk the strip. We get thirsty and buy beers at drug stores, convenience stores, etc. I know there’s a drug store south of PH that has single beers. Another is closer to MGM. There’s a drug store on the city center side of the street north of Monte Carlo. Where are the others? We stop and play video poker at Bill’s or other places but that usually means a $20 beer. I know casinos have sundry stores but where are the other little markets? We plan on going from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, you’ll find Walgreens and other convenience store type places around but they’re more common on the south end – there’s a swath in the center of the Strip where it’s tougher to track this stuff down.

There’s a liquor store off the Strip, near Bill’s about a half-block east. There are places past Encore too… There was a small store right off Carnival Court but it’s now closed for Linq construction. There’s a Walgreens between Venetian and Palazzo. There’s also a brand-new one across from CityCenter at Planet Hollywood.

kenny asked on 01/20/13

Why did Kerkorian build the International hotel (now LVH) on paradise rd as opposed to the strip? I heard it was cause he wanted to make a “second strip” sorta thing….

also, i dont blame u if you dont know this but was the benihana restaurant in the LVH a former showroom? cause looking at and old map of the place, it looked like it was.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Multiple reasons… That location’s land could be had at relatively low cost, the proximity to the convention center which was ramping up and lastly, things were different. At that time, the Strip wasn’t anything like we think of it today. Walking between properties was far more rare than now so getting in the car to drive from The Flamingo to The International or from The Flamingo to the Tropicana was basically the same thing.

As for your showroom question, I don’t know definitively, sorry. Keep in mind though, the main ‘LVH Theater’ showroom, where Elvis played, is the same facility as in those days.

Jay asked on 01/19/13

We visit Las Vegas frequently from Canada. They closed the old Terminal 2 (which we loved and miss- small, quick, no crowds, easy access) last summer and moved International flights to the new Terminal 3. I’m a bit of an aviation nut and have heard stories they may be selling demolition rights to the old terminal 2 to a movie or tv company to film as part of a big action scene. Any truth to this or update?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Huh. I hadn’t heard this rumor so I did a little digging and asked a couple of people and while I did find evidence of the rumor, I couldn’t confirm it… So I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

shadow asked on 01/18/13

I remember you saying that here on Rate Vegas there is a site that has customer reviews as well as yours on the hotels on the strip and the ones downtown. May I ask where it is located ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This site has customer reviews. That’s the purpose of this site.

Dennis asked on 01/17/13

Now as I was saying not including the Golden Nugget are there any decent hotels that have one bedroom suites ? Thanks to your info we are trying to choose between the Four Queens, the El Cortez and the Plaza hotel. We have been reading that the D. hotels is nice but have very small bathrooms. We are looking for the ones that have walk in showers and bat tubs.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The bathrooms in the El Cortez Cabana Suites rooms are quite large, if that’s one of your deciding criteria. As for The D, it depends on the room type but yes, some of the bathrooms are tiny, which is also a problem at The Plaza.

Kellie asked on 01/13/13

Going to be in Vegas for Super Bowl weekend. Where is the best place to watch the game. We were there last year and watched it at Ceasers which was fun, but wanted to see what our options were. Would rather not spend $200/person. Also, how do we get on the invite list that the casinos throw?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As I’m sure you noticed, it gets quite crowded, especially in the more popular books like Caesars. Honestly, if you want to watch at one of the top places (Caesars, Wynn, Bellagio, maybe Mirage) then you’re in for a multi-hour wait. The casinos do host parties but they are typically for their VIP customers – you’d need to play enough to have a casino host and have them arrange it. There are sometimes tickets sold to the public – check with your hotel front desk / concierge – they may be able to help you get into whatever your hotel is hosting.

Carol O asked on 01/11/13

visiting in April. We usually stay at Bally’s but are considering some place called The Quad? Is this the old Harrahs and if so, was it renovated and just changed names? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Quad is the recently renamed Imperial Palace, not Harrah’s. Renovations are still very much underway so don’t stay here unless you don’t mind construction. Scheduled to be complete late 2013.

Ken R asked on 01/10/13

Hello, you have given me great advice before and asking a quick question. Going to Vegas in May with my gf and have choice between Hollywood Hip room at Planet Hollywood and Strip View deluxe at Monte Carlo. Price is almost exactly the same. I have stayed at MC again but thinking about trying PH. Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmmm. I’d rate them about the same so if you haven’t tried PHo, maybe now is a good time?

Bailey asked on 01/10/13

Will be taking my husband to Vegas for the first time. We are staying at the golden nugget the first 2 nights and then the Flamingo the last two. I got really good deals on them but I am wondering if they are good hotels. We are in the Rush tower and a go room. Also, I am looking for a good restaurant downtown to eat at. Are there any really good ones there or should I wait til we are on the strip.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Fun! Downtown (Golden Nugget) and the Strip (Flamingo) are very different places with very different vibes. Downtown is on a much smaller, more human scale. Lower prices, more personal, less opulent. The Golden Nugget is the best hotel down there and a great place to stay. The Rush Tower is the best of the Nugget so you should have a great time down there.

The Flamingo is a mid-market hotel in a great location on The Strip, right in the center of the action. The Go rooms are upgraded from their standard offering and many have great views, some even of the Bellagio Fountains.

As for restaurants, Downtown at the Nugget there are a few tasty places like Vic and Anthony’s and the Chart House… The Strip is really where the best Vegas restaurants are though. As for what to recommend, it really depends on your budget and cuisine but steakhouses like SW (Wynn), Prime (Bellagio) or Italian at places like Scarpetta (Cosmopolitan) or seafood at Bartolotta (Wynn Las Vegas) – those are just a few.

Dennis asked on 01/09/13

We have been hearing about the downtown casinos really having big winners . I have not heard about any mega winners on the strip in quite awhile. Anyway we ar e thinking about spending our Vegas nights on Fremont street . My questions are as follows with all of the work that was done at those hotels. Now other than the Golden Nugget which hotels in your opinion which ones would you say would be the better ones to stay at ? Does your site have any information on the downtown hotels and reviews from people who have stayed in them

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Other than the Nugget, I’d take a look at The D (formerly Fitzgerald’s) and perhaps The Plaza. Both have had large investments in room upgrades over the past few years. Also, the El Cortez has a special set of ‘Cabana Suites’ rooms that are pretty nice. All of those are competitive with the Golden Nugget.

The site includes information on all of the Downtown hotel/casinos and reviews from people who have stayed there.

Pete asked on 01/08/13

Never been to Vegas before but love your site. We will be there in March. Can you tell me if there are any good restaurants downtown to eat at? Steak places, buffets? Can you also tell me what Container Park is and when is it opening. I’ve seen some things on it and it looks like an outdoor shopping center. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wow, have fun! Fortunately, lots of good restaurants – arguably some of the best in the country. Steakhouses like SW, Prime, CUT and Delmonico are just a few, not to mention restaurants like Guy Savoy, Joël Robuchon, and others – some amazing places. For buffets, Bellagio, Wynn, Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace are all big hits. Lots of choices.

Container Park is one part of a large-scale re-development plan in Downtown Las Vegas – yes, shopping, some office stuff, mostly implemented with shipping containers. A mix of different bits. Still just in the planning and design phase though so things could change.

Joe asked on 01/05/13

Great site. Helped a lot my first trip to Vegas last year and have a few questions this time around. Going to Vegas with 8 guys for bachelor party. 25-30 years of age

Best club for VIP service for 3-5 bottles (friendly service, accommodating, not rushed)

Best place to watch a sports event (will be there for the final four)

Any “hidden” “unknown” activities you recommend?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


‘Best’ when it comes to clubs varies quite a bit. The more popular places are indeed often a bit more hectic. XS (Encore) and Marquee (Cosmopolitan) are the top places in town and both generally do a good job of keeping table guests happy. Secondarily, Haze (Aria), Tryst (Wynn Las Vegas), or Tao (The Venetian). For a smaller and slightly less harried experience (but more attention in many cases), consider Hyde (Bellagio). Keep in mind that for eight people, they may ask you to get two tables. Make sure you check when you reserve.

Sportsbooks fill up quickly for big events and spots are only reserved for parties making significant or regular bets. If you’re planning to lounge and just check out the game(s), be sure to get there early. Best and most comfortable books are Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, The Mirage and Mandalay Bay.

If you’re into Vegas history at all, consider checking out the Neon Museum, located near Downtown. Another popular activity for bachelor parties is machine gun shooting and there are several places you can do that including Machine Gun Vegas. One thing to keep in mind for this is that it takes awhile. It could easily be 3 hours for 8 guys to shoot the full range of their guns (reloads and guns jamming slows things down).

Have fun.