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John asked on 10/31/06

Do you have any news about the ongoing renovations at the Golden Nugget? I found only very limited information on their homepage. I will stay at the Nugget in January 2007 and maybe you have more news?
Will the pool be finished by end of the year? Will it be heated and open during winter season? What about the already renovated spa? What kind of changes did they do and how much is the daily fee? Thanks a lot for your help! This is a great site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While the renovations there are big time, they have been staging them out over time to try to minimize disruption to guests.

As far as the pool in January – that’s gonna be pretty darn cold outside! They do usually heat the pool in the Winter, yes… If you can brave the cold outdoors, you might be in luck. Construction was supposed to have already wrapped on the pool but it’s slightly behind. They are rushing to get this thing done and it’s coming along so you should be okay.

The changes to the spa are more of a facelift than anything else – updates to machines, new paint, that sort of thing. No major changes to the size of the facility. They typically charge $15 per day to use the basic facilities but that is waived if you purchase a service like a massage. It’s also a comp that’s pretty easy to get – sometimes just by asking nicely.

One thing that some folks like to do if they have a flight that is late in the day, hours after checkout, is to store the bags and get a spa pass to be used after you vacate your room. It’s a nice place to relax before getting back on the plane.

I hope this helps – have a great trip!

Danny asked on 10/27/06

Heading to Caesars for Thanksgiving weekend? Any inside info on the new spa? Also, any recommendations as to any of the restaurants in the Forum Shoppes?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The new spa hasn’t opened at the time of this writing but should be brand new when you arrive. I haven’t heard much in the way of pre-opening details but from the press materials it sounds like an upgrade over the existing Caesars offering. Probably on par with other high-end Vegas hotel spas.

As far as restaurants in the mall, if you’re looking for a nicer meal, check out The Palm, Spago, or Joe’s Stone Crab, all good choices. For less expensive stuff, the Cheesecake Factory will leave you with a full tummy.

Mcrawford asked on 10/27/06

My wife and I are traveling with two children (age 3 and 1) and are trying to find 2 bedroom suite options in Las Vegas in february. Last year we stayed at Mirage in Penthouse 2 bedroom suite, which was fantastic.

Are there any other options comparable to Mirage Penthouse Suite?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Many hotels have large two bedroom suites – was there something you didn’t like about The Mirage that would make you want to not go back there? Other places like Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, THEHotel and The Venetian all have nice 2 bedroom setups.

Jonathan asked on 10/25/06

Hi Hunter,

I know the W Hotel will not be built/completed till 2010. However, which hotels, today, would you consider to be the equivalent in Las Vegas?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I guess it depends a little bit what you appreciate about other ‘W’ properties in other cities.

Typically the crowd is younger and ‘hipper’ than some other mid-range and luxury hotel brands. If that’s what you want then take a look at the Hard Rock and the Palms who both go after that group and cater to it. Also in that category would be something like THEHotel at Mandalay Bay.

If you’re a fan of good service and stuff like the ‘WWW’ button on the telephones they have, maybe take a look at the Four Seasons, part of Mandalay Bay or the ‘Tower Suites’ section at Wynn Las Vegas.

Hope that helps.

Christine Demore asked on 10/25/06

I am looking for an out of this world tasting menu to try on my next trip to celebrate my anniversary. I have narrowed the choices down to Alex, Picasso, and Michael Mina. I am most interested in the food, I want something that I will never forget and is worth the $300 or so check. I am leaning towards Alex because it sounds like of the three Alex has the best food (Picasso wins on atmosphere.) Your thoughts?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Ok, throw out Michael Mina. The restaurant has slipped in recent years and while it has recovered a bit, it’s not in the same class as your other choices.

Alex and Picasso alternate in taking top honors for Las Vegas restaurants (along with another you might consider which I’ll get to in a minute).

Alessandro Stratta, the chef at Alex, is probably one of the best American chefs out there. Both Picasso and Alex would be very safe bets and a great time but I think Alex has a slight edge here – for one, the room is more secluded, more romantic. While Picasso has the paintings, the cool ceiling and the lake, you’re bombarded by the Strip the whole time – you’ll not be able to get the Aladdin out of your mind and that’s not what you want when you’re laying out bucks for food.

Alex is tucked away in a quiet corner at Wynn Las Vegas – much more like a ‘real’ restaurant would be in New York, Paris or San Francisco.

Ok, so Alex is a strong choice.

One other to look at though and that would be ‘Joël Robuchon at The Mansion’ from the acclaimed chef of the same name. Opened last year, it has been mentioned in every column discussing Las Vegas eats since then and several magazines have given it a nod as one of the top places in the country.

Here’s a comment from a reader:

I would at least do a little checking to see if you don’t want to go that route instead of (or in addition to??) Alex.

Have fun!

Dave R asked on 10/24/06

Hi. My wife and I will be spending 9 nights in Las Vegas early next year. How much spending money would you recommend we bring?

We will be playing the slots a little and I will probably spend a few hours on the $5 let it ride tables. We probably wont eat anywhere thats very expensive and might see a coupele of shows.

I know it can vary but I’m just looking for a rough guide to help me budget.



Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is a very difficult question to answer because everyone’s spending habits are so different.

I would suggest setting a gambling budget for your trip (and stick to it). For instance, if you were going to play $100/day, that would be $900 for gambling… As you probably know, that $100 can go very, very quickly.

One thing that some folks do is to bring cash for the gambling and then use credit/debit/charge cards for stuff like hotels, food, and shows. Tickets to a show and even just a decent meal for an evening could easily run $300 (shows are expensive these days) so carrying a ton of cash for all that sort of stuff is probably not the best idea – you certainly wouldn’t want to get robbed on your vacation! Even something like traveler’s checks might be an option to look at. Check with your hotel but most casino cages will cash them for their guests.

I don’t know if this is very helpful but as I said, this is a tough one to help with since there are so many variables and we don’t know each other. I would try to get a daily figure worked out and then multiply by 9.

Have fun!

Dave asked on 10/24/06


I will be visiting Vegas for the second time march/april next year and would love to have a go at playing some poker this time but I dont know where to start.

I play alot of hold’em online so I know how to play the game but Ive never played at a real table. Can I just turn up at a casino and start playing or do I need to book a place in advance?

What are the best places to play limit hold’em with low blinds? ($3/$6 would be about the max I could afford).

Also, is it easy to get a seat in a tournament and how much can I expect to pay?

Many thanks in advance.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


If you’re interested in playing poker, head to the poker room you want to try and check in at the desk. They’ll let you know how long you should expect to wait for a game. Some hotels, including Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio, have a special system that allows you to see your place in line on your room TV set, which can be a nice way to save time.

As far as where to play, there’s quite a variety of rooms. For entry level players, I hear good things about the poker rooms at Excalibur and Luxor. Some places, like Bellagio and The Mirage, which are famous for their poker rooms, draw a lot of big players, a lot of great players and a lot of rich bad players. Beware of sharks.

Caesars new poker room is completely hidden from the action, which some players like. Wynn’s room has comfortable chairs and some big folks, though not a lot of televised tournaments so far. The Venetian’s poker room has gotten off to a slow start but seems to be picking up some steam.

Tournament play ranges quite a bit and many different types are available. For example, looking again at Luxor, they have daily $20 tournaments and go up from there.

Phil asked on 10/24/06

Will be visiting Vegas in January 07 with my wife. We are looking for a special treat: Staying in a hotel room/suite with its own swimming pool on the patio. Can you tell me which hotels offer these kind of rooms and what the price range is? Thanks a lot for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Rooms with private pools are very limited and in most cases very, very exclusive. Generally speaking, you’re talking about ‘villa’ type rooms at hotels like Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage and others that usually go for $5,000 to $15,000 per night and that’s when they are available – they’re usually booked by casino customers. These are some of the most exclusive rooms in Las Vegas that can be larger than 7,000 square feet filled with multiple bedrooms, media rooms, gyms and formal dining rooms. I’m assuming that you’re not interested in a room that costs as much as a small car… Fortunately, there are some other options.

Rooms with outdoor pools are rare – even a patio is extremely rare but a few hotels have some rooms to check out. Now, rates vary wildly depending on your dates so you’ll need to do that checking yourself but expect to pay at least $250+/night for a room like this and it could be 2x/3x that if the town’s busy.

The ‘Terrace Suites’ at MGM Grand feature an outdoor patio with a jacuzzi that fits three people.

Green Valley Ranch, which is 20 minutes from the Strip in Henderson, includes some ground floor rooms with private pools.

If you’re willing to look at rooms that have jacuzzis inside them, these are easier to find (and less expensive). The Tropicana, Luxor, Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay, New York New York and the Imperial Palace are amongst those that have ‘Jacuzzi Suites’ which are usually only about $100/night more than an entry level suite.

I hope this helps. You certainly aimed for the high end with your request. I hope you find something great!

debbie asked on 10/23/06

hi hunter
ive booked a limo trip with lucky limosine co for my trip in dec.
could you tell me if they are any good as i cant seem to find anything about them.
also with one hour ride allready paid for should i ask them to take a trip along the strip as my friend has not been to vegas before.
any suggestions????

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


I’ve never heard of Lucky Limo – I usually stick with the hotel or Las Vegas Limo. Now, that doesn’t mean they suck – hey, if they show up, that’s half of it right there… I did a little quick research and they look legit.

If you’ve got an hour to kill (most have a one hour minimum), sure – cruise The Strip. Don’t let the driver give you any static about traffic or whatever – an hour is an hour.

Dan asked on 10/22/06

Hi: Coming to Vegas for the first time. Taking my wife there for her 60th birthday. Staying at the Luxor. Will be there the 28th of Dec, till Jan 2nd. Got some ideas about where to take her for birthday and New Years. What do you think of the Palms? I heard they have either a club of resturant that has a glass floor that looks all the way down to the lobby. Is the Palms to young a crowd for us? What about Paris Paris? They have a restuant at the top of the tower, what do you think about that? Was thinking about Club Ra at Luxor for New years so we could just go to our room after the party. Is there a place that you suggest? Want something nice but no overly expensive, Something under 2 bills maybe. We don’t drink so not looking for great wine. Should we book for New Years now or when we get there? Thanks for any help. Dan

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ll take this in pieces…

First off, Ra at Luxor is closed at the moment. It is going to be replaced by a new club, most likely an outpost of LA hotspot LAX.

New Years, huh? Man, it is insane that time of year. Expect lines for everything but it sure can be fun.

At the Palms you’re thinking of the ghostbar – it has a plexi-glass floor on the balcony but it looks down to the pool area, not the lobby and it is a nightclub, not a restaurant.

The Palms will be absolutely overflowing for NYE. I’m not the biggest fan of the crowd there but if you want to mingle with drunk 22 year olds, it’s the place to be.

Maybe consider MIX at nearby Mandalay Bay instead. It’s up on the roof and has a great view of the city.

Now, the Eiffel Tower restaurant at Paris is a different story – it is a fine dining restaurant and usually quiet and romantic.

No matter what you decide, BOOK NOW or forget it. New Years is Vegas’ biggest party.

maeve asked on 10/21/06

Great site. Here’s my 2nd question. I’ll be in LV on Thanksgiving. I know most places close for the holiday, but what about places like the Forum Shops and the shopping areas in the hotels on the strip? Would it be a good idea to book a tour, or do they operate on Thanksgiving? I’d like other options for my last day in LV besides loosing my money in the casinos. But, thinking positively, maybe the casinos
will be giving me money. Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you. Some things will be closed but what is more common is shorter hours on those days – you won’t be completely shut out of activities. As far as tours, you’d want to check with the specific tour operator – some may be running on Thanksgiving. If you enjoy the outdoors, Red Rock Canyon is always an amazing trip. Just minutes from the Strip, the natural beauty will amaze you.

Adam Miller asked on 10/20/06

HUNTER! I hate the new Caesars Palace site, you can tell Harrah’s really messed everything up. Hard to manuever around, and I cant see new pictures of the hotel, links to Celine Dion to her offical site for example. Is this just one of the ways Harrah’s will do bad marketing/advertising and keeping Caesars nice? Do you really think they will keep the level of service up? I hope so, I dont want to see a bunch of junky Harrah’s-style properties on the strip! Thanks, Adam.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey Adam,

Going into the merger, many were suspicious of how Harrah’s would handle their acquired properties, specifically Caesars, which plays in the high roller market – a place that Harrah’s hadn’t dabbled and one with different economics than the mid-market. High end casinos are much more expensive to operate but when they win, they win big. Some weren’t sure if Harrah’s had the appetite.

While I’ve been through the hotel hundreds of times, Caesars is not a place I usually stay or play. That said, I’ve heard high praise from several folks when it comes to how Harrah’s has handled this so far.

Now, casino Web sites are a different story. I would say that generally, most of them are bad, irrespective of the operator. They just aren’t that good – light on info and usually difficult to navigate. We try to pick up some of that slack… For instance, we have many photos of Caesars on the site, including the new rooms in the Augustus Tower.

Hopefully we can help you out!


Michael asked on 10/19/06

I used your search function and got some great info on the Cypress Suites at Bellagio. My question is this – do you know if, being such premiere suites in the superb location of the hotel, they’ve been updated lately? I have been granted a reservation for one of them in December, and have bombarded the poor woman with so many questions, so I thought I’d ask you. Thanks as always!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

None of the suites at Bellagio that are in the main, ‘Bellagio Tower’ have been upgraded. MGM Mirage plans to do this in 2007, though it has already been put off once – it was supposed to have been done last year.

Emily asked on 10/19/06

Have used your site for ages…love it! We are coming in to stay at theHotel 11/23-11/26. Found this hotel based on your recommendation a year or two ago. It is now our favorite hotel ever. We have reserved a V-Suite. I was wondering if there are any suites better than this? Would the $20 (or $100) trick get us in to a VIP suite?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! THEHotel is a fun place to stay – I think head and shoulders above the standard Mandalay Bay rooms plus you get all the amenities.

Regarding the room types, for years the official line out of them was that there was only a single type of room in the tower. Well, that’s not correct, as they have the standard suites, the V-Suites and as of just a few months ago, they now rent out single rooms on the upper floors… There are also some hospitality suites on the lower floors as well so the room mix is more complex than they originally stated.

The ‘V Suites’ are on the edges so they end up being a bit larger than the normal rooms by about 50 square feet. Beyond that, you might be able to get an additional bedroom but there aren’t many other upgrades to go for – you already have the top room type other than some comp-only rooms on the top floors that aren’t accessible to non-casino guests.

Hope this helps.

Dayna asked on 10/19/06

Hi, My husband and I are going to Vegas for a quick getaway from our two toddlers before our 3rd is born in March. We are looking for a room for about $150-200/night. I don’t want to walk miles to our room (pregnant and all and we’ll be doing enough walking sightseeing!). Gambling is not a big focus, but a good location and maybe a spa suite would be nice, but not necessary. A good bed and nice room and service is the most important. What are your top picks?? THANKS!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Between $150-$200 should get you a reasonble room on the weekend or a fairly nice room on a weekday. Your trip dates will dictate availability but I would go looking at the following:

Wynn Las Vegas – good for distances, the best bed in Vegas (no doubt), great service and a lot of restaurant choices. Rates vary but they sometimes are in your range.

Bellagio – great service, nice room, good beds, great location. Bellagio is almost always a safe bet and while they may not be affordable if you’re going on a popular weekend, they often have good rates in your range during the slower times.

The Mirage – rooms a little on the smaller side based on current standards but still very livable. Good service, fun new restaurants and a great show, LOVE. The Mirage isn’t as nice as Wynn LV or Bellagio but it can be an affordable alternative.

Aladdin – I’m throwing this in as a bit of a wildcard entry. The rooms are above average and often can be had for a great rate. This place won’t blow you away but at the same time, it’s not horrible. One caveat is that it is under construction inside as they convert it to Planet Hollywood and thus some parts of the facility may be closed when you are there and/or other construction related inconveniences.

As far as a spa suite goes, I assume you’re talking about some kind of jacuzzi in the room? These are available at places like Monte Carlo, Luxor, New York New York and MGM Grand but they often command a rate higher than what you have in mind.

Have a great trip.

J asked on 10/17/06

Hunter, is it possible to request a regular (two queen, non-smoking) room on the penthouse floor, at the Mirage? If so, what type of room would you ask for when making a reservation? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmm, interesting… There are regular rooms on the two Penthouse floors – usually second bedroom rooms that are rented as singles when not occupied. You could certainly request this room but I have doubts that it would be fulfilled. These are premium rooms that are great giveaways for mid-level casino guests or disgruntled guests that the manager wants to calm down – the nice view and private eleavtors help smooth things over… But yeah, technically you could ask… I would ask for a top floor room and explain you mean on the penthouse floor.

Philippe asked on 10/17/06

In March 2006 I won $1’600 on a video slot. The casino payed me with a 30% deduction (Handpay was $1120).

Is there a chance to get the tax-amount back? If yo, can you tell me how I can get the 30% tax back? I live in Europe and I’m not US citizen. I will be in Vegas again next year.

Thanks a lot for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Nope, that’s standard for non US-citizens – taking the tax our right there on the spot. We Americans would have to declare the win on our tax returns and pay as part of our income tax, so in the end, all are required to pay, citizens or not. The casino was just following United States law.

Philippe asked on 10/17/06

Hello and congratulation to this fabulous site!
Will be in Vegas in January 07 with my wife. We’re staying Downtown but on a sunny day we’d like to check out a nice pool at a Strip Resort. Any chance to get into their pool area if not staying with them? I would also be willing to pay an entrance fee. Is there something like the 20$ trick? E.g. you hand a 10$ bill to security instead of showing them your room key? We’re interested in Mandalay Bay, Wynn or Bellagio pool. Thanks a lot for your kind help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thank you! Interesting question. As far as the rules go, none of the pool areas you cite allow non-guests. One that does is the Hard Rock but only on Sundays. As far as getting in by slipping a bill, no way at Mandalay Bay (tight security) and I haven’t heard of it working at Bellagio or Wynn but at the same time, I would not be surprised if it worked. Tokes can get you far in Las Vegas but this would mostly depend on who was working the door – some folks will go for this and some won’t. If you do try this, I’m very curious to hear how it goes.

Desiree asked on 10/16/06

I have been to Vegas 3 times and this is my sister’s first. Where do black people hang out in Vegas?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most properties don’t really go after a specific race or ethnic group, though there are some exceptions. The California downtown really goes after Hawaiians and Station Casinos has talked about aiming for latinos on a future project. As far as African American hang-outs, Fitzgerald’s downtown is the only black-owned casino in Nevada and while they have had some events related to Black Pride Month, etc…, I wouldn’t really say it was a spot that African American’s hang out more than anywhere else. One nice thing about Vegas is that it is, maybe more than other major American cities, colorblind to a great extent… That is except for one color: green. If you have money to spend, you are welcome anywhere.

Jill asked on 10/15/06

Hi! Just found your site linked from Big Empire! It’s great so far, still working my way through, though. I did a search and didn’t find much to answer my questions, so here goes.

A group of 5 of us are going to Vegas in December, the week before Christmas. In your experience, how busy is it during that time? I can see it going either way, I guess.

We are staying at the Flamingo, and my boyfriend and I have stayed there twice before. I keep hearing about renovations—what stage are they in and in what area/tower? Also, we have had two types of rooms- one with a strip view, blue carpet and a really small bathroom. The other was with a pool/wildlife habitat view and neutral decor with a bigger bathroom. We liked the second room better…much better. Do you know which ‘tower’ I should ask for if we’d like our rooms in that area?

Thank you!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Cool, I’m a big BigEmpire fan. I hung out with Matt and Stinky a few years back – we had a blast and I’ll always feel lucky.

The two weeks before Christmas are two of the slowest weeks of the year. Early December has National Finals Rodeo, which is huge… Then a slow bit, then Christmas and New Years, which are huge… So if you’re looking for a break, it’s a good time.

As far as the Flamingo, they are currently renovating the rooms but the progress is a bit slow – they expect the process to take about a year and they’ve only just barely started. They plan to renovate the whole place but so far, just a few rooms facing Caesars have been done up. You could ask for a renovated room – the new setup is a vast improvement over the old setup. Still, you might be sacrificing view or other amenities since the inventory of re-done rooms is so small.

Incidentally, we will be posting an article on the Flamingo renovations on our blog in the coming days with some photos.

As far as the type of room you’re looking for, it sounds like a standard deluxe room, where the blue carpeted room sounds like an Executive Room. They assume you’ll love the Strip view and forget about the smaller bathroom.

I hope this has been helpful. I suggest you check back on the blog in a few days to check out our Flamingo room renovation coverage. You can reach the blog from the link at the top of this page.

Danny asked on 10/14/06

Is Thanksgiving weekend (Fri – Mon following Thanksgiving) considered a slow, busy or average weekend in Vegas? I plan on seeing “O”, but what are your two other suggested shows for that weekend – nothing risque, please.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanksgiving is increasingly a popular time for Las Vegas visitation – many take advantage of the long weekend and spend their turkey-day in Sin City.

If you don’t already have tickets for “O”, I would recommend purchasing them immediately as the show is always sold-out. The best seats are probably already gone if there are tickets left at all.

If you’re into seeing other Cirque shows, I would recommend either ‘Mystere’ at Treasure Island or ‘LOVE’ at The Mirage. ‘LOVE’ is based on the music of The Beatles and provides an interesting alternative to the ‘standard’ Cirque line up. ‘Mystere’ is the oldest CDS show in Vegas and thus it is easier to get tickets than it is for the newer shows. Don’t let that fool you though – the show is still amazing.

If you want to get away from Cirque and try something else, the popular Broadway musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ is playing at Mandalay Bay – the music of Abba always packs the house. For magic, Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo has been around for a decade and recently put a bunch of money into re-vamping his show.

For traditional showgirls and dance revue stuff, Jubilee at Bally’s is another long running production, though the show is topless, it is not what I would deem risque. The version of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at The Venetian has been called the best of its kind… So, there are quite a few suggestions but honestly, there are so many options even beyond these.

Our top ten page is located here: Top Ten Vegas Review Page

One common thread – get your tickets early. Do not expect to show up in Vegas and be able to purchase tickets. These shows often sell out and so if you want to see a show, buy in advance.

karl newbold asked on 10/13/06

1 week to go and i cant wait!

2 questions matey!

1 – art of shaving or the shop in the forum (truefit)?
(ive came into some cash! – so the haircut will be in one of those!!!)

2 im making 1 trip to vegas this year and staying in the wynn as i mentioned before

people reccomend buying the american casino guide…for the coupons – ive seen a list and a lot of them are in off strip casinos – since im only there for 5 nights is it worth it!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve heard fantastic things about the ‘Art of Shaving’ and nil about the other joint so that’s probably what I would recommend. I haven’t personally done either one…

With regards to the casino guide, I am not a ‘coupon guy’ but some people really get into it, almost like it is its own game they are playing… The stuff in the book will not be for top flight Strip casinos like Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian, Bellagio, etc… If you plan to do a lot of visiting to these other places, maybe it would be worth it… I think I remember you saying that this was a first trip but even if not, since you’re coming all the way from the UK, my guess is that you’ll probably be focusing on the Strip casinos and not driving all over town. So, I would keep that in mind as you decide.

Nancy asked on 10/12/06

Hi Hunter,
I just read the post regarding the cypress suites at the Bellagio. I had no idea they existed, and I guess I know why now too! Anyways, in terms of price, would they be at the top for room rates ie, most expensive? Or are they between King Suite and Penthouse Suites? To reserve these rooms, I guess you would have to call the reservations desk and request one, correct? They aren’t reserved for high rollers/comped guests of the hotel? Thanks,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

That’s why we’re here – to fill you in on the top secret stuff! As far as prices, they range but it should be less expensive than a Penthouse Suite. They are under the control of casino marketing so they are only rented when not booked by a casino customer (comped). This is the same setup as the Villas or the Presidential Suites – they can be booked when available. The normal reservations line can ask for you – they have to put in a request with casino marketing to get a Cypress. They are not offered on the Web site under normal circumstances and never for weekends (sometimes extra suites appear on the Web site booking section during the week).

chris asked on 10/12/06

Hi there,

Great site with loads of information.
I’m planning a trip to Vegas from the UK in March or April with my lady.

I’m tempted on a Penthouse suite at Bellagio. Do they all have lake views? Or do i need to request one with a lake view?

Also i’ve heard of Cyprus Suites but can’t see them on Bellagio’s website – are they comparible?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No, not all Penthouse Suites have a lake view – you need to request it and sometimes they want to charge more.

All Cypress Suites do have a lake view. They are located in the mid-part of the tower facing the lake. They are not advertised on the Web site (that’s very common for these hotels to not talk about certain types of rooms on the Web). They are cool rooms with a great view but they are more like a junior suite in that it’s one big room, not a multi-room setup.

I have a Cypress Suite photo here:
Bellagio Cypress Suite at

maeve asked on 10/12/06

Here’s a change of pace from the $20 trick questions. Any recommendations for restaurants (on the strip) where a single woman (late 50s) would be comfortable dining alone. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Fortunately the Las Vegas Strip and the casinos themselves are both very safe. There are some restaurants that are better than others when dining alone, mostly for comfort than safety though… Many restaurants feature sit-down bars that serve a full menu, which can be more comfortable than sitting at a table alone. Even restaurants like Daniel Boulud at Wynn Las Vegas and Delmonico at The Venetian have these setups. What that basically means is that apart from a few high-end places that are really date or group oriented (Alex at Wynn LV, Picasso at Bellagio, some others), you can eat pretty much anywhere you’d like and feel safe – pick a place based on the food or price instead of your solo status!

Karl newbold asked on 10/10/06

i suffer from vertigo and i have booked a room at the wynn asking for a low room

what floor can i expect realistically?

also whats the lowest floor with rooms on?

i am a little scared to be honest

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would go ahead and call the hotel and make a special request on your reservation – this is a medical matter and since a low floor is not a common request, they should be able to accommodate this… You’ll find rooms on the 3rd floor and above, one level above the spa, though if you have a Strip view this will look like the second floor as you’ll look out over the roof of the first floor casino.

Jack asked on 10/10/06

Are there any philippine restaurants on the strip? Or any restaurants that serve philippine cuisine?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Not really on the Strip, no. There are off-Strip restaurants that you could visit if you have a car and some time… I don’t really have a recommendation as I haven’t tried any of them myself. You’ll find some other regional food in some of the seafood and Asian restaurants but that’s about as close as you can get.

Mike asked on 10/09/06

I got a nice deal on a Spa Tower partial lakeview room at the Ballegio in late January, but I’ve read a lot about the construction going on next door. Do you think it is worth looking elsewhere or should I stay with it?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It really depends on how sensitive you are to noise. If you are sensitive, you might want to move to the main tower. If that sort of thing typically doesn’t bother you much, I wouldn’t worry.

suepc asked on 10/08/06

Hi Hunter:

Just returned tonight from 8 days in Vegas. Your site helped us make all the right choices. I do not want to give you my opinion of things, as you do a great job at that (even though some of the things we may not see eye to eye on).

My one reason for writing this is that you recommended Freemont street. Yes, it was worth the trip downtown, the light show was something to see (not spectacular, but something different). But, your readers SHOULD BE AWARE OF A MAJOR SAFETY PROBLEM:

We took the DUECE bus there and back. The driver told us pick-up was exactly where we were dropped-off. This was untrue! They actually DID picked us up at the drop off location, but then took us to the DOWNTOWN TERMINAL STATION, which seemed very desolate, unsafe, and an area we should not have been in.

Please, please, advise your readers that the pick-up location usually is one block away from the drop off location. If the bus driver tells you that he is going to Central Downtown Terminal first – you have to change buses and walk from one side of the terminal to the next! If they do not want to walk around the block, they can go back to the Golden Nugget and get a cab!


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sue – I encourage you to visit the various hotel pages here on the site and enter in your comments and ratings – that’s what makes this such a valuable resource – having everyone’s comments!

Glad that your trip was overall a good one.

Regarding your bus experience, thanks for sharing. Pick-up locations seem to vary a bit as I have seen folks get dropped and picked up in a few spots. I personally usually take a cab, mostly for the sake of simplicity.

Thanks for your reply!

Steve asked on 10/06/06

In your opinion, would a hundred dollar handshake get a group of four through the velvet rope at Tryst, Tao, Jet, or Mix if there is a long line?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Probably, yes. One issue with Tryst and Tao specifically is that the line can be chaos and even getting up front to the point where you can grease someone’s palm is tough… But yes, and I would say based on your reasoning and logic, you’ll get in – if you’re willing to ‘work it’ a little bit, you’ll pull it off. Most people aren’t willing or are intimidated.

karl newbold asked on 10/06/06

sorry for all the questions – im just so excited!

usually i shave my head totally – but fancy a change – so ive been growing my hair for 2 months so i can get it styled in vegas

where is a good barbers
i dont really want to spend a stupid amount of money – maybe up to about 50$

i have heard good things about el cortez
is it worth going to – as i find the prices really cheap so i dont want my first “real haircut” to be a disaster!

(also if i do go upmarket will i get a birthday discount!!! – shameless!!!!!)

where do you recommend

(thank you for the fab service – when i return i will make a donation i promise!)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No problem… For a haircut, Wynn Las Vegas does have a barber in a very nice facility. They charge $65 for this service, plus a tip would be customary. If that’s too rich for your blood, you can take a look at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club at The Venetian – most hotel spas are only open to their guests but Canyon Ranch serves the public… They are slightly less expensive. As far as the El Cortez goes, are you talking about the Downtown hotel? They do have a barbershop but it is not in any way a fancy place – it’s really low end. Now, it’s also inexpensive and maybe you’re just looking for a guy with a Bic. I wouldn’t expect a birthday discount at either place – it’s not an institutionalized type thing and generally you won’t find discounted services – you might get a little extra here and there but it’s not a Denny’s type thing… It’s more on the down-low. Hope this helps.

karl newbold asked on 10/05/06

i cant find the FAQ that this site links to
can you post the url

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you’re referring to the $20 trick FAQ, it was on the old site but it’s not here anymore… I suggest you do a search here on the site for the $20 trick – you’ll get a ton of hits, it has been discussed quite a bit. If you have a specific question, feel free to submit it.

karl newbold asked on 10/05/06

2 questions
im going to be in vegas for my birthday – october the 24th

what can i do that would make it a really special day


2 can i get free stuff if i mention its my birthday!

ps im goin on the 22nd and returning on the 29th and statying at the wynn

(free stuff at the wynn would be fab")

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, ‘free stuff’ is never guaranteed but I would call the hotel and make a mention on your reservation that you are visiting for your birthday. They may do something nice for you but nothing for sure.

As far as what to do, Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world these days – what about treating yourself to an amazing meal? Wynn Las Vegas has a couple of restaurants that would be good for this:

  • Alex – if you’re traveling with someone (not a good place to eat alone), this is arguably the best restaurant in Las Vegas. French/Spanish.
  • Okada – Japanese with amazing outdoor views.
  • Bartolotta – Fresh fish flown in from Italy all the time. Incredible, fantastic food.

Other than food, how about a show? There are a ton to choose from but if you like Cirque du Soleil, LOVE at The Mirage features music from The Beatles and is a lot of fun.

Hope this helps!

karl newbold asked on 10/05/06

What companies would you advise for trips to the canyon and the hoover dam

also what sort of prices should i pay and can i get any discounts!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Check this out:

Grand Canyon

For the Hoover Dam, if you have a car, just drive on over and if you’re interested, take the tour. It’s about a 20-30 minute drive from the Strip.

The prices for the Grand Canyon tour can be expensive if you pick a package with all the extras (food, etc…). From your email address it appears you’re from the UK? I would strongly suggest you visit the GC. It’s pretty amazing.

Trop Legend asked on 10/03/06

RE Sept 26 question about the sports books still giving free drinks:

The super-friendly TI is my (buddy’s) favorite place to put down $2 bets on the ponies. Free drinks, yeah, and I get to play Caveman Keno in the first row just outside.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The sports book at TI is tucked around the corner from Tangerine, for those that have trouble tracking it down.

Trop Hater now Trop Legend asked on 10/03/06

Hey Hunter!
The Photo section, Santa Fe Station!
Those are fake brochure pix!
Maybe nobody ever actually went to the Santa Fe Station.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

That picture came from Station’s PR department. Not sure what ‘fake’ means. I visited once but I didn’t take photos so this is what I’ve got. If anyone has a picture, send it to

stacey asked on 10/02/06

Hi Hunter-

If you have been, what do you think of the newly renovated Mirage?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I have been and actually visited several times during as well. I think of The Mirage work as a great story – the changes are, on balance, well done. This is in contrast to Treasure Island where the changes are generally looked down on as a step backwards. The new restaurants are great, the casino is basically looking good and LOVE, the new show is a hit. We’ve talked about this extensively on the blog if you want to do further reading.

todd Hart asked on 10/02/06

Do you know where I can Free Hot Dog coupons for Slots a Fun?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’ll find all sorts of coupons in a couple of places, such as the Las Vegas Advisor member’s coupon book, plus various coupon Web sites. From time to time they will also publish these in the entertainment magazines like Showbiz Weekly, available in many LV hotel rooms.

Todd Hart asked on 10/02/06

Hey Hunter, I have been reading your posts for years. I have been to Vegas 23 times and I still find new things to do each time I am there. I have a trip planned for the weekend of October 13th thru the 15th. I see that the Age of Chivalry Festival is going on that weekend and I was wondering if you know anything about this event. Also, I was thinking of dining at Lucy Chengs. Have you ever eaten there and how was it? Thanks for your help. I like this new format.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hey! I obviously get a lot of first-timers so it’s cool to hear from a regular. Now, unfortunately I don’t have a lot of info for you. What I’m hoping is that a reader will see this and pass some info on to me at so I can update this response. As for the restaurant, are you sure you have the name right? Lucky Chang’s is a restaurant/drag club in Vegas. Are you interested in checking out a grad show? Not my cup of tea but I hear this one is well put together. Wish I could have been more help.

Nancy asked on 10/01/06

Hello Hunter,
I have been a loyal patron of the Bellagio, but would like to give another hotel a try for our next trip. I am thinking of venturing to Wynn. My question is, do all “RESORT ROOMS” have a view of the strip? How many floors are there at the Wynn? What is the main difference between the resort and the panoramic view rooms? Have you been able to notice which of the 2 hotels offers “cheaper rooms”, specifically during the summer season?
TIA for your reply to my inquiry.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

At Wynn Las Vegas you have Strip and Golf Course view rooms. Resort Rooms have both views available. It goes up to floor 60 but all the 40s are missing, etc… so it’s actually ~50 floors. Panoramic view rooms aren’t all that different and if you want to upgrade you should start looking at the Tower Suites rooms and then suites themselves – even the generic Tower Suites room offers more personalized service. As far as cheaper rooms, neither is really known for deals but they are sometimes offered. These things change so often though, your best bet is to get on all the mailing lists that you can and then watch to see what you are offered.

Oscar asked on 10/01/06

Nothing taxing! Just planning a trip in April and wondering the best hotels on the strip for value for money…..I like a game of poker aswell!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would suggest you do some browsing here on the site – we have reviews and ratings of all the properties and we have some top-rated lists linked from the home page. Then, if you have specific questions about hotels, bring ’em back here and submit them.

Eric asked on 09/28/06

Hi Hunter, I’m from Asia and will be coming to Vegas in November with my buddy. We will be staying at TI for 7 days and hope you can help us with a few questions that may sound silly to you, since you’re an expert and all, lol.

1. How is the weather in late November, day and night?
2. Whom should i tip and how much?
3. Is it far to walk from TI to NewYork-NewYork?
4. Is it safe to walk at the Strip after midnight?
5. can I collect all my CDS ticket reservations at one CDS ticket booth or do i need to go to each of the hotel?
6. are there any morning/afternoon shows in vegas?
7. Is it true the rides at Stratosphere will be shut down if it’s too windy?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No problem – not bad questions. I’ll take ’em one by one:

1. It’s getting a bit cold in November. Make sure you bring warm clothes. You’ll probably be wearing jeans or long pants during the day and almost certainly a jacket at night. Usually the sun is out but it does indeed get cold – high 50s, low 60s F.

2. Tipping is an extensive topic. In the US we tip almost everyone it seems. The taxi driver gets a few dollars. The bellman carrying your bags gets $1-$2 per bag, cocktail servers get $1-$5, bartenders usually $1-$2 per drink, 15%-20% on your food tab, it goes on and on.

3. If you are able-bodied and enjoy walking, you wouldn’t have a problem with a TI to NYNY jaunt. It’s a good walk, probably about 30 minutes if you don’t stop in anywhere.

4. The Strip is very safe at basically all times. I wouldn’t recommend venturing off on to side streets but even those are very safe.

5. You should be able to get all your CDS tickets at one box office. They are all linked up. Make sure you bring your ID and your credit card (the one you used).

6. I can’t think of any morning shows but there are a few afternoon shows. Check out options like Mac King and Rick Thomas.

7. Yes it is true. Actually, high winds will shut down other attractions too, like the Fountains of Bellagio and the volcano at The Mirage.

Have fun!

carie jones asked on 09/27/06

Does the sterling brunch serve a quality steak(without fancy sauces)? Also any type of simple potatoe choice? pancakes? Everything I have heard about it sounds wonderful but my husband has very simple tastes. If I could be assured he could get a decent steak, salad, and simple potatoe(maybe roasted) but with NO sauce,and a plentiful supply of fresh baked breads I think I could talk him into taking me. Thanks in advance!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Sterling Brunch is a buffet type setup, not a sit down and order type setup. As far as simple tastes go, there are certainly some exotic options but most of the stuff is pretty standard, such as crab legs, beef medallions, lobster, shrimp, etc… Based on your description it doesn’t seem like your husband would get all that much out of it if he’s just looking for the bare-bones basics. Maybe he wants to try something new? If he likes shellfish then he’s probably fine but if he’s looking for what sounds like a steak dinner minus any accessories whatsoever, it might not be a good match.

Rob Capra asked on 09/26/06

Do any Sports Books still give free drinks to bettors. Not coupons but coctail service.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Some do but not all of the time and sometimes depending on your betting level. Some require to see your ticket but books at The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Red Rock do this.

faedra asked on 09/26/06

Which room would you recommend for a first timer to Vegas. We are planning to stay at TI and the room options are tower delux, pent house level or traditional room with strip view on an “upper floor”. Thank you for your help

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you are a person that likes nice hotel rooms, I would advise you to get the nicest room you can afford without it seriously impacting your trip – if you have to skip dinner three nights to get into the next room up, don’t worry about it. If you aren’t a person who cares much about the room beyond it being clean and sleepable, the ‘Tower Deluxe’ option is fine.

suepc asked on 09/24/06

Thanks for your response. Would you hear the noise in the main tower, in the Lake view rooms? Also, do you know the hours of the construction crew (week day and week end)??? Thanks again.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Well, part of your question is very subjective – some people aren’t bothered by the noise at all. I assume you know if you are very sensitive to such things and if so, you want to be as far away as possible. The rooms that have the least chance of hearing anything would be on the South side of the hotel, overlooking Caesars. Now, that’s not the best view by any stretch of the imagination but I guess you have to decide what is important to you. Construction times range and as time goes on, they will expand to a seven day a week schedule but for now, major work is six days a week, 7am to 6pm. Personally, the noise doesn’t bother me and I have no problem sleeping through it or otherwise enjoying my stay so that hopefully indicates that not all folks are impacted the same way.

suepc asked on 09/24/06

Hi. Great New Site Format! Some reviews from last October were complaining that when staying at the Penthouse Suite at the Bellagio they were disrupted early in the morning (and continued all day) from a construction site near the new spa tower. They said this went on all day. What construction are they talking about that would effect you in the new Tower area? Is this construction over??? Thanks for your input!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Likely Project CityCenter which is going up next door, between Bellagio and Monte Carlo and incidentally is the largest private construction project in the US. Noise will be less in the main Bellagio tower and even on the mountain side of the Spa Tower. Folks that are very noise sensitive may request one of those areas instead. Construction will be going on for many years as the project doesn’t open until 2009. Right now they are doing the most noisy stuff – digging holes and putting in the foundation.

sara asked on 09/22/06

Hello Hunter, Wondering if you know of the Price Is Right game show at Bally’s?? Worth checking out? Any information would be great! Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I didn’t go myself but they are advertising it heavily and I had another reader tell me it was a blast. I guess sometimes they have long lines to get in though, which can be a bummer… If you’re into that kind of stuff, it sounds like the crowd was having a good time.

sophia asked on 09/22/06

We are staying at the Mirage in November. If we are in another hotel that is in the MGM group such as TI or MGM etc… Can we charge things back to our room at the Mirage? Or do they only let guests of an exact hotel do this?
Many thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Generally, yes, you can cross-charge between MGM MIRAGE hotels.

KEITH PALMER asked on 09/20/06

I am coming to las vegas on the 28th November for 3 nights with french people. What do you think is the best hotel at a reasonable price.(not the paris as it would be like home!!)
Which do you prefer between: Luxor, Treasure Island, Monte Carlo or New York New York.
Merci beaucoup

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would rate those choices as follows:

  • Treasure Island
  • Monte Carlo
  • NYNY
  • Luxor

Treasure Island has great service and nice rooms. You might also check The Mirage as sometimes they have very competitive rates.