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Carol O asked on 12/11/06

Just wondering if it would be worth the extra $$$ to sit at a “preferred” table vs. the “premium” at the dinner show at the Aladdin called the Sopranos. It is a difference of $34.00 (98.00 vs. 132.00) but I don’t know what the extra $$$ gets us. I hear it is great but I am not sure of the seating arrangement.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As I understand it this gets you seats at one of the higher end booths instead of just in the jumble on the floor and I believe you get some more booze with the extra expense… Not a huge upgrade but since the show is pretty long it might be worth it to be more comfortable.

uscdds asked on 12/10/06

Can you recommend best steak houses in vegas? I dont’ mind high cost, but good service is important…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There are a ton of choices but I certainly have my favorites. None are inexpensive but they all deliver…

  • Delmonico (Venetian) – always at the top of the list.
  • SW (Wynn Las Vegas) – a European twist. Interesting choices.
  • Country Club (Wynn Las Vegas) – this is a classic South Carolina type place.
  • Prime (Bellagio) – I did have a so-so meal here once but all other times were excellent.

Those are my top choices, hands down. I would say my fave flips between Delmonico and SW.

Brett asked on 12/10/06

Hello! Thanks for the great site.

We, a group of 4 guys age 21-23, are going to Las Vegas from 7/22/07-7/29/07. This trip will be everyone’s first trip to Las Vegas so we have a couple of questions.

We are planning on staying at The Mirage in the Tower 2 Bedroom Suite.

Is The Mirage a suitable hotel for 4 college-aged guys looking to have a good time in Las Vegas?
We looked at The Palms but couldn’t find a suite that had two king or queen beds. Would you recommend a hotel other than The Mirage for us?

Second, can you offer a couple of “must hits” for us?

Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words…

I should be able to help you… When I went to Las Vegas for my bachelor party, we were in the same type of room at The Mirage with a group of guys just a few years older than you. We had a fantastic time and that was before the recent changes at The Mirage.

Over the past year or so, The Mirage has really worked to attract a younger audience by putting in a very successful nightclub (Jet), a new European bathing pool (Bare) and new restaurants like STACK. The demographic for the hotel has shifted downwards quite a bit and you will certainly find a lot of other folks your age around. You’ll have a great time.

As far as must hits go, it depends quite a bit on what you want to do… Even though you could easily spend almost all your time at The Mirage with everything offered, I would suggest visiting Tryst (nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas) and perhaps either Tao (The Venetian) or ghostbar (Palms). These can have long waits some nights so if you’re not somewhat dedicated to the clubbing scene, they might not be the best choices.

Harrah’s Carnival Court is across the street and features an outside bar/party vibe that really gets going on the weekends.

I could go on and on but since I don’t know if you’re looking for nightlife, dining or some other type of recommendation, I’ll let you submit some more specific questions if you want to learn more.

On top of that, I suggest that you cruise around the site and learn about some of the attractions.

Also, our list of top tens can be helpful as a good place to get started:

Jill asked on 12/08/06

Hi! I have a question about airport check-in. We are staying at the Flamingo the week before Christmas. There are 5 of us, 3 rooms. Our flight gets into Vegas at 10am, check-in at the Flamingo isn’t until 3. Will we really be able to check in at the airport and leave with room keys in hand at 10am? It would be nice to be able to settle into our rooms early, but stowing with the bell desk is ok with me too. How does airport check-in work with arrivals before check-in time?

Also wondering if by chance you know the name of the tower at the Flamingo that overlooks the wildlife habitat and pool area? Thank you!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If the rooms are not ready then the airport check-in folks will not be able to issue you keys at that time. They’ll have you check back in at the hotel at a certain time… You should be able to have them take your bags however – they hold them until you can check-in. Often times an early check-in isn’t a problem. Hopefully you’ll get lucky! Several of the towers actually overlook the pool – just make your request known at check-in.

SN asked on 12/08/06

I am planning a trip to Bally’s in June (07) and have heard of Harrah’s plan to ‘re-brand’ it to Horseshoe. Do you know when this will take place and what effect, if any, it will have on my trip? Thank you – You have a great website here. Keep up the good work.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No changes to Bally’s such as any re-branding or new tower construction has been announced. There are rumors about all or part of the site becoming a Horseshoe but I seriously doubt you’d see anything like that happen by June of ‘07. We’ll know more next quarter but even then, these plans take time to crystalize. I doubt very much this would impact your trip at all. Thanks for the kind words!

Chris asked on 12/08/06

Hey Hunter.
I’ve been thinking about booking an ATV tour for our trip to Vegas, I thought American Adventure Tours looked quite good. Have you had any reports back about them? Or any other recommendations would be appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Interesting… I don’t know anything about this company or ATV tours in general – something I’ve never done. From their Web site, they appear to have many happy testimonials. If you do go, please write back and let me know how it went.

JR asked on 12/06/06

I can’t seem to find any casual dress steakhouses. Does such a think exist in Vegas? We’re jeans and t-shirt people who like an excellent steak. TIA for any help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most of the traditional steakhouses go with the business casual attire. Some are less formal though… While STACK at The Mirage is maybe not an old-school steakhouse menu, it is somewhat similar. The Circus Steakhouse is actually a very nice place and I’ve seen people in all manners of attire. You might also consider doing the Delmonico Steakhouse (Venetian) for lunch where they do not have a dress code.

Mattsmom asked on 12/04/06

I’m trying to find a nice restaurant where I can purchase a gift certificate for birthday dinner for my son and his girlfriend. they will be in Vegas Dec 22-25 and I want to send them somewhere nice, preferably w/view and/or romantic AND good food! I’ve read many contradictory reviews about Alize, Top of the Stratosphere, Eiffel Tower @ Paris . . just to name a few. If I’m going to spend the $$, I want it to be GOOD, not mediocre. ANy suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Top of the World at the Strat has declined a bit recently but Alize or Eiffel Tower could be good choices. Also, Picasso at Bellagio is always top rated and right on the lake – a nice choice. Alex at Wynn Las Vegas is probably the pinnacle of Las Vegas dining these days. No view there but a very, very high end place. I hope this helps. What a nice gift!

Jul asked on 12/04/06

I will be heading to LV this weekend for a slot tournament at Bellagio. My room is comped and I would like to know if I would be out of line to ask for an room with a lake view. I previously stayed at Bellagio in a Spa tower room (which I thought was very nice and also for another slot tournament). I am not a high roller but I do play $1 and $5 slots. Also, if I should be so lucky should I tip the desk clerk? Love your website!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Feel free to ask for the upgrade but a tip would be a nice gesture if you are accommodated! Have a great trip.

MissDona asked on 12/01/06

I recently stayed at Bellagio for 6 nights and had several customer service issues arise (a really snotty, unhelpful waiter at Cafe Bellagio, no drink service while playing the slots, one day my room wasn’t visited by housekeeping until about 4:00PM and a variety of other little things).

With the price of the rooms at Bellagio, I expect better service. Is this kind of thing limited to my experience? Should I look elsewhere next time or give them another try?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This can be a tough question to answer.

Generally speaking, Bellagio is known for good customer service. Now, I don’t know the specifics of your complaints and there are sometimes mitigating circumstances (i.e. were you in your room when housekeeping tried to stop by?). For the prices they charge, you should expect a high level of service, especially considering there are many other places in town that would welcome you and your credit card.

As far as going back, how about this… Write a letter to the President of Bellagio (Bill McBeath) and explain your complaints. Be very polite and simply go over what happened and what went wrong. Then, base your decision to return on his response. If he doesn’t respond at all (he should) then I would not go back. If he does respond then you’ll have to gauge his response and your desire to return to Bellagio.

If you want to try some other place, Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace (Augustus Tower), The Venetian (Venezia Tower) and to a lesser extent THEHotel at Mandalay Bay all offer high end accommodations that compare nicely against Bellagio.

Jamie Mercer asked on 12/01/06

I have been to Vegas once before and my girlfriends and I will be headed back later this month. We really enjoy the nightlife and I wanted to know if all of those coupons they pass out on the street really matter to get into nightclubs for free. We never really needed them before when we went out and it gets annoying carrying 20 flyers or cards around. Thanks for the advise!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It depends on the coupon. Many are worthless but sometimes they can be valuable. As a woman you probably have an easier time getting in than us guys do… If you didn’t need them in the past I wouldn’t start collecting them now.

Philippe asked on 12/01/06

Hello and thanks a lot for answering my last question concerning jackpot tax payment.
I guess I just have to accept that 30% of the jackpot will be deducted if your a non US resident.
What about winnings from table games? Let’s say I walk away with a total profit of $5000. Will the casino also deduct the 30% at the cage? So far I’ve never noticed they’re doing that. If they do so, it would be better to go to the cashier 5 times changing a $1000 – isn’t it?
General question: What exactly is the difference by cashing a winning in chips compared with a slot jackpot (same amount)?
Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you do a transaction over $10,000 at the cage then they are required to fill out a ‘Currency Transaction Report’ to the IRS which tips them off to large amounts of money being moved around. Now, that doesn’t include anything with winnings… If you cash $5,000 in chips at the cage, they’ll just give you your cash, nothing will be deducted. They can’t determine easily if it is a win, unlike a jackpot.

Hope that helps.

Nick P asked on 11/30/06

Hi again,

I want to thank you for answering my first two questions. Funny thing was, you recommended the spa at the Venetian, which is where we plan to stay this time!

Only thing is, we want to sit in the spa/sauna together. This spa has separate spas for men and women, and as far as I can tell the others do too. Is there one where we can relax together? Or, are there any pools with spas that are open after dark during the winter? We would like to sit in a spa together after dark in the cold. We could always stay somewhere else, but I really liked the poker room at the Venetian.

Thanks again

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as I know, there are no spas with co-mingled sauna or spa areas. Since the spa is clothing optional, you can see the obvious problem there for all the other folks in the spa. As far as after dark pools, again, no. This one I don’t really understand and I’ve been waiting for some hotel to offer this but not yet… Sometimes the hot tubs will stay open a bit later but not very late… Sorry!

Jonathan asked on 11/30/06

Hi Hunter,

Do you have any information on the Playboy Club at the Palms? Hours? Getting in? Lines? Cover? The Palms website is useless.

Also, if you were to visit only one ultra-lounge in Las Vegas, which would it be?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The cover ranges depending on the night, anywhere between $20 and $40. The lines are long on the weekends but not too terribly bad on the weekdays. The hours are basically the same as any other club – they usually close between 3am and 4am. The Playboy Club usually opens at 8pm but Moon opens a bit later.

As far as ultra-lounges go, I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. Tabu at MGM Grand has some interesting decor, Lure at Wynn Las Vegas is nicely designed but often not too busy. Revolution is based on the music of the Beatles and opens in December… Tao’s ultra-lounge (Venetian) is probably the hottest in town right now. The ghostbar (The Palms) is always a popular spot.

Amanda asked on 11/29/06

I know you’ve talked about the “royal service” at the Mirage, and that it includes Airport limo transfers…

but does that also include limo trips around the strip? We have a 2bdr Penthouse suite in December and it would be great to know if the limo transfers to other places like other hotels, clubs, etc are included.

If they aren’t do you have a rough guestimate about how much it would cost to go through the hotel?

Also what is standard tipping on the trip from the airport to the hotel for the driver?

Thanks a million:)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Royal Service has actually been discontinued… Even when it was active, the trips were too and from the airport only, no cruising the Strip or to other locations.

You certainly can book a limo but the minimum is usually an hour and you’re probably looking at $60-$80 plus a tip for that hour.

A tip for a limo driver is probably $10-$20 per hour.

Hope that helps!

Laura asked on 11/27/06

Hi again! Sorry that I’m writing another question, but I just thought of something else I wanted to ask..I want you to tell me about the nightlife in Vegas for 18 – 20 year olds. Where do they normally go? I will be staying at the Aladin, so I know I’ll be in the middle of The Strip. I’m going to be there from late december to early january, so I also wanted to know if there were any special ÿear almost ending" and “new year’s” parties that I could go to. Thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

There isn’t much to do for folks of that age in terms of clubs. I used to visit Las Vegas before I was 21 so I can speak from personal experience… I’ve had this question come up before and every time it’s the same answer… For those under 21, there are basically no clubs on the Strip. Sorry! Regarding New Years parties, sure, pretty much every major club has them. Again, you have to be 21 and the admission fees are usually pretty high. As an example, Pure at Caesars Palace has a party hosted by Britney Spears with tickets at $200.

Laura asked on 11/27/06

Hello! I’m planning a trip to las vegas with my family and I wanted to know the age limit for casinos and clubs over there in vegas. I was told that if you’re 18, you are allowed to go in anywhere you want (meaning dancing clubs and casinos), but you cannot drink alcohol. I’d really appreciate if you could answer this question asap. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

That is not correct. The legal age to enter a casino, nightclub or bar is 21 and this is enforced. If you are under 21 you can move through (walk through) a gaming area but if you loiter, security will kick you out. Hope this helps.

Nick Puder asked on 11/26/06

Two questions:

Is there a club that plays hard rock or heavy metal?

Are there any spas with couples treatment, where we would not be separated?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Second question first… Since you’re not saying where you are staying I’ll recommend something at Canyon Ranch Spa Club, at the Venetian as it is open to the public. They have several ‘couples’ options which include special two-person service rooms so you don’t need to be separated. Make sure you book in advance as these rooms often fill up.

Regarding a metal or rock club, not too many. Jet at The Mirage has a room that they say plays ‘rock music’ but in my experience it is pretty light weight and if you’re a serious metal fan I think you’ll be disappointed. To get your metal fix your best bet would be to try to catch a show at the Hard Rock. The Joint often features hard rock and metal bands: everything from Slayer to Sepultura to Motley Crue.

Chris asked on 11/25/06

On my next trip I am booked for 4 nights at the Tower Suites but since Wynn isn’t accepting Saturday night arrivals that week (Nascar race weekend) I booked my first night (trust me I know how busy Saturdays are) at Renaissance Las Vegas. I am not concerned about the hotel’s location but I am concerned about the size. Do the smaller hotels (not that 548 rooms is that small, only in Vegas would I say such a thing) have more of a tendency to over-book than the Goliaths on the strip? I will be arriving at the hotel around 4:30 pm and I don’t want to chance getting turned away. Would it be safer to book at a hotel with rooms in thousands? Is 4:30 early enough that over-booking shouldn’t be a problem?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As a general rule, smaller hotels do not over book any more or less than larger hotels so I wouldn’t worry about it from that perspective. Of course, the smaller places don’t necessarily have as many types of other rooms to put you in if the standard rooms are booked but overall, I wouldn’t be worried. Arriving at 4:30pm is a good time. Most start allowing arrivals around 3pm to 3:30pm so you should miss the first rush of folks.

Bobby C asked on 11/24/06

Thank you for the speedy response from my first question I composed a couple days ago.. I do have a quick question about the Mix lounge on top of the THE Hotel.

I’m going Sunday-Thurs Dec 3-7. I want to go up to the MIX lounge with my wife to snap some shots to enjoy the breathtaking views. We plan on going betwen 6 and 9pm during the week so we don’t have to pay the cover. How is the dress code? My friends tell me they(staff) aren’t really strick on the dress code as long as you aren’t wearing shorts or a tank top etc. It’ll be December so we’ll be in casual clothes like jeans, long sleeve shirt with a jacket and sneakers.. Would that be fine?? Also, is it going to be a problem to go up there to catch a view w/o being expected to buy anything? I know the drinks are expensive up there but if we have to, we’ll each grab a drink and walk around. I’de like to snap some shots of the lounge and in the balcony. A friend also told me people ride the elevator up and down all the time and walk around the lounge to take pics and “hang out”. Thanks in advance for the reply!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Your proposed dress should be fine. The only thing that could potentially be an issue would be the shoes. Sometimes they are a bit strict on tennis shoes vs. dressier shoes. To be safe I would not wear tennis shoes. Regarding buying something, the earlier you go the less likely you are to get dirty looks for not getting a drink. Still, in my experience it is much more enjoyable to sipping on something while enjoying the view and even with slightly inflated prices, it is still one of the cheapest attractions in town. MIX is a great place to take photos. Here are a few:“”“”

And more:“”

Ben asked on 11/23/06

Which bars and nightclubs do you recommend for the older crowd (40-50)?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Las Vegas nightclub scene is basically totally focused on attracting people 21-35. That said, if you’re into that kind of stuff (loud music, crowded clubs, sweaty people), there’s no reason why you couldn’t go check them out. For a different environment, the MIX lounge (atop THEHotel at Mandalay Bay), the Fontana Lounge (on the lake at Bellagio), or the wine bar at Onda (The Mirage). Beyond the above, even the ‘ultra-lounges’ in Las Vegas are geared towards younger patrons.

Mark asked on 11/22/06

Hi Hunter,

I got an e-mail from the Sahara, promoting drink specials in their lounge. I have never heard the term “well drinks” and “call drinks” for alcoholic beverages before. Could you please explain which drinks they are talking about with these terms? Appreciate all the tips about Vegas. Thanks a lot.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sure, no problem. A well drink means that it is made with whatever brand of alcohol they have in their well, which is part of the bar. A ‘call’ drink is when you ‘call out’ the brand of alcohol you want in your drink. For instance, if you ask for a ‘vodka tonic’, that would be a well drink – they would use whatever vodka they have in the well, usually something not so good. If you instead asked for a ‘Grey Goose and Tonic’, that’s a call drink – you are getting a certain brand of vodka. These terms are not specific to Las Vegas, they are more bar-tending terms. Hope that helps.

Bobby C asked on 11/22/06

Hi guys.. thanks so much for answering so many questions!! I am traveling to Vegas with my girlfriend on the 3rd of Dec through the 7th. (Sun-Thurs..4 nights 5 days). I emailed the Mirage couple weeks back telling them how excited I was to be staying there and that I was going to propose to my gf and if any compimentary upgrades were available(staying in the regular deluxe room). I never did get a reply back in e-mail. I called the Mirage up last night confirming my reservation and the lady said my reservation was in the system. I asked her kindly if any complimentary upgrades were available and she said that they have it in the system to put me in a premium view room of the volcano. So i’m guessing they received my e-mail. I know these rooms are the same as the delexe rooms except that they have a better view. I’m wondering what the chances are for them to upgrade me to a tower deluxe room when I get there?? A bigger bathroom, jacuzzi jets in the tub and high floors seems really nice!! I guess it can’t hurt to ask right? I will be doing it with excitement and a smile rather than the $20 trick. Thanks for any advice/comments!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The chances of getting that upgrade (to a Tower Deluxe room) without paying for it is slim but as you say, it can never hurt to ask. As always, the best way to secure a special or specific type of room is to reserve it outright.

phil asked on 11/21/06

Hello everyone

My wife and I are thinking about attending one of these sales-prensentations which are offered by many brochures or hotel lobbies. Anyone has experience with this let’s call it “fun-thing”. I’m willing to give half of the day to attend a presentation, but I also want to get the promised goodies (free buffet, free showtickets, no 2 for 1 coupons) in exchange! Would you recommand this kind of marketing instrument or is it really a scam thing?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s not a ‘scam’ per se – it’s a sales presentation. Many people look unfavorably on this sort of thing because they don’t like being accosted while walking down the street and, for those that do look further, they are sometimes lied to about the length of the promised presentation, etc… If you legitimately want to trade some time for whatever they are offering (this changes all the time), then my advice would be to be straight up with the guy setting it up. Tell them you have 4 hours to devote (or whatever) and ask them what they can offer. Ask for more if you’d like, you have nothing to lose. It’s not usually (of course I can’t say 100% in all instances) a scam – these are legit businesses, just like tele-marketers are – they just often get on people’s bad side so they are often maligned.

John asked on 11/21/06

Hi Guys! I have a question concerning the lounges several hotel offer to their top players (e.g. Diamond Lounge at RIO or Paris). To get acces to these lounges you need to hold the demanded club tier. I just thought it might be an alternative to go to one of these lounges instead to a bar. Do you know are there any lounges where you can buy something like an houery or daily fee to enter – even without the needed club-tier? Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Interesting question. As far as I know (and I am fairly certain about this), there is no way to get access to the Harrah’s Diamond lounges without simply achieving it via play. Now, Harrah’s was running a promotion called “Diamond in a Day”, where you could play a certain amount in a day and get Diamond status. Some info here:

I know they have changed this program and I’m not sure it is still running.

Other than that, no real lounges that have private access that can be purchased daily. There are many lounges around town, such as Caramel (Bellagio), Lure (Wynn Las Vegas) or Shadow (Caesars Palace) that have a cover fee and provide a similar environment that perhaps you would consider.

Barbara asked on 11/19/06

I’m going to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. My sister just had surgery so she can’t hike for miles through the hotels to get to a restaurant. What’s a good place to eat in Las Vegas where you can park right next to the restaurant? Can youname a place with a good variety of reasonably-priced food with casual attire?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A few suggestions… If you drive up and valet your car, Kokomo’s at The Mirage is literally just steps inside the front door. Just beyond that, you have more choices, including STACK, Fin, Japonais and the buffet. Those restaurants fit your criteria above, with entrées varying between $15-$40.

Beyond The Mirage, if you want to go high-end, Wynn Las Vegas’ Alex and Wing Lei are just inside the South Tower (Sands) entrance (don’t valet in front or you’ll be walking).

At Bellagio, both Sensi and Michael Mina are fairly close to the front entrance and even the parking garage but they can be more pricey (Sensi not so much but Mina is not cheap).

Those are just a few choices but there are certainly more options that would fit your criteria. Some places should be avoided, such as MGM Grand (no way to avoid long walks), Monte Carlo (vehicle entrance is in the back), Aladdin (construction has things way out of whack), and perhaps The Venetian (again, valet and garage are a good ways from the restaurants).

Hope this helps.

Gary asked on 11/19/06


Question regarding the new buffet at the Golden Nugget downtown. The old buffet had great seating if you were a party of just two. Most of the seating was made up of booths which I liked. Is the new buffet set up in the same way? Or is it like many of the others with tables sitting just inches from each other.

Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy. The new buffet is in an entirely different space so all of the seating has changed. There are various forms and sizes of tables and it is more dense than the old buffet.

Tony asked on 11/18/06

Greetings from the Canadian Rockies!

Coming down your way in February and have booked the Luxor on the “poker room rate” ($75/weekday). We are aware of the 5 hr/daily play…Does this mean our room is in the basement beside the furnace? Are there upgrades available?

We play alot of $1-$5 limit stud…is there a better hotel for with a poker room with low limits?

You guys have a great site…thanks again!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Greetings! You will be assigned a room from their normal inventory of available rooms – don’t worry about being stuck in a terrible location just because you’re getting a casino rate. As far as upgrades, usually, yes. They will likely not give you such a good deal on a suite though… The exception would be if they are really slow when you’re there and then, you might get lucky.

Luxor and Excalibur next door are both good choices for poker players looking for low limit games on the Strip. Still, even if you don’t plan to play, if you’re into poker make sure you stop by Bellagio, The Mirage, Wynn Las Vegas and perhaps Caesars – they have the swankiest poker rooms in town.

Terry asked on 11/17/06

I have been to vegas once and I have to go again with my sister next month in Dec. 2006. I didn’t enjoy the strip that much and noticed many things outside the strip that sounded more interesting. However, what I don’t find interesting is having to find out how to get to these places. I would like t3200 East Cheyenne Ave, North Las Vegas, NV 89030o go to the Planetarium at but I have no idea on how to get there by bus. I also want to go to the gunstore, the silver city and silver nugget and the mini grand prix but not sure how to get there. Most of the instructions I see are by car or you have to take a cab. If anyone could tell me how to get to these places once I get there, especially the planetarium, I would surely appreciate it.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Your best bet for bus routes and schedules is here:

Honestly though, with that much cruising around the Valley, I would suggest renting a car and doing your own driving… You’ll have much more flexibility and car rental rates for smaller cars are usually quite reasonable.

Jonathan asked on 11/15/06

Hey Hunter,

I’ve always stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel over the years and it’s finally come to the point where I feel to old to hang out there anymore. I’m currently looking at THEhotel (suite) and Wynn (Resort Room). Same price for a suite vs. a room. Which hotel do you recommend for a 30-something? The hotel I stay at I generally hang out at the pool during the day and gamble at night (comped at the Hard Rock – but I forsee it being more difficult at Wynn) Or perhaps you can think of an appropriate hotel that I haven’t?

Thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Given that you’re a pool fan, I’m gonna have to say THEHotel over Wynn Las Vegas, especially if you’re looking for a scene to replace the Hard Rock. I love Wynn Las Vegas but THEHotel is going to get you a cool room, a great pool and lots of folks 25-35 so it sounds like a good fit.

Eric asked on 11/14/06

Hello Hunter, you have given your take on most of the hotels, but what do you think of Ballys? I’ll be staying there for 1 week.

Regarding the free shuttles between hotels/malls. Do the driver check whether we are the hotel guests? And how much is the tip for the driver?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve stayed at Bally’s a handful of times and never had a bad experience. The quality of the rooms varies quite a bit between the standard guest rooms and the suites, the latter being quite nice. The standard rooms are very standard. Despite being fairly old rooms, they were re-done a few years back so they don’t feel too tired.

Bally’s has a good location on the Strip and is connected to Paris, so you have access to a ton of restaurants all basically on-property, not to mention Bellagio across the street.

So, in a nutshell, Bally’s is a good spot to stay if you’re looking for a reasonable room in a good location.

As far as shuttles go, I’m not sure which ones you’re talking about but the short answer is that some do and some do not.

dipen asked on 11/14/06

hi hunter

thanks for a fast and helpful reply. i have been reading through your website and it seems like treasure island is a favorable choice.

i usually play roulette and use the poker room. as you have mentioned in your previous responses that the dealers at TI are friendly. i am leaning more toward TI now rather than mgm.

is first week of january a peak time, $99 per night for 3 people at TI for strip view room on higher floor.if it is not peak time hopefully we could get complimentary upgrades to suite.hopefully it can make the trip memorable for brother and sister in law who are coming from india.

thanks again for you help and prompt responses

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Early January coincides with CES, the largest convention in Las Vegas so yes, it can be quite busy. This year it starts 1/8/2007 so maybe you’ll be leaving before it starts but if not, room rates will go way up for those nights.

John asked on 11/14/06

I’ll visit Vegas in January and will stay for 10 days. I’m looking forward to check out some SPA facilities. My preferences are:
* Steam Room, Jaccuzzy & Sauna
* Snack & Beverage Bar
* Lounge, TV and Newspapers
I’m willing to pay 20$ to 30$.
What do you suggest, is there an insider tip? Also is there still a SPA which is open 24/7?
Thanks a lot for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

In almost all cases, hotel spas are only open to their guests – they do not allow outsiders. So, you’re almost totally confined to the spa in the hotel you are staying at. A notable exception is the Canyon Ranch Spa club at The Venetian which does service the public. It has all of the amenities you mention above.

No spas are open 24×7 but the spa at TI, if you are staying there, does late-night treatments.

Update: I don’t usually insert info from readers but I got this message below from Trop Legend and it has a helpful tip regarding Vegas spas (works in all of ’em, not just the ones mentioned here).

“Hi all! Re: John’s question about spa facilities. My friends and I usually book a massage at Bally’s or Flamingo when we travel. Nice facilities and super nice people at both places. Here’s the cool catch: When you book a massage, you get to come and go to the spa ALL DAY before and/or after your massage, whenever you want. It’s a great deal, if you like a rubdown. $100 + $20 tip, a little more than the $30 you want to spend, but ALL DAY! Yahoo! Steam, sauna, 3 tubs, hot, med, cold, lounge room, all the towels in the world.”

dorthyc asked on 11/14/06

love your site
we leave for vegas this thursday nov 16 we wil be staying at aladdin we have a resort room which view is better strip view or pool view can you explain those views and can we see the belligo fountians from that room

thanks for your help

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The pool and the Strip are in the same direction so that question doesn’t totally make sense. The pool is in the center of the building between the hotel tower and the Strip. As far as seeing the Fountains, some of those rooms have a partial view of them and others have no view at all. It depends on where in the building you are located. They can put you in a room with a view if you ask for it and it is available. Good luck at the Aladdin – it’s a bit of a construction site right now.

john johnson asked on 11/14/06

Hi Hunter, First thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these questions. I have 2. First what are promo codes I see on alot of sites when you go to get show prices and how do you find them. 2. I want to rent an exotic car for a trip to red rock canyon. How far is the trip and are there any drives or car rental vendors you would suggest Thanks again. John

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Promo codes are typically sent out to the hotel’s mailing list for special offers. If you sign up for the mailing lists, offered on virtually all the hotel sites, you can receive those codes as well. Also, sometimes codes are posted on this Web site:

Regarding car rental, I don’t know how much I can help you here – I’ve never done it. I see those guys on the Strip renting Ferrari’s and whatnot. I know it is pretty pricey and I would make sure you understand all the implications of the insurance but unfortunately I can’t give you a read on what vendor is better than another.

Red Rock is about 20 minutes or so from the Strip depending on traffic. It’s gorgeous out there.

Mike asked on 11/14/06

on your site, what does “Resort Upscale” as attire for restaurants?



Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Resort Upscale is a slightly ambiguous term but it goes something like this:

  • No shorts.
  • Jeans can be okay but no holes.
  • No flip-flops.
  • Shirts should have buttons but short sleeves are okay if nice.
  • No tie or jacket required.

Think of a nice dinner out on a Hawaiian vacation – that sort of thing. Not really dressy in a jacket and tie way but not slobby either.

daejin chang asked on 11/14/06

I was wondering where to stay, between wynn and bellagio. Or is there anywhere better? Wynn is little bit cheaper between 1/2/07 – 1/5/07. Also, should I pay 150 dollars more for 3 days staying at tower suite at Wynn?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Both hotels are nice. The Wynn Las Vegas Tower Suites were just awarded the Mobil 5-Star award, the first hotel in Las Vegas to achieve this distinction. The ‘regular’ part of Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio are both 4-Star recipients.

Wynn Las Vegas is newer and the rooms are larger with more amenities. Service levels are comparable.

Both feature an array of world class restaurants.

The location is probably better at Bellagio.

Personally, I prefer Wynn Las Vegas but that’s not to say that I have anything against Bellagio. Both are fine hotels that should perform well for you.

The Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas provide a higher level of service, access to a special set of swimming pools, private check-in and other distinctions. It’s a great way to experience the hotel and I personally think it is worth the extra money.

dipen asked on 11/13/06

hi hunter. fantastic website and very helpful. i am planning a trip in january with my brother and my sister in law. my brother and i have been there, it is first time for my sister in law. i have 2 options for hotel and i am confused which one to go for both at same rates. mgm grand deluxe room, or treasure island strip view room on higher floor.

i usually gamble quite a bit and get comped well at places, so which would be a better option out of the two if i am expecting to get comped.

Thanks in advance.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


If you’re asking which one is an easier comp, they’re about the same.

If you’re asking where you should stay assuming you don’t have to pay, you’ve picked two resorts in which the standard rooms are fairly equal in terms of size and amenities.

The location is pretty different and other than overall property size, it’s probably the biggest differentiator. Not better or worse per se but different. Treasure Island (TI) is neighbors with The Mirage, The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas while MGM Grand is near the Tropicana, NYNY, Monte Carlo, Aladdin and Excalibur.

Personally, I prefer the casinos further North so I would probably pick TI for location but many like the other area so that’s a tough one.

MGM Grand is a HUGE property. While TI is just merely large, the Grand requires lots of walking to get anywhere and the place freaks some people out with it size. I like TI’s size more.

The pool at TI is pretty small considering the size of the resort and while it is populated with a lot of younger people these days, it is even harder than other places to get a seat unless you get there early.

Both have a good set of restaurants, MGM has more choices but TI is so close to the other places I mentioned that it’s not much of an issue.

Bottom line: I’d pick TI but it’s not so over the top in its favor that it is obvious. Either one will do you well.

Christy asked on 11/13/06

Thanks for the info about the MGM. Since it is so HUGE I am thinking about upgrading our stay. Between Caesars and Bellagio, which would you recommend?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, I’ve always like Bellagio more than Caesars but if you do pick Caesars, your first choice should be the Augustus Tower (brand new) or the Palace Tower. Any other tower is old and you want to avoid those… Bellagio has great service, nice rooms and some good restaurants. It’s a lot easier to navigate than the mess that is Caesars Palace.

William asked on 11/11/06

Hi Hunter – two questions:

1) We are going to the Pussycat Dolls Lounge at PURE. Are the performers here the real Pussycat Dolls, i.e. the ones made the album, etc. or are they a completely different set of girls?

2) Do you know if there are any suites at the Bellagio that have 2 queen beds?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Regarding the ‘Dolls’, they have a Las Vegas cast that are specific to this venue but they are supplanted often with girls from LA and special guests.

Bellagio does not have any single bedroom suites with two queen beds, no.

Jessica asked on 11/11/06

Hi Hunter, great site! I have another question. I going to go all out and stay at either the Bellagio or THE Wynn because of recommendations I’ve read here on your site. There is a $50 difference in my 4 nite stay between the two in a standard room. The Wynn being the more expensive. I really enjoy a nice room and don’t mind walking. Does one of these hotels stand out more than the other. We or a couple in our 40’s. WE will be seeing the red piano and either o or lareve. Please help me make my final decision. Would you stat at Bellagio and see O or stay at Wynn and see La Reve, or even stay at one and see the show at the other. Don’t take alot of vacations so want it to be special and trust your expert opinion. Again thanks so much.Jess

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


While Bellagio will always be special for me, Wynn Las Vegas has taken up status as my favorite place to stay in town. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t stay anywhere else – I have a trip booked at Bellagio as well.

Both hotels are very nice and have very high standards of service. The standard rooms at Wynn Las Vegas are clearly superior to those at Bellagio. They are larger with more amenities such as better bathrooms and larger windows.

Bellagio enjoys an arguably better location on the Strip.

I would probably give the edge to WLV but I am sure you’d be happy at either hotel.

As far as the show goes, I think that O is more fun than Le Reve – it just seems more polished. Beyond O, which is amazing, consider ‘LOVE’ at The Mirage. It is also from Cirque du Soleil but it features music from The Beatles. I saw it in June and if you like that music, it is an incredible experience.

Hope this helps!

Danny asked on 11/09/06

Wife and I are staying at Caesars over Thanksgiving weekend. Will the new Qua spa be open by then?
Also, we’re seeing O on Sunday night. Which Bellagio restaurant would you recommend for dinner about 9:30 that night?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, the new Qua Spa should be open, barring any special events, for your stay. As far as dinner goes, you have a lot of good options.

Update: I am told Qua opens 11/28.

  • Jasmine – Great Chinese food – high end/reservations required.
  • Le Cirque – famous restaurant – high end/reservations required.
  • FIX – Much more low-key than other restaurants, we think their casual American inspired menu has a lot to offer.

Chris asked on 11/08/06

Hey Hunter,
We’re coming to Vegas in late March from the UK. Can you recommend a reputable company to book 1. Red Piano tickets and 2. a good Grand Canyon helicopter tour, as I think it would be better to book before we get there? We would prefer NOT to die horribly on the Grand Canyon tour…!
Thanks, and by the way you were right about that supplement for lake view penthouse at Bellagio, but we booked it anyway!
Cheers, Chris

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


When it comes to a planned activity, ALWAYS book in advance. Otherwise you’ll either not get what you want when you want it or you will over-pay.

As far as Grand Canyon tours go (and LV Strip helicopter tours), I really like Maverick Helicopters at – I have enjoyed them in the past and the have good equipment. They are very professional.

On the Red Piano show, unless you are a high roller at a Harrah’s property such as Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, Paris, the Rio, Flamingo or Bally’s, you’re probably best off just buying from TicketMaster is the main ticket seller in the United States and they sell tickets for that show.

Have a great trip – you’ll really enjoy Bellagio. I’m scheduled for another stay there in December and I can’t wait!

Christy asked on 11/05/06

I am taking my husband to vegas for our anniversary. I am having a hard time deciding on a location. I have been seriously considering the MGM Grand. It seems like a pretty nice place for the money. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Also, as I stated previously it is our anniversary. I am looking for somewhere nice and good to eat that won’t break the bank. No more than $150. My husband is very conservative with money so any more than that and he won’t eat anything. Thanks for the help

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The MGM Grand has rooms at many different price points and generally speaking, offers a good value for a mid-market type room, as most of the rooms offered there are in that category. One thing about MGM Grand that some folks don’t like is the size – it’s HUGE and that means lots of walking (even more than the average Las Vegas property). On the upside, they have a monorail station on property and the hotel is in a good location.

As far as recommendations on dinner, if you want to stay on-site, craftsteak is often a good bet. Off-property, consider Bartolotta (Wynn Las Vegas) for Italian or perhaps Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian. Both will offer great food and good service but will come right up to your price ceiling. Have a great time!

john johnson asked on 11/05/06

hello, i’ll be going to las vegas in march 07. My wife has decided to stay at either the mirage, paris , aladdin or treasure island. What would be the order of your preference for a nice room. We don’t gamble alot just like the shows and being on the strip. thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would order them as follows: The Mirage, Treasure Island, Paris and then Aladdin. As far as the Aladdin goes, it is in a period of chaos right now with renovations so I would probably stay away for awhile. I think The Mirage is a great property and recent upgrades mean that the new restaurants are exciting and interesting. The rooms are smaller than they are at newer hotels like Wynn Las Vegas and The Venetian but stack up just fine with the other hotels on your list.

jessica asked on 11/05/06

Hi, I have tickets to see the red piano in march 07. Previously I’ve stayed at Luxor and TI. I’ve been considering Paris or Aladin for this trip. How much disruption is the construction at Aladin for the guest. I like the idea of being strip center since I will be going to O as well. I didn’t really care for my Luxor room. TI was pretty nice and I can’t afford the WYNN. My question is what hotel would you suggest. thanks, Jess

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Aladdin is very disrupted right now – big time. I would avoid Aladdin for some time – there is just too much construction going on to be a good idea. Paris is a nice hotel – clean rooms and a good location.

John asked on 11/03/06

Hunter, kudos on the site! My wife and I have been to Vegas 7 or 8 times, it’s been 2 yrs since our last stay. My question relates to our upcoming stay 12/25 – 12/30. Right smack dab between Christmas and the BIGGEST night of Vegas (NYE). We are staying at the Flamingo first 2 nights then, Harrah’s the last 2. Here is the great part..we were able to get the price of Harrah’s to $40 per night! YEP, $40! Flamingo we booked for $70/night. My question is…for those prices, are we in for the worst rooms in the house? Where do you suggest we “request” a room in each of these hotels? I am aware of Flamingo’s upcoming/ongoing upgrade (you stated try to see if upgrade is available)..if not available, what should we shoot for? What do we stay away from? We are not picky as long as the room is clean and comfortable.

What is to be expected during the week we are there weather-wise? Also, I assume that incoming major acts will be limited due to holidays and some attractions may not be open?? Can you confirm what may be closed during this time?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wow, that’s a good deal for that time period. Good work.

At Harrah’s you probably want to end up in the Carnival Tower, as it is newer. The rooms are a little bit bigger but the elevators are way in the back of the property so there is a little bit of a trade off.

At The Flamingo, most of the towers are pretty similar these days. I think your best bet is to try to get into a renovated room. Other than that, either overlooking Caesars or the Barbary Coast and you may get partial Bellagio Fountain views.

Some stuff is indeed closed in that time period – major shows go dark as they can take a couple days off before they have to come back for the New Years folks. These schedules change all the time so I would look at the shows you want to see and then go from there. You’ll probably see more shows closed towards the beginning of your trip vs. towards the end as things get busy again.

Michael asked on 11/02/06

Hey Hunter… I’ve searched your site for some information about Monte Carlo’s 1BR Penthouse Suite, but there’s not a whole lot about it. The photos on MC’s website make it look quite nice, but I was wondering if you had any idea where I might get a floor plan for this room. I called the front desk, and the woman seemed a bit confused as to where she would get one. To me, the layout of a room is really important, so a floor plan is a great resource! Any info would be great! Thanks a lot!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, some hotels offer this kind of info up without flinching while others seem to think the request is strange. If you got nowhere with the front desk, perhaps you want to consider calling and asking for the hotel manager on duty. They should be able to fax you this information. If you still don’t get anywhere, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

Mark asked on 11/01/06

Hunter my wife and I are thinking of spending the fourth of July in Vegas. Can you recomend which hotel on the strip really parties the hardiest on that day? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

In the past the Fourth of July hasn’t really been a huge Vegas holiday in terms of major Strip parties, etc… That’s starting to change a little bit but still, it’s nothing like New Years Eve. The locals properties actually seem to do more than many Strip properties when it comes to the 4th… Now, that’s not to say that Vegas isn’t crowded for the holiday – it certainly is.

Will McF asked on 10/31/06

Hi guys. Headed to Vegas for 2 days next week. I’m going to stay 1 night at the skylofts at mgm and have a reservation in a bellagio ph for night 2. Wondering if i should move to wynn or stay night 2 at skylofts as well. Feedback? I want the room to be super nice and am cool any thing less than 1K per night. Please give me your top recomendations…


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sounds like you’re not too excited about staying at Bellagio? Bellagio’s Penthouse Suites are nice… High floors, good service, etc… At Wynn, you’d want a Salon Suite, which would be the comparable room but since it is newer, it has some amenities that Bellagio does not, such as HDTV, floor to ceiling windows, etc… The Wynn suite would be nicer. Now, Skylofts have a level of service that you can’t match at Wynn Las Vegas or Bellagio unless you get into a villa (and that’s big, big bucks). The Skylofts room is the top end of the rooms you’re considering. I guess you need to decide if you want to mix it up a little bit and move down to Wynn or just stay both nights at the Skylofts. You might consider trying to get a Fairway Villa at Wynn Las Vegas but those are rarely under $1k. I hope this helps.