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snoopy asked on 12/12/03

I am coming to vegas in Feb with 5 of my friends. (6 people total) I was looking for a suite on the strip that could sleep all of us or either 2 nice rooms that we would enjoy. All the hotels seem nice, but I really need help finding the best deal. We want to get the most for our money. We looked at Aladdin, venetian, caesars, monte carlo, etc.. found great rates on all of them. The one were thinking about is at the venetian venezia bella suite for 279 night., but you are not supposed to have more than 3 people in the room. We just need the most for our money. We’re thinking about $300 a night or less. Please help me out

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While many hotels have restrictions of 4 people max per room, this is not really enforced. They don’t check… It sounds like you are doing this the right way. I would suggest also checking Penthouse suites at the Mirage, Terrace suites at MGM Grand or maybe a Panorama suite at Aladdin… The only way you’re going to be able to ‘legally’ get 6 people in a room is to get two adjoining rooms, or a two-bedroom suite like the two-bedroom tower suites at the Mirage.

rodyoung asked on 12/12/03

I have booked a Bella suite at the Venezia tower Concierge level(top floor) for 12/20-12/27. Which side should I ask to get the best view, North, South, East, West?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you get a room on the West side, you will have a great view of the Mirage. The North side view is almost totally blocked by the ‘Venetian Tower’. Looking South you’ll see some tops of buildings of nearby resorts and East you will see the sprawling city of Las Vegas… I would go for the West side.

willk74 asked on 12/09/03

Hi. I am coming down with a group of 7 total for New Years Eve. We are looking to go to Seven (Aleysium Afterhours) for late night partying. is offering to book it? Are they a legitmate booking service? If not, could you reccomend getting in touch with someone at Seven. Do you think as long as reservations are made and paid for we will get our table at the club when we come or will it be a problem?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, is a legitimate booking service if you need access to nightclub/VIP passes. They are owned by one of Las Vegas’ two daily newspapers, the Las Vegas Sun. If you book through them you should be in good shape. I know several folks who have used the service and saved a long wait.

toofunnie asked on 12/08/03

Hunter, have been reading your Q&A’s, they are really helpful. I visit Vegas quite often (about 3 times a year)but haven’t been brave enough to try the $20 thing yet, though I have heard it does work and want to try it this time. My Aunt and I are coming in January again 11th – 15th staying at the San Remo (never stayed there before). I will be in workshops on Mon & Tues for most of the day. Do you have any suggestions for something for her to do during the day to pass some time. Also she loves to see shows, do you have any suggestions for some reasonably priced good ones so that we can afford to see more than one. I have already seen BMG, Tournament of Kings, Follies, Jubilee, S&R (will miss them) & Ron Lucas. And last do you know how soon the tram will be running behind MGM? Thanks for you help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks a lot. The monorail that runs from the MGM Grand to the Sahara was originally supposed to start running in January but it is now looking like it will be mid-February before they open up to the public. As far as shows go, consider checking out Mac King at Harrah’s. This show is really cheap (as low as $7 with a coupon) and gets high marks. Also, if you like magic, try Rick Thomas at the Tropicana (~$20) or even Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo (a bit more expensive, but a lot of fun). I assume when you’re looking for things to do, you are looking for non-gaming suggestions. Not knowing if she is familiar with Las Vegas, I would suggest checking out the Conservatory and Art Gallery at Bellagio, as well as the Guggenheim exhibit at the Venetian. There’s a lot to see if she is willing to visit several resorts! Have fun!

toofunnie asked on 12/08/03

Hunter, I forgot two other questions I had for you. One is do you think it is worth waiting and trying Tickets 2Nite if we don’t have any preferences on shows? Also we are staying at the San Remo and my workshop is in Lake Las Vegas at the Ritz, what is your estimation on cost of a taxi to and from and do you have any suggestions for cheaper transportation? I have driven in Vegas before, just not alone and didn’t want to try the commute alone. Thanks and I love reading your Q&A’s they are really great!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve not heard any bad things about Tickets2Nite. If you don’t have a show preference, you may be able to check out something you hadn’t anticipated. As far as a cab from the San Remo to the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas… That’s pretty far, over 18 miles. That would be quite an expensive cab ride. If you decided to rent a car and drive, it’s a simple route. Just hop on the 93S towards Lake Mead Drive and then off at Lake Las Vegas Parkway… That’s most likely the cheapest way to play it.

Mikeynla asked on 12/05/03

Hunter, I booked a “deluxe” room at the Westin for Dec. 26-28 at $48/nite (friday and saturday!)… Regardless of the room, this is a great rate, but have you heard much abotu the rooms? Deluxe is apparently on a higher floor than “superior.” I requested a room in the NW corner of the hotel, as I assume this will probably give me the best view; do you think this sounds about right? As always, thanks much!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

From what I have heard (we haven’t checked it out for ourselves yet), the rooms are the best part of the Westin… View-wise, NW or NE should offer good views, though you’re going to be looking at the back of the resorts looking at the Strip. From what we have read, the casino is pretty small and only one, high end restaurant is open… So you may be spending some time at other properties for gaming and eating. We encourage you to come back and rate the property when you return. Have fun!

foleytv asked on 12/02/03

You seem to know a lot about vegas. I need some advice if possible. I have a room booked at the MGM. I am staying in the Penthouse Suite which is on the 29th floor. They are offering me to switch to the Terrace Suite at no additional charge. Which, to me, sounds strange because I would think that the Penthouse would be more expensive and luxorious. I know the Terrace suite has a large outdoor patio and what not but I am going in December so what are the odds of using the patio. Anyhow, do you have any idea which room would be better Penthouse or Terrace suite?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Penthouse Suites are considered nicer than the Terrace Suites. The patio in the Terrace Suites are really cool but you are right, not of much use in December. Sounds to me like they may be overbooked and are trying to move you around.

mnagelia asked on 11/30/03

Great site ! You won’t believe, I finished all the QA posted here before submitting my questions. First the background: My wife and I are coming to Vegas first time, on 24th Dec 2003, booked 24th and 25th night at Luxor and 26th, 27th and 28th night at Las Vegas Hilton. Coming back on 30th, 1.30 AM so we also have 29th whole day till midnight.
1) We are not much in gambling, people say 4 days( 1 day we will be going to Grand Canyon) are too much for non gambler, and we will probably get bored. Is this true? If yes what else we can do there, or where else can we go?
2) We are vegeterian(no meat,no sea food), what will be the good place to eat for us?
3) Can we find any Indian restaurant there? Strip,off strip or downtown?
4) I want to go to one topless show, which will be the good one, If I want to take my wife along. Means we should not feel out of place, the audience should have mixed crowd of men and women.
5) I also want to go for ‘Kings of Tournament’, I heard that is a dinner show, will I get any vegeterian items to eat? Can we tell them in advance our food preference.
6) We want to drive down to Grand Canyon early morning and back by late night to Vegas for a day, what time should we start and which rim we should go to considering Dec. weather.
7) Do you think $20 trick will work at luxor for 24th and 25th night for Jacuzzi room, being the rush season. Shall I even try it ?
8) What kind of room shall I ask for at Hilton?
Thanks a lot in advance, I think I asked you too many questions here.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Wow, you read them all? That’s quite a few! Hopefully I can help. Here goes. 1. I don’t think 4 days is too much time at all. There is a ton of stuff to see, a large amount of shopping, incredible dining experiences and a myriad of shows to choose from. Plenty of ways to stay busy! 2. Las Vegas restaurants can serve basically any type of dining preferences. I would recommend staying away from steakhouses and instead looking for Italian, Chinese and Japanese options, of which there are many. Most all of the major hotel-casinos will include one of each of these types of restaurants and they should offer vegetarian options. Also, the buffets have many non-meat and seafood options, so you should be able to find quite a bit. 3. A popular Indian restaurant is ‘Ghandi India’s Cuisine’, located at 4080 Paradise Rd., near the Strip. I have not eaten here, but it comes recommended. 4. I would probably vote for La Femme at MGM Grand. The audience is definitely a mixed crowd, men and women. It is tastefully done. 5. Vegetarian meals are available for the Tournament of Kings. Note that preference when you make your reservation. 6. If heading to the Grand Canyon, leave as early as possible. It is a fairly long drive. You’ll need to visit the South Rim as the North Rim will be closed due to snow. It will be quite cold so bring something warm to wear. 7. You have a chance with the $20. Go ahead and give it a try! 8. At the Hilton you probably want to ask for a room facing the Strip (West). If you’re looking for a more deluxe room, the ‘North Tower Suites’ are newly renovated and have great Strip views. Have fun!!

Ashley asked on 11/29/03

We are thinking of going to the strip for NYE. We have read that you can drink and are wondering if their is dancing and music or if people just walk up and down the street. We were also wondering about the age and type of crowd (age group) that is expected on the strip for NYE?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

For New Years Eve, the county shuts down the Strip to traffic and the area is open for walking. Drinking on the street is technically illegal in Las Vegas but it is a law that the police do not enforce. The only time you will get a ticket for drinking outside on the Strip is if you are belligerently drunk and causing a problem. While bottles are usually allowed, they ARE NOT on NYE. Most drinks will be served in plastic cups. As far as dancing and music out on the Strip, you won’t find that. Many nightclubs and lounges inside casinos have special entertainment planned that in some cases include dancing and music. Las Vegas plans a huge fireworks display counting down to and including the clock striking midnight. The crowd ranges in age, just like typical casino patrons. I would say that it is probably somewhat skewed on the lower end of the range, 21-35. The city is EXTREMELY crowded for NYE, about 250,000 guests. The Strip gets very crowded. If you get claustrophobic you want to be sure to be in an area where you have space, as it gets VERY packed in the popular areas. Overall, the countdown in Las Vegas is a huge party, similar to something like Times Square in NYC… But, in Las Vegas you can enjoy the fireworks with a cocktail in hand, unlike New York.

rudlinse asked on 11/25/03

I am staying at The Ballagio over Valentine’s Day weekend. The hotel offered us a tower deluxe room with a sunset view or a pool view…which one do you think is better? Also, can you recommend a romantic restaurant for Saturday night? All price ranges would be helpful. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

First off, you will have a great time at Bellagio for Valentine’s Day. Great choice. Sunset view is code for a view of the mountains and the freeway. I would go for the pool view. Despite the fact the pool view will also give you a birds eye view of their construction project, you’ll see more of the Strip. All of the guest rooms at Bellagio have recently been refurbished to include flat screen televisions, electronically controlled shades and drapes and marble entryways. If you are interested you can usually upgrade to a lake-view room for about $50 per night. Also, ‘Salone’ suites are usually available for $75 over the standard rate and includes a large whirlpool tub and deluxe bathroom. No matter what part of the hotel you end up in, it will be a memorable experience. As far as restaurants go, Bellagio has quite a few good choices. For steaks, try Prime. Downstairs next to Picasso, the food is amazing and you can be seated with amazing views of the fountain show. It is intimate and quiet. Picasso is also a good choice, serving fairly eclectic Spanish and French cuisine. Both are high end and fairly expensive. Upstairs there is a great French restaurant called Le Cirque and an Italian eatery called Circo. Both are imports of famous New York restaurants and have incredible good. Circo is not quite as expensive as Le Cirque. For something a little less expensive, give Olives a try. It is not a very intimate environment but the food is tasty and reasonable. Jasmine offers fantastic chinese food with lakeside views… As you can see, Bellagio has many fine dining choices and they are all great. If you want to head off-property, give Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian a try. Owned by Emeril Lagasse it has what are perhaps the best cuts of meat in town… Have a great trip!

Ashley asked on 11/21/03

We are a small group of girls (26-28yrs old) and are coming to Las Vegas for NYE. Where would be a good place (bar/club or hotel party) to get tickets for NYE because we do not want to spend the whole night on the Las Vegas strip? Please help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The top sites are ghostbar (Palms), Ra (Luxor), rumjungle (Mandalay Bay), Light (Bellagio), Rain (Palms), Tabu (MGM Grand) and Studio 54 (MGM Grand). I would arrange some sort of passes ahead of time through a service such as These will be VERY packed for New Years.

michelley asked on 11/21/03

hey man, great site (i know everyone says that, but your idea was a brainchild, so it is being said once more…)!!! can you tell us anything about the Sonoran as far as being accessible and accomodating considering it is not part of the “party”? thanks for your info either way, everything else you know was immesurably helpful…michelle

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Sonoran Suites on W. Desert Inn Road is not really part of the ‘party’. It is pretty far out there, requiring 10-15 minutes in the car or a long cab ride to get out to the Strip. If this doesn’t bother you, it might be a good place to stay. If you’re looking for a true Las Vegas experience, this is probably not the right place.

luckytch asked on 11/17/03

How important is it to disclose how many people will be staying in a hotel room? I’ve noticed that the price is anywhere from $60-300 more just for adding 2 people to a 2 double bed room. Are you breaking some type of law if you book a room for 2, but 4 people actually stay in the room?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Technically you are defrauding an innkeeper, which is a violation of Nevada state law. That said I have never heard of anyone being arrested for a violation. This happens all the time and the worst possible outcome would probably be having to pay the bill. Most folks that I know don’t worry about this too much.

luckytch asked on 11/17/03

Can anyone tell me ANY information about the new Westin Casuarina? I’m planning a trip and I can’t decide on whether to stay at the Westin or at The Orleans. Since the Westin in brand new it’s very difficult to see any reviews.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

While Westin has a pretty good rap in general I might wait it out a bit and see how this new Las Vegas property ends up. The Orleans is a great place to stay.

bandit asked on 11/14/03

Hello. Very informative, great site. I’m a jogger who would like to get a few jogs in during my stay. I’m staying on the South end of the strip. If I plan on jogging mid-morning – where should I go? Can I just head down the strip or will people walking be annoyed? Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

People are jogging on the Strip all the time, folks won’t be annoyed. What might make you laugh is some of the clubbers still making their way back to their hotel rooms as you jog by.

bandit asked on 11/13/03

Hello! Some girlfriends and I are planning a girls nite out in Las Vegas. Are there any male strip clubs on the Strip or do we have to get tickets for a show like Chippendales. We’ve never been and are just curious. Thanks.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Your best bet is probably Olympic Garden. It is on Las Vegas Blvd, north of the Stratosphere. It has girls downstairs and men upstairs. I know a lot of girls that have had a lot of fun here. It’s not safe to walk around that area at night so take a cab and you’ll be fine.

heyadammiller asked on 11/13/03

Hunter! Agian, a great Site! I had another question for you, whatever happend to the MGM Theme Park? And where was it, was it along the pool which now has a big wall in front of it, we could see a few train cars from our pool area and a small little village on the outskirts of the pool area, and then there was the Grand Arena, what ever happend to it, was it not successful? If it is still there, you sure never do hear about it anymore. Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! The MGM Grand Adventures theme park was closed at the end of the 2000 season. That land is going to be used for deluxe condo high-rises in a partnership with Turnberry Associates. It was behind the pool, on the other side of the monorail track near the MGM convention complex. The Grand Arena is still part of the MGM Grand. It is used often for concerts and still sometimes for sports like boxing. Just recently they hosted Aerosmith and KISS. There are actually quite a few concerts at the Grand Garden. That said, it seems that Mandalay Bay is now getting most of the boxing.

Nevermatters asked on 11/12/03

I have the choice of making reservations for Friday and Saturday nights(Jan 2 and 3rd) at the Palms or Hard Rock for $129 and $139/per night, respectively (which I feel is a good deal). I’m single and I’m in my early 30s. Which would hotel would you recommend?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They are both going to be good choices for you. They attract much of the same crowd. One thing to note however is that the Hard Rock’s nightclub, Baby’s, will be closing 1/1/04 for an undetermined amount of renovation. That would tip it for the Palms in my opinion.

suesheeme asked on 11/12/03

I love this website and hope you find my contributions useful! I was wondering if you would be adding the Best Western Tuscany Suites to your list of off-strip hotels. I stayed there one night last week and would like to submit a glowing review.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for contributing! Yes, we will be adding it in about a week. Our regular content refresh is coming up next week and it is on the list.

whask asked on 11/12/03

First. I’d like to say great site, it’s been helpful. My wife and I are going to Vegas Dec 19 to 21st. It’s out first without our son and is our anniversary.

We are pretty saavy money wise but booked a Spa Deluxe room for $139 on Friday and $169 in the Forum Tower on Saturday. We booked directly through Ceasers because the rates at their web site were the same as Expedia and the like.

Is this a good price and if not what are the chances of getting comped something nicer for the price, or any tips on discounts at caesers (i.e. AAA etc.) One more thing, how difficult hor how would you go about getting any extras comped like spa visits or meals.

Also, what exactly is the $20 trick? I’ve read through a few pages here and didn’t really see a clear definition.

Sorry for the long question, thanks so much for your time!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Those rates seem reasonable. For more information on the ‘$20 Trick’, please click here. Most AAA discounts for Caesars Palace must be booked through AAA directly but they may be able to help you at the check-in desk. As far as getting a comped upgrade, do you plan on doing a good amount of gambling. Usually that is what would be required to get a serious room upgrade. Getting items like meals and spa treatments comped will require several hours of play per day at $25/hand for tables or at the slots. Hope this helps.

heyadammiller asked on 11/08/03

Hunter, I wondered if you could answer this question for me, great site! My question was, is the rumor true that Mirage is getting a new look by the MGM Mirage Corp., like their sister the TI had? If so, what is in the face lift of it? 2nd, we were in Las Vegas staying at the MGM Grand in the Grand Tower in June and were in the process of painting the Towers, is it done yet, and what other things are being done at the MGM Grand, or is that the only project.


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks for the kind words. As MGM Mirage is not currently building (though they are planning) a new resort, they have been focusing on improving aspects of existing projects. The most visible projects are the re-branding of TI (paint, show, restaurants, etc…) and the new Spa Tower at Bellagio.

There has been a rumor regarding some changes at the Mirage. They have several projects coming up… These include a total redesign of their buffet (they are practically tearing it out and starting over) and the addition of a nightclub. A redesign of the lounge Ava (formerly the Lagoon Saloon) was recently completed. Also, with the closing of the Siegfried and Roy show, expect something new in that space (PLEASE no more more Cirque de Soleil shows!). I would not expect MGM Mirage to make major external changes to the Mirage such as they have done at Treasure Island…

As far as the MGM Grand, there is a project I’ve heard about that still hasn’t been announced… I heard a rumor that the old ‘Emerald Tower’ rooms were going to be redone and a ‘hotel-within-a-hotel’ would be started up, similar to how the Venetian added its Venezia tower and Mandalay Bay is opening THEHotel at Mandalay Bay (new tower). I don’t know what the time table is on this project… As far as maintenance stuff like painting, that happens all the time as touch ups can be needed. The MGM recently upgraded its marquee sign as well, adding LED lights that give them more flexibility. The new production show from Cirque de Soleil will open in the rennovated EFX theater in 2004. Other than that, a new restaurant recently opened…

Sorry for the long response, just a lot to cover.

seyana27 asked on 11/07/03

I am trying to book tickets for BMG at Luxor, but can’t figure out which seats are the best. My choices have been Poncho Row D seat 23,24 or Main Row L seat 20, 21. Can you tell me which of these is the better choice for the seating arrangement for the show?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you don’t already know, ‘Poncho’ is right down front. They give you a plastic poncho to wear so you don’t get covered in the paint and liquids from the show… If you want to be close up, go for the poncho seats. Either way, the whole theater has good views.

Mikeynla asked on 11/06/03

Hunter, I’ll be in Las Vegas for my 28th Birthday Dec. 28-30. I currently have rooms booked at 2 hotels at the same price ($119/night), and am having a hard time deciding which room to keep! One is a Petite Suite at TI, and the other a Jacuzzi Suite at Luxor. I’ve stayed in a Jacuzzi Suite before, and liked it a lot. Also, the stay includes Spa passes, etc… Since it will be cold in Vegas at that time, I’m inclined to take the Luxor room, as we’ll have things to keep us busy (Luxor Spa and in-room Jacuzzi!) since we won’t be walking around the Strip as much, but I’ve never stayed in a Petite Suite at TI… Suggestions?!?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve stayed in both rooms so I should be able to give you info… TI’s petite suite has a whirlpool tub that can fit two. Luxor’s jacuzzi suite has an actual jacuzzi in the bedroom, as you know. It’s positioned against the window so you can lounge and watch the lights. In terms of just room qualities, I would say they are about the same… Similar sized rooms, etc… I was disappointed with the bathroom in the Luxor’s jacuzzi suites. Too much like a locker room for me. I personally think that both TI and Luxor have mediocre food choices. A couple of places that are edible but by no means a great array of good food choices at either property. Free spa passes might tip the scale for Luxor. I think the service at TI is head and shoulders above Luxor. Also, TI has the best casino staff in Las Vegas… The dealers are incredibly funny and friendly. Last time I stayed at Luxor half of the dealers looked like they would rather be dead than at work. That was a bummer… Either way, it sounds like a good trip.

dannta asked on 11/06/03

Hi there,

I’m planning a trip to Vegas to celebrate my birthday, I will
be there between 12/24 – 12/25, could you please help me
find a hotels that have either a jacuzzi or large jet tub inside the room.
Also, if I just book a hotel from the list you provide me that have jacuzzi and jet tub, if I book a duluxe room, at check-in time, should I try the “$20 trick” to get a free upgrade to
a suite or I might better off just book it up front?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you know you want a suite, book it up front. Then you will get what you want for sure… Rooms with jacuzzis: Luxor Jacuzzi Suite, Excalibur Jacuzzi Suite, Imperial Palace Jacuzzi rooms, and others… Whirlpool tubs: TI petite suite and above. Mirage (all suites), Bellagio (all suites)… Aladdin standard rooms have large soaking tubs… Most of the standard rooms in town have standard bath tubs, no jets. Hope this helps.

mkesfahani asked on 11/04/03

Hi Hunter, I have a 2 bedroom penthouse booked at The Mirage for this December that I got at an unbelievable rate (at least I think so). My question is, does booking premium rooms along with casino credit/front money at The Mirage give me any advantage as to the kind of offers I will recieve in the future compared to just a playersclub member who bets the same amount? I’ve heard mixed reactions. Some say hotel guest with credit or front money get a lot more freebies than normal rated players. Others I’ve talked to say it doesn’t make a difference. What are your thoughts on this?

Also, do you think there’s any chance that I could get upgraded to a Lanai for another $100 or so provided there are no major high-rollers expected?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Casino credit/front money can be used to expand your rating, yes. It gives the casino a much clearer picture of the gambling you are doing so they can often offer more comps. As far as booking a premium room, in most cases that will not enhance your rating status. The hotel staff may treat you a bit better but it won’t go down in your player rating. That said, it does go down in your hotel guest profile (maintained by the hotel, not the casino) and I’ve had desk staff hook me up with upgrades based on past bookings. This is rare though. As far as the Lanai upgrade, this is not likely… Nothing is impossible, but this is next to impossible. Like the villas at Bellagio, these don’t go to the non-initiated unless a major foul up has occurred and they need to compensate… And I mean MAJOR foul up… If by chance you do get into a Lanai, make sure you take pictures!

weamie asked on 11/04/03

I am staying 5 nights at the Imperial Palace for the Thanksgiving holiday (first time at IP). Wee are celebrating our 20th anniversay this year! Could you tell me the best tower to stay in for quiet and view? I was told maybe the 2nd tower that faces the mountains? Also I read your $20 trick, never have tried this but if she says yes there is an upgrade, do I give her the $20 and then ask if it is a free upgrade? I would faint if at the end of my 5 night stay was charge the difference! Thank you very much!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ll tackle the second part first… The hotel cannot charge you more for the room without getting your approval. If they intend to sell you a different room, they will say outright something like ‘We have a big suite for an additional $50 a night’. If they tried to charge you for something else and they didn’t have your approval in writing (they have you initial the rate for the room on check-in), they would be forced to remove the charge. The $20 ‘trick’ is usually the most effective when it is somewhat ‘on the sly’. By straight up asking for a free upgrade in exchange for a tip you are drawing attention to the procedure which might make the clerk uncomfortable. Slide ‘em the $20 with your credit card and see what happens. If you’re not comfortable with the prospect of losing the $20, then don’t even try it…

As far as the room locations at IP go, you’re not going to get much a view facing the mountains. In Las Vegas, ‘mountain view’ is code for ‘check out our wonderful parking lot’. At the IP you DO want to make sure that you are in the tower and not in the motel part of the complex. Due to the position of the tower, they do not have many good views to offer. If you stay in a room facing north, you overlook the entrance to Harrah’s. This will most likely not be quiet since they have live music in front of Harrah’s. If you request a Strip view in the tower you’ll end up with the best possible situation at the IP… The higher up the better… Straight out across the street you will see Caesars Palace… To the south, the Flamingo high rise… So, best of luck with the view… Have a great anniversary.

gnomedog asked on 11/01/03

Hi Hunter! Thanks for the advice about Caesar’s, but since then I’ve done some calling and using my players cards, I booked the following rooms for 11/23 – 11/28: Mirage $65 per night; TI $59 per night w/2 free buffets, 2 free drinks and preferred viewing for the Sirens show. I already had a room booked for $59 per night at Caesar’s. I just can’t make up my mind which would be the best choice. Which would get your vote, and why? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I like both hotels. Between the two of them I’ve probably stayed there more than any other resorts. The Mirage is more high end than Treasure Island. The Mirage has some great restaurants and a great swimming pool, but it will be a little cold to swim in November! The rooms are nicely appointed and recently redone. They might be a little bit smaller than your average high end hotel room. The casino is full of great staff. Expect minimums of $5-$25 on the tables most of the time. Treasure Island is also a great place to stay. They have been working on remaking the hotel with an eye for a younger audience. I think the casino staff at TI are some of the best in any Las Vegas casino. Top notch folks. Not the greatest food options at TI as of today. New restaurants coming next year may change that but the buffet and the coffee shop (Terrace Cafe) are both losers in terms of food quality. The pool is considerably smaller than at the Mirage. The new Sirens of TI show is like a mini-Broadway musical. I haven’t seen it since the VIP opening but I’m sure that each performance is very crowded… If I was choosing between the two I would probably stay at the Mirage, it is just a bit more luxurious in my opinion. Both are strong choices…

gnomedog asked on 10/30/03

Hi Hunter! Coming out Thankgiving week. Had a room booked at Alladin, but got an offer in the mail from Caesar’s for $59 night, so I jumped on that. This is supposed to be in the old Forum Tower, so I’m wondering if it will be a decent room and with the construction, how much walking it’s going to take just to get out to the strip. My husband is going for the first time (I go a couple of times a year) and he HATES to walk, so I’m wondering if I should go somewhere else and pay more. I am concerned about some of the reviews I’ve read on the Flamingo, Alladin and Harrahs, but I know the MIrage and TI are good, but even further down the stip. Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The construction at Caesars doesn’t really make the property easier or harder to get into or out of. It is set fairly far back from the street so there is a short walk from any point inside the building to the Strip. The Forum Tower is actually slightly closer to the street than the Palace Tower. I doubt that walking distances from the room to the Strip would be significantly longer than at other major resorts such as the Mirage or Treasure Island. The Aladdin and Harrahs are both very well kept properties. The Flamingo has slipped a bit in recent years but has a winning location. Sounds like you’ve got a good deal at Caesars Palace, I’d probably stick with it. Who knows, maybe your husband will love Las Vegas so much that he’ll suddenly forget he hates walking!

whinkle asked on 10/28/03

Hunter, is there something big going on in Vegas the week of April 12th thru the 16th? It seems no matter which hotel I look at, the rates seem pretty high.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

That is the period just leading up to the National Association of Broadcasters’ convention, one of the largest to be held in Las Vegas. Also, it is right after the Easter holiday, which seems to be getting more popular for Vegas vacations.

reesesgirl67 asked on 10/17/03

Hunter, I am considering staying at the Aladdin in May ’04. The rates seem good, but I am more concerned about when the construction will begin for Planet Hollywood. I called them and they said June. Have you heard anything on this matter? Thanks!!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

What they told you on the phone seems about right. Even after construction does begin, the hotel will remain open. I think your dates should be construction free and other folks shouldn’t worry too much about booking into the construction timeframe.

Mikeynla asked on 10/16/03

Hunter, do you have any information about THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay? The website allows for reservations, but only gives a very small picture of the rooms (they appear to have a very hip W Hotel feel to them). I called to ask about the rooms, and it seems that they will be well-appointed, but I wanted to know if you’ve perhaps heard anything more? Thanks as always!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

More information has started to trickle in about the addition. The rooms will be well-appointed, with a very upscale decor. Plasma televisions, large bathrooms filled with marble, etc… The feel is modern elegance, very hip. They will be the nicest rooms at Mandalay Bay and rival some of the other high end rooms at Bellagio, the Venetian, the Mirage, etc…

electricman asked on 10/07/03

Hunter, we"ll be in vegas this month, I am wondering if the new tv show las vegas is filming and if they allow people to watch the taping.. thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Great question… The new NBC show ‘Las Vegas’ films primarily in Los Angeles. Some of the casino interiors are a sound stage and some shots are the floor at Mandalay Bay. According to Mandalay Bay representatives, filming is closed to the public. While some other valley locations are used, they don’t announce a shooting schedule. I’ll update this with more information as I have it.

ola408 asked on 10/06/03

Hunter my husband and i are coming to Vegas in May 2004, we already have our room booked at the Riviera, it is a standard room by the pool, do you know anything about the Riviera and there rooms by the pool?

Thanks Ola

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Riviera is one of the classic ladies of the Strip. It’s been expanded many times since it was built in 1955. While it is not as glitzy as some of the newer resorts on the Strip, it has always gotten good reviews and usually offers a great value. The Riv can offer its casino players some great deals. I’m sure you’ll have a great trip.

elizamartin asked on 09/29/03

To whom it may concern:
I would like to go to Vegas to elope. How would I go about doing this? I have no idea how long it takes to obtain a marriage license or how much this costs? Am I able to obtain a license from New York before going to Las Vegas?
What are the procedures? Thank you for your time in answering my questions.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Obtaining a marriage license in Nevada is very straightforward. Any Las Vegas based wedding chapel can assist you. Also, Clark County has information on their Web site, located here.

Big Bob asked on 09/23/03

We have dinner reservations at PRIME next month. For a party of 3 with a moderate bottle of wine, what should we expect to pay including gratuity? Do you think the top tier Las Vegas restaurants are worth the $$$$? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you’re going to be doing appetizers and desert, I would expect $250-$300 for a party of three. Most of the top tier restaurants in Las Vegas are excellent. If you love food and are willing to pay the premium, you can have some of the best meals of your life.

Mikeynla asked on 09/22/03

Hunter, we’ll be staying in a regular suite at Venetian’s new Venezia tower… We got a great $139 Sun-Tues rate. Have you heard much about these rooms? Or the pool? (I understand the Venezia has its own). Finally, this is a bit of a special ocassion – do you think there’s much luck in asking for an upgrade or w/ the $20 trick in the new tower??? Thanks much! As always, the site is fabulous.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I snuck into the new tower on my last trip and let me tell you that it looks a lot nicer than the old tower… Some very tasteful decorations and a nice garden surrounding the new pool. You’ll appreciate the extra luxury I’m sure. Good luck with the upgrade, I have my doubts but I wish you the best. Thanks for the kind words.

whinkle asked on 09/21/03

Hi, I am going to Vegas the Week of April 12 and am trying to decide between Mandalay Bay for $99 a night and Aladdin for $79 a night. Location doesn’t matter. Which do you think is the better hotel/deal, which has the better/bigger rooms and which do you think the $20 trick would be more successful at?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Mandalay Bay has a MUCH nicer pool, probably the best in Las Vegas. You said that location doesn’t matter… Ok… The food choices and nightlife are probably better at Mandalay but there are some good food choices in the hotels surrounding the Aladdin. I think you’d have better luck with the $20 at the Aladdin but that’s sort of an educated hunch… That stuff is very unpredictable. Have fun!

Darlene asked on 09/17/03

Where is Boardwalk Casino located?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Boardwalk is located at 3750 Las Vegas Blvd. South, between Bellagio and the Monte Carlo… It’s actually closer to the Monte Carlo than Bellagio… Someday (soon?) it will be demolished and become the site of the next MGM Mirage hotel-casino. Steve Wynn got the land when he bought the Dunes site and MGM got it as part of the Mirage acquisition.

Wiggy asked on 09/16/03

Hello again.
My Wife and I are visiting Vegas for 2 weeks next June and whilst there we’ll be renewing our Wedding Vows. We’re favouring ‘The Little White Chapel of Flowers’ as the venue and I’ve got a rate of $79 for an hour in a stretch Limo with 2 bottles of Champagne from ‘Ambassador Limousines’. What do you think?
Finally, do you think we need to book with both well in advance to secure the time and date or would I be able to sort it out in person when I arrive next June?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

My first piece of advice is to book in advance. Do not leave that stuff up to chance, you don’t want a special day to be ruined by something as mundane as a not being able to get a limo. The rate sounds reasonable. If you want to compare, give Las Vegas Limo a call. They’ve always been good to me and my associates. If you get things sorted in advance you’ll be guaranteed a great time. Congratulations!

Bruno asked on 09/16/03

Hi Hunter, thanks for the answer to my last question it was very helpful. Can you tell me which is the best show to see while I’m in Vegas I’m not really into magic shows and which is the best Elvis show. Also where will I get the best breakfasts?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would suggest the following shows:

Danny Gans (Singing Impressionist) – Very funny but pricey. Hard to get tickets.

O (Cirque de Soleil) – Water based show, gymnasts on acid doing amazing moves. This is another show where tickets are hard to get and some folks don’t like it, but it is something you’ve never seen before.

Mystere (Cirque de Soleil) – Another Cirque show, this one is more about the performers amazing talents than the amazing staging and theatrics of O. Easier to get tickets and cheaper as well.

Clint Holmes (Singer) – He’s got a great set of pipes and sings a wide variety of songs… All the classics.

Blue Man Group (Strange) – This show is hard to explain. They make their own instruments and play them along with some avant-garde comedy stuff. I think this show is a lot of fun. People usually love it or hate it.

La Femme (Nude/Burlesque) – Based off the French show from the 50’s, this has gotten rave reviews.

Celine (Singer) – Not my cup of tea but some folks dig it.

Jubilee (Showgirls) – This show has been around for decades. This is the whole nine yards, Vegas style.

Mamma Mia (Musical) – This is the popular musical based on the music of ABBA. I’m not a big ABBA fan but this show was a lot of fun. A great time.

That’s just a small list. There are so many shows… Lance Burton is a great magician but I didn’t list him since you were saying you weren’t that into magic. If you want to see a good Elvis, check out ‘American Superstars’ at the Stratosphere. You’ll see a ton of impressions from Elvis to Madonna to Michael Jackson. This show is cheap and folks love it.

Good breakfast buffets can be found at Bellagio, Aladdin, the Mirage and Paris, amongst others. If you want a more traditional sit down, try the Caribe Cafe at the Mirage… One of my favorites. Have fun!

electricman asked on 09/13/03

Hunter, My wife and I are staying at the Flamingo mid October. What part of the hotel should we ask for for a view of the strip, and what part should we avoid?Is the pool open in October?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The pool will be open, yes. Vegas starts to cool down in October and it might be a bit chilly out, but they will let you swim if you are so inclined. I would ask for a room overlooking Caesars Palace looking West… Or perhaps facing South and Bellagio/Ballys.

Briansr asked on 09/11/03

where are good deals on Jaccuzzi rooms?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Try Luxor. They have jacuzzi suites that are often available for less than at other resorts. Also, Imperial Palace has cheaper jacuzzi suites.

Bruno asked on 09/10/03

Hi, I’m going to Las Vegas for the first time in early Novemer and am really looking forward to it. I have booked the Petite Suite in the Mirage for the first two nights and then the Bellagio Tower Delux Room for the next five. Can you tell me which is the best rooms to ask for with good views over the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I think you’ll be very happy with both hotels and the rooms you’ve chosen. At the Mirage, I would ask for a ‘Pool View’. This view puts you over the pool area looking all the way down the Strip. At Bellagio, lake view is prime and they sometimes ask for an extra $50 a night. Avoid ‘Mountain View’. This always means freeway/parking lot view.

DL asked on 09/03/03

I am taking my brother for a surprise trip to vegas for his 21st birthday. We will be there over New Year. (we are from London, England). We are both party animals and i want to arange something really special for the New Year Eve. Which clubs will be open on the Strip? will i be able to get tickets?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you like to party, I can’t think of anything better than New Years Eve in Las Vegas. Packed with people, all out to have a good time. All the clubs on the Strip will be open. Since there are SO many people, you might want to setup something in advance… sells passes to clubs so you can skip the lines, etc… Check here to see what they offer. If you want to go to the most happening spots, check out ghostbar at the Palms (no dancing), Ra at Luxor (dance club), Studio 54 at MGM Grand (dance club), rumjungle at Mandalay Bay (dance club) and Light at Bellagio (dance club; one of the hottest places in town right now). No matter what happens you’ll have fun… The Strip is closed in the evening for NYE and they have fireworks at midnight… I may see you there, I’m planning a trip for myself as well!

Mikeynla asked on 08/28/03

Hunter, there used to be a great website that was run by a guy to whom people would send photos of their rooms in Las Vegas. It was at, but it is no longer active… do you know what happened to his site, or where it might be found now? It was a great collection and resource… Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

My understanding is that the site was shut down due to ‘lack of interest’. After that was posted I contacted the owner about re-posting his photos here on I have not heard back from him. I’d love to add that stuff to this site.

betts1 asked on 08/28/03

Me and my wife (late 30s) are due to stay at the Aladdin in late September we plan on “doing” a few shows but would like to know where we could get good free entertainment and good priced drinks in nice surroundings. ps do you know if the pool at the aladdin has the sun all day as we want some tanning time.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Some good free entertainment can be had at the Bellagio, across the street from your hotel. Check out the Fontana Lounge for live music without a cover. It’s a nice place to relax. The pool at the Aladdin gets sun most of the day, you shouldn’t have a problem catching some rays.

John asked on 08/21/03

Have been coming to LV once a year for the past ten years and have always stayed at the Plaza with a view of the strip until a year ago when we were comped a few nights at the Las Vegas Club. Actually liked the rooms better than the Plaza but missed the strip view. Do you know if any of the rooms at the LVC would provide a good view of the strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Views of the Strip from the LVC are a little tough due to its positioning on Fremont. You can get some rooms that overlook the FSE however… LVC is a great value downtown.

OhioMichael asked on 08/20/03

What is crime like in Las Vegas? What areas should be avoided? Are there some areas that are OK during the day but very dangerous at night?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Unlike America’s other major gambling destination, Atlantic City, the Las Vegas Strip is safe both day and night. In general you will have no problem walking/traveling where you please in the tourist areas. That said, like any city of its size, there is crime. One area I might use caution in is walking between the Sahara and the Stratosphere. While it can easily be done safely, you should keep your wits about you at all times. Downtown is also very safe but I would keep inside the casino/tourist areas at night. One problem that some tourists have in Las Vegas is pickpockets. They are aware that there are many potential victims… Be aware! I have never felt unsafe in Las Vegas, their law enforcement folks are excellent.

rox123 asked on 08/20/03

Me and my sister are going to Vegas in Sept. 2003. I would like to suprise her with a trip to a day spa for a massage, facial, and manicure or pedicure. Can you recommend some places for us to try or a wed site we could go to for price information. I am hoping to keep this under $250 each if possible. THANKS.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I would call the Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian. Great staff and a fantastic facility.

godfather asked on 08/19/03

I’m planning my first trip to Vegas and in fact my first trip to the US in September. I’d like to stay in fairly good hotel for a couple of nights mid-week. I’m not much of an experienced gambler but would like to try out a few table games, so I’d a casino that is not intimidating and quite friendly for less experienced gamblers. I’ve been recommended the Luxor and the MGM Grand. What would you suggest?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

My personal recommendation would actually be Treasure Island if you’re looking for a place with friendly dealers. The hotel is fairly nice and a great deal, the pool is not fantastic… But, the dealers are top-notch, very friendly. I’ve had several dealers at Luxor who’s attitude I would describe as ‘surly’ at best. MGM Grand would be an acceptable choice, but I think you can do better… I would look at TI, the Mirage, and perhaps the Aladdin. Tell the dealer you haven’t played before, they will usually be helpful. Also, evenings and nights are when most seasoned players are in the casino. Early morning and during the day will match you with folks that won’t be as upset if you mis-play a hand of 21. Have fun!