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gnomedog asked on 03/15/05

Hi Hunter! I have been coming to Vegas for 25 years, and stayed at most of the hotels. I’m coming out March 28 for 4 nights by myself for a little personal birthday treat. I received an offer from the Sahara for 2 nights free and since I like the casino, I thought the Sahara would be fun to try for 2 of the nights, and staying at the Flamingo the other 2 nights. However, I have been reading some horrible reviews on the Sahara and am getting concerned. Problem is, the room rates that week for the 30 and 31 have skyrocketed and I don’t have + 200-300 per night for a room! Can you give me some real advice on whether 2 nights at the Sahara will be ok? I don’t need anything fancy just to sleep, as long as it’s clean and comfortable. I have a rental car and plan to use the monorail as well.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Sahara is not unclean or awful. It is an old hotel with Motel 6 style rooms. If you’re looking for a clean bed, they will provide that without any trouble. Compared to Bellagio, The Sahara looks a bit tattered. That’s just not a fair comparison. If you like the casino, you’ll have no problems there at all.

nichole asked on 03/15/05

Were going to Vegas in June and despite our numerous visits there, this will be our first time to take in a show. We were leaning towards Celine Dion but am intrigued by the Wynn’s new production coming out. Heard anything about it? Would you stick with Celine? Thanks !

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Celine’s show is basically and elaborately staged concert. If you’re a big Celine fan, this is probably a good choice. If you’re not, I strongly recommend you check out the following other options: Ka (MGM Grand) is supposedly awesome – I haven’t seen it yet. Wynn’s show, Le Reve, will certainly be up there. Franco Dragone (creator) rarely disappoints. Both of those shows are only-in-Vegas types of experiences.

tkporter asked on 03/15/05

Hey Hunter. Where would you suggest an older married couple go to dance in Vegas??? We like anything from disco to top 40, but being 50ish we don’t want to end up some where that caters strictly to twentysomethings. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We are staying at the Rio by the way. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A good spot may be the Fontana Bar at Bellagio. They have live music most nights and generally attract a slightly older crowd. Also, the dueling pianos at New York New York often attract a dancing crowd.

haik asked on 03/15/05

Congratualtions again on that great site. I’ve learned the $20 trick here and have a 100% success rate (1 out of 1)!
Does the $20 trick work at LV car rentals, too? I’ve reserved and already paid for a full size car at alamo for 5 days in april (Sat-Thu). Any chance at a convertible here?
Thanks a lot!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve heard of people pull this but I think generally this ain’t gonna work.

kenoja asked on 03/14/05

how do i upload photos to your site

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Send your photos to and we’ll post them!

Mikeynla asked on 03/13/05

Hunter, I’ve recently been asked to be a friend’s best man. I’ve never planned the bachelor party thing, so I want to do it right (and he’s a seriously good friend). It’s not until August, but I’m just trying to get some ideas going… It will be small – 4-6 guys. I was thinking of maybe going for one of the lofts at MGM. Do you know their limo policy. Like, if I have 4 registered in my room, will they pick up 6 of us at the airport? Also, do you have any other recommendations as to a really great Vegas room for 4-6 guys? I was thinking maybe a Terrace or Marquee suite at MGM as well. Or maybe ever 2 adjoining rooms at THEhotel. Any advice would, as always, be appreciated! Keep up the fabulous work!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The limo driver shouldn’t care as long as you guys fit in the car and you tip him appropriately. They aren’t there to enforce policy, just to drive. Take a look at two bedroom Tower Suites at The Mirage along with the other rooms you mentioned (all good choices). When I went on my bachelor party in October, the guys put us up at The Mirage and it was awesome.

hopeIwin asked on 03/12/05

Hi Hunter. I’m going to vegas for the first in April for a week. I’m planing on spending 3000.00 I hope I dont lose all of it. My question is who is giving the best comp I will be playing slots and black jack ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

First off, good luck! Your best bet would be to budget a certain amount for gaming each day. That way you don’t lose it all before the end of your trip! All major Strip resorts are pretty similar in their comp policy. At a nicer hotel, you’ll have to do at least 4 hours at $25 a hand to get comped at the blackjack tables and about 4 hours on the dollar slots. As you play at older properties, the comp policy relaxes. This would be properties on the North Strip and downtown. Another good thing to remember – never play for the comps. Comp chasing is a sure way to be disappointed.

SOLDSHORT asked on 03/11/05

I recently stayed at the Bellagio and was disappointed with the standard rooms. Not worth the cash. My question is, are the Bellagio suites worth the extra money say from paying for a suite at the Mirage or other popular casinos? How about theHotel at mandalay bay?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I can understand your disappointment with the standard rooms at Bellagio. They are nice but they don’t blow you away, and the prices are up there. I would say that the suites at The Mirage are actually a bit more tastefully done than those at Bellagio. THEHotel also has some great rooms so either are a good choice.

palefire01 asked on 03/11/05

Hi Hunter,
You’ve been so helpful with some of my past questions that I can’t help but ask another. My wife has indicated that of all the amenities in a hotel room, the one she really cares most about is a nice large tub with whirlpool jets to relax in. I’m am booked in a penthouse suite at Mirage, which is a bit of a treat for me, and I want to make sure it meets the tub requirements for my wife. Can you comment on the size of the tub? Can two people fit in it comfortably? How does it compare to, say, the jacuzzi tubs that would be found in a Spa Suite at for instance the Monte Carlo? Thanks again for any insights…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, the tubs will fit two comfortably and have jets. Instead of being round like some of the tubs in other hotel suites, they are the standard rectangular shape but quite large. Have a great time!

huovy asked on 03/06/05

Hi Hunter. We’ll be in town during St. Patrick’s Day and understand that NYNY is having a celebration @ $75. PP. What does that include? We’re only interested in going to Nine Fine Irishmen. Will we have to pay the $75.00?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The celebration you’re talking about involves the entire property and the $75 includes access to NFI as well as other bars that are part of the party. It’s my understanding that to get access to NFI on St. Patrick’s Day you will need to buy a ticket. The celebration includes some special Irish themed music inside the casino as well as VIP access to the bars.

dgrobison asked on 03/06/05

My wife and I are planning a visit in late April 2005. We’ll be staying from Sun-Wen. We haven’t made hotel reservations yet but are considering Paris, New York, and Ballys. We’ve never stayed at any of them. Which of these do you recommend? Also, please make any other suggestions that fall in this price range. Thanks for the input and the great website.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words! Regarding those three hotels, I would probably go with Paris. Paris and Ballys are connected and while Ballys is nice, the hotel was originally built in the 70s and despite refurbishment, you can tell it is an older hotel. I’m not a huge fan of New York New York. I found the rooms small and the service only so-so. You might also want to take a look at Treasure Island, The Mirage and the Aladdin. Depending on your dates, you can sometimes get some great rates at those properties.

raoul_777 asked on 02/28/05

Yes i was talking about a prize system, if you can find out that would be extremely appreciated. In addition are u planning to post any more photos of the new spa tower, such as Jean-Philippe Patisserie? Lol i’m really obsessed with Bellagio if u haven’t noticed, so anything else new that you can tell me would be great.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I forwarded your message on to Bellagio. They should respond. Regarding the photos, I have a ton of Spa Tower pix on Flickr:

raoul_777 asked on 02/28/05

Hello, noticed you talked about the construction at Bellagio Can you give more details? Such as what exactly they’re putting back in the main entrance. And we are planning a trip again with our 14 year old, Does Bellagio still have the ticket redemption in the Arcade? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They are making some changes to the main entrance, adding a waterfall and refurbishing the bell desk area. This work should be completed very soon and isn’t a major disruption. As far as the arcade goes, sorry, I’m not familiar with ‘ticket redemption’. Are we talking about some kind of prize system?

CanadianYankee asked on 02/28/05

Thanks again. This should be the last question. I see that ISIS the house band at The Mirage is now at the Bellagio. Do you know if The Mirage has any other band that will be filling their spot in the AVA Lounge?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Mirage has had a series of rotating acts at Ava and according to our rep, are still following that program.

Wiggy asked on 02/28/05

Hello again. We’re booked into The Gold Coast this Summer and we’ll be in town for July 4th. Wondered if you had any ideas on what’ll be happening and if we should be making eating reservations or pre-buying tickets for activities etc. Cheers.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This year the city of Las Vegas is celebrating its 100 year anniversary and Independence Day is one of the main celebrations. Should be a lot of fun! Keep an eye on this site for more info on scheduled events.

joepm asked on 02/28/05

Hi Hunter, if you had to choose between the honeymoon suite at the Mandalay and a spa suite at the Luxor, which would you choose? We’re getting married in June and are looking for a lavish spa room to spend just one night. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Congratulations! If I was limited to just those two choices, I would go with Mandalay. If you’re checking, I would suggest you also check out THEHotel at Mandalay Bay, their boutique all-suite hotel located on property. It’s a whole cut above Mandalay and the rates can be quite reasonable sometimes. Have a great time!

mgoblue asked on 02/26/05

Planning trip week of Oct. 17, including my 13 year old. Do the following shows have an age limit for attendance> Penn & teller, The amazing Jonathan, The blue Men. also, how soon should we get tickets?

Also, trying to balance budget against how clean the hotel rooms will be. Can you direct to site, other than this one, which can give us an idea of quality of more rreasonably priced rooms.

also, we figure would be cheaper to take cabs than to rent a car, any thoughts?

Thanks for help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A site other than this one? You don’t trust us? :-) Another great site is You might be better off renting a car actually… The cost of cabs can go up very quickly and car rentals can be had very reasonably. Of course, you may opt to do a lot of walking, which would reduce the cab cost. If you’re looking for hotels with clean rooms but not a lot of frills, I can make some recommendations. Take a look at the following properties: Harrah’s, Ballys, Aladdin, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, Luxor, Imperial Palace and New York New York. If you don’t mind staying off the Strip, include the Rio in that list. Prices can vary wildly depending on the time of year, but they are a good place to start looking. Regarding the shows you’re looking at, your child can attend all of them at 13. Have a great time.

elvis2tlc asked on 02/26/05

hello i am trying to locate a family member Bridget Murray in Henderson can u help me thank u Annamarie

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I think this one is out of my league. If any readers can help, contact and we’ll put you in touch with the author.

carol asked on 02/26/05

Is there any big difference in accomodations/pool/quality of service between TI & Flamingo? The difference would be around 90.00 more to stay at TI. Is TI worth the extra expense?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It depends. Will that $90 make a significant difference in your trip budget? If the answer is yes, I wouldn’t worry about it and I would stay at the Flamingo. If it won’t seriously impact your budget, I would say TI is worth it. TI is a nicer hotel but the ultimate endgame is balancing your resources. I hope that this helps.

carol asked on 02/26/05

We are considering going to see Second City this trip. Have you had any feedback on this? Also is there any other type show there (we are going in April) that would be on the same order as Tony & Tina’s Wedding. Thanks. You do a great job.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I haven’t seen Second City in Las Vegas but I’ve heard the show is a lot of fun. If you’re looking for comedy, some good picks are George Wallace, David Brenner, or Mac King. All a rockin’ good time.

CanadianYankee asked on 02/25/05

Great site. Thanks for the help on the last question. Not sure if anybody has asked this yet but I was told that Carnegie Deli is now in the Mirage. If it is where did they put it? Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, it just opened. It is at the site of the old snack bar, across from California Pizza Kitchen and the sports book. Just inside from the white tigers. Enjoy.

jsaldridge asked on 02/23/05

Once again, I’m heading back to Vegas either fall ‘05 or ’06 and given that I routinely read your site and value your opinion, I have a couple questions. The last time I was there with my wife we saw Kid Rock in concert and had a blast. We are wanting to pick a time where there is someone in concert while we are there. Is there any place I can go that can get me that type of information? Also, given that I won’t gamble enough to get the hotel site to comp tickets, is there any benefit to staying at the location of the concert?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as we know, there is no single site to get concert info. Luckily, most live acts hit only a few venues. For giant shows, you will be sitting in either the MGM Grand Garden Arena or the Mandalay Events Center… These are the Rolling Stones and Britney Spears of the world. Fortunately for Las Vegas, there are other venues. Mandalay Bay has the House of Blues and the Hard Rock has The Joint. These places are each about 1,200 capacity and often get great acts. I would watch the HOB and Hard Rock Web sites for concert info. Sometimes the Aladdin gets acts in it’s 7,000 seat theater. They are about to start renovating and may be offline for some time. Hope that helps. If you’re not going for big action and comp tickets, the only other benefit would be that the stumbling distance back to the room is less… Stay anywhere!

booshie asked on 02/22/05

Hi Hunter, your site is very helpful! I would like to know what a reasonable request is as far as an upgrade at MGM. I have a deluxe room in the Grand Tower and would at least like a room with the best view of the strip. What exactly should Iask for when I check in and would a suite be to much to hope for? Thanks for the advice, Brian

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! The Grand Tower has a few views… Half of the building looks out over the Strip, the other half has primarily airport views. A premium view on a high floor is not an unreasonable request, even without any kind of tip. Suites aren’t usually given with a $20 unless there aren’t any standard rooms left. Still, it never hurts to ask since anything is possible. Also, not all suites have good views, so this is something to keep in mind. If the view is the most important thing for you, I would suggest simply asking for a Strip view on a high floor.

abelep asked on 02/21/05

Is it true that the Flamingo’s Pools are always crowded. We are coming in April and hear that rumor. Please comment.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The hotel has over 3500 rooms and when the sun is out, many folks like to go to the pool. This is true of any hotel with a nice pool, not just the Flamingo. For the best seats you have to get there early, or find the right pool dude and tip him/her.

chad asked on 02/21/05

Hunter, Great site once again! I am going to Vegas for my Bachelor party in late May and wanted some place fun to have dinner with the guys before the big night on the town. Probably some place with plenty of food, as there will be some alcohol consumption later in the evening. Also, we are staying in the Hospitality Suites at the Mirage, and something close would be nice, but not as important as having a great time. We were thinking something along the lines of a Monte Carlo Brew Pub, or Kahunaville. Do you have any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Either one of those places could work. Take a look at the Grand Lux at The Venetian. Run by the folks that do the Cheesecake Factory, they have a huge menu and all the portions are gigantic. Beyond that, I would also consider the Cheesecake Factory itself (Forum Shops). Both are next door to The Mirage and should handle what you’re looking for… Can I come? Sounds like fun.

haik asked on 02/18/05

Hi Hunter. Great site, I enjoy the readers’ questions (or rather your answers) about every week. Can you recommend a good breakfast buffet on a saturday morning? Please split your recommendations into the Champagne Brunch/ non-Champagne Brunch categories. And do I have to wait for long in the lines? Any place that is not so crowded? Thank you very much!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As far as lines go, most places worth their salt are going to have lines. News about a good buffet travels fast… Your best bet is probably trying to get a buffet line pass if you are playing slots or tables in that casino… Ask at the slot club desk. The best champagne brunch on the Strip is Ballys Sterling Brunch. Unfortunately for you, it is only on Sunday and is pretty pricey. Still, it is something not to be missed. Beyond that, most of the nicer buffets offer champagne brunches on Saturdays and Sundays. Good choices here include Bellagio, Paris and the Aladdin. As far as non-champagne brunches, you are short on choices on the weekend – most places go to this format on Saturday and Sunday… At least the places you’d want to consider the food as edible.

huovy asked on 02/17/05

Great site… Very informative. Be in town for St. Pat’s Day. Know of any good festive Irish parties on the strip? I know about the Irish pub at NY-NY. Thought you may know some others. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

By FAR the biggest Irish presence on the Strip is ‘Nine Fine Irishmen’ at NYNY… If you’re willing to venture off of the Strip, Fado’s Irish Pub at Green Valley Ranch has a rockin’ party.

palefire01 asked on 02/17/05

Hi Hunter,
I just wanted to get your thoughts about the new Caesar’s Palace Tower, and how it impacts some of the views on the strip from other properties. Looks like the “pool view” rooms at the Mirage are greatly impacted, with a big portion of the south strip now blocked. (Similarly, the view north from Bellagio is dramatically blocked from a few rooms.) I realize this sort of change is typical of Las Vegas, but would you still consider a pool view room at Mirage one of the better views? Nothing south of CP is going to be visible on the west side of the strip, or at least it appears that way to me, whereas before you could see all the way down to Mandalay Bay. Just wanted to get your take on how this new tower impacts the sight lines!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s a very good point and something I wrote about when the tower was announced. My initial fear was that the tower would abut the street, thus totally blocking the majority of views. While the tower does block a lot of the view from The Mirage on the west side of the street, you still can see everything on the east side, including the Eiffel Tower (from most rooms). The view is diminished but still a good bet… The other ‘good’ view from The Mirage is the Volcano View, which while a bit boring in the past is being enhanced by a great view of Wynn Las Vegas… Probably a net negative for The Mirage, but not all bad.

sburgin asked on 02/15/05

Hi Hunter… thinking of planning a last minute trip to Vegas for March sometime.
In trying to find the best weekend rate for a mid-tier (TI, Harrahs,etc…) hotel on the Strip. Using sites like Orbitz or Travelocity show that not all weekends in a month are equal. I can only assume that maybe conventions or something are to blame. Is there a good source of information when trying to flush out a certain timeframe from another ??
Love your site BTW..

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks. This can be tough as it is sometimes more than just conventions that can influence room prices… Though they are a major source of price shifts. March also has March Madness (NCAA basketball tournament). Beyond that, there is a CONEXPO convention of over 135,000 folks mid-month. Unfortunately this info comes from all over the place – we don’t know of a good single source of info. Perhaps something we should add to the site? Also, consider using our travel provider for rates. For MGM MIRAGE hotels like TI and The Mirage, we have relationships directly with the hotels – it is just like booking on their site. For other hotels we have good relationships that offer great rates. It’s a good place to check rates against sites like Expedia and Travelocity and it helps us keep this site going! Each hotel page has a booking link, check it out!

bdp23 asked on 02/13/05

Hey Hunter, the site is still looking great keep it up. Do you know the name of the ticket broker on the strip where you can get discount tickets for a show the same night, it usually has a line out front Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! You are probably thinking of ‘Tickets2Night’. They are located on the Strip near the giant CocaCola sign near MGM Grand.

findog78 asked on 02/13/05

Hello, Im in seach for a restaurant that will acommodate a reception party on Feb 26th of 35 people that has a dance floor and is kid friendly. I have a 4 and 8yr old that will be there and so far all the restraunts I have found dont open dance area until 10:00 or 11:00 and no kids. I cant afford to rent a $400 site with $30 per plate plus DJ. If you could recommend a place it would be greatly appreciated. Ceremony held at Circus Circus.
Thank you,

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Given the short time frame here, this will be tough. First off, I recommend you contact your Circus Circus Wedding Coordinator and ask for suggestions. They may be able to offer you one of their meeting rooms and have the event catered as part of your package. Fortunately there is a Web site devoted to Las Vegas Wedding Planning. It is located here: I hope that this helps. asked on 02/13/05

Great site, very fast for us with dial-up! Would like to rate Gladys Knight’s fabulous show but not listed under Flamingo link?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This has been corrected. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

thecips asked on 02/12/05

We are going to spend our 25th Annv in Vegas in June. Staying at the Venetian. we are in a Bella Suite. What can you tell me about this hotel and getting a upgrade? We are going a Tuesday to Saturday. Also would like a really nice upscale Italian to have dinner in.What casino’s are best for slot playing?It seems after some of the post here this hotel is stuffy. I hope not we are not high rollers but like to play.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Upgrades are usually difficult to get at The Venetian but it may be possible for your dates. Some good choices for Italian are Onda (The Mirage), Valentino (Venetian), and Osteria de Circo (Bellagio). As far as slots, most Strip casinos have a similar inventory of machines. Good luck!

carol asked on 02/12/05

We are (4 women) going to Vegas for our 12th year. Have mostly stayed at Bally’s and once at Paris. We are considering the Flamingo/Harrahs/Aladdin this year. Are the rooms basically the same or is it worth a few extra $$$ to stay somewhere else. Also, we have heard the pool at the Flamingo is great but extremely crowded. Who wants to get up at 6:00am to put a towel out…not me. We didn’t like the pool at Paris (shaded because of buildings) but Bally’s was great. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would say that rooms at those three properties are basically the same, with Aladdin rooms having a slight advantage. The pool at The Aladdin is in the same configuration as at Paris, so you might not be in love with it either. For grins, also check rates at The Mirage. It’s a much nicer hotel overall.

lkahle asked on 02/12/05

Hi Hunter, your site is so helpful! Thanks for all you do. My question…any recommendations on helicopter night tours of the strip? There are so many companies to choose from I need help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I have used Las Vegas Helicopters in the past and had great success. They are located right on the Strip. Here is their Web site:

palefire01 asked on 02/11/05

Hunter, I don’t want to tax your patience, but I have just a couple of lingering questions regarding the Mirage that you may be able to help with.

What is the difference between a Tower Suite and a Penthouse Suite? Both appear to have the same floorplan. I’ve heard something about how you get “butler service” with the Penthouse suite. If this is true, which I’m skeptical about, what is “butler service”?
If you book these rooms you are offered Volcano View, Pool View, or Sunset View. I would like to have a great Strip view, preferably something that shows as much of the Strip as possible. I know the Volcano View faces the Strip, but it almost seems like you’d be able to have a better Strip view if you got a Pool View room. Any thoughts about which room view offers the best Strip view?
Suites at the Mirage come with “royal service” which includes limo service to/from airport and some priority seating for shows/restaurants. How do you arrange the airport pickup for this? Is there a place at the airport to go, or do you call from the airport and they send a limo, or what?
Finally, are the Mirage bathrobes and slippers complimentary (something you can keep) when you book a tower or penthouse suite?
Thanks for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No problem at all! The Tower and Penthouse Suites have exactly the same layout. The difference is that Penthouse Suites are on the top two floors of the hotel and the quality of the furnishings is higher end. For instance, the couches are leather instead of cloth. The hotel provides 24 hour butlers to very high rollers but not all those that rent Penthouse Suites. The Pool View gives you the most Strip coverage. Volcano is good but best if you really want to watch the volcano multiple times. Sunset view is basically ‘freeway view’. When you make your reservation you’ll receive instructions on setting up your transport. As far as stuff to keep, they will sell you robes but the robes and slippers in the room are not for you to take home. Hope that this helps!

mkesfahani asked on 02/10/05

Hey Hunter,
What can you tell me about MIX restaurant as far as price, service, atmosphere, etc? I haven’t been able to find much info on it. Also, if you dine there, do you still have to pay cover for the ultra-lounge? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I had dinner at MIX a few Saturdays ago and was not impressed. The food was expensive and of only moderate quality. I was expecting a lot more. The service was good, even if a little pretentious. The atmosphere is great – what a view! I was able to walk straight over to the lounge without any trouble. They are connected by a long walkway. I would say skip the restaurant and head right to the lounge!

palefire01 asked on 02/09/05

Hunter: what a great resource this site is! My wife and I are planning our first trip to Vegas in early June to coincide our anniversary and a renewal of vows ceremony that were having done at a Vegas chapel. We’re not big gamblers, certainly not high-rollers with huge bank accounts, but love the idea of spending 4 nights in Vegas to take in the various hotels/restaurants/shows and all those other things the city has to offer. I have reserved a Spa Suite at the Monte Carlo, which looks pretty nice, and the price and ambiance of the MC suits us (low-key, not overly $$$, but still nice). However, I’ve become sort of infatuated with the Mirage Penthouse Suite, since this is really a special occasion for us, and as such I could pay it and forget about how much it costs. My concern isn’t really how much more expensive the Mirage suite would be in comparison to the MC (It’s more expensive but also nicer) but how much stuffier the entire atmosphere at the Mirage would be in comparison to the MC. I want a place where I can unwind, relax, and not have to worry that I’m an “imposter.” Does the Penthouse Suite have other “hidden” charges I should be aware of? And tips for getting the most out of my enjoyment here? Being pampered is nice, but I don’t like to feel that I’m being suffocated by attention. At nicer hotels I usually leave a couple dollars in an envelope for the housekeeping service each day. Is such a tip a slap in the face at a Penthouse Suite? Things like that make me a little apprehensive about going all out, but I do think it would be fun if I could get over my concerns about the place being too stuffy for its own good (or my own good!) Thanks for any advice!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I strongly recommend The Mirage and the Penthouse Suite. It is a true experience, especially coupled with the hotel’s ‘Royal Service’ that includes VIP restaurant and show reservations, limo airport pickup, turndown, etc… As far as hidden charges, no, nothing like that. Besides the county room tax, the rate they quote you is the rate you’ll pay. As far as the tipping goes, unless you are throwing food on the walls I don’t think you’ll be insulting housekeeping by sticking with your normal pattern – you’d be amazed how many folks don’t tip at all! The atmosphere at The Mirage is one of casual elegance. In my opinion the hotel has much more character and style than the Monte Carlo, which I feel doesn’t exactly know what crowd it wants to cater to. I have never felt out of place at The Mirage, even when standing next to someone betting hundreds of dollars per hand at 21. So, I recommend the Penthouse Suite. It’s a great room at a great hotel.

Rob asked on 02/08/05

Hi Hunter – Website keeps getting better !
My wife and I are heading to Vegas in June and have a couple of questions for you:-
1) We saw ‘O’ last time we were in LV and want to see another Cirque show this time, we don’t like the look of Zumanity and were planning to book for Mystere – but now have read great reviews of KA. Which would you recommend – Mystere or KA?
2) We’ve booked to stay at the Mirage as part of a package holiday booked in the UK. How long before my arrival will the Mirage receive my booking details – as iI want to e-mail them to upgrade my room.
Thanks Hunter – keep up the good work!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! I have to admit, I haven’t seen KA yet… Everything I’ve heard says that it is the most fantastic Cirque show yet and it is a do-not-miss attraction. I don’t think you can miss with either show. I’ve seen Mystere several times and it never disappoints. One nice thing about Mystere is that it is a bit easier to get seats and you’ll probably end up sitting in a better location… Don’t get too close to the front, some of the action is high up above you. As far as transferring your details, it depends on your travel agent. Often times this doesn’t occur until just a couple of weeks before you arrive. Check with the agency and even The Mirage, they will do what they can to help you.

vegastraveler asked on 02/07/05

Found this site tonight and I love it!! I am curious about the suites at Mandalay Bay and THEhotel. We usually stay in top suites (penthouse suites at Mirage, Bellagio) and from what I see on the websites I don’t think Mandalay/THEhotel compares. Do you know anything about suites they don’t “advertise” on their website? On a different note, what about Treasure Island suites? On the website, they look terrific. How would they compare? Thanks so much!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words. Out of all the hotels you mention, I think I prefer the Tower and Penthouse Suites at The Mirage. While they are similar to those at Bellagio, I thought the Bellagio suites were not furnished as well. Either way, I consider The Mirage and Bellagio to be the gold standard. First we’ll tackle TI. The most comparable rooms at TI to the suites at The Mirage and Bellagio are the Luxury, Premiere and Penthouse Suites. Unlike The Mirage and Bellagio, TI has only two Penthouse Suites and they are gigantic. In general the suites at TI are very nice, build and designed by Steve Wynn who also built The Mirage and Bellagio. Moving on to Mandalay/THEHotel… The suites at Mandalay Bay (main tower) are not going to be what you’re expecting unless you go for the most high end room they offer. Besides the Four Seasons rooms and their high roller suites, Mandalay was built based on a very budget conscious plan. The best way I can sum it up is ‘less style’. Hard to quantify but you know it when you see it. Personally, I like THEHotel quite a bit. It’s a very ‘dark’ hotel, similar to those you find in Starwood’s ‘W’ hotel chain. It’s a hipsters paradise and has some nice touches, such as LCD TVs in the bathroom. Still, my top choices are The Mirage and Bellagio, in that order. If you’re looking to try something different, the Bellagio Cypress Suite is interesting. It is located at the center of the hotel tower, the portion of the hotel that is the curved bulge. A one-room suite, it features large windows and great lake views. I hope that this helps!

jrmc72 asked on 02/04/05

I’m trying to get an average 3 star hotel for around 70 bucks a night (mid week). All im asking is that its on the strip or even downtown. Could you please tell me where the best place to stay would be?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hello. Prices vary daily and sometimes you can find some great deals. I would check prices at the following properties: Luxor, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, Aladdin, Ballys, Flamingo, Treasure Island, Harrah’s and the Stardust. If those don’t work out for you, take a look at Excalibur, Golden Nugget (downtown), the Riviera and the Stratosphere. I would be surprised if you couldn’t find a room at that rate, barring a major convention in town.

etotah asked on 02/01/05

Firstly, this is a great site!! Very nice job! I am planning my sister’s bachelorette party for the end of March. It’s going to be co-ed and she is much more interested in a weekend of partying with her friends than the classic stripper thing. That having been said, I’m looking for a good outdoors saturday afternoon event (ideas so far include go-karting, renting ATVs, or horseback riding) and some good club reccomendations for a group of 12-16. Please guide me through these troubled waters!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks very much! It may be considered more of a ‘guy’ thing but you could also consider playing a giant game of paintball out in the desert. There are several places that do that kind of thing. I think you’re on the right track with what you’ve already mentioned. One of our competitors has a bunch of good information on outdoor activities here.

CanadianYankee asked on 01/29/05

I see that you can now check in at the airport for the MGM Grand. Does that include The Mirage and all MGM Mirage properties?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

As of this writing, only MGM Grand and NYNY allow airport check-in.

Nevermatters asked on 01/28/05

I heard they are testing playing chips imbeded with radio frequency chips at the Hard Rock. It alows them more acurate tracking of people’s playing. Do you know anything about this?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is something I’ve been following for some time and has wide ranging implications for players and casinos. No longer will ratings be subject to the whims of a pit boss… Also, cheating will be very difficult to pull off… It’s some interesting stuff and I expect all casinos to use RFID chips soon.

SOLDSHORT asked on 01/28/05

Hey Hunter, how do you suggest dealing with a-hole dealers. Is the best soultion to leave the table? Is there someone worth complaining to?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You can always complain to the floor person but in general, your best bet is just to find another table.

TObaby asked on 01/22/05

Just another quick question about the Mirage Petite Suites? Since there are three of us travelling together the thought of 2 bathrooms sounds nice. Are these suites worth the upgrade from a regular view room? I am assuming there is a sofa sleeper in the suite for the third person?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The petite suites are really designed for a couple, not three people. The sofa is not a sleeper but depending on desired level of comfort, someone could probably sleep on it… Also, The Mirage will bring you a rollaway if you ask. That said, the rooms are nice and I do think worth the upgrade cost, especially because they include The Mirage ‘Royal Service’ – limo pickup at the airport, line passes for restaurants, etc…

TObaby asked on 01/19/05

First time to Vegas this April. We are arriving on a Monday around 11pm. So far we are booked at the Mirage. Arriving so late we will be given the poorest room in the house? We have reserved a room with a Volcano/Strip View?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’ll be fine. Of course there is always the chance of getting a ‘bad’ room… People check in and out of Las Vegas hotels all the time and you shouldn’t worry about your late check-in.

Mikeynla asked on 01/19/05

Hunter, the picture you have of the Wynn room model – is that the “standard” room? It looks quite nice! From you knowledge, is there anything to compare the rooms to yet? By looks, it strikes a very THEhotel vibe with me… I’m assuming, though, that they’ll be going for more of a Bellagio-level of service… How does that sound to you? And thanks as always for your fabulous site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I believe the pictures are of a suite at Wynn Las Vegas, though the standard rooms will also be quite large, feature plasma TVs and similar decorations. We should have more info soon. I can see what you’re saying regarding THEHotel… It’s certainly a modern, hip look popular with other hotel chains such as Starwood’s W chain. Wynn will certainly be shooting for AAA five diamond status.

sniff asked on 01/18/05

btw this is a great site. enjoy the pictures.

I am putting a group trip together for early may, 7 rooms 14-15 people. kinda split between 2 groups. I myself love the bellagio having stayed there a few times already. The others are finding the 229 rates a bit steep. (may). which i understand.

any suggestions on getting a discount at bellagio or perhaps another hotel which would be comparable? pool and rooms are important.

what is the word on wynn and do you know the rates?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wynn is taking reservations for early May (from the 1st on). Rates range $299-$499 so far… If you’re looking for other joints to check out, I recommend The Mirage and THEHotel at Mandalay Bay… Both excellent places to stay.

VegasPlaya asked on 01/17/05

Are there any renderings on how a room at Wynn Las Vegas would look because I am thinking of reserving a room for my parents for their anniversary and I don’t want them to be disappointed.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes! We have pictures of the model… here you go.