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Scott asked on 01/17/07

This is a great source of information,and I thank you for your response.

I’m curious if you know the status of the Paris room renovations. It looks like they started in Oct/nov. Do you have any information about if they are doing all the rooms and if so what is the time schedule for them to be completed? I’m staying in late march and was wondering if they will be done by then.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They are scheduled to be done in February but of course, that is subject to change. When you check in I would confirm that the floor you’re being put on isn’t directly above or below a floor that is being renovated as that can be very disruptive.

D. Nelson asked on 01/17/07

I will be in vegas from March 21- April 5. I know the grand prix is the following weekend, but what events will be occuring that week, what roads will be closed and how will it effect downtown?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The course is online on their Web site here:

It also includes info on supplemental events. It will have a pretty significant impact on traffic Downtown so if you’re worried about being able to get around during the event, that’s understandable. Since you’ll be there before the event you’ll likely only encounter some minor setup disruption.

Steve asked on 01/16/07

I will be in Vegas next week with my mother and sister and staying at Bellagio. Neither are into big or expensive dinners, so if I want a great steak I will probably be on my own. Do you know if Prime has a bar where I could sit comfortably and have a few drinks and eat my meal, or do you think I would be too crowded. What about The Range or Steakhouse 46?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Prime does serve the menu at their small bar so for a single person, it is a good spot. Another great place for single dining on a great steak is Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian. The bar area is pretty lively so you don’t feel all alone… Both Prime and Delmonico are several cuts above The Range and Steakhouse 46.

Mike asked on 01/16/07

I’m heading to Vegas next weekend (Jan 25-29) and have noticed that many of the hotels are in sell out situations.

Is there a big convention in town next weekend? Is it all related to the Miss America Pageant taking place in Vegas?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are several good sized conventions in town which always jack up rates… About 100,000 conventioneers in that general timeframe are soaking up the rooms.

Skyy asked on 01/15/07

Hey Hunter, long time no question…

Hubby and I are finally making it back to Sin City after TWO years!

In order to have drinks in the lounge at Top of the World do you need to have dinner there as well? Is the lounge seperate from the restaurant?

Thanks a million!!!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Top Of The World Lounge at the Stratosphere is a separate area from the restaurant and you can go just for drinks, dinner is not required (some special events have different rules but this is the general guideline).

Jonathan asked on 01/15/07

Hi Hunter,

I think your blog is great. I read it all the time. It keeps me well informed on the Las Vegas happenings.

Do you know where I could find the best martini? I’m headed to Las Vegas this Friday(1/19) and I’m looking for a place/restaurant/bar for a before dinner cocktail and may not necessarily eat there. So, people watching would be an added bonus. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


There are lots of good martinis all over town but if you’re into vodka martinis, Red Square at Mandalay Bay has more vodka selections than any other place in town.

Another good choice is Olives or Picasso, both at Bellagio. They are better known as restaurants but head to the bar and soak it all in.

Sara asked on 01/14/07

HI Hunter!

My husband and I will be going to Vegas in April, and are spending some time with family there also for grandma’s 85th birthday. First, where would you recommend to eat with the family that is nice but not horribly fancy or horribly expensive. We definitely need one nice restaraunt -someone recommended Jasmine at Bellagio. Next husband and I want to have at least one nice meal by ourselves. Last time there our “special” meal was Alize and we loved it. We’re looking for something similar to that. Thanks for the help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Jasmine is great but it’s pretty traditional Chinese restaurant and not cheap. If you like really good Chinese food, it’s a top choice (that and Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas). I don’t know if I would think of it as a family place. Noodles, Bellagio’s noodle kitchen would be much more of a family spot if you want something Asian. Since you didn’t say where you were staying or what kind of food you wanted, this is pretty tough to answer. There are literally hundreds of choices. For a nice special meal, if you liked Alize, I would take a look at Alex (Wynn Las Vegas), Picasso (Bellagio), Eiffel Tower Restaurant (Paris), or maybe Okada (Wynn Las Vegas). All are great choices and all pretty different. Read up by following the links below to get some more specifics on the restaurants.

Carlo asked on 01/13/07

Hey Hunter, awesome site, very helpful. My girlfriend and I will be staying at the MGM Grand from Jan 25-28. It will be the first time that either of us have been to Vegas and we are trying to decide what clubs/lounges to go to. We are leaning more towards lounges or “ultra-lounges” because we really don’t want to stand in long lines or be packed like sardines inside the club. My concern is that becuase we are going on the weekend almost all of the clubs/lounges will feature long lines and will be packed. Any advice on what places don’t get too crowded? Obviously we don’t want the place to be dead, but we just want a little space to breathe. I’ve read good things about tabu, lure, voodoo lounge, caramel, and mix. Do you know if the free passes from and actually work. I assume you stiil have to get there before midnight. Also, do you recommend any of the free hotel bars/lounges? I’ve heard some are fun on weekends. Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you very much. The popular ultra-lounges typically have some lines, though not as bad as the full-blown nightclubs. Still, they do pack ’em in just as tight in the hot spots. Ultra-lounges are basically nightclubs without full on dancing and other than that, the same rules pretty much apply.

The problem with going to a place that isn’t crowded is that it can feel pretty dead and then it’s not really all that much fun.

For some ultra-lounges, check out the following:

  • Caramel (Bellagio)
  • Revolution (The Mirage)
  • Lure (Wynn Las Vegas) – sometimes very dead, sometimes busy.
  • Ghostbar (Palms) – this can get very busy but it has a great view
  • MIX (THEHotel at Mandalay Bay) – best view in town. Great spot.
  • Voodoo Lounge (Rio) – also on the roof. Great view and usually live music.

The passes you can get online sometimes help. Often it’s the difference between the insanely long line and just the long line. Bypassing the line entirely is usually a myth unless you have a reserved table, which means buying bottles of booze.

As far as hotel bars, some to check out:

  • Fontana (Bellagio) – watch the fountains.
  • Parasol Down (Wynn Las Vegas) – see their ‘Lake of Dreams’ attraction up close.
  • Japonais Lounge (The Mirage) – good people watching, just relaxing

There are so many choices when it comes to nightlife, it can be overwhelming. Still, that also means that it is easy to have fun.

MGM Grand has the Centrifuge Bar in the middle of the front part of the casino that can be nice and their ultra-lounge, Tabu, is popular.

Have a great trip.

phil asked on 01/13/07

Where can I book on the net to get tickets for the Barry Manilow show at the Las Vegas Hilton for March 2008?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hello There,

Dates for 2008 haven’t yet been announced. Expect to see a schedule of dates in August or September of this year.

Once they are announced, they will go up for sale on the Las Vegas Hilton Web site.

Nancy asked on 01/12/07

Hi Hunter
I was wondering if the Bellagio has a “VIP” or club level room where they provide free beverages, snacks etc. similar to the Club Level at the Ritz Carlton Hotels? Does the Wynn also have something similar to this? Thanks so much in advance for your reply.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nancy, the VIP lounges at both Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas have some limited beverages and snacks but not much and getting into these lounges can be tough sometimes.

One casino company that does do this often is Harrah’s with their Diamond Lounge.

Jason asked on 01/12/07

I’m going to be in Vegas next weekend (January 12/20) and want to take my girlfriend to Ghost Bar at The Palms, she’s never been there. The last time I was there, I had to wait 45 minutes to get in….do you have any tips for getting on a list or other methods of getting up without waiting in line forever?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

One good way to get upstairs is to dine in advance at the Nine steakhouse – they can often walk you right upstairs. Ask when you make your reservation. Other than that, it’s a matter of coming early, unfortunately.

The lists don’t work that well.

Jen asked on 01/12/07

Howdy Hey!
Hitting Vegas again in May.
Would love to get a few suggestions of great places to eat on the strip that are not to stuffy. Last trip we ate at Aize and loved the atmosphere. We are foodies for a living so we do enjoy a good meal but are not to happy about feeling like we have to whisper. Have you been to Alex’s in the Wynn? Any ideas?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Alex at Wynn Las Vegas is one of, if not the, best restaurant in town. The room is gorgeous and the food is amazing. If you’re into a high end meal, I recommend it.

The other top place in town would be Joël Robuchon at The Mansion at MGM Grand. Another place where the food is out of this world.

They’re both high end but I would say Alex is a bit less stuffy than Robuchon.

Becky asked on 01/12/07

Hello! I am wondering if you could recommend some eating sites to me. I am in Vegas w/ my husband BUT due to client obligation he will not be joining me for any meals. Any good suggestions on where I could eat alone. I tend to like middle to high end and am centrally located at the Mirage. Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, not knowing what kind of food you like, I’ll take some random stabs. These places I am mentioning have a walk-up bar to sit at if you don’t want a table for one.

  • Daniel Boloud (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • Country Club (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • Japonais (The Mirage)
  • Social House (Treasure Island)
  • SW Steakhouse (Wynn Las Vegas)
  • STACK (The Mirage)
  • Tao (The Venetian)

Those run the gamut.

Scott asked on 01/12/07

Hi Hunter,

Excellent website you have. Hope you don’t mind answering a simple question! I’m from the UK and I have two rooms booked in May at the Bellagio. I’ve paid the deposit already by credit card, but I was wondering when I arrive will they accept US$ travellers cheques? At the moment the £ > $ exchange rate is very good, so if I get travellers cheques (rather than carrying lots of cash) at the current exchange rate, it could make my stay much cheaper. I was going to wait until May and pay the rest on card, but the exchange rate could be lower by then.

What would you suggest?

Thanks again =)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure, you should be able to pay with travelers checks. Worst case you could cash them at the cage and pay cash but I’ve used travelers checks before and they seem to treat them same as cash.

You might as well benefit from the strength of your currency!

Warren Forbes asked on 01/09/07

Two questions in one! First, can you recommend a place near center strip where I can get good, not-too-expensive sushi? Second, I’ll be spending two nights at Wynn, in a standard resort room. What’s the difference between the standard resort rooms and the tower suite rooms? I’ve read comments from you suggesting that the tower suite rooms are about 18 billion times better.

Thanks for your website. It’s very informative.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Second question first… The Tower Suite rooms themselves are almost identical to the Resort Tower rooms. The difference is in the level of service and other related amenities. For Tower Suites, you check-in via a private lobby, you get talk with a different concierge, have access to a set of private pools, etc… Generally it feels like a different hotel. Not to say the Resort side is bad, it’s just big and less personal than the Tower Suites side.

On the sushi front, check out Social House at Treasure Island, Bonsai at Aladdin or perhaps Ichiban Sushi at Bally’s.

Thanks for the kind words and have a great trip!

Laura asked on 01/09/07

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to LV in March and we have found the cheapest place to stay on the strip is the stratosphere. Is the location of it that bad? Would it be too far north to be able to walk the strip? We just need a nice pool area and decent room to crash in. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Strat is very removed from the rest of the Strip. If you want to do some walking and you’re staying there, you need to be prepared for a lot of walking.. Lots.

If you’re looking for other cheap options, I suggest you check the following:

Imperial Palace
Barbary Coast

All of those are no/minimum frills and usually a deal. The BC has no pool. Rates vary but check them all. Sometimes good deals lurk.

linda asked on 01/09/07


I am planning a trip to Las Vegas in early March. It will be my second trip and my husband’s first. I was looking at the Mirage, Paris, Monte Carlo, or NYNY. A pool is more important to me than my husband. My husband is an AA member for 16 years and loves to gamble more than I do. We both want a center location. Monte Carlo rates are better but the Mirage appears nicer…..Any construction going on? Paris and NYNY also good prices…any insider recommendations?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

After a period of extensive remodel, construction at The Mirage is complete and that’s where I would recommend you stay. It’s a great property with an awesome pool and now you also have a new set of restaurants, updated last year. The Mirage was originally a high-roller hotel and while it has been surpassed by places like Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage still offers a lot of that super-high-quality that you don’t see at places like Monte Carlo and NYNY.

Derek asked on 01/08/07

Hi Hunter. I know you probably have answered this question many of times but I need your honest opinion. I have been going to Vegas once a year for the past 8 years now and have always stayed at The Mirage but this time I am leaning towards The Bellagio. I know the pool is better at the Mirage and it focus more on fun where as when I am in Bellagio it can feel a little stuffy. So is it worth the extra cash to stay at the Bellagio when it comes to service and the Lake view? Or should I try The Venetian or Wynn. PS I don’t mind the stuffiness.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

RIght off the bat I would strike The Venetian from the list. It’s a hotel for conventioneers and high-end high rollers first and all other tourist groups a trailing second and if you like The Mirage, it is not what I would recommend.

I have stayed at The Mirage probably upwards of 25 times, though in the last two years, most of my trips have been to Wynn Las Vegas. This past December, we tried Bellagio again after not staying there since 2000.

I was VERY impressed with Bellagio. They have stepped up their game to compete with WLV and they are doing a great job of it. Both Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio have strengths and weaknesses though I’m guessing you’d be happy at either one. Sometimes it is nice to splurge and stay in a really nice place and they both qualify.

At Wynn LV, they have two sections of the hotel – the ‘Resort’ tower and what they call the ‘Tower Suites’. Both are in the same building (WLV only has one tower as of this writing) but they are vastly different experiences. If you consider WLV, I suggest booking at least a standard room in the ‘Tower Suites’ section, the only hotel-casino in the world to have both 5-Star and 5-Diamond designations (Bellagio is 4-Star). The standard rooms in the Tower Suites section are more expensive but I think it is worth it – you get a higher level of service and that’s part of the whole point of upgrading to WLV.

Both WLV and Bellagio have great restaurants. I think that WLV has benefitted from design improvements since Bellagio but that’s not to put down the ‘B’ – it’s still going great.

You could argue that Bellagio is in a much better location, though advantage will be reduced over time.

Bottom line, both WLV and Bellagio will deliver a great experience. As far as if it is worth it to step up from The Mirage, it’s hard to say. If you value service highly, then probably. The rooms at both places are larger than The Mirage (and WLV’s are bigger than Bellagio – the rooms are nice and large).

The Mirage has been extensively upgraded in the last 18 months but at the end of the day it is still almost 20 years old and in some places that shows, room sizes being one of those places.

I think even if you just do one trip to Bellagio or WLV and then go back to The Mirage next year, it’s worth it to give it a try.

LIZA asked on 01/08/07

Hi, I was wondering if there is a resturant in Vegas that serves Cherries Jubilee. My friends and I are going there next month for a special occasion and that is her favorite. Please help me out.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’ll find them in some restaurants, sure. Unfortunately, one restaurant that served a popular version just closed – Pietro’s at the Tropicana.

One low-end restaurant that serves this is the coffee shop at the California, downtown.

Michael’s at the Barbary Coast serves it often. Still, call to confirm for the night you will be there as some dishes change at times.

Hugo’s Cellar, at the Four Queens on Fremont, also does a popular version.

It’s a bit of a throwback so that’s why some of the more traditional and older restaurants are the ones that are usually serving it.

carol or asked on 01/07/07

4 women going to Vegas in April. We would like to stay in a suite with two bedrooms. Do you have any info on the Tower Suites at the Mirage? We are staying 5 nights and would like to keep the cost reasonable. thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you know that you want a suite then you’re probably looking at a two bedroom Tower Suite. This is a room I have stayed in several times and it’s quite a good choice. The suite decor at The Mirage is now a bit dated but everything is very nice and clean, the room is quite spacious and the master bathroom is huge.

It’s a great room and depending on the timing, it is often reasonably priced.

Since you didn’t ask any specific questions, I’m not sure what info you’re looking for.

Here are some photos of a Penthouse Suite. While this is a higher end room than the Tower Suite, the layout is identical. The only difference is the furniture.

Mirage Penthouse Suite

Mirage Penthouse Suite

Mirage Penthouse Suite

Mirage Penthouse Suite

Mirage Penthouse Suite

Mirage Penthouse Suite

Raymond asked on 01/07/07

HI there: First, terrific site, very informative. My question is this – my wife and I travel to Las Vegas 3 or 4 times per year – we are close to 50. We go there for the fine dining, shopping, and people watching during the day, and just chill at night. That said, we are always in search of a quiet and luxurious room. We normally stay in the Penthouse suite at the Bellagio for 4 or 5 nites per trip. Our last trip left us less than thrilled with the service, so we are moving on. We’ve stayed at Rio, WLV, The Venetian, Signature and, of course, Bellagio. When I’m doing our travel research, the high end rooms are often not offered, and we don’t gamble much, so we know we won’t get comp’d. How do we find the higher end rooms while doing our research?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Great question. You are correct that often the high-end rooms are not available on the Web sites of the hotels. Getting info can be tough sometimes but there are folks that know.

Honestly, our blog site (linked in the header), features trip reports from some of the highest end accommodations in town – from villas at Wynn Las Vegas to the SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand. The info is a bit scattered but this link below is to the subsection for trip reports.

Second, feel free to ask here! We’re a bit more focused on the high end than the other side of the equation and often times I have a lot of photos of rooms you can’t find elsewhere. For instance, some folks didn’t even know the Bellagio Cypress Suites existed but we have some shots in our photo section.

As these hotels start to try to attract high value non-gaming guests, I would expect to be able to get more and more info over the next few years so this may get easier.

We’d love to try to help you.

Rob asked on 01/04/07

Hi Hunter – great website and blog – still one of the best – if not THE best!

Hope you can help on this question of Vegas etiquette.
When you’re playing the slots on the casino floor – it’s clear that the drinks are free from the cocktail waitresses (tips aside). But what’s the deal if you are sitting on a bar stool, at a walk up bar – playing the video machines embedded in the bar?

Last time I was in Vegas I had different experiences.
A bartender at Sante Fe Station gave me a tab showing all my drinks as free, most strip hotels gave me a full priced tab, and the Luxor gave me some of my drinks for free.
Also a guy I was talking to at the Excalibur said that he always challenges any tab that charges him for drinks when he is playing.

What’s your experience view on this ?

Also a guy I was talking to at the Excalibur said that he always challenges any tab that charges him for drinks when he is playing.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks very much. I do this stuff because I really enjoy helping people with their vacation planning – it’s fun! It’s nice to be noticed – thanks for the kind words.

To your question, typically if you sit down and play, you should b comped. Some bars have rules about how many drinks they can give you based on how long you are there (or how many $20 bills you put in).

Make sure you get started playing before you order and don’t be afraid to ask. They are supposed to comp you those drinks and while the bill they put in front of you might look like it has a balance, they should be free. They have to do a tab for all drinks for accounting reasons (comps go on their books as promotional/operating expenses).

A few years back Mandalay Bay tried to curb comped drinks at the bar but that experiment didn’t go over well so they nixed the policy.

scott asked on 01/03/07

First thanks for running this forum.

My question is about the Paris Hotel. I have been to LV about once a year for 7 years now and have stayed at the Paris for 2 times now. I have never had an issue with the hotel,but have been reading some bad reviews recently. I got 4 nights comped for March,so I will be staying here. Should I be concerned about the bad reviews I have seen ? My wife and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary so I want it to be special. We are not that hard to please. We just expect clean,convienent and a nice room with a view.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! As far as hotel reviews on the Internet goes, sometimes some perspective is needed. Anyone can have a bad experience, even at a great place. You can’t tell if the guest was acting crazy and asking for something impossible, etc… That said, if you see a set of bad reviews, I think it is good to ask questions. My last stay at Paris was last April and I had no problems at all. The location is good and the service was totally satisfactory. The rooms are clean and I’ve always thought nicely decorated and well maintained. Overall, I haven’t heard of any big red flags regarding Paris recently.

Sandy asked on 01/03/07

We are Vegas regulars but have never stayed as far down as the Sahara.We are treating are daughter and friend in July to a trip with us and would like to spend our cash on dinners and shopping ,shows etc.I have been looking at the Sahara and Imperial Palace. Is the monorail stop right at the hotel at Sahara or just close? Have you ever viewed rooms at the Imperial? The pool looks better at the Sahara also, any tips.Normally we stay at Flamingo or Monte Carlo so I know what to expect with these properties.Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve seen the rooms at both and they are clean but no-frills. Think Motel 6 style accommodations. The Sahara monorail station is located at the very, very back of the property but they have walkways and signs – it’s not too hard to get back there. The IP certainly has a better location but I wouldn’t tell you not to stay at the Sahara either. As far as the pools go, they are pretty close actually – more like a standard hotel pool in any city, not a Vegas spectacular.

Both properties can offer some great value. I would probably gravitate toward the IP if prices are similar, based on location.

CR asked on 01/03/07

I’m traveling to Vegas in early January and understand it gets pretty chilly in the evenings. Do most night clubs have coat checks? What about the hotels the clubs are located in…will they allow you to check your coat? Great site btw.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, it can get pretty cold. These days most of the clubs do have a facility to check a coat but you often have to ask as it can be non-obvious. As far as the hotels go, some of the bell desks will help you check a coat just as any other item. Hope that helps!

Gary asked on 01/02/07

hi,i go to vegas at least 4 times a year , and its getting harder to find a right time to go with all the different conventions jacking up the prices of rooms.Do you have away of knowing when the conventions come to town ? thanks gary

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, there are calendars online. The one I like the best is coordinated by the LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority) and is searchable here:

Duncan asked on 01/02/07

Hi, thanks very much for taking the time to read and answer my question.
I am due to fly into Las Vegas for a week at the begining of April. We are booked into the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood ans are trying to find out about the Construction/renovation timetable. When booking we were told it would all be changed over by 2006, on the Aladdin website the link to Planet Hollywood says coming 2006.
Do you know the completion date for the project and when it will become ‘Planet Hollywood’?
Thanks for helping

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You are welcome… The project has gone on longer than anyone thought it would, that’s for sure. I took another look around in both mid-November and mid-December and while it still was not done on my last trip, the progress in those three weeks was significant, leading me to believe that it is finally moving at a good clip… While anything can happen, I would expect the casino floor to be done by the time you are there. Still, some other amenities like additional restaurants and changes at the shopping mall may still be in progress.

EMILEE C asked on 01/01/07

Also we want to reserve a spacious room (2 queen beds + sleeper couch minimum) without hurting the wallet TOO much :) is it possible and where???? thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I don’t think you’re going to find any room with two queens AND a couch that yo could sleep on… A standard Las Vegas hotel room (i.e. non-suite) has a occupancy limit of four persons. You can get a rollaway in a room with two queens but you might have to lie about the number of people if you are indeed shooting for more than four. Of course you can also start looking at suites but unless you get a two-bedroom suite you won’t find a single bedroom suite with two queens. That is just not a configuration that is usually offered.

You might want to look at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. It’s an all-suite addition to Mandalay Bay and the rooms are a nice size. Also, Tower Suites at The Mirage are good for hosting larger groups of people are are available in two-bedroom configurations.

Of course those are all much more expensive than a standard guest room. Prices fluctuate all the time so I strongly suggest you look around and even come back and check the places you’re interested in again to see if the prices have come down at all.

I hope this helps.

EMILEE C asked on 01/01/07

So after reading a lot of your posts I’m really hesitant to stay at The Venetian (i think i’ll cancel our reservation). Me and 4 of my girlfriends are going to Vegas Jan 12-14. I always end up being the event planner. I need some ideas and advices. We don’t mind spend THE BUCKS but we still do appreciate deals & discounts. What hotel do you recommend us staying at? We’re mainly going there to get crazy and party Friday night & Saturday. We are used to not waiting in lines at our clubs here in S.Diego. What can you suggest for us to do if we DONT want to wait in lines too much. And what are the hot clubs that are not over-rated (ex. im not a fan of Pure, but i also dont mind Tao though). Thanks so much!!! WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING CRAZY WICKED FUN THERE! :)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in Las Vegas (and most people choose The Venetian because they think they will get that), your best bets are Wynn Las Vegas or Bellagio for top of the line service and I might include a hotel like THEHotel at Mandalay Bay if you want more nightlife (though this is really less of an issue as Bellagio and WLV both have very popular nightclubs).

If you’re not familiar with the Vegas nightclub scene, I suggest you listen to a recent podcast I did on the tropic. We talk about a lot of the issues you’re asking about, especially the dreaded waiting in line.

You can find that podcast here:“”

You can use iTunes to grab it from the above link. Basically, to avoid lines you need a table and to do that you’re going to need to make a reservation very, very soon for the popular spots. Tao is quite popular but honestly, I would take a serious look at Tryst (Wynn Las Vegas) because it has a large outdoor patio with a huge waterfall that’s just gorgeous and also Light (Bellagio).

Since the podcast covers almost all the nightclub bases I don’t really want to repeat myself here but if after listening you still have questions, please come right on back and ask away.

If you need help making your reservations for the various nightclubs (sometimes they will not have tables available), I strongly suggest you contact Bill Le. He is in the business of making the impossible possible when it comes to Las Vegas nightclubs. You can reach him here:“” and please mention that we sent you.

Have fun!

Kathy asked on 12/31/06

We are coming to Vegas in June. Getting ready to make reservations and am concerned about the different reviews I’m reading regarding the Flamingo. The location is awesome. We love the sound of the pool area but keep reading mixed reviews regarding the rooms, pushy timeshare folks, and room service trays left in the halls. Can you help?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Flamingo is a solid mid-range hotel that has recently renovated some of its rooms and plans to continue those renovations through 2007.

Regarding your concerns above, yes, I have witnessed these issues at The Flamingo but to be honest, I expect that from a hotel of its level.

To get top quality you will need to book at Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, Mandalay Bay and other top-end hotels – and of course those rooms are quite a bit more expensive.

If you do go with The Flamingo, their new ‘GO’ rooms are the renovated ones. You can see some photos in our gallery (second row of photos):“”

I think to resolve your question you need to decide what is the most important thing to you. Would you rather spend a little less money on the room and put up with a few of the above issues or are they a big enough deal to you that you need to look at a higher level of quality?

Jon asked on 12/30/06

Heading out to Vegas over MLK weekend. Thinking about going to the AVN awards. Any chance of actually meeting any stars during the weekend or would I be wasting my time? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve been there during AVN and especially if you go out clubbing, you’ll see a lot of those girls around town… If you are really interested in meeting some of them it is certainly not impossible.

jen asked on 12/30/06

Hey Hunter! Took your advice and went for the Penthouse at the Mirage for 6 nights this past Nov. We were treat deliciously well! At the end they appt. us a casino host and comped us 3 nights and all meals etc. We had combined about 26 thousand points on our mgm/mirage card.
Heres the question…. We just got invited by TI to stay free with them. Arnet they associated with the mirage? And if they are do they still compete with each other for guests? I am going back in early May and am leaning toward the Mirage again. I assume we got this offer from TI due to our amount of gambling…????

Last inquiry. I tried to book the Penthouse for 5 nights at the mirage on May 4 -8 and they are all reserved.( in fact all of the suites are) What is going on in Vegas at that time and is it worth calling my casino host to see if we cant get a suite of some sort as we suite? Cheers!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Glad you had a good trip and enjoyed The Mirage. Sounds like you got some play in as well – great!

You’re correct that The Mirage and TI are both owned by the same company, MGM Mirage. The hosts at TI can see what kind of play you did at any MGM Mirage property (half of the Strip!). That said, these places still all compete with each other for your business – you’ll likely get offers from TI, The Mirage, MGM Grand and maybe even other MGM properties like Bellagio and Mandalay Bay.

If you need a room that’s not available, it’s always worth a call to the host. They might not be able to help you but it never hurts to ask.

Ronette asked on 12/29/06

I’ve read that Prince’s new club just opened, 3121…. How is the food and entertainment? Is the table package really worth the money??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It did indeed… Are you a big Prince fan? If so, from what I have heard, it’s worth it, yes. If you’re not a fan but have money to burn it’s probably also something to consider. If you’re not really excited about laying out that cash, maybe think twice. I’ve never seen Prince but I have heard he is a great performer.

As far as the food, I’ve not eaten here yet but I have heard that it is good to very good, so it’s got that going for it.

bill asked on 12/29/06

hi,going to vegas in october will be our 6th visit,this time splashing out were staying at the bellagio,(uk england package holliday)my main concern is we want to stay in the main building not the the new tower they have built looks a bit away,could you please advise so that we could stay in the main resort building many thanks (billkat uk)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You can request either tower when you check in but it is usually based on availability. Most the rooms are in the original tower so that’s likely what you’d get anyway.

I really like the Spa Tower though – I thought it was very nice.

Henry Jonkers asked on 12/29/06

Hi Hunter!
We’ll be traveling to Vegas Januar the 6th for about 10 days.
We want to rent a motorcycle. Do you have to have a motorcycle driverslicence or is a normal drivers licence sufficient?

We’re from abroad so not familiar with all US laws.

Kind regards,
Henry Jonkers

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


You’ll have to check with the rental agency but typically, yes, a special motorcycle license is required in the US.


Jeff asked on 12/28/06

Love the site, just stumbled upon it yesterday. Lots of great info!

My question is… I am going to be in Vegas 1/4 – 1/7 staying at the Bellagio. I will be receiving the poker room rate and the person who made my reservation put a note if for a room with a lake view. What do you think my chances are of actually getting one? Also is there anything I can do to help get a room with a nice view? Would tipping the person who checks me in help any?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Probably not all that great. Early January is the home of largest convention in Vegas: CES. A tip might help secure the room but just a simple note on the reservation probably won’t get it done this time. They charge a premium for those rooms.

Frank asked on 12/26/06

Concerning nightclubs like Pure, do they have a coat check? Also, do they allow in large cameras? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Cameras of any size are not permitted in the club. They can usually check your coat, space permitting.

Payouts on Hold em tournaments asked on 12/26/06

Been looking for information on how the Stratosphere pays out on thier Holdem tounaments. Also about how many people join them.



Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Tournaments vary in terms of structure, pay-outs and participation. I would suggest that you either check with their poker room directly or do some reading on poker specific message boards.

Carlo asked on 12/25/06

My girlfriend and I will be staying at the MGM Grand from January 25th to the 28th, and I plan on doing some sports betting. I was wondering if some books are better than others about giving out complimentary drinks to sports betors. I know that practically all sports books give out complimentary drinks for high rollers and horse-racing bettors, but what about sports bettors who aren’t betting a ton of money. Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, the books policies do vary, just as the lines do. This is also an area where they have gotten a little more stingy in recent years. Often times they now require you to show your bet ticket to verify you are indeed playing. The books at Bellagio, The Mirage, Wynn Las Vegas and to an extent, MGM Grand, are still serving drinks somewhat liberally. The size of your bet matters far less than the size of the tip you give the waitress. Tip well and they will try to take care of you.

RRRR asked on 12/20/06

Very nice and informative website.
I’m going to vegas the 26th of december and coming back the 5th… My parents happen to be very frequent gamblers, and as well enjoy VIP status in some casinos. So I was wondering if that will help my cause.
I am 19, can get different IDs that say am 21, yet, unfortunately, look younger. Any ideas of what I can do, in the event that I am not allowed into clubs?
As well, which should I visit? Is the tangerine at TI good?
Any ideas that might help getting me into clubs? Some of my parent’s friends (37) offered to go with me… will that help If I go with older people? Any suggestions??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy. Thanks for the kind words… I can’t really advise you on how to break the law but what I can do is relate some of my experiences before I was 21. Hopefully they’ll help you… I visited many times before I was 21 and I noticed that I was carded often – this continued until maybe two or three years ago (I’m 27) so expect to be carded often. Generally they seemed more suspicious of me when I was with friends my age vs. when I was alone or with colleagues from work (10 to 20 years older than me). I noticed that nightclubs were generally much more strict about the age limits than the casino floor or the bars on the floor. In fact, the nightclubs are pretty strict. Tangerine at TI is an interesting place because it has both indoor and outdoor areas, plus a connection to Social House, a sushi joint upstairs that is open very late – a nice connection. Tangerine also has burlesque dancers which do a good job of spicing up the evening. One nice thing about Tangerine is the size – it is not one of the mega-clubs like Pure or Tao. I personally find the smaller size refreshing.

I hope that this helps…

Steve asked on 12/20/06

I generally try to eat at a differnet steakhouse each trip and wanted your opinion of a few different places. I’ve been to many of the higher end places and was thinking of switching gears a little and thought about Steakhouse 46 at the Flamingo, Embers at Imperial Palace, Legends at the Tropicana, or Blackstones at Monte Carlo. Could you give me the lowdown on each of these?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would rate these restaurants in the following order:

1. Steakhouse 46
2. Blackstones
3. Legends
4. The Embers

Steakhouse 46 is probably the best option… It recently had its name changed from Conrad’s and it has consistently been a reader favorite. Blackstone’s at the MC isn’t known for high end decor but they are known for solid cuts of meat at reasonable prices.

When it comes to Legends or The Embers we are getting into restaurants that are consistently ranked very average. The food will probably be fine but not great. The service should be attentive but there will be no extra mile (or kilometer!)… The prices are usually lower as well so if you’re looking for a bargain, they could be considered.

If you’re really looking to try something inexpensive, book an evening at the Circus Circus Steakhouse. I know – the hotel is scary looking – you’re right. The steakhouse is great though… Good cuts, great service and incredible prices. I’ve eaten all around town and the Circus Steakhouse impressed me. I recommend it.

Kellie asked on 12/18/06

My boyfriend and I are going to Las Vegas for the first time, and we will be there for new years. We cannot decide what to do though. We kind of want to go to a club/party, but do not want to spend tons of money. We are considering the Pool Deck Party @ the stratosphere, the House of Blues Dance Party, the Ice House Lounge, etc. Any recommendations for our age group (we are 21) and price range (up to $75)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

My biggest suggestion is to plan ahead. Everything at New Years is expensive and gets even more so without reservations at the door… Book ahead of time to make sure you have your plans set.

Regarding the Ice House, that would be more a locals vibe and unless you have some transportation, probably a little difficult to manage. Taxicabs on NYE are murder as the Strip is closed to traffic, thus creating massive traffic jams.

Also keep in mind that Las Vegas is pretty cold in December so being outside all night might not be a great plan.

As far as low cost parties go, your list covers a good portion – most of the events are $200+. One thing that you might consider would be going to Downtown Las Vegas (Fremont Street) for their party. I’ve never been myself but I’ve heard it is a lot of fun… At $80 it is slightly above your target but I think worthy of some serious consideration – I think you’d get a lot of bang for your buck with that option, especially considering that the the premiere hotel Downtown, the Golden Nugget, has recently remodeled and that’s bringing more people to the area.

More Info on the Fremont Street option:

virginia marston asked on 12/17/06

My father in law loves to go to Vegas atleast once a year but only really plays the slots. He is planning on going again this coming January and for Christmas I would like to buy him a gift card or certificate that he can redeem at a casino for either cash or tokens (some form that can be used for gaiming). If we just give him money he’ll just give it right back to us so I thought atleast this way he’d have to take it. Do you know of any of the casinos that I can purchase this at online or over the phone?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know you will have a very hard time finding gift certificates that can be used for gambling… The gift certificates sold by the various hotels (and most all have them) specifically exclude gambling/casino usage – this is very clear…

So, if you plan on giving a gift certificate then he’ll probably have to use it on his room or for a meal. The only other option I could think of would be something akin to travelers checks but I don’t know if you can purchase third party checks – most are designed to be cashed by the same person who bought them…

If you are able to find something like that, the various casino cages all cash American Express Travelers Checks and will give cash.

Hope this helps.

Shannon asked on 12/17/06

I will be going to LV with my boyfriend in Mar. Never been before, and will be staying at Treasure Island. Just wondering about the dress codes in most restaraunts and clubs? We dont much like to get dressed up,so just curious what to pack?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

In terms of restaurants, it varies quite a bit. The nice restaurants in Las Vegas are similar to the nice restaurants in any other city – usually the higher end the place, the nicer the clothes they expect you to wear and some enforce it with a mandatory dress code. Those that do have a dress code usually try to encourage ‘business casual’. There are a very small number of very high-end restaurants that strongly encourage a jacket and/or tie. Those places will be very clear when you make your reservations what is required.

Regarding clubs, almost none will allow tennis shoes, shorts, flip flops, or tank-tops. The thing about the nightclubs is that even if you technically meet the dress code, you should not be surprised to be passed over/wait in the longest possible line if you’re not dressing well.

Looking good is one of the ways you can get into the clubs faster so if you don’t plan on dressing up, you might be waiting longer than folks that do. This is pretty typical if you’ve been to nightclubs in Los Angeles, New York, London or elsewhere.

I hope this helps.

dark wilcox asked on 12/17/06

My question concerns us 45-60 year olds who still love to party and visit Vegas religously. As most of the strip casinos cater to the Brittney Spears generation, where in Vegas are places for us older social animals???? I asked this question to the Vegas Advisor and, not suprisingly never heard back…Maybe the silence was the answer…I don’t know…I own a condo in a soon to completed downtown project and will be more or less a local very soon….any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated…thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

In my view the casinos are really catering to people who have money and while some of the younger folks in the clubs can get them good PR, they are truly interested in the folks playing serious money at the tables and generally that means people that are 35-75+. If you’re specifically talking about nightclubs, they are certainly aimed at a younger audience but that is because generally speaking, those are the people interested in nightclubs. There is nothing to preclude a 100 year old couple from setting up bottle service at Light, though I’m sure it’s not something that happens very often…

Without knowing what kind of interaction you’re looking for, it is hard to answer in specific terms.

Bellagio’s Fontana Lounge and Bar, located right on the lake, is a spot I often recommend for drinks and dancing. The Rio’s roof-top Voodoo Lounge also often caters to a slightly older crowd (and by older I mean 30-60 instead of 21-35).

If you’re into the pub scene, Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York has a very lively atmosphere.

Wynn Las Vegas, while it does have a nightclub (Tryst) and an ultra-lounge (Lure), the hotel generally caters to an older and sophisticated crowd. You could come in for drinks at Parasol Up or maybe the lounge at Tableau.

I hope that this helps.

neil asked on 12/15/06

i am hoping to return to Las Vegas for a 2 month stay in early april. can anyone reccomend how to go about finding somewhere to stay for that long?
i dont want to stay in a hotel as it would work out at over $6000 (minimum). can i rent an appartment for a 2 month period for around $800 a month?
would there be a problem with me not being a US citizen? (i am from the UK)
any help greatly appreciated!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Your best bet is probably one of the ‘extended stay’ type places that are commonly used by executives visiting a remote office for lengthy periods. Most will not rent you an apartment without a job and being a non-citizen will probably spook them even more so I doubt you could find a rental…

There is a company called ‘Extended Stay America’ that has facilities just like I describe. The rates are designed weekly and monthly with the idea of a long stay in mind. It looks like they have several facilities in Las Vegas so it is an option.

AJ Henry asked on 12/12/06

Hi Hunter,

For the last few years my family (2 adult children and 2 parents) has chosen to spend the Christmas holidays in Las Vegas and have routinely chosen 2 adjoining rooms at the Bellagio. This year we’ve chosen to branch out and consider other options including 2 adjoining Concierge Bella Suites at the Venetian. The prices were similar for the dates (12/23-12/28) and it’s just different. I’m wondering if you have any other suggestions for suites or hotels for us to consider? I would have loved the Skylofts but they don’t have any check-ins on our dates. We would obviously like 2 bedrooms or adjoining rooms but added luxuries are always a bonus. Ideally we’d like to stay below $660 per night and a hotel without an overly smoky casino would be great. Any thoughts?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure. Personally, before I would check-in at The Venetian I would take a serious look at Wynn Las Vegas, specifically the Tower Suites part of the hotel. Tower Suites is a ‘hotel-within-a-hotel’ that was recently awarded the coveted Mobil Five Star award – it is the only casino-hotel to achieve this distinction. The ‘Tower Suites’ component actually includes a selection of standard guest rooms along with the actual suites and there are several types available… You should take a look at a ‘Parlor Suite’ with an adjoining room for a second bedroom, or if you want to really upgrade, go for the two bedroom ‘Salon Suite’. Both are great with the latter quite large. Wynn Las Vegas staff will really take care of you – it’s Bellagio on steroids and them amped up a few times. The hotel has a great selection of restaurants and shopping, plus if anyone in your party is a golfer, it is the only course right ON the Strip… Plus, they have a Ferrari dealership on-site in case you hit it big.

The amenities of Wynn Las Vegas are too numerous to mention but it is, hands down, the most luxurious place on the Strip, displacing Bellagio.

If you want to check rates, here’s a direct link to Wynn’s site and if you do indeed book this way, we here even get a small kick back from the hotel (that’s not why I am recommending Wynn Las Vegas though).

Wynn Las Vegas Room Reservations

Or, call the hotel – they can help you with any special requests.

Personally, I have made Wynn Las Vegas my new base in Vegas. Be sure to read through our Wynn page, linked below.

Steve asked on 12/12/06

Over the last few years, I have been able to get free room offers from MGM Properties because of my table play. I’ve recently quit playing much blackjack and craps, and turned to poker. Therefore my offers have quit coming since a recent visit that was comped. Almost all of my time was in the poker room versus the tables. I’m comped in January(offer came before last visit) at Bellagio for 3 nights, that will mostly be spent in the poker room. Do you think I will ever see any room offers down the road, or am I out of luck?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I don’t expect this to change much. The economics of poker are such that the casino just doesn’t really have much incentive to offer you comped rooms, let alone RFB. Consistent poker players can usually get casino rate rooms but that’s about it.

jane asked on 12/11/06

We have always stayed at the Bellagio, but this time we had trouble getting reservations. The trip is in May. We made plans for The Hotel. Do you think this is a good choice, or do you have other suggestions

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

How much you will like THEHotel depends on why you like Bellagio. The rooms at THEHotel are nice with modern furnishings. Quite a bit bigger than the standard rooms at Bellagio. THEHotel guests have access to Mandalay Bay’s pool – one of the top in town. Other than that, I would say that Bellagio easily trumps THEHotel… I personally feel very isolated at that end of the Strip – Mandalay is pretty far from everything else. Also, service is nowhere near as attentive than at Bellagio. I don’t mean to paint too gloomy a picture of THEHotel – it is not a bad spot at all… It is just that it doesn’t really stack up against Bellagio – and it wasn’t designed to.

Mark asked on 12/11/06

Hi Hunter,

Great web-site. I’m not sure if this question has been asked, but here goes. When a casino offers you free slot-play, do they get to chose the machine, or are you free to play whatever machine? Thank you.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! The answer to your question is – it depends. They don’t usually pick the actual machine but most often there are only a subset of the machines on the floor that accept Free Play. These are usually marked and don’t usually include games like Wheel of Fortune.