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bree asked on 02/19/07

I am going to vegas in June 2007 some time and looking for a nice perferably 2 bdrm suite in vegas price range no more that $2500 totalfor a 4 night stay.Also close to the strip. Keep in mind I have been to vegas 4 times now and have stayed at the suites at the Mirage, which was nice. But now Im looking for something a notch up, something possiby w/ plasma tvs, and fine amenities. I am 27 and also looking for a hotel that is more upscale and modern looking. hopefully you can help in assisting me find somethig within my budget range

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, $625 a night for a two bedroom suite that is notch above The Mirage is actually a pretty tall order. Let’s look at some examples: Wynn Las Vegas has 2 bedroom Salone Suites that have plasma TVs, a wetbar, incredible beds, etc… These match well with what you’re looking for but these usually go for $900-$1200 a night depending on the season.

You might be able to get a one bedroom in that range – WLV is arguably the top hotel in town.

Besides WLV, I’d take a look at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. This might be your best bet for what you want…

Mandalay has a great pool and some nightlife and service there has been on the upswing. The rooms are cool and modern with plasmas, etc… If you’re a hotel regular, it’s sorta like a ‘W’ on steroids – very dark and hip (sometimes too wannabe hip). I’d start there and see how you do. If you’re going mid-week, you’ll get much better prices.

Many hotels don’t have two bedroom suites on their Web sites – you have to call to get them reserved.

Give THEHotel a call – I think they might have just what you want.

Deanna asked on 02/17/07

I love your site and check in at least once a week…
Just wondering if you know anything about the adult pools at Mirage and Ceasars. I know they are free Mon -Thurs for hotel guests and they show a cost for guests on weekends. Are they also open for non hotel guests at any time? And if so do you happen to know the cost?
Thanks for all your help =)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words!

Neither are open to non-hotel guests, no… Sorry!

Nikki asked on 02/16/07

We are coming to vegas in April to get married with 12 friends. We want to go out for dinner with our friends after the wedding. Can you recomend anywhere? We want somewhere special but not over the top on price as we will be paying! We have a few fussy eaters so we need to stick to American food (as apposed to Italian, chinese etc).

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I get this question from time to time and honestly, it’s a tough one. With the wide range of tastes and the ever increasing prices in Las Vegas for good food, steering folks to decent group dining is getting harder and harder.

Here are some suggestions – check them out individually for more info. You didn’t say where you were getting married so I unfortunately can’t give you proximity info.

Sticking to just American food also seriously restricts our choices, as Las Vegas is big on Asian and Italian restaurants.

Delmonico (The Venetian) – this one can be expensive but it’s such a great restaurant that I wanted to throw this in.

Country Club Grill (Wynn Las Vegas) – overlooking the golf course, it’s very quiet and secluded.

Mesa Grill (Caesars Palace) – superstar chef Bobby Flay’s outpost in Las Vegas.

Olives (Bellagio) – some interesting and more traditional dishes.

Hope that helps.

Scott asked on 02/16/07

Hunter, this is a fantasic site!

I will be in Vegas in late March early June and I was wondering when the pools open and the Flamingo and CP? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks very much! The pools actually aim to be open year round, with normal maintenance usually taking place in the colder months – January/February. The pools will be open in June for sure!

Tamera asked on 02/14/07

Hi Hunter,
Enjoy your site very much. My sister and I are leaving for LV next weekend. We love to gamble, eat and shop. 1st question have you eaten at Bally’s Sterling Brunch lately – price is no big deal – we want to have a variety of high quality food and champange, is the quality still up to par? I can’t find any recent posts or reviews.

2nd, really interested in going on a heli trip over the strip, any companies better than another? Are they under $100 bucks?

3rd, My sister and I would really like to be considered for some comps (room, food etc..)With MGM properties having several hotels can you play at them all and be considered for comps? or should you concentrate your play at one casino? We booked our room with a 3rd party travel site (room is prepaid)how would they comp your room, next stay? not real sure how the comps work, but want to earn them. I’ve read posts where people charge meals and amenties to there room – is this pre-approved or do you simply just show your room key? Thanks for your help and las vegas wisdom!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s been some time since I’ve done the Sterling Brunch but I talked to a friend that has been in the last year and he says the quality is the same – high.

On the helicopters, I’ve done a few and by favorite by far is Maverick – they have the best choppers and are very professional. As far as price, I’ve typically paid about $150 per person. It’s not cheap.

With the comps, you should be charging your expenses to your room – then if you have enough play they can remove charges when you check out. Some hotels have a ‘charge slip’ you get when you check in that allows room charges, others just use the key.

Also, future offers would be based on your play. Even though MGM MIRAGE owns quite a few hotels and your host can see cross-property play, the hosts are more inclined to help you if you focus all your play at the hotel you’re staying at. You’re better off that way.

luis asked on 02/14/07

Hello I was just wondering if you knew when the aladdin will be fully complete with it construction?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They’re claiming sometime later this quarter but they’re dates have slipped several times so I’ll believe it when I see it.

debbie asked on 02/13/07

hi hunter
i did as you said and joined mgm and flamingo players club.however having spent(gambled)$7000 not including what i won on the slots i have been looking on their web sites and see that i have no comps or offers.
i emailed both hotels only to be told that because i live in the uk i wont get any mail, and that i must check the hotel web page for better rates.
please could you explaine this to me?
it seems that even if you are a gambler but live in the uk you dont quallify for any offers.only player rate.why???
no free room no nothing.i never even got offered a free meal.
kind regards

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy Again,

International visitors are often offered comps so while they may not mail you offers, you should still have access to a host. Did you call and talk to them? I wouldn’t rely on the Web site.

When you were there, did you talk to someone in person? This is the best way to kick off a relationship with a host.

I’ve never heard of foreign players not getting comps due to nationality.

Colleen Curry asked on 02/13/07

Hi! My husband and I are going to be staying at the MGM Grand feb 22 to the 25 for our first trip away from our 3 girls ever. We are in a Celebrity Spa Suite, I’m wondering if it is a good room. I was told that it has a bathtub for 2. Is there hope for an upgrade from this and where would we go? I tried for the Bellagio but it was full. We are seeing Ka and Mystere while we are there. I was also wondering about the restaurant at the MGM, Joel something? Is it worth $300 each? We are into fine dining and VIP treatment when we travel, any other Ideas? We vacation 4 months of the year but this is our first trip to Vegas. Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I think that room is a good introduction to Las Vegas. If you’re upgrading, unless you want to pack up, cancel and leave, you’ll be looking at other rooms at MGM Grand. They have several other types of suites and then they have the ultra-exclusive Skylofts on the top floors. Upgrading between types of suites is tough – all the suites are pre-assigned so this rarely happens.

The tub is designed for two, yes.

You should enjoy both Ka and Mystere. I’d be interested to hear which you like more.

As far as Joel Robuchon goes, the restaurant is maybe the best in Las Vegas. I recommend this place if you love food and if spending a bunch of money on a serious meal doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up a lot of other activities on your trip. If you can afford it, it is an experience in fine dining.

Other high end restaurants I would recommend checking into:

Wing Lei – Chinese (Wynn Las Vegas)
Picasso – French/Spanish (Bellagio)
Alex – French (Wynn Las Vegas)
Okada – Japanese (Wynn Las Vegas)

There are great restaurants all over town so if you have any other specific questions, feel free to ask them here.

Santos Venerea asked on 02/13/07

Hunter I have heard so much about about Rao’s restaurant in NYC, and recently heard they opened up at Ceasar’s. However, I have not heard or read much fanfare either way. What is the story?

I cannot believe there has been such little written or reviewd on and before I spend the money in April; I want to know if it’s worth it to go. Perhaps we should stay with my old Italian mid-scale favorite at the Wynn? I would hate to be dissapointed. Thanks…sv

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve not eaten at Rao’s yet but it’s one of the places I’m looking forward to trying because of its reputation.

I’ve heard they’ve done a good job exporting the original, despite it being quite a bit larger. The menu is the same and the executive chef from NYC was in Vegas for the first month to make sure things were working well.

Tracie Taylor asked on 02/13/07

I don’t understand how the sports books operate their seating during big games. I see reserved signs on most of their seating. I will be there again for the Final Four and would like to get a seat to watch these games.

Is there a trick, phone number or manner to guarantee myself a seat in those books? I’m staying at Ceasars again.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The seats are typically reserved for large casino bettors – getting a reserved seat during a big event like the Final Four is going to be next to impossible unless you typically have a lot of action in the casino. Otherwise you need to get up early and score a seat that way.

Hunter R. asked on 02/12/07

Hunter -

Thanks for the help! Have you ever been in the “2 bedroom grand” at Bellagio and if so, what would be its counterpart at the Wynn??

I emailed you a copy of the floor plan sent to me by Bellagio.


Hunter R.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


These suites are on the top floors of the main tower at Bellagio and look out over the lake – the ‘bulge’ you see in the layout is the bell tower extrusion.

Here are the floorplans:

The suites are similar except the Grand is on the top floor and the common area is larger. Also, it features similar but slightly nicer furnishings. I’ve been on that very top floor and it has markedly better everything – carpet, fixtures, etc… These are considered VIP accommodations and in some cases are requested by some high rollers over the villas located at the base of the tower.

As far as what would be similar at Wynn Las Vegas, you’d probably be looking at either a 2-bedroom Fairway Villa (on the golf course) or a top floor, 2-bedroom Salon Suite.

I hope this helps.

Jonathan asked on 02/11/07

I booked a great deal of $180/weekend night, in April, at Ceasars in the Palace Tower. Now, any suggestions on how I can keep that rate and get into the Augustus Tower?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Beg? Honestly, no magic here. If you don’t want to pony up extra dough to get the upgrade, you’ll just have to wait and see if you end up lucky.

Hunter R. asked on 02/10/07

I stumbled across your blog and wanted to ask a couple quick questions regarding the Bellagio’s accomodations. I am slated to stay in the main tower in a couple months in the two bedroom grand suite (taking a client of mine and our wives) and am a little worried as I want the best possible accomodations. What can you tell me about this suite (updates, etc.) because I really want this to be a first class trip. I have stayed in the Spa Tower’s penthouse suites before and was relatively impressed, but I have heard that the main tower does not have some of the room amentities that are available at the Wynn (flat screen televisions, superb service, etc.). Could you shed any light on this for me? I would really appreciate your opinion on the Salone (sp?) vs. the 2 bedroom grand at Bellagio.

Thanks so much,

Hunter R.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey there – nice name!

In my view, Bellagio’s service and amenities are now back up to where they belong and compare favorably to what is being offered at Wynn Las Vegas. There is no question there was a dip at Bellagio in the 2002-2005 time frame but they are back on track and I was impressed with the level of service offered on my last trip there, December 2006.

In terms of the actual rooms, the inventory in the main tower at Bellagio will always suffer from a few ‘problems’ that they cannot fix, namely the lack of floor-to-ceiling windows and the size of the rooms. This is a bigger issue with the standard rooms as the suites are usually large enough that space is not an issue.

There are some things that Bellagio does not have – plasma and LCD HDTVs – that are in the rooms at Wynn Las Vegas. If we’re talking about a checklist of items comparing WLV and Bellagio, WLV will undoubtedly win (pun intended) the battle. The amenities between the Spa Tower and the main tower are intended to have parity – the main tower was renovated to coincide with the opening of the Spa Tower in 2004.

You’ll have to decide how important some of the in-room amenities like HDTV are to you but I can say that after being solely devoted to Wynn Las Vegas since opening, being at Bellagio in December impressed me enough that I will consider it for any upcoming trip. We were in a Salon Suite, which is really a studio as it is just a large room – there is no separate living room. They are located on the corners of the building and the bathroom has a tub with a window for some great views while relaxing. I’ve included some photos attached to this response.

The 2-bedroom suites offer a lot more space and of course the privacy aspect if sharing the room is an important distinction. Some photos of this are provided as well, though keep in mind that there are several color schemes for the suites so they often look a bit different than what is in the photos. Some of the above shots are mine and some are from MGM MIRAGE PR.

If you’re considering WLV as an alternative and looking for counsel, I think that both hotels should be considered. The rooms at WLV have a bit more of a ‘wow’ factor with the latest in hotel guest room amenities. Still, Bellagio’s service is top notch and I think in some cases, a bit more personal than what you find at Wynn Las Vegas. I feel comfortable saying that you’d be well taken care of at either hotel.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to hit me back with any additional questions.

eli asked on 02/10/07


Just spent a wonderful week in Vegas.

The info in your website made the week especially great.
Going to Atlantic City and wondering if you know of any websites that give the same type of service for this New Jersey location?
Thanks again.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sorry, I’m not aware of any similar site for Atlantic City.

Steve-FLA asked on 02/09/07

Thanks AGAIN for your help/advice. I am returning to Vegas (after several years) in June and will be staying at Bally’s. I plan on attempting the $20 trick and was wondering what your opinion was on being a Total Rewards member. I plan to sign up for their Total Rewards program as soon as I get there. My question is: Should I do this BEFORE I check-in? Does being a TR member really make any difference as far as my chances of getting upgraded (either with or without $20 trick)? I would like to use the airport check-in but am assuming I will have to get to the hotel first in order to sign up for TR. What do you think?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I don’t think that Total Rewards membership will have any impact on the $20 trick at all. I do recommend joining the program if you’ll be staying in the hotel and to always use your card when you play.

Bob asked on 02/08/07

My wife and I, and her parents, will be spending a week in Vegas in April. We are mainly slot players.Are some casinos better than others for playing slots?Also,we are planning to rent a car for a couple days and want to experience both the strip and downtown. Is it better to stay on the strip and drive downtown, for a day trip,or vice versa? This will be our first time in Vegas and we would like to see as much as possible.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Slot variety, payback and other services vary not only between hotels but between various areas inside the casino. The information on specific payback percentages is a closely guarded secret. Typically, casinos on the Strip have tighter slots than Downtown and Downtown is tighter than neighborhood casinos. This is only a general rule and each machine’s payback will be different. One good piece of advice is to play where you’re staying – rack up some points on the slot club card that I know you’re going to sign up for… To really get the ‘Las Vegas’ experience, I would recommend staying on the Strip – I’m not putting down Downtown Las Vegas at all – it’s something to experience – but the Las Vegas that your friends tell you about when they say they had a great time – that’s the Strip. There’s so much to see that I’m sure you’ll be very busy but you can always check our ‘top ten’ lists:

Skyy asked on 02/07/07

Hi Hunter—

Any idea what a taxi would cost from Downtown to Lake Las Vegas?

Thanks! :)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Oohhhh, that’s actually going to be a bit of a ride. It’s over twenty miles – it could easily be a $50 cab ride though traffic in the Valley can be so unpredictable, it could even be more. For a ride that long I would suggest either hiring a limo and paying for the hour, negotiating a flat rate with the cabbie when you get in or paying the hotel’s car to take you.

Bobby asked on 02/06/07

Hey Hunter,

Just wanted to let the readers know I tried the 20 dollar trick and it worked, but not for a room upgrade, but to get parking in a “full” valet.

We made the mistake of driving (instead of taking a cab) to a concert we were going to on Saturday night at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. Being Super Bowl weekend, everything was packed, no parking anywhere. I finally pulled into the valet at Mandalay bay and was told the parking was for hotel guests only, I told him that we were going to the concert there, but he still said they were full. I then asked if he was sure that there was nothing he could do (with a $20 bill tucked between my fingers with the “20” sticking out so he could see it. Of course, then he happily told us to pull right up. So as Vegas has taught us many times before… Money talks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the feedback. Las Vegas, more so than many other cities, is a city very receptive to tips.

Drew Nelson asked on 02/06/07

Besides the paddle boat tours on lake mead, are you aware of any other boat rides on Lake mead or on the colorado river below the dam that you can do for a day? I am not looking for rafting, but wondered if they had any other boat rides.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The focus on the activities down there is very much on rafting.

Looks like there are some alternatives but none I have ever tried or heard of people that have.

Hope that helps.

Jonathan asked on 02/05/07

Hey Hunter,

Caesar’s Palace (Harrahs) is running a special if booked before the 14th where I can get a weekend for $180/night. They advertised the special with a picture of the Augustus Tower room. However, the Augustus Tower is not part of the promo. I emailed them regarding this fact and was sent back an email saying that the Palace Tower was an automatic upgrade (for the promo) and the Palace Tower has been renovated to look exactly like the rooms in the Augustus Tower. I doubt this and since you are probably more up to date on these kind of issues, I wanted to know your opinion?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The Palace Tower rooms were renovated in the same style as the Augustus Tower but they are not the same… For simple construction/build reasons, the Augustus Tower rooms are superior. That’s not to say that the Palace Tower rooms are bad – they are actually quite nice. I would compare Palace Tower rooms with rooms at Bellagio or The Venetian where I would compare the Augustus Tower rooms with Wynn Las Vegas.

Becky asked on 02/05/07

Hey, Is the Mirage pool open right now? Am going on Wed. and want to know if I should bring swimwear. Thx

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The large pool is closed until March 2nd. Bare (pool lounge) has some open pools and the jacuzzis are open.

Neil asked on 02/05/07

hey hunter,
i am booked to come to Vegas in march staying until the end of may. i am staying in a suite off strip and a couple of hotels on strip during my stay. My question is regarding safety deposit boxes at ‘on strip’ hotels namely the MGM Grand. are non-guests entitled to use the safety deposit box service at hotels and if so how much is the charge? thanks dude

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most Strip hotels have in-room safes these days. If that’s not secure enough for you, the front desk will almost always let guests use their safe free of charge. These services are for guests only however. I’m not aware of one that is open to non-guests.

Steve asked on 02/04/07

Going out to LV for the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.. 3/22-3/26… I just want a bed to sleep in at cheapest rate… I have the Stratosphere locked in, but wanted to check here first…Am I ok with the Strat? I mean I won’t be there at all throughout the weekend so just wondering… Thanks for the help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you’re just looking for a bed, the Strat will be just fine.

MaggieM asked on 02/03/07

Thank you for your website. So much information! My hubby & I are coming to Vegas the first week in May ‘07 for our 5th yr. wedding anniversary. We want to do a vow renewal at one of the wedding chapels, as we thought it would be fun, special, & unique for just the 2 of us to share together. Any suggestions as to the best chappel, since there are so many of them? How about a suggestion for a romantic, special dinner afterwards? Also, we’ll be staying at Harrahs. We’re both in our 40’s, have arthritis, & my husband suffers from a low-vision problem. Do you have a suggestion on requesting a particular area for our room due to walking distances, noise, etc.? Thank you for your advise and help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, a lot of it will depend on your budget. The chapels at hotels like Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas are elaborate and beautiful. If you’re willing to put down the cash, it would be an experience you’d never forget.

The wedding chapel options in Las Vegas run the gamut from nice to sketchy, from elegant to Elvis (seriously). Since this is such a wide-ranging topic, I might suggest getting this book:

It covers all the ins and outs of wedding setup in Las Vegas.

As far as a romantic dinner, again it is going to depend on cost. Since you don’t specify, I’ll assume you’re willing to splurge. Here are some suggestions:

Picasso (Bellagio) – one of the best restaurants in town, this place features real Picassos.

Alex (Wynn Las Vegas) – An amazing looking room with great food and service to die for. One of the top two places in town.

Joël Robuchon at The Mansion (MGM Grand) – The other top place in town, Robuchon is one of the best chefs in the world and this is a spectacle to behold.

Those three are very high-end. For a couple of places that are less expensive (but still not cheap), try these:

Wing Lei (Wynn Las Vegas) – Fantastic Chinese food in a nice room. This place stands out for the great food but also the very comfortable environment.

Delmonico (The Venetian) – maybe a little less romantic because it can be loud, this is my favorite place to eat in Las Vegas. Great steaks and everything that goes with ’em. Great. Love it.

Bartolotta (Wynn Las Vegas) – Great Italian in a slightly less formal setup.

Hopefully those will get you started and help in the planning.

On the room location suggestion, Harrah’s Las Vegas has two towers, ‘Carnival’ and ‘Mardi Gras’. The Carnival Tower is newer with slightly nicer rooms but the elevators are located at the very rear of the building so that means walking all the way back there all the time. Depending on how difficult that would be for you and your husband, that may or may not be a big deal. The rooms are nicer so if the extra walk isn’t a huge problem, I would seriously consider it.

Hope this helps.

Nina asked on 02/03/07

I am arriving in Las Vegas on Feb. 6. I booked my flight and hotel online. Will I be able to buy shuttle tickets to go to my hotel when I arrive at the airport?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are many ways to get from the airport to your hotel. You can take a cab or limo, or hop on a shuttle bus. Las Vegas Limo operates one that is just outside the baggage claim area, near the other limousines.

Drew Nelson asked on 02/02/07

While in Vegas I would like to visit Lake Mead, Valley of Fire, Red Rock and even Death Valley. My question is what kind of driving time am I looking at and can I pair any of them up on a given day? Also are there any water tours below the dam?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Death Valley and Valley of Fire are probably the longest drives (in opposite directions), with Death Valley being a solid half-day and VoF being 2-3 hours. Red Rock is just outside the city, maybe 20 minutes and Lake Mead is also very close, but in the opposite direction as RR… So, looks like things are somewhat spread out, though you could do Red Rock and Valley of Fire or Lake Mead in a day, though you’d have to do some driving.

Sheila asked on 02/02/07

Hi and thank you for this blog, it is such a wealth of information.
First of all we are planning a trip but not until next year. Our main reason for going it to gamble, not to much on sites but we will be happy to see what is around,
Our main goal for going is to gamble. I read on one site that said if you want to mainly gamble go downtown instead of the strip, gambling is better. Do you find this to be true?
We are looking for a decent room with a decent price, not too fancy just clean and not too expensive food.
And last, what is the best time to go between February and April, pros and cons.
Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Based on what you’re describing, Downtown Las Vegas may be more up your alley. You have the option of visiting the Strip for a show or a meal but you can benefit from the lower limits Downtown. As the Strip has moved more and more upscale, focusing on luxury hotel amenities and nightlife, Downtown is picking up dedicated gamblers looking for a good bet. Downtown’s nicest hotel is the Golden Nugget so I would check there first. Main Street Station is no slouch either, though it is not directly on Fremont Street. Hope this helps… As far as the best time to go, I would advise to shop for good prices with the knowledge that April has much warmer weather than February!

Gabe asked on 01/31/07

We are booked at the Harrah’s on the strip in Early March. My Question is 3-fold. First, how much should I expect to spend if I want an upgrade ( on the level or not). Secondly, are the rooms at the Harrah’s of the same caliber as most mid-strip hotels? Or do they vary greatly? And finally, will the weather be an issue at all in Early March?

Thank You Very Much.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


To get prices on upgrading your room you can simply call the hotel – if you don’t do it ahead of time there’s a good chance you won’t be able to – nicer rooms sell out first. Upgrades when you check in are sometimes available but don’t bank on it. Typically upgrades can run in the $20-$50/night range but it really depends on what they have available.

Harrah’s rooms are typical of mid-level Strip properties, yes. There are two towers there and the Carnival Tower is newer and the rooms are larger/nicer. The elevators for the Carnival Tower are located at the VERY back of the property so that means that more walking is involved.

You ask about the weather being an issue… Well, if you’re from Maine, I’m sure it will be quite warm. Maybe not as much if you’re coming in from Fiji. March is starting to get warmer but you still want to pack a jacket.

Christy asked on 01/30/07

Hi there, your site is an amazing wealth of information!!
My husband & I are staying in LV from February 22nd to March 1st at the Stratosphere. We are looking for ideas on free things to do, day trips to take as well as restaurant ideas. Thanks in advance!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Since I’m not sure if you’ve been to Las Vegas before, I’ll recommend the basics and you can go from there.

Make sure you see the following:

Fountains of Bellagio (Bellagio) – dancing fountains set to music. Has to be seen to be understood. Don’t miss. Amazing.

Mirage Volcano (The Mirage) – maybe not as impressive as it once was, still, something to see. The volcano erupts every 15 minutes after dark.

Sirens of TI (Treasure Island) – this used to be a for sure don’t miss but since they have changed the show it isn’t quite at the same level. Still, worth seeing at least once.

Lake of Dreams (Wynn Las Vegas) – interesting special effects/light show inside the hotel. I don’t know if I would make a special trip but worth watching if you are in the area.

Beyond that, there are many other things to check out – this is just a starter list.

For some quick, casual restaurant ideas, here are some of my favorites:

Burger Bar (Mandalay Place, between Mandalay Bay and Luxor)

FIX (Bellagio)

Sensi (Bellagio)

Caribe Cafe (The Mirage) – open 24 hours

Tableau (Wynn Las Vegas)

Isla (Treasure Island)

Some of the above are nicer than others but I enjoy them all and try to make it there as often as I can.

Hope this helps.

Duncan asked on 01/30/07

Hi,Great Website very informative for first time visitors like oursleves. I emailed a question earlier in the year about the Aladdin which you very kindly answered. Due to the renovations we have been given the option to change hotel before we arrive in April. We were mainly concerned with the construction and the being told the pool wa snot re-opening till April 15th (after we leave). Do you think it is wise to change, given the option?, We have been given the choice of the Treasure Island, New York, New York or the MGM Grand. Do you have any thoughts which hotel would be best for 5 24 year olds on thier first trip to Vegas. Thanks for the help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t stay at the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood right now. They’re in such a massive state of transition it is just hard to say that it would be good or bad – we don’t know.

Of the choices, I would pick Treasure Island, MGM Grand and NYNY in that order. TI’s had a massive resurgence for folks between 21-35 due to Social House and Tangerine, plus it is wedged between Jet (Mirage), Tao (Venetian) and Tryst (Wynn Las Vegas) so along with those options and its own Tangerine, TI is the best spot on your list for what it sounds like you’re going for.

Drew Nelson asked on 01/30/07

I am interested in seeing some of the non strip/downtown sites in and around Vegas. I have done the Hoover on previous trips and will have a rental car on my next visit in April. So what are some reall cool, different and not overally expensive things to do?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, there are lots of things – it depends on what you’re into. If you like Vegas history, try to make an appointment to see the Neon Museums’ ‘boneyard’ where they story the old neon signs to be restored.

For locals casinos, check out either Green Valley Ranch in Henderson or Red Rock Resort in Summerlin. Both are owned by Station Casinos and are very upscale, especially Red Rock…

If you’re into hiking or bike riding, Red Rock Canyon (near Red Rock Resort in Summerlin) offers some amazing views and vistas.

There are just so many things, it is hard to come up with a short list!

Ninaf asked on 01/30/07

I came across information about Battistas Hole in The Wall Italian restaurant while doing some browsing on various sites. Do you have any info about this restaurant such as quality of food, prices, etc. Thank you

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, this place is a good, old school Italian joint. If you’re looking for some good food, it’s a decent stop. It’s been around for a long time.

They have a Web site with a menu:

Doug K asked on 01/29/07

My wife and I are staying at the Flamingo in March. We booked one of the new GO Luxury rooms. Recently we heard Paris has started remodeling rooms. We have been wanting to stay there in the past, but have been scared away by the condition of some of the rooms. Are the newly remodeled Paris rooms nicer then the Flamingo Go rooms? Do you have pictures of what the new rooms look like?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Paris has been doing some remodeling, yes. They haven’t released photos of the new rooms. The level of amenities will be somewhat consistent with what they are doing at Flamingo but the difference is that where Flamingo is essentially creating a new class of rooms, Paris is renovating all rooms to this new standard. The rooms are probably about a wash in terms of ‘niceness’.

While you can reserve a ‘Go’ room at Flamingo (and be charged for it), Paris will not likely guarantee you a renovated room – they will take the request but it is based on availability.

John asked on 01/27/07

I Plan on booking a vacation at the MGM Grand in april but before I do I was wondering how would I be able to upgrade to a 2 bedroom suite and how much more it would run me. Me and my cousin are looking to party and we would prefer to have seperate rooms.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You need to call the hotel and they will be able to quote you. Rates vary every day.

2-bedroom suites are high end accommodations and they will charge a premium.

If you are truly interested, I suggest you take action soon – these are the first types of rooms that usually sell out.

carol asked on 01/27/07

Friends of mine just returned from staying at Bally’s. They tell me the room needed a good “updating.” Didn’t they just do that a couple years ago? I am not sure what tower they were in but I assumed both towers had been redone. Can you update me so when we go I know what tower to request.

Thanks again.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, all of the rooms were renovated in the past few years. Still, the hotel is pretty old and there are some things that a renovation can’t hide. Depending on what your friends were specifically referring to, I can’t really say. Both towers have rooms that look the same post renovation.

DoubleGW asked on 01/27/07

Hi Hunter!

I’m always updating myself on your site, it is great!

There was a question about finding a voucher when you get home that you haven’t cashed in.

I had the same problem from Paris. I called them up, talked with my host, told them my problem (it was for over $100) and they forwarded me to Caesars where I spoke with a representative.

I was actually allowed to mail in the voucher (it was about 2 days until expiration) and about a month later, I received a check in the mail for the voucher amount.

Therefore, it is possible, one must have the chutzpah and ask around and follow it thru.

Thanks for the awesome site!….Gigi

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wow, this is very interesting. I’ve been told many times that this isn’t allowed so I don’t know if you got lucky or if there is a shift in policy. Either way, I wouldn’t count on this. Make sure you cash your tickets before you leave! Thanks for writing in.

carol asked on 01/27/07

Another question on dinner shows. Can you give me any info on dinner show at Egg & I? It is another interaction type and it looks like a small theatre. I think the show is called Murder She Wrote. Have you heard anything regarding it? It is less expensive then the Sopranos and probably shorter but sounds fun.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is a show that I’m not familiar with at all… It’s actually called ‘Marriage Can Be Murder’ and other than the reviews on their Web site, I can’t really comment. If you’re looking for some inexpensive entertainment and you’re willing to take a chance, maybe this is a good option.

Jessica asked on 01/27/07

Thanks so much for answering my previous question on la reve. I just found out from the wynn that la reve will be dark for most of march when I am there. Now I only have one night to get O seats during my stay and the best availble or logia seating. Are these fairly good seats? Do you think we’ll enjoy O as much as we would have enjoyed la reve. I should have checked this out so much sooner. Thanks again for your wonderful help. Jess

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unless it says ‘partially obstructed’, most views in the ‘O Theater’ are pretty good. Actually, some people see the show more than once from different vantage points as it can be a different experience.

Many people prefer ‘O’ to ‘Le Reve’ so I think you’ll be happy.

Mark asked on 01/26/07

I do not see much information about the Four Seasons posted?
I am torn between the four seasons and Bellagio? They are both the same price during my stay. What do you suggest?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Four Seasons gets most of its infrastructure from Mandalay Bay, so make sure you look at their page also.

The Four Seasons is a very quiet hotel with a high level of personalized service. The rooms are well appointed but other than that, not really all that special. They have two restaurants on site and then for the rest of your dining you need to go to Mandalay Bay.

Some people swear by the Four Seasons and in any other city I would probably recommend it but in Las Vegas, I wouldn’t pick it. Bellagio offers you a ‘Las Vegas experience’ but the Four Seasons does not. If you’re looking for a high end place to stay in LV and for some reason you want to avoid all the stuff that makes Vegas into Vegas, then the Four Seasons is a good choice.

I hope this makes sense. I’m not knocking the Four Seasons at all – it’s just a different product.

Eileen Ketcham asked on 01/26/07

I would like to know when the Lady Luck Casino in downtown Vegas is going to reopen?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No one really knows. We’re creeping up on the announced date, which is Q12007. Many wonder if it will ever re-open but we’ll just have to wait and see.

carol asked on 01/26/07

Interested in the dinner show The Sopranos. We are arriving 4/23 for 5 nights. I find it listed at two different locations. One is at the Aladdin (Krave theatre) and the other at The Empire Room on Sahara Blvd. Two questions. Have you had any feed back on this show and where is it really playing.

Thanks. Carol

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It was at Krave for a long time but has recently moved to the Empire Ballroom, which is actually off Tropicana… Over by MGM Grand, across from Monte Carlo in the little strip mall. I’ve heard people have enjoyed the show… It’s a dinner show so you’re there for a good chunk of time… Some audience participation – grabbing people on to the stage, etc… If you’re into that, I think it’s a good option to spend an evening.

Becky asked on 01/25/07

Do you know of any casinos that have the game of Carribean DRAW poker. It is so much better than stud! Thx

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I asked around a bit and so far, none that I know of. Interesting that it seems hard to find. I’ve never seen it in the casino. Is it a new game? I suggest you keep looking – poker type games are still very popular.

Nina asked on 01/25/07

I am coming to Vegas Feb. 6 – Feb. 13. I booked at the Flamingo because that is where our friends had booked rooms. Can you give me an update on the condition of the rooms, how to get an upgrade, and just an overall review of this hotel. We have stayed at the Mirage and MGM Grand in the past. Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy… Some of the rooms have recently been re-done. There are a certain new class of rooms called the ‘Go’ room that are done with a vibrant pink and include some new furnishings. You can request this type of room and I have attached photos of the renovated rooms.

For info on upgrades, I suggest you search on the ‘$20 trick’ as it is has been covered many, many times.

The hotel page is linked to this response so you can read all the user comments for The Flamingo.

Carlos asked on 01/25/07

Hi!!! Excellent Web site!!!

I´m from Latin America and i reserve at Excalibur hotel few weeks ago… I just check another times the rates in their Web site and they are cheaper than my reservation!!!

How they will charge me? the rates that i reserved or the actual in the Website?

i can cancel and do another reservation?

Tnanku and congrats!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Did you book through their Web site or through some other means? The following applies if you booked with them directly, either on their Web site or through their phone number. If you booked through a travel agent or a Web site like then you need to contact them instead..

If you booked with Excalibur, you can get the better rate but you have to ask. They will not automatically shift your rate downward… I suggest you call them and tell them that you’d like the new lower rate. They will update your reservation and you will pay less. This is a good thing to check into as your vacation gets closer – sometimes you can save some money!

Michael asked on 01/24/07

I have an interesting question for you, and one that I don’t think has been covered. When I was last in Vegas (2 weekends ago) I ended up arriving home with 2 cashout vouchers from 2 different casinos. One, from the Golden Nugget, states (as most do) that it can only be cashed in person, and only within 30 days. Another (from Casino Royale) makes no mention of “in person” but does state that it must be cashed within 30 days. First, how is the “30 day” rule even legal? Second, how can casinos not allow one to be compensated via mail? This must happen to many people! Thanks as always!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, you have thirty days and they must be cashed in person. I found a $100 ticket from Beau Rivage in MS after we had left and I couldn’t cash it… What I ended up doing was sending it to a Biloxi charity and they were able to cash it. Better than letting MGM MIRAGE keep it!

Casino chips and tickets are not legal tender. You can’t use them like money at restaurants or shows, even on the casino property. The rules that govern them are established by the State of Nevada and these are the rules they have come up with. Part of it is to foil counterfeiters and some is to allow the casinos to have some reasonable way to handle their accounting. In addition to the rules you specified, casinos can ‘discontinue’ chips – this is done fairly often with larger denomination chips or when a casino is closing. They have to post a notice in newspaper and give thirty days for people to come in and cash them. After that, cashing them is at their discretion.

Playing in the casino is an at-will activity and since its not tender, these rules are all kosher. The only tickets that can be cashed via mail are sports book tickets. Instructions are usually on the back.

Terry Sincich asked on 01/24/07

Hi Hunter:

Seeking your valuable advice again. Visiting Vegas May 6-9, with another couple…looking to stay at Mirage or TI. How does the Petite suite at TI compare to regular Deluxe room at Mirage? (price about the same per night) The Strip view room at TI also under consideration. I’ve heard rooms at TI have been remodeled. What is your preference?

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The deluxe rooms at The Mirage are fine when compared to other standard hotel rooms (even if they are a little small compared to today’s standards) but when lined up against a suite of any type, even a junior suite like you describe, they are going to come up short. The TI room will be a little larger and as you imply some recent minor renovations have updated parts of the room (new beds, drapes, etc… – not a major renovation). So, I would take the petite suite over the Mirage deluxe room (standard room) but the Mirage over the TI Strip view. Hope that helps.

Jessica Johnson asked on 01/24/07

Hi Hunter, I’ll be in vegas in march to see the red piano. We are staying at the wynn and i have been waiting for tickets for la reve to go on sale for when i am there. Tickets have gone on sale for that time for monty python but not la reve. Does this mean the show will no longer be there or does the wynn have another theater. If la reve is not there I need to hurry and get tickets to another show. Thank you so much., Jess

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are two theaters at Wynn Las Vegas, one for Le Reve and another for Spamalot. Tickets are typically on sale 90 days before the show date. Some people have made noise about Le Reve having problems but I heard Steve Wynn himself say that the show is making money and that it isn’t going anywhere (at least for now). I suggest you either keep watching the WLV booking site at or you call the Wynn Las Vegas concierge and ask them to help you set it up.

Mike asked on 01/23/07

Here’s sort of a complicated one for you. Last summer a group of about 30 friends and I flew out for a short Thur-Sun Vegas weekend. On Friday I got a Parlor Suite at the Wynn so that we could throw a party. We really liked the room and it worked out very well for the party (1950 square feet was plenty of room, great view, wet bar, nicely appointed). We’re planning on doing something similar in mid May 07. Here is my question, although Wynn’s Parlor Suite worked out perfect, I’d really like to find another similar suite without it being exactly the same. My research has helped me narrow down my list to these 1 bedroom Suites…

THE hotel – The L Penthouse suite (they sent me the floor plan 2,160 sf but I can’t seem to find any actual pics)

Wynn – Fairway Villa (saw your pics, thx, 2,400 sf, like the patio)

MGM Grand – Terrace Suite (I’ve seen pics and floor plans, 1,300 sf about half the suite is outside on terrace)

Bellagio – Lake Suite (2,075 sf seen floor plan, has nice view of the Lake)

Mandalay Bay – Vista Suite (1,700 sf, have floor plan, nothing else)

Mandalay Bay – South Seas Suite (2,170 have floor plan, nothing else)

First, The one that I’m the most curious about is the L Penthouse Suite at the THEhotel. Do you know anything about it? Any pics?

Second, I think the Terrace Suite would be really cool, but the party will take place mostly at night and I’m not sure if I should be worried about the temp or wind in mid May.

Third, what do you think about the others? Are there any that aren’t on my list that should be? How would you rank them? Any info you can provide would be appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


The ‘L’ suites at THEHotel look just like the normal suites there, they are just a bit larger due to their location in the tower.

The Wynn Las Vegas Fairway Villas would be an amazing choice for a party and a truly jaw-dropping experience. Your guests would not forget it!! They can be hard to get though. They are not always available and sometimes you don’t know until the last minute. Besides the Fairway, the WLV ‘Salon’ suites are also an EXCELLENT choice.

The MGM Grand Terrace Suites are cool but as you said, not all that large… Plus, it’s the MGM Grand, which isn’t the nicest hotel on the planet. It will probably be a little cold out there which as you note, will probably damper things a bit.

Bellagio has several choices and of course the service is also great.

I would not recommend anything at Mandalay Bay (the main tower). Service is declining there and the rooms aren’t that nice in my opinion.

Another one to look at would be the ‘Hospitality Suite’ at The Mirage. They are designed for parties with a large common area. They have info on their Web site: Mirage Hospitality Suite

I’d go with something at Wynn Las Vegas first, then Bellagio or The Mirage, then THEHotel, MGM Grand and Mandalay following in that order. Make sure you check out the Wynn Salon suite and the Hospitality suite at The Mirage.

I hope this helps.

John Hart asked on 01/22/07

I will be staying at the Aladdin on Feb 8th to 12th for a conference. What is the status of the conversion to Planet Hollywood? Is there a lot of visable construction and noise? Please advise on current conditions.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’ll notice it. It’s been going on a lot longer than originally planned and while it may have peaked and now be wrapping up, there’s still construction walls up in the casino. You shouldn’t notice too much noise in the room, just down on the floor. I would say the worst is over.

Becky asked on 01/17/07

First, thank you for answering my question about where to eat alone in town. Now, what about things to do,sights to see mostly free, if you are alone. I will be confined to the strip and don’t mind walking

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I can’t recall if you’ve been to Las Vegas before or not but seeing the sites isn’t too much different solo vs. in a group. Stuff like the Fountains of Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage and other free attractions plus shopping, gambling and just people watching work just as well by yourself. Just walking the Strip and seeing the various hotels can take days if you really take the time to check them out. If you’re confined to the Strip then that’s probably the best way to fill some hours. Other stuff, like Red Rock Canyon or the Neon Museum would require transportation (car). One thing you should consider is going downtown to Fremont Street. This is easy via taxi or even the bus and you get a feel for an older Las Vegas. There’s a lot of history down there and it is worth seeing.