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Frank asked on 01/04/13

I was given a 5000$ chip… Am i able to cash it in without the person who gave it to me being there?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Almost certainly no. They will want to know where you got it and have proof that it’s legit.

Bill asked on 01/03/13

Looking to go golfing while im in Vegas in March. Can you recommend a good course that isn’t too spendy. And can you tell me the top 4 or 5 buffets to go to while we are there.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Golf is definitely not my speciality. What I typically do is to direct folks over here to review more details on the courses than I could ever provide.

As for buffets, typically something like this: Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Wynn Las Vegas.

Have fun!

hailey asked on 01/02/13

I would like to take my boyfriend to get a good steak but i dont think i can really afford one of the high priced places. Can you recommend a place that you can get a good steak without breaking the bank. 2nd question, what is better, the buffet at Caesars, Bellagio, or Cosmo?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

If you want a tasty steak at a good price, I’d seriously suggest looking at the Circus Steakhouse at Circus Circus. Yes, that may sound like a strange suggestion but the place is pretty damn tasty and very reasonably priced. Regarding buffets, the new Caesars buffet is getting a ton of great reviews but all three you mention are good. I’d probably say CP and Bellagio are neck and neck with Cosmo following behind.

kelly asked on 01/02/13

Hello, My husband and I are visiting LV in May 2013 for our 10 year anniversary. I have a few questions I hope you can answer for me. I have done a lot of research on Vegas and originally we wanted to stay at the MGM but to save a little money I started checking other places, we decided now on Harrah’s. I just read a few pages on here and I saw your view on Harrah’s and am now concerned about that choice. we haven’t made anything final yet so we still have time. Wanting to know what you recommend. Harrahs interested me because it is right in the middle of the strip and there is a 24 hour buffet pass for 7 different buffet affiliated with the Ceasars clan and if you book at the Harrah’s you get 2 free 24 hour buffet passes. I was very interested in the 24 hour pass, which would give us 3 to 4 meals so we thought it might be better to stay more centrally located so we are close to most of the buffets included in this pass. May be you could give us some better recommendations for hotel.

Also we wanted to golf one dayand were told that there are a few courses on the or just off the strip. Could you please tell me the names of any of golf courses close to the strip?
Thank you for your time

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Congratulations! 2013 will be nine years for me and my wife.

So, a few things to know about Harrah’s… In general, it’s a notch lower in the Vegas Strip pecking order than MGM Grand. Also, MGM recently renovated so right at this moment, when it comes to rooms, they’re even further apart in quality than normal. Now, that’s not to say that Harrah’s some horrible stinkhole. It’s just slightly less nice. That typically means more affordable so if spending on the room is less important to you, that can be useful information. One thing to keep in mind is that there’s semi-major construction going on next door at Imperial Palace/The Quad. This will be on-going through much of 2013 and could be loud, depending on what side of the building you’re on.

As far as the ‘Buffet of Buffets’ promotion goes, it does include a lot of value but you should also be aware of the restrictions – some of the best buffets, like the new one at Caesars Palace, are not included, despite being part of the Caesars family (you can go for $15 extra per person). The other thing to keep in mind is that the buffets often have long lines – you might not want to use them for as many meals as you think given how long the wait can be. Also, weekend prices are higher. That said, if you’re set on this promotion, being more centrally located would be simpler, though Paris and Planet Hollywood are nicer options than Harrah’s.

When it comes to golf, I’m really not an expert. The Wynn Golf Club is on The Strip but it’s super expensive. Bali Hai is just next to Mandalay Bay but is also a premium course. The Las Vegas Country Club near the Hilton is typically more reasonable as is Desert Pines which isn’t too far via cab.

Have fun and good luck!

JM1 asked on 12/29/12

I want to take my boyfriend to vegas for his 30th birthday. He’s never been before so I want him to experience the whole vibe. Which hotel would you recommend? I want luxury, I was looking at Wynn but the Venetian/Palazzo seem to have a better location, and then there’s also Comso! Or are there any others you’d rate higher? He’s not a massive fan of crowds but loves gambling. Also somewhere that has cheeper options for food nearby perhaps? Thanks!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Personally, I’d take Wynn or Encore over Venetian/Palazzo every day of the week. Yes, the location is slightly more favorable for the latter but only slightly and Wynn has a nicer casino, better restaurants, nicer rooms and better service. Cosmopolitan can be a good candidate if you fit their customer mold – they primarily attract younger folks (21-35) that usually seem to prefer the bars and clubs over the casino. The Cosmo casino is typically far less active than other places such as Bellagio, Wynn or The Venetian. Many of the rooms at The Cosmopolitan have balconies and if you score one of those, it’s a pretty amazing experience.

I think you’re on the right track. In addition to Wynn/Encore and Cosmo, you might also want to look at Bellagio, Aria and maybe The Mirage. The latter is definitely a notch down in luxury from the others but often has suites and other high-end rooms at less expensive prices.

As for less expensive dining options nearby, this typically isn’t much of a problem if you’re willing to talk a little bit. Wynn and Encore have mostly the pricier restaurants on property but there’s TI across the street or a couple of hole-in-the-wall places just north too.

Have a blast!

sivled asked on 12/28/12

We are starting to plan our March Vegas vacation because it does seem to be cheaper between the first and second week of March at almost all of the Vegas strip hotels. We have read that in the last few weeks at least two or three progressive jackpots have been hit in the Las Vegas area. My questions are in your opinion does the Fremont street hotels seem to have more and larger winners than the fancy dancy over expensive hotels on the Vegas strip do ? It does seem we have read and heard that was true.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Fremont hotels often have slightly higher payout percentages (designed to bring in customers) but looking at some of the larger recent jackpots, I see an even mix of properties all over the Las Vegas area. You never know where it’s going to hit.

Anea asked on 12/27/12

We are planning a trip to Vegas in mid March and we are looking to staying at the Paris Las Vegas, which from my understanding is located across from the Bellagio. I was wondering whether or not this hotel is within walking distance to Planet Hollywood and MGM Grand? We will not have a car and we are looking to party in other Vegas hot spots without feeling confined to our hotels casino. Also, what is the weather like in mid March out in Vegas? It’s cold here in Atlanta and I really want to ditch the heavy coat while in Vegas.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, Paris is within walking distance to both Planet Hollywood and MGM Grand. Both are quite close – PHo is next door. March is cool but not cold for Las Vegas with averages between about 45 and 70 degrees F so at night you might still need a coat, though the casinos themselves are always kept very comfortable.

Billy asked on 12/24/12

We are staying at the Cosmo for 3 nights in a terrace suite the beginning of march. We want to try out either the Venetian or Palazzo in one of the standard rooms for a couple nights after that since we have never stayed there. Which would you recommend? And will the pools be open the first week of march?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The rooms at the two hotels are almost identical – same size, same basic layout and design. The Venetian is typically more alive and busy while Palazzo is newer. I’d probably pick Palazzo but they’re so similar, it’s not much of a distinction. As far as the pools, March is about when it starts to warm up and I’d expect at least part of the pool deck to be open.

Dennis asked on 12/21/12

I just wanted to say what a great Vegas info. site this is ans I hope everyone that has used this site has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a fantastic 2013 !

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks and you too!

Akinohio asked on 12/19/12

Quad – $20 trick.. Any chance $20 trick will work at the quad and are there any rooms there worth trying this with?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s always possible, you never know.

As far as what type of room, the famous ‘Luv Tub’ rooms are the most requested upgrade, featuring an in-room jacuzzi.

Kenny asked on 12/18/12

If you had to pick, would you go for the Bellagio or Wynn/Encore ??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

They’re both great places to stay but have different strengths. Wynn and Encore have nicer rooms than Bellagio. I prefer the casino at Wynn but only slightly – the Bellagio casino is very nice. I think the pool areas at Wynn/Encore top Bellagio but again, that’s a tight one. If you like nightclubs, Wynn/Encore is by far the winner and if you hate them, you might prefer Bellagio. Both have great restaurants. Bellagio is in a much better location.

I typically gravitate towards Wynn/Encore but I’m also a big Bellagio fan. Both are great choices.

sivled asked on 12/17/12

What would be the latest you have heard about the Quad/Imperial Palace ? Are they opennow ? Did CET do any type of renovations to the old I.P. ? How about the dining areas including the buffet ? I guess what I am asking is the pros and cons of the Quad .


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It actually never closed… but the name has now been changed. Renovations are continuing through the course of the next 12 months or so, at which point pretty much everything will have changed. In the meantime though, it’s kind of a mess.

bid dave asked on 12/14/12

I’m stayIng at bellagio. Two nights. I want to get a $1 chip at every casino i can. Strip and freemont casinos. I walk fast. What should my route be? I need a plan of attack.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Alright, I like your style. Here are some ideas/tips/thoughts:

- Even as a fast walker (I am too), the distance is bound to tire you out because while you could easily do all of Fremont in maybe 90 minutes, Strip casinos are much further apart.

- Leverage as many trams as possible. There are connectors between Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur (useful), between The Mirage and TI (less useful) and then the monorail (probably not very useful for you in this instance). Even using the Mandalay monorail to hit all three spots can save more walking than you’d think and you’ll need your energy.

- For Fremont, it’s easy to hit ‘em all. Park at Main Street Station and then walk to The Plaza and then down to the Golden Gate and that side of the street. All the way down to the El Cortez, cross over and walk all the way back. You’ll hit everything.

- For The Strip, you’re probably just best off following a similar method… Start at Bellagio. Walk to Vdara and then through to Aria. Hit Monte Carlo, NYNY, and Excalibur. Hop on the tram to Luxor and then through the walkway to Mandalay Bay. Get back on the tram and head back to Excalibur, crossing the street to the Trop. From there, through to MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Paris and Bally’s. That gets you the South and part of the Center Strip – time for a break. Another good block would be to exit Bellagio and head to Caesars Palace. From there, The Mirage and TI. Cross to Wynn and hit both it and Encore. Walk back to Palazzo and The Venetian and then continue to Casino Royale, Harrah’s, The Quad, The Flamingo and Bill’s. Time for another break and then you can hit the North Strip places in another walk – maybe even take a cab to Circus Circus and hit it and the surrounding casinos.

Totally doable but a lot of walking. Bring comfortable shoes and make sure to stay hydrated.

Dennis asked on 12/13/12

No real questions but you were great at answering mine. I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS on your Trippie award. I hope there will be many more.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! Voting is closed for 2012 but we’ll find out in January if we win!

don asked on 12/11/12

we are coming to vegas the 1st of april. staying at the rio, was wanting to know what was going on at fremont st then. thank you

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy – April is far enough away that most special events haven’t been announced yet. I’d recommend checking back far closer to the dates in question.

Deanna asked on 11/28/12

Is the Hollywood Planet Hotel in Las Vegas a nice clean hotel and a good place to stay? I guess I’m basically worried about cleanliness, theft, and courtesy. Also is it better to pay the price and take the Tour Bus to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas or is it just as easy to take your rent a car? I was wondering how the parking and walking is when taking your own vehicle. I would think the tour bus would drop you off and pick you up in the best and easiest locations plus they would give you more info along your tour. Thank you very much, Deanna

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Planet Hollywood is located directly on the Strip and is typically considered to be in the upper-middle tier of resort offerings – not the most expensive but a nice hotel with well maintained rooms. In general, the cleanliness and courtesy are about what you’d expect from a four-star property – you may find an employee someplace that doesn’t meet the standard but generally, they’re very nice and helpful. As far as theft goes, overall, it’s not a concern. The rooms typically all have in-room safes plus the front desk has secure storage if you need to take advantage of that. In all of my years visiting hotels all up and down the Strip, I’ve never had anything stolen despite typically traveling with a laptop or camera that might tempt a thief. As in any situation, keep your wits about you but it’s not something I would cite as a concern – these hotels are typically very safe.

As far as the Grand Canyon goes, it certainly is possible to drive but if you’re not familiar with the area and don’t mind doing the bus thing, that’s probably the least stressful way to do it – no worrying about finding the right place to park, etc… Plus, as you mention, many tours offer additional education/background that you’d have to dig up on your own.

Have fun!

mike asked on 11/28/12

What is the weather like in las vegas in late december, mid February, or Easter? I am not sure when I am going yet… depends on the weather.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Both December and February are going to be relatively cold – expect highs in the 50s or 60s and lows in the 30s, give or take. Definitely coat and pant weather. Easter is much warmer with average highs in the high 70s – not too hot, not too cold.

Ross asked on 11/25/12


Great site over the years, keep it up. Wondering if you have any suggestions for a NYE event w/ an open bar & a good time, but also suitable for my folks who are around 70. They like to have fun, but wouldn’t fit in with most of the nightclub parties, etc. Do you know of any slightly lower-key events at which they’d feel comfortable? We’ll be staying at Vdara, so it would be helpful to be nearby.

Thanks in advance.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:


Thanks for the kind words. Most Strip hotels have their own parties, typically a mix of invite-only events and also ticketed affairs that include everything from food to a bar, etc… You’re right – there are a lot of nightclub events but there are typically also alternatives.

We’re right around the time of year that these events are started to be announced. You can count on everything from performances of event shows like Cirque to special seatings at all the major restaurants.

At Vdara you’re smack dab between Aria and Bellagio, two of the most likely spots for events that are designed for people older than 25. I’d recommend calling the Vdara concierge and asking about events, both at CityCenter and Bellagio. While they will likely be public soon, never hurts to get a jump.

Have fun!

Sunny asked on 11/20/12

Greetings. I just wanted to find out some of the best breakfast deals on the Vegas strip. Any suggestions for decent food at an affordable price? How about best deals for Buffets? How is the new buffet at Caesers Palace? Best champagne brunch on the Strip?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The new buffet at Caesars is getting rave reviews but it is not a deal. It’s pretty pricey, especially for the champagne brunch… But when it comes to the best, I’d say the new CP joint, Bellagio and the Sterling Brunch at Bally’s probably top the list. As far as buffets that better straddle the deal line, take a look at Paris or Planet Hollywood. Not in the top tier of gourmet buffets but decent and decently priced.

Dennis asked on 11/19/12

I am not sure if this has been asked before but we were curious about who owns the Tropicana hotlel on the Vegas strip. We were not that happy with our recent stay at the Flamingo because of a few problems such as te room they gave us at first already had someone in it. Next the room we did get was ok until the comode over flowed the next morning. They did give us two free buffets tho. BIG DEAL

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Tropicana is currently owned by a group of hedge fund investors, primarily from Canada. Management includes former MGM Grand executives. The Tropicana has been extensively re-developed over the past four years.

frank asked on 11/06/12

Dont know which tour company to take while in las vegas to the grand canyon So many reviews on Trip advisor, confused I would like to take the
best rated tour company

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

I’ve personally had really good experiences with Maverick Helicopter on two separate trips in the past several years (though not super recently).

Michael W. asked on 11/02/12

My wife and I are visiting Vegas in two weeks for my bday. As a present, she said she wants to take me to a strip club. Where we live, the strippers often pull the women up on stage, let them dance with them, and partially undress them. Does this happen in Vegas as well?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hmmmm. When it comes to strip clubs, I’m definitely not the most experty-expert but on the trips I have spent time in them, I’ve not seen a lot of this. Most of the main Vegas strip joints are usually pretty crowded and most of the patrons aren’t all that interested in seeing someone else’s SO on stage. So – someone may correct me here but I don’t think you’ll find a lot of this.

Sunshadow asked on 11/01/12

I have allergies and the last time I visited Vegas in March, they were triggered quite often. As a result, I stay out of most casinos, where smoking is abundant. Any recommendations for a Vegas visitor and how to deal with allergies?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

All of the casinos have recirculation equipment, though the older places definitely do a far worse job at it. Newer places – anything built in the past 15 years or so – usually do a pretty good job. Maybe you visited the wrong hotels? Places like Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, The Venetian, and Palazzo never make me think of smoke. Caesars would be an example of a property that at least in many spaces, can have circulation issues. Possible that it wasn’t the smoke and instead was the dry desert air or pollen? Maybe putting a humidifier in your room when you sleep would help?

Dennis B. asked on 10/26/12

I hope this is not a dumb question. Do you know if any of Bally’s rooms face the strip with a possible view of the Bellagio fountains ? thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Because of the orientation of the towers at Bally’s most have an obscured view. Some of the North Tower room do face west towards Bellagio but the South Tower partially obscures much of the view.

Sunshine asked on 10/24/12

Good evening. My friend and I are visiting Vegas this December for the xmas holidays. We are looking at Ballys or Harrahs for accomodation. My friend is in a wheelchair, so accessibility would be important. We are also simply looking for clean, private rooms with not alot of construction in or around the hotel. Which one would you recommend? Also, any suggestions for celebrating Christmas in Vegas? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Christmas is a very popular Vegas holiday – expect a lot of decoration, happy people and some fun special meals at restaurants on Christmas Day. I think it’s a great time to go.

Regarding hotel choices, I’d probably pick Bally’s. It’s clean, centrally located and reasonably priced. If you do pick Bally’s, the South Tower is much closer to The Strip and the elevators open right on to the casino. I will say, Bally’s itself is set back from the street a good bit which will make it a little bit harder for your friend. The hotel is fully ADA compliant but it is some extra work to get out to The Strip.

Harrah’s is closer to the street but I think the rooms at Bally’s are nicer and a better deal. Harrah’s rooms are desperately in need of renovation. Also, the Harrah’s casino is packed super tight – I’ve always found it claustrophobic.

I hope that helps.

Wilson asked on 10/23/12

Since Steve Wynn is jewish, does he decorate his hotels with Christmas decorations or Hanukkah decoration when it comes to to the holidays?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Most hotels have predominantly Christmas decorations despite any religious affiliations of the owners or operators.

Julie asked on 10/23/12

Two questions: First, I would like to see Ka, do you know if it is closing any time soon? I won’t be traveling to LV until March. Second, do you know of any hotels that offer Nascar packages?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

No, Ka is not closing anytime soon… As for NASCAR, many hotels do weekend packages to coincide with races though typically that info isn’t available until closer to the events.

Pokey asked on 10/22/12

I am bringing my 19 year old sister to Vegas for the first time to see Shania Twain in March @ Caesars in march. I would like to stay at hotel that has a nice pool that she could go to but am not sure which hotels have pools that she could go to. (I heard the flamingo’s big pool is now 21+). Is there anything new that minors can do on the strip? Is the zip line from Luxor to Excalibur going to be completed any time soon? Last question. Buying tickets for the Collosseum, How bad are the seats in the 2nd mezzanine. I dont want to spend a lot on tickets but if its worth it going down even to the 1st i would do it.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Strip is not very friendly to minors, especially people that are old enough to be bored of arcades but not old enough to be in the casino. Her options will be limited to sightseeing (but not loitering in any casino or bar area), the pool, shopping and that’s about it… The Luxor zip line has not been constructed, no.

For good pools, you may want to look at The Mirage, Caesars Palace, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore or Mandalay Bay. I would not recommend The Flamingo at this time due to construction and a degradation in service.

Generally, The Colosseum seats are good throughout, a benefit of a modern venue. That said, they’re not all that close to the stage and you’ll mostly be watching the video monitors.

Dennis asked on 10/05/12

Do you know if the Flamingo have concierges at their hotel ? Are they the ones to ask if they would put a banner in our room saying Happy Anniversary Linda and Dennis ? I would like them to arrange that while we would out of the hotel. It would be a surprise for my wife.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Flamingo has limited duty, part-time concierge service. They are indeed the right people to ask about something like this and if they’re not available, I’d ask a desk manager to see if they could accommodate your request.

Linda asked on 10/05/12

We need to know about how much taxi fare would be from the Flamingo to the airport. Is there a site that would show approx. taxi rates from different parts of town to say the airport or Fremont street from different hotels ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Hello. If you have an iPhone, our app, Vegas Mate, displays this information for each hotel. The average fare between LAS and The Flamingo is about $15.

jessalyn asked on 10/02/12


We are wondering where would a good place be to watch the Patriots football game this Sunday Oct 7th. It starts at 10:30 Vegas time. We plan on being around the Mirage that day. Any suggestions?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Mirage has a pretty nice book, as does The Palazzo (across the street), Caesars (next door) and Wynn Las Vegas (down the block). The problem with many NFL games is that even the big books get crowded. Get there early if you want a seat.

Dennis asked on 09/28/12

I am really worried about our upcoming stay at the Flamingo. We have just invited another couple to join us and they will fly in the day after we arrive in Vegas . I just saw online some pics. of the different fab rooms and fab luxury rooms and they look deplorable . The pics. of the bathrooms were really bad. Hunter will the Flamingo make us stay in the rooms we get if we truly dislike them ? Will they give us better rooms if we tell them the rooms they gave us are really bad and threaten to check out and go to say Planet Hollywood or the Bellagio if they do not move us ? Hunter I am just afraid this special anniversary Vegas trip will be ruined because of these rooms.
Hunter to your knowledge are all of the fab rooms and fab luxury rooms not been updated or renovated ? I hope you can help put my mind to rest because time is running out.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

A friend of mine just stayed at The Flamingo and had a horrible experience. The room was dirty and stayed that way throughout the trip. Is that endemic or a one off? It’s very hard to say. His trip details are here:

Of course, the hotel can’t ‘make you’ stay in any room but if you are not satisfied, they may not be willing to do anything about it. In a worst case scenario, if the room is awful and the hotel won’t help, you might want to move. A threat to move in and of itself may have no effect (especially to Planet Hollywood as they’re owned by the same company and would be getting your money either way).

Between Linq construction and these recent reports of bad room experiences, staying at The Flamingo may be a bit of a risk. You probably have to decide how high your tolerance is for that risk. Fortunately, there are lots of other choices when it comes to Las Vegas hotels.

At The Flamingo, the ‘Fab’ type rooms are what they call the renovated versions of the original guest rooms. So any room that has that moniker was renovated in the past few years (though it was not a deep renovation – soft goods like chairs and carpet, not the bathroom).

rich kozak asked on 09/27/12

Is the venetian renovating there rooms this fall? Will be stay there in a few weeks. thankyou

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The Venetian is in the midst of several interior renovations in the public areas but the rooms are currently static.

Dennis asked on 09/21/12

I goofed big time Hunter can you help me again ? Well I have everything confirmed now for our big Vegas anniversary .We have two shows booked something called Vegas . I forget where and at the Pallazzo we want to see the top acts from American Got Talent. We have reservations for our anniversary dinner at the Chart House in the Golden Nugget. Now Hunter how would you rate those shows and the Chart House as my picks. Did I do good ? Now here is my main problem . I forget where you said we could go downtown at some hotels and play the ole time slot machines where you can hear that great sound of the coins hitting the metal tray. Can you name them again ? Finally I received an e. mail from Caesars that were talking about a new hotel/resort called Nobu. Have you heard about it ? Oh I also read where the new name of the Imperial Palace will be The Quad Resort and casino.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy. Sounds like a fun lineup. AGT isn’t personally my thing but it’s been very popular and people seem to enjoy it. The Chart House is tasty and it’s a nice looking restaurant with large aquarium installations, located in the new lobby for the Rush Tower.

The place I was talking about was ‘The D Las Vegas’, which is the newly renamed Fitzgerald’s. It’s down on the end of Fremont Street, next to the Four Queens. It’s a few minutes from the Golden Nugget.

The Nobu hotel is going to actually be part of Caesars – they’ve taken over one of the hotel towers to build a boutique experience with a few hundred rooms and a sushi joint.

And yes, the Imperial Palace will change its name to The Quad in December, though renovations there will continue through the end of 2013.

scott asked on 09/15/12

Hello Hunter. Wife and I are heading to town Oct 2-6. I’m torn between staying at Bally’s for center strip location and decent price (average $126) and going old school at the Golden Nugget and trying out their new Rush Tower (slightly lower average price). The new Rush tower rooms look nice and I’ve never given downtown a shot. I know however that we’ll want to spend time on the strip so traveling back and forth has me concerned about running up big taxi fares or long waits on the deuce. should i rent a car if I go with the Nugget ? If I decide on Bally’s – any suggestion about which basic room to request (i.e. which are nicer/newer) ?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Staying Downtown is great fun but keep in mind that it’s more focused on gambling than the Strip, if only because the places are smaller and there are fewer of them. The Golden Nugget is the most Strip-like of the Fremont places but there’s still less shopping, wandering, etc…

If you think you’re going to want to visit The Strip often, you probably do want a car, yes. Taking a taxi once or twice is no big deal but it can add up if you cycle back and forth a bunch.

As for Bally’s, the south tower rooms are closer to the casino. The north tower rooms are closer to the pool and monorail (and the walkway to Paris). As far as renovations, they’re pretty much on par with each other post upgrades over the past few years.

sam snead asked on 09/12/12

Heading to LV soon. My buddies and I will gamble for 12 hours straight if we’re not careful. We need diversions. Diversions with beer. We like the bowling alley at the Gold Coast, the horse game at MGM, a little time in a sweet sportsbook, and maybe some video games/rollercoaster at NYNY. Not looking for club of any kind, just something to entertain us. Cheap is good, bar service great, and it’s always fun if we can bet on something. We also see who can get the most ‘cards’ from slappers between the Flamingo and MGM. Fun game.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

You’ve got some good suggestions already.

You might want to spend at least a little time downtown on Fremont. It’s still gambling but the ‘D’ has an upstairs mini-casino full of ‘vintage’ games. There’s also a bar called Insert Coins just down the street that’s focused on video games – all sorts of stuff – a good place to relax for a bit.

They won’t let you drink but there are more and more places to go to shoot machine guns around the Strip, if that interests you at all. If you do do that, I’d recommend not going for a massive multi-gun package – it takes forever with a bunch of people.

Have a blast!

Sam asked on 09/11/12

Hunter I never new that the Riviera at one time had a roof top pool. I had a friend e. mail me sme pics. of it. It seemed to be large and nice looking. What was the reason they no longer use it ? It seemed to be a perfect spot away from the street noise and big crowds. I think it would have been a perfect adult type ( topless ) pool thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

My understanding is that they actually never used it… It was built and they discovered that it leaked and thus had to be drained. You can see the empty pool in satellite images from services like Google Maps.

Dennis asked on 09/09/12

I have heard that they are building a Linq on the Vegas strip. I hope this ha not been asked before but what is the Linq ? thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

LINQ is a new shopping and entertainment district being built between Flamingo and Imperial Palace. It is scheduled to open next year and along with the shops and restaurants, will feature a giant observation wheel.

Alex asked on 09/03/12

Hi – I am attending a conference @Planet Hollywood Have a room reserved at Cosmo. Are Aria/Vdara much further from strip? the seem to be on the map but…

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

It’s a bit of a walk from The Strip to both Aria and Vdara, yes. Not an oppressive distance but it’s a little ways whereas Planet Hollywood and Cosmopolitan are both right up on the sidewalk.

Randall Byrne asked on 09/01/12

My wife and I are planning a trip next March. I am a gambler but she is not. We are looking for a nice hotel that has things to do for her other than watch me gamble. Shows, shops, spa that sort of thing. Also would like the hotel to be of the nicer rooms without the ‘Ventian’ price. I have searched a few and am interested in the larger Stratosphere room and THEhotel rooms. Are these good recommendations?

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Between those two choices, I’d point you towards THEHotel, no question. It’s a much nicer hotel than The Stratosphere and is in a better location, despite them both being at the far ends of Las Vegas Blvd.

THEHotel and Mandalay Bay have two nice spas, a large pool complex, attached shopping (though it’s not as good as shopping at Caesars Palace or The Venetian) and several nearby shows.

The Stratosphere, though vastly upgraded with a recent renovation, is pretty far from the action.

Dennis asked on 08/31/12

Hi Hunter We are starting to make plans for our October anniversary trip. We will be staying five comped nights at the Flamingo. Now another couple will be joining us and we thought to save cab fare we would rent a car for two days. Now our friends have never been to Fremont St so I thought we would drive there. Will will we look for a place to park while we tour Fremont St ? What would be the average price of parking ? We will have a couple of g.p.s. things so we are hoping it will make the driving a little easier for us as they give us directions. Does the Flamingo have a parking garage and is it free for people staying there ? thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yes, the Flamingo, like virtually all Strip resorts, has both free self-parking and a free valet, though the attendants expect to be tipped if you use the valet.

For Fremont Street, the casinos all have parking but typically it’s not free by default. The casinos typically will validate your parking ticket – for example, the Golden Nugget does this and it’s one of my favorite places to park because they have a large garage and it’s centrally located. Take your parking ticket to the casino cage for validation. If you don’t validate or forget, parking is still inexpensive – a few bucks an hour, give or take.

The Golden Nugget garage is at Bridger and 1st Street. There are some one-way streets downtown but if you have navigation devices, you should be fine.

Ben asked on 08/30/12

On our last Vegas trip we ended up doing an impromptu bar crawl on the strip and it was the best part of our trip. This year, we’re planning on formalizing it a little bit. I have some bars in mind, but I’m curious if you know of any cool, but low-maintenance bars on the strip that are either 24 hours or open after 3 or 4 a.m on a Friday. Seems like most of the cool places close by 2 a.m.

Based on my calculations, we should be around the Venetian, Harrah’s, Flamingo portion of the strip by that timeframe and I’m running out of late-night options. Thanks for your help!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

From the description, hard to tell exactly what type of bars, but I’ll take a stab… What you’ve noticed is that for super-late-night-drinking, it’s basically nightclubs or generic casino bars.

Places like the piano bar at Harrah’s, Carnival Court, Rhumbar at Mirage, etc… they all basically close around 2am on most nights, though in some cases it’ll go later.

Unfortunately a lot of the places open later are decidedly higher maintenance – Hyde @ Bellagio, all the venues at Cosmo, etc…

I haven’t been to the Bourbon Room (Venetian) yet but it’s open until 4am nightly. V Bar next door is open until 3am.

You may end up roaming a bit, as you did before… but let’s be honest – if the first part of the night went well, you probably will be game for just about anything.

Have fun. I like your style!

doug looper asked on 08/29/12

OK, I know about the ‘gamblers special’ at Mr Luckys at Hard Rock. I’ve also had the steak special at Ellis Island. Any more secrets like these two specials? Love the site!

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Thanks! Those two are probably the most famous… and while it’s still available, the Mr. Lucky’s thing has been rumored to be cut in the future.

It’s not quite the same sort of thing but one of my favorite buffet dining tips is that most buffets have a bar area with stools and you can often walk to the front of the line (or walk up the VIP line or even the exit) and sit at the bar and just pay the bartender instead of waiting in a super long line.

If you’re looking for inexpensive food with large portions, The Peppermill is tough to beat, right next to the Riviera.

One of my favorite ‘secrets’ is Tacos el Gordo, which is just north of Encore, past the church, in a little strip mall on Las Vegas Blvd. Insanely good tacos.


RICH KOZAK asked on 08/27/12

Hello, I will be staying at the Venetian next month ,do you have any inside
information on what floor (s) are closest to the deck pools.thank you

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The pool deck is on the fourth floor.

donnie baseball asked on 08/26/12

Staying at Aria next week and my buddy is at Planet Hollywood. Is that an easy back and forth? Also, I hate gambling at fancy casinos. Prefer Bill’s and Slot’s o Fun type places for gaming but my buddy thinks they are dumps. Where can we do some gaming with out be intimidated by high limits? I also feel like I get noticed at smaller places and have a better chance at a comp there. We typically gamble $1000/day.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Howdy – Planet Hollywood and Aria are basically across the street from one another. It’s a little bit of a hike from Aria to the sidewalk but it’s very straightforward. There’s an overhead bridge right in front of Aria that will take you over to PHo.

As far as the gambling stuff goes, if you’re looking for places that are a bit nicer than Bill’s but not has high-falluting as Bellagio, you might want to consider The Mirage, Treasure Island, Monte Carlo, or even Planet Hollywood itself. Limits there will overall typically be lower than the highest tier but they’re still perfectly nice places. Aria too often has some reasonable limits depending on the time of day. Tell your friend though that Bill’s isn’t a dump! It’s not too bad and certainly nicer than Slots o’ Fun.

Linda asked on 08/23/12

Hunter I just saw a news video that showed streets in Las Vegas being flooded because of sudden rain storms. Does that happen very often ? Is it true that Vegas hotels are flooded two or three times a year . Lie the recent flooding what do thew strip hotels do with their gamblers when flooding does happen ? I thinki I remember a few years back seeing a vide of the I.P. being flooded . Am I right ?


Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The IP is notorious for this because it’s literally built in a wash.

Las Vegas gets rain but the kind of downpour we saw the other day is pretty rare, really. Maybe once a year? Sometimes more but not what I would call common.

Virtually all of the hotels are designed in such a way that the water doesn’t pose a threat to customers – most of the casino floors are actually on raised podiums (they have a bunch of stuff underneath for back-of-house operations) and are designed with this in mind.

dave vail asked on 08/22/12

I have stayed at the Mirage, the Trop, Luxor, Bill’s, Circus Circus, Hard Rock, Rio, and the Plaza. I have a comp offer at any M Life property including Aria, Bellagio, Mandalay, Mirage, and MGM (as well as NYNY, Monte Carlo, and Excal). I like to walk around, gamble at different places and be mobile. I hit food courts more than fine dining and buy beers at drug stores and sundry shops. I also budget $750/day for gambling. Prefer to gamble at low limit tables and make big bets at those tables versus $25 tables. I enjoy nice rooms but spend only limited time in my room. Usually not until 4 or 5a.m. I can’t decide which of these sweet hotels to stay at. Please help.

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

This is a fun question – you’ve got an interesting set of preferences.

Given what you mentioned, I’d probably start by ruling some places out. I like Bellagio but it doesn’t sound like it fits with your trip plan… No good inexpensive food, long hike to any drug stores and it sounds like the nice room and service might be somewhat lost on you. I’d probably say the same for Mandalay Bay, though Luxor does have some food-court like options so you wouldn’t have to hike too far…

I think if I were you I’d probably focus on Aria – nice rooms, big casino, centrally located. There’s a food court at Monte Carlo which is very easy to access from Aria. Two big drugstores that are very close and have beers, etc… Based on what you’ve said, Aria would probably be at the top of my list. If you want to spread your bets around, Cosmo is next door and Monte Carlo and Bellagio are basically attached and they’re of course mLife also.

MGM and Mirage are probably close to being a toss-up… MGM is in the middle of a renovation project so you’d want to try to get a newer room if you can. Still, while I think MGM and The Mirage could make you happy, Aria still sounds like a better fit to me based on the kind of trip you described.

Have fun and good luck! Let me know what you decide!

Kelly asked on 08/16/12

I hope I can ask this here- I don’t know who to contact! I have the opportunity to move to NW Vegas in the Pavilions at Providence. I checked the reveiws and they are all awful complaining about the bugs. Have you heard anything??

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Kelly – sorry, we’re really focused on stuff in the tourist corridor. You might try the Living in Las Vegas podcast Web site for something more resident focused. Good luck!

nika asked on 08/13/12

hy. is there any shops in las vegas where you can buy poker chips? i am coming there in october and i want to buy some poker chips for my brother’s birthday so i want to make sure there are shops like that there. thank you very much for the answer :)

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

Yeah, they sell poker chips in most hotel gift shops. There’s also a huge souvenir place across from the Sahara on The Strip.

Dennis asked on 08/07/12

Morning Hunter ( again ) You are the man when it comes to helping Vegas nuts .For the first time ever I was thinking about renting a car for no more than two days instead of those expensive cabs. Are there any in that area with reasonable prices ? Are they mainly found at the airport ? If you have never driven on the strip or to places like the Rio or Gold Coast would they be hard to find ? Thanks

Vegas Mate @ RateVegas answered:

The car rental center is ‘nearish’ to the airport – it has shuttles to and from LAS. You’ll find the typical array of rental choices, from the big brands to some of the cheaper, lesser known brands.

As far as driving in Las Vegas, it’s pretty simple and easy to find the major landmarks. You may find Nevada drivers to be a tad on the aggressive side but everything on The Strip and stuff like The Rio and the Gold Coast are very easy to navigate.