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Las Vegas thread and MSE guide 2009 part 2
View Poll Results: When are you Going to Las Vegas ?
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Old 02-07-2009, 3:10 PM
Fantastically Fervent MoneySaving Super Fan
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Default Las Vegas thread and MSE guide 2009 part 2


.. is not like other places you might have been, where the Hotels are near to the attractions . in Vegas the Hotels are the attractions. most have a huge casino attached , but if you think thats all there is to the place , you are sorely mistaken .

in a Family Fortunes style question if you asked 100 people something they associate with Las Vegas , I'd bet you my house the top answer would be "gambling". yet there is so much more.

This page cannot hope to cover everything , but hopefully should point you towards some good money saving tips

How to get there

Las Vegas is 5235 miles from London , with flight times in the region of 10 hours +

you could book a package from pretty much any online or high street travel agent that would include flights and hotels. however this is a money saving site so we try to beat those prices by booking things separately .Thats not to say a package deal might not be a cheaper option . it's easy to work out if a deal you have been quoted is value for money . If the price of the package (X) is more than the price of the flight via the Airline (A) + the Price of the Resort ( or similar quality resort) listed in the deal links below (B) then why not save money and book things separately .

so please before you post the question " is this a good deal ? " please work out the following is X>A+B ? . if you are booking in advance there might not be a deal for your hotel yet , but you should be able to get a reasonable idea of prices by looking at current deals, but be sure to factor in any holidays / sporting events / big conventions ect.

only three airlines at the time of writing operate direct flights to Las Vegas .BMI have now ceased direct flights from Manchester , But BA are starting a daily service out of Heathrow from Oct 2009 .

Virgin fly everyday from Gatwick airport .however be warned this flight is poor quality IMO. the planes used (747's) are old , with cramped uncomfortable seats arranged in a bad configuration ,

Virgin's new Airbus A340's planes and service are excellent but they are not on the Las Vegas route !!!

Make sure you take the Quidco cashback available if you book with Virgin

Thomas Cook (AKA My travel )fly Wednesdays and Saturdays in summer and Wednesdays only in Winter , again from Manchester. Max jet was operating flights but went bust xmas 2007

(a note about Thomas Cook flights , the baggage allowance is a very poor 15kg ( upgradeable to 20kg) , and the flights in June + July may well see your flight stopping off at Belfast or Glasgow to pick passengers up , making them not much better than indirect flights that connect in a American city . prices for these flights often get lower the nearer to your dates except in summer ..i.e June till September )

IMPORTANT UPDATE: British Aiwrays have announced they will start a direct daily flight from Heathrow from October 2009

should you consider flying indirect there are many choices available , and far too many to cover here, but please be sure you know what you are letting yourself in for . flying times direct are 10 hours plus . you can probably add a few hours on top of that flying indirect .

Getting a good fare is not straightforward . Factors that can see you getting that good fare are
be prepared to travel mid week not at the weekends like everyone else.
look into you flight upto 11 months before you fly if you can.
Time of year
most Brits like to take holidays June till September .
asking advice to regular posters on this site .
Airline Sales and Offers
airlines know when people start thinking about booking trips , keeping very regular tabs on the airlines websites for sales and fare reductions is a good idea. also some airlines offer reduced fares for frequent flyer's and members of there flying clubs.MSE members have found good fares by booking before Xmas for the following year , when Xmas is over lots of people start planning their holidays.
great fares can be had if you a prepared to wait till very close to your chosen dates with My travel .

before booking you should check that you qualify for entry to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) . Also from January 2009 you will need to obtain a ESTA ( Electronic System for Travel Authorization ) to board a flight to the USA . you can find info on ESTA here . you can apply for one here

Where to stay

The Strip is where most visitors tend to stay , a few casinos worth staying at are slightly off strip and usually have a free shuttle bus to and from the strip.the other main area is called Downtown, where the standard of accommodation is lower ( and cheaper ) than most of the strip.

if your a first time visitor you really should try to stay on the strip if your budget allows . you can then check out the other areas to see if you would consider them on a return visit.

A common posted question on the old Las Vegas thread was "where is nice but reasonably priced ". It is a hard question to answer. none of the main strip hotels are likely to make it on to a " Hotels from Hell" show on ITV, but you do get what you pay for. a good starting place is to look at the following link

anything with a Four star rating is unlikely to displease the Vast majority of people . but a fair few people will probably be happy with something in the Three star bracket and consider the hotel to be nice.

A word of warning about using Tripadvisor to pick your hotel. there are nearly 300 hotels reviewed on the site meaning good hotels can end up way down the list in the 30's 40's and below . Also the site lists hotels that are in the Las Vegas area , but no where near the strip. South point for example is listed as 8th best reviewed hotel , and is on Las Vegas Boulevard but it is about a 15 min car ride to the heart of strip and is not walkable in any circumstances .

The Hotels on the strip to be most wary about are unsurprisingly the cheapest. They are Circus Circus , The Stratosphere , The Rivera , Sahara , The IP , Excalibur ,Hooters and The Tropicanna . post for some advice before booking

There is no set price for the majority of hotel rooms . it's a myth that rooms are given away for next to nothing. rooms are priced on a supply and demand basis . if the hotel is selling rooms at a high price why discount? but if they are not then there is no money to be made from empty rooms.

prices for your hotel room can vary day to day , let alone week to week. Normal Friday and Saturday night prices are always more expensive than normal weekday prices ( upto 3 times as expensive is not unusual) . other things that can have a big impact on the price you pay to stay at your preferred location are.

Big sporting events
Super bowl weekend in January for example or the Rodeo finals at the start of December, March Madness basketball which starts on the 20th in 2008.. also Big Boxing matches

Large Conventions
Events like the The Consumer electronics show , can have 150,000 attending . here is a calendar to try to avoid large convention dates

USA public holidays
19 Jan Martin Luther King Day.
16 Feb Presidents' Day.
25 May Memorial Day.
4 Jul Independence Day.
7 Sep Labor Day.
12 Oct Columbus Day.
11 Nov Veterans' Day.
26 Nov Thanksgiving Day

also special events like Halloween etc can push prices up.

Popular times
a lot of this has to do with the weather . July and August are often disliked because of the intense heat. January and December are also quite months ( pools often close down in October till March ) . That said Las Vegas is a year round destination. Many consider the best months to visit as April, May , Sept , and October . Prices for UK flights in traditional UK holiday months of June to Early Sept always seem to much more expensive than April or May ( excluding bank holidays and Easter of course) , yet April and May are better times to visit . By not going in the Traditional UK holiday season , you could save a considerable amount of money on your flight, meaning more money to spend on your hotel.

finding a good deal on a room usually only requires a small amount of searching. Booking through the Hotels direct has BIG advantages . first you are cutting out the middleman . second all of the hotels operate the same booking policy, that you only need to pay your first nights rate as a deposit and the deposit is 100% refundable if you cancel upto 72 hours before you stay. this is generally the rule with all hotel offers but there are exceptions . Some Luxor offers and other MGM group owned casinos ,offers have recently have been NO REFUND offers and The Rivera charges a small cancellation fee at the time of writing. be sure to check all terms and Conditions before you book to be sure .Offers can become available any time , but generally start appearing 12 weeks before your dates

There are several websites that list offers and discounts for hotels. remember these sites simply list the deals that Casinos release so there is no need for a flashy website.Unless stated the offers usually take you to a direct booking with the Casino
The first link you should check/bookmark is the Fatwallet Las Vegas deals thread .

Other sites to check out are

Also some hotels now have Facebook pages , that sometimes have deals on . see post 4

please be careful about posting on these boards though as some are for the posting of deals only , not for questions on deals etc.

some deals say they require you to be a member of the Players club to book. usually if you can book it without a players club ID, then they won't generally ask for it at check in.
FAQ number 4 on the Fatwallet page ( covers this subject well. but the important thing is NOT to bombard the hotel with phone calls and e mails about honoring the booking without a players club card. otherwise they might pull the offer ect ( or tip them off to very thing you are concerned about) . people on this thread have done these type of bookings without being signed up members .. no problem .you can of course join the club before checking in if you want . personally i would not worry , but don't be tempted to call the hotel if you book it and you are worried

when you have found and booked a hotel , it's a good idea to keep checking the new offers as they come in on the Fatwallet Thread as you might find a better deal for the same dates . If the better offer is for the same hotel , you can probably get the hotel to match the better price under your existing booking by calling them up ( don't forget to use the MSE International call checker !!) . Really good offers may not hang around if there is a lot of interest , so get in early if you see a new one thats a great deal .

Moving hotels is also a good idea if you find great deals for different blocks of nights , and is not as much hassle as you might think.

Some people ask if it is better to find a hotel when you arrive , this is most defiantly not a good idea. besides the fact that you need to have your 1st nights stay booked up , to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) , simply showing up at a casino without a booking will almost certainly mean you being charged "Rack Rate " for a room , which is pretty much the most you can end up paying.


McCarren Airport is right next to the strip . Shuttle Buses operate to all the main casinos . A Taxi is by far the most popular way to get to your hotel though. you can find a good estimate of the fare to your Hotel here
if your hiring a car you will find directions clearly posted at the airport.
If you really want to arrive in style why not rent a Limo from the airport , they cost around $50 a hour. If you share with someone off your flight it may work out as much as a Taxi

Check in
you can check in from the airport at some Casinos.
when you check in the clerk will will assign you a room . some rooms of the same class are more desirable than others. Strip Views are always more sought after , as are corner rooms or rooms overlooking a casino attraction ( the Bellagio fountains for example) . also try to get a room that is not situated directly next to a should try to do as much research on the rooms within your casino as possible to find out what to ask for
Cash is King is Las Vegas.. the following sites give advice on how to try and obtain a upgrade or a better positioned room by tipping the check in clerk using The $20 Trick.This works more often than not , but you may find it harder to get a upgrade by doing this if you have a long stay, or if the hotel is fully booked .Also don't expect to get a Penthouse suite from a standard room booking , you will probably only get one or two steps up the luxury ladder
note: The MGM Grand is known to be a difficult place to use the $20 trick

regardless of if you tip of not , if your not happy with the room , complain and get one you are happy with.

Getting around
If hiring a car you will have the choice of parking it yourself at the hotel( usually free) or using the Valet service ( a tip is usually given for Valet). The strip is very busy at most times traffic wise .Hiring a car gives you the freedom to explore the many great places to visit around Las Vegas , Like Lake Mead and The Hoover Dam for example , while being able to hop around the strip easily and cheaply

Taxis are good option for speed and convenience , but cost more than the other methods of getting around the strip. also you cannot flag them down either , you have to get them called for you from the Casino or designated pick up areas . fare guide here

The Deuce is the local 24 hour bus service and is pretty reasonable.

$7 is all it costs for a 24 hour pass up and down the strip. be warned though the buses fill up at popular mid strip locations and make it hard to get on at busy times.

The Monorail runs from MGM Grand to The Sahara .

full list of prices can be found here while it is certainly fast, clean and comfortable ,the downside is that you have to walk through which ever casino you get off at. Casinos are designed to be difficult places to escape , so it can be a trek to get back to the strip. if your going less than a mile your probably better off walking.

Strip Trolleys are cheap at $2.50 a ride or $4.50 for a all day pass. however they don't run 24 hours , are not the most comfy ride , and tend to drop you at the back and sides of casinos

There are also 2 free to ride Monorails . One connects The Mirage with Treasure Island. The Other one connects The Excalibur , Luxor and Mandalay Bay. This one has a interesting set up . If you catch it at The Excalibur it does not stop at the Luxor heading south. The Casino owners don't want you skipping Mandalay Bay , so it only stops at the Luxor on the return North journey .

There are hundreds upon hundreds of places to eat in Las Vegas. It would be impossible to scratch the surface in terms of recommendations on this Post. however we have started to put together a list of threads in which we give opinions on popular places to eat ..please see post 4

Las Vegas provides pretty much every price range of food , from practically every type of world cuisine. from headline super pricey Celebrity chefs to cheap pile em high buffets ( and everything in between ) , you will find it in Vegas. so where do you choose to eat ??
Your casino will almost certainly have more than a few places to eat at. But bare in mind the casino has a captive market so in house restaurants are often more expensive than independent/ off site restaurants . a good resource for dining options is a well researched guide book . i recommend "The Unofficial Guide To Las Vegas " it gives great tips on dining. or you can also find info and deals on this site

There are still great deals to be had on food if your prepared to search them out. although some deals come and go , a few have been running for many years and should be around when you visit.

$6.95 steak dinner at Ellis Island
It's long been a table topper in Las Vegas Advisor's top 10 Vegas Values. a 10 oz Steak with salad , beans and choice of Potato . it's isn't actually on the menu though , you have to ask for it.available 24/7 . Ellis Island also does a highly rated BBQ for a mere $8.99. and thats not all, you can get a voucher for 2 for 1 meals @ Ellis island from either of the coupon books listed in the coupon section below.

Shrimp Cocktail 99c at Golden Gate
served from 11am till 2am

Pasta at California Casino
at the Pasta Pirate Restaurant

Breakfast Specials $1.49
served at Wild Wild West , Wildfire , Gold rush and Magic star. 12 am till 11 am

Steak and Eggs $3.29
at Arizona Charlie's Decatur . 24/7

The most famous of dining options in Las Vegas are the Buffets . for a set price you can eat and drink as much as you want from the food selection available . Again you can choose from the Bargain to the expensive. don,t expect to find a small selection of food , Most buffets offer a huge choice of dishes. The Cravings Buffet in the Mirage for Example has many different stations from around the world , where food can also be cooked to order. Nearly all the Strip casinos have a buffet and it is unlikely you are either going to feel short changed or not find something you enjoy at nearly all of them. From the many many reviews i have read ( and of course the ones i have been too ) a few buffets come up time and time again with top marks. they are
Better in my pocket than theirs

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Old 02-07-2009, 3:11 PM
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Planet Hollywood ( previously The Aladdin ) Spice market Buffet.
Bellagio Buffet
Paris Le Village Buffet
Mirage Cravings Buffet
Rio Carnival world Buffet
Wynn Buffet
Dishes @ T.I

You will probably be pleased with the quality of most of the other Buffets on the Strip , however like the above certain Buffets Constantly get Bad reviews . there isn't enough time to get around the one's that get good reviews , let alone wasting time with ones that get regularly moaned about IMO. The buffets that most get moaned about are.
Circus Circus

Drinking and Nightlife
Alcohol is easy to get hold of in Vegas. whats more free Alcohol is given out if you meet 2 simple requirements within a Casino.
Rule 1 you playing any casino game
Rule 2 are not in a state where they cannot serve you

meet these and obtaining a free drink is a simple as saying " one large whiskey please". the definition of playing is simply participating in any gambling at the Casino. Cocktail waitress's make regular rounds asking anyone playing if they would like a drink. as long as your not asking for super expensive bubbly the Casino will happily give you a drink to keep you playing. Free is a little misleading though , the waitress relies on tips , so she is unlikely to be in a rush to ask or serve you again if you don't tip her . $1 a drink is acceptable , but you should tip a bit more if you have a group order or will be using her services regular. . here is a good site that gives information on the subject

given that the minimum age for gambling and drinking are the same ( 21) , ordering drinks from bars etc can be a little more hassle. Most establishments ask for ID of anyone not coming up for their bus pass. so if you plan on ordering any Alcohol , always have some photo ID with you. Your passport will be fine , but a photo driving license is better , as it is easier to carry and not a disaster if you lose it , while tipsy.

you won't be surprises to learn ,that Nigh life in Vegas is very diverse. most Casino will have at least one Nightclub and several bars as well as lounges. off site there are hundreds upon hundreds of bars , nightclubs, Strip clubs etc. if you can think of it , chances are it is here somewhere. Nightclubs are most defiantly not my area of expertise so i only know what others have written . a lot of the more trendy places will have door and dress policy's so you should research ahead if you planing on visiting a particular club. entrance fees are also quite varied.

if you are planning on a lot of club hoping a good investment is supposed to be the front of line passes offered by not all clubs are included but , one of these could save you hours of queuing.


On any given night in Las Vegas you will have at least a dozen top quality shows to choose from , not to mention many other less well known or high profile shows all around town. The bad news is they are not as cheap as they once were. The Good news is that you will probably pay less than most other places and the hike in ticket prices has produced a big jump in the quality of shows.

If your very keen to see a certain show and want best available seats then you can book ahead from either the Shows/Casinos own website or Through a agent like Ticketmaster. you pick the tickets up from the Theater Box office on the day. be warned though you pay a premium for this . Ticketmaster prices need to have Tax and fees added before you have your total.
If you are prepared to wait until you get there big savings can be made.

there are Half price ticket outlets on the strip called Tix4tonite . ( which offer tickets for the same night upto half price. there was a rival company but it stopped trading in summer 2008.

after making a purchase , you get your voucher at shows that have assigned seating , you can proceed directly to the shows Box office to get your tickets and seats booked.
your likely to find more choice of shows on weekdays rather then weekends , and some shows never seem to appear at these outlets. also popular shows will sell out , so you may need to get there and queue before opening time to secure the tickets you want. the staff at these place are quite helpful and should be able to tell you if a certain show will require you get there early to buy tickets the next day.
there are 2 lines at the Tix4tonight booths . one regular and one VIP. You can get a VIP Pass by bringing previously purchased ticket stubs with you . VIP customers are served before Regular customers .

also check out these links to see if they have any good offers on
You can find reviews of all shows and Vegas Attractions here

Top value shows

Mac King Comedy Magic show @ Harrahs : from $10

This is a great show that is better than a lot of shows many times the price. The emphasis is defiantly more on Comedy than Magic , and is suitable for everyone. you can often get free tickets for signing up for Harrahs group ( soon to be renamed Caesars group) casinos or vouchers are often handed out if you purchase other items in Harrahs. the catch is you pay $10 for a drink Voucher , but even so, it is considered one of the best value shows on the strip. it does not play ( in Vegas it is called Dark) Sundays and Mondays

Bobby Slayton Stand up Comedian @ Hooters : Free with Casino sign up

Adults only this time , but a free show is pretty good in anyones book. i have not seen it but the general reviews of the show are good. simply sign up for Hooters Players club and each sign up gets a free show ticket. this show is Dark Mondays and

Worlds Greatest Magic show @ Greek Isles: Free - $19.95

Okay first be warned , The Greek Isles is not a that a classy a place. It's a perfectly safe and Friendly place ,but it is showing it's age a bit. but for Free Tickets to a Magic show it's probably worth the visit. To get free tickets all you need to do is be one of the first people to ring and reserve the first 100 tickets of the day ( you are limted to 4 seats per booking ) . Okay there is a $2 ticket printing charge but your still seeing a show that was priced at $56 a ticket in early 2008. The Number for the box office is on the picture above or try this number 1-800-901-9843

please note , these offers are subject to change without notice

there is a lot of money to be saved by taking advantage of coupons. you will often find coupons in your check in welcome pack from your hotel. You can also get coupons for things like buffets and rides , by signing up for a players club card. also Casino often hand out coupons around the casino areas.

however beware not everyone handing out coupons ( even inside the Casinos) is trying to save you some money.Las Vegas has pushy timeshare people , like lots of other places where there are a lot of tourists. If someone is offering free show tickets or trips to the Grand Canyon ...beware they are probably trying to sell you something. The worst place for Timeshare sales people is around the Excalibur in my experience .

It is also a good idea to pick up all free magazines you see. you can often find these in Taxis , Monorail stations , and hotel lobby's. the show deals coupons in these magazines are usually beaten by going to the half price ticket outlets mentioned earlier though.

If you really want to save some serious money it's a good idea to invest in one of the following .

The Las Vegas Advisor Member rewards booklet will pay for itself very quickly just by making use of one or two of best coupons . By joining LVA for a years online membership of $37 you get one book of values. you can have the book delivered for a charge or pick it up free from the LVA offices in Las Vegas . here is a list of what coupons it has in it

The 2 for1 coupon for the excellent Jubilee show at Ballys , you will save you $88 alone !, and this show does not appear at the half price ticket outlets either. you also get Daily deal coupons from the LVA website and more information on Las Vegas than you could ever need , or this thread could ever hope to cover with your membership.

The American Casino guide contains coupons for other city's as well as Las Vegas . There are a fair amount of coupons the same as the LVA Book of values , so you should probably only need one or the other depending on what you want to save on. you can buy the book from Amazon , but just make sure you are buying the current years book , not a expired one.
full list of coupons in 2009 book here

buy it here direct

or from Amazon if your departure date is looming

Also check out these free coupons . there are several that can be printed off and redeemed for coupon booklets at certain shopping malls (see below) .

Like dining and Gambling there is plenty of choice for retail therapy at every budget.

From Cheap and tacky snow globes at Bonanza the worlds biggest souvenir/Gift store to Boutique shopping and Ferrari /Maserati dealership at the Wynn, once again you find it all in the Las Vegas area
The Strip has several big shopping malls .the biggest are The Forum @ Caesars Palace , Miracle Mile @ Planet Hollywood , Grand Canal Shoppe @Venetian and The Fashion show mall
you will also find shopping at Mandalay Bay , Mirage , TI , Bellagio , MGM Grand , as well as most of the the other large strip casinos . you will find a wide range of stores here. some big chains ,other independent.
For Bargain hunters and Money savers there are several outlet malls close to the strip , where you can find large discounts on high street names. they all have similar names they are ,
Las Vegas premium outlet which is just north of the strip
Las Vegas outlet center which is south of Mandalay Bay
Las Vegas fashion outlet which despite it's address is a good 30-40 Min's drive south of the strip in Primm . you can ride one of the world's longest roller coaster's at Primm
to be honest on my last visit to the latter two i found pretty much the same shops in each, so you can probably just visit one . you can catch a bus to the las Vegas fashion outlet from the MGM grand for a small fee, and you will get a discount book for using this service. also don't forget to take advantage of the free coupons linked in the previous section if you plan on going shopping.
Better in my pocket than theirs

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Old 02-07-2009, 3:11 PM
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you will find something unique in most of the Strip hotels to try and lure you in. some are free , others are worthy of visit in their own right.

Top free attractions :
The Bellagio Fountains are easily the best free attraction on the strip. every half hour from 3pm weekdays and 12pm weekends and then every 15 mins after 8pm , you will get to see the fountains perform to various different tracks. it is still one of those shows that can make you stop and watch , even if you have seen them a lot of times. a good place to see them is from the top of Eiffel tower experience @ Paris .

The Sirens of TI ( formally known as the pirate ship battle @ Treasure Island) is a pretty cheesy attraction. It was updated when Treasure Island became the swisher ( and a lot less family friendly ) TI . The old British Navy of the first show always lost anyway , now the cast lose to a bunch of busty females. to get a good view get to viewing area a good 30 mins ( 45 mins on busy weekends ) before the show starts . In Summer the show times are 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm and 11:30pm. In Winter 5:30pm, 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm

The Volcano at The Mirage "erupts" every 15 mins after 6pm ( it is expected to change to once a hour late 2008)

here is a You Tube clip of the new Attraction

The Lion Habitat inside the MGM Grand is always popular . it's Basically just a perspex area slap bang in the Middle of the Casino where the lions hang out from 11am to 10pm.

when there are lion cubs , you can have your photo taken with them , check this site for when available

The Masquerade Show in the sky plays daily at every hour from 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m inside the Rio casino
The Rio is a little ways off the strip so has to offer something a bit special to lure visitors over . it basically involves a lot of brightly lit floats weaving their way around the roof of the Casino , with plenty of Performers and dancers doing their thing on the floor.

It is a high energy performance , that never seems to leave onlookers disappointed.

The Fremont street experience is Downtowns attempt to compete with the strip. it is a huge roof canopy that cover all of Fremont street and at night transforms into a spectacular light and sound show.

It was a joint venture by all the casino's it covers and they all turn off their own lights when it is on. shows are every hour from 8pm till midnight and is a different show in each slot. it generally stops 90% of pedestrians on the street ,.with everyones eyes skyward , you can weave around them if your in a hurry.
Top pay Attractions
Shark Reef @ Mandalay Bay is a huge Aquarium filled with a large variety of sea life ( and more than a few sharks ).

You get Audio wands that will fill you in on each tank ect. It reasonably priced at $15.95 and is open 10am -11pm

The Stratosphere counts as a attraction in it's own right ( especially if you want a stunning high up view of Las Vegas and the surrounding area) . it also has four rides on the top of it .Standing at 1149 feet it is twice the size ( currently) of the next largest building in Nevada. The Observation deck costs $10.95 to enter and the rides $9 a piece ( although there are discounts to be had for buying all at once) . X-SCREAM (below) is the only one i have been on ( my nerves could not have dealt with anymore after being on it ). here is a good you tube video of it

if you want to thrills these rides are certainly where you want to be heading

The tower also has a restaurant inside it.The tower is Open from 10am till 1am (2am weekends) daily .Despite being at the far north end of the strip, it is a popular attraction so you may find a queue to get in
Other Roller coasters on the Strip are The Manhattan Express @New York New York , Speed @ Sahara , and the Canyon Blaster @ Circus Circus. all good rides but the Canyon Blaster is the only ride worth mentioning inside The Adventure-dome @ Circus Circus , unless you have kids in tow .just buy a ticket for the Canyon Blaster and skip the rest of the park. Circus Circus also has free circus performers inside the casino but they don't really warrant a specific visit , but are diverting enough IMO if you happen to be around. (tip: you can often find upto half price discounts on the above coasters in the many of the free magazines)

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden @ The Mirage is my Favorite attraction. here you find the worlds largest collection of white Lions and Tigers , as well as a Dolphin Habitat .

Seigfried & Roy were The Mirage's headliners until Roy was severely injured onstage by one of the White Tigers. it is Unknown if they will ever perform again , but the Big Cats you can see here are their's and are magnificent creatures to see up close.

The Dolphins perform Tricks and interact with the keepers . you can also view the Dolphins from underwater observation room. open 10am to 7pm Daily priced $15

The Eiffel Tower experience provides great views of the strip . The not to scale replica sits half in and out of the Paris Casino. it too has a restaurant inside it .

The Tower can only hold a limited number of people so you have to wait for others to come down before being allowed up. A good way to Bypass the queues is apparently to eat at the tower restaurant and then visit the tower while up there .open 9.30 am till 12.30am daily for a pretty reasonable $10 entry .

The Grand Canyon

last but by no means least you can see one of the greatest sights on the planet while in Las Vegas , The Grand Canyon.

There are many different ways to get to the Grand Canyon, as well as being different parts of the Grand Canyon that can be traveled too.

Travel Options include:
  • Car (self-drive)
  • Bus Trip
  • Helicopter
  • Plane
The main locations of the Grand Canyon that are visited from Vegas are:

The West Rim (Link to Directions / Approx. Driving Time)
The South Rim (Link to Directions / Approx. Driving Time)

Although the West Rim is a much shorter distance, it is often cited as not being the ‘Real’ Canyon due to it being nowhere near as ‘impressive’ as the South Rim… (although to some, “a hole in the ground” is “a hole in the ground”!)

West Rim v. South Rim



The West Rim is ‘private’ and therefore it is very much like a ‘theme park’ with rules such as “you aren’t allowed to bring your own food and drink”. This can bring the price of visiting the West Rim up a bit. They do have the SkyWalk however which recently opened and you have probably seen on the news:

HOWEVER, it is reported you can not take shoes, bags or cameras onto the SkyWalk, and there is a further charge to actually go on it. Again, like a Theme Park, it seems you pay to get in, pay to eat and drink their foods and also pay to go on some of the good stuff!

I believe they will also take your photo on the Skywalk and let you buy it…

More information on the West Rim can be found here:

If you are short on time, the West Rim is the easier and quicker (although not necessarily cheaper) option.

One thing to note is that if you plan to drive to the West Rim, due to it being a private road for part of the journey (21 miles, 14 of which are unpaved), most car insurance policies for hire cars will not cover you for this part of the journey and in turn your insurance will be deemed void.

Parts of the South Rim are up to 10miles wide and is on average 1mile deep. The journey from Vegas to the South Rim is a lot further than to the West Rim but if feels you are entering a different world. Over 6000 feet high, the weather is not like the same weather you will experience whilst you are in Las Vegas and from October to March, snow is not uncommon and at it’s worst can sometimes make access to the park very awkward / impossible, whilst in Summer, it can get hotter than Vegas.

The Grand Canyon South Rim is a national state park, meaning it will cost you $25 to drive in.

More information on the South Rim can be found here:

Both rims have accommodation, however I only have experience of Bright Angel Lodge at the South Rim (run by Xanterra). Note the website sometimes lists there is no availability if they are running low on rooms, so you must phone (except it doesn’t tell you this so just ring and check your dates if that’s easier). We stayed in a ‘partial rim-view’ room and have to say it was a fantastic, blocked partially by a tree. Something we will never forget… On-site restaurants don’t get rave reviews be any means although we had no problems.

By far the most popular method is a Helicopter trip. There are several operators out of McCarren airport.

It is not a cheap trip by any means (budget on least 200 per person for a standard flight).

All flights that land in the Grand Canyon will take you to the West Rim – but this is not a bad thing as it is still an experience in itself (and unlike driving, there will be no extra charges!)

You can sometimes find discounts and coupons for the above operators in the free magazines you can pick up around the strip. all of the above will pick you up from your hotel .
you will also probably get to see the Hoover dam if you choose a helicopter tour

You can also find many trips costing a lot less by choosing to fly from airports closer to the Canyon. Some of the Vegas trips will actually depart from BoulderCity (usually offering a free shuttle bus to get there first).

The links to ‘more information’ on each rim (above) detail instructions on ‘how to get there’. If you are going to drive in America, then both the South or West rims are probably some of the simplest journeys you can make. Long straight roads, with not much traffic apart from driving through Vegas city itself.

TBC (please PM any advice to Trets77)

TBC (please PM any advice to Trets77)

Car Hire + Driving in America
The following companies have both been tried and tested by MSE’ers without any complaints so far

Both will not allow you to drive to the West Rim as they utilise Dollar Rent-a-Car who forbid you from private road use, however other than that (at the time of writing), they cover you as standard for all additional insurances that exist for American car drivers! (LDW etc).

Note, CarHire3000 offer a pricematch policy.

Both also allow you to upgrade your hire package to include GPS if necessary.

Remember. Amongst other 'driving differences', in Nevada you are allowed to turn right on a red light (however crossing pedestrians are given priority), and at none traffic-lighted 'stop' junctions, you give priority to cars that were 'stopped and waiting' there before you

Getting married
Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world , hosting over 120,000 weddings each year( you can count mine in with the 2006 numbers ) .

hell the Little white wedding chapel was good enough for Britney and erm what's his name then it was good enough for us. you won't be surprised to learn that you can have your pick of type of wedding. big or small, cheap or lavish, formal or novelty the choice is yours.

there ain't nothing to tying the knot in Vegas , all you need is wedding certificate from Clark county wedding office and be eligible ( . you can than hop down to any local chapel ect and be married there and then.Of course you can find many company's in Vegas who help you organize everything , no matter what size wedding you want.

Did you think I'd forgotten this subject ? one thing is for sure you will not forget how much gambling there is in Las Vegas when you go.At the start of the guide i said gambling wasn't the only thing to Las Vegas , but it is the thing that makes Las Vegas what it is.

In the film "Casino" Robert de Niro's Character gives a Little speech

"what do you think we're doing out
here in the middle of the desert?
It's all this money. This is the end
result of all the bright lights and
the comped trips, of all the champagne
and free hotel suites, and all the
broads and all the booze. It's all
been arranged just for us to get
your money. That's the truth about
Las Vegas"

When the Mirage Casino opened back in 1989 , it was known the only way it could stay open and meet it's running costs was to clear $1 million a day !

Nearly 20 years on and the newest Casino on the block The Wynn needs to make in the region of $15 million to keep it's doors open i was told. i bet it doesn't sell 10 of those Ferrari's a day .Gambling profit is what feeds Vegas.

"The only sure way to make a profit in a casino is too own it " Steve Wynn

So Can you make a profit by playing in Las Vegas ? In the short term ..yes . In the long term

You can find endless sources of information on Gambling ,( Las Vegas or otherwise ) on the net or in books ect. but one indisputable fact is that all games played against the casino have a house advantage built in. for some games it could be as little as 1% for others well into double figures. This advantage can be overcome in the short term , but eventually it will win out . it is a Mathematical certainty.

allow me to quote Robert De Niro again .

"In the casino, the cardinal rule is
to keep them playing...
..and keep them coming back. The
longer they play, the more they lose.
In the end, we get it all."

let's not get to downbeat though. Playing can be fun ...lots of fun . some people see their loses as the price of enjoying themselves . if you can do the same armed with the facts of the game , then you can go ahead and enjoy yourself too. just never think you could be the one who can beat the casino in the end . you won't .

if you want to try and walk away a winner , your best strategy is to see you play as a excursion into enemy territory . The longer you are behind enemy lines , the more of your cash is going to picked off by the superior force that is the Casino and it's house advantage. but a smash and grab raid might see you walk away the victor.

A few years ago a Guy named Ashley Revell sold everything he owned and put all the cash on one spin of the roulette wheel. while not suggesting you do the same ( he won by the way) he knew that this was the best possible chance of doubling his money by playing a casino game . you can read the story here

The thing he had most trouble with in doing this was finding a Casino to take his bet. they would have been quite happy for him to gamble his 75,000 a little bit at a time ( as their house advantage would see them end up the winners eventually) , but to bet it all in one go , they said no. doing the same will not get you too much enjoyment, but you should try to limit the number of bets you make , if you have aspirations of coming out ahead.If you do plan on doing any Gambling in Las vegas here are some good tips.
1. Have a budget and stick to it . set aside a amount of money you are prepared to lose and once it has gone's gone . do not gamble even more money trying to get it back.
2. If you are lucky enough to find you self with a big win or up a reasonable amount, ..know when to walk away, if you want to keep it .
3.Don't play tipsy. those free drinks mentioned earlier are there to loosen you up , make poor decisions and gamble recklessly .
4. Join the Players club. Every casino has one, and you usually get freebies just for signing up. whats more it puts you on the Casino's mailing list for future offers, and will give you comps if you gamble enough.

Comps are what the casino rewards or gives you back. there is a old poker saying " you can shear a sheep many times but skin him only once". If the casino just took your money , you would be unlikely to come back. by offering incentives like free shows, meals ect, it keeps you returning , enabling it take more of your money.

just about the only game where the casino has no advantage is the game where it does not play against most of the Main strip casinos have a poker room , where you can play for cash or enter tournaments . the casino does not offer this service for free , but rather charges rent in the form of rakes and fees. for anything related to poker in Las vegas see this site.

hope something within this guide has proved helpful to you ( Your attention is directed to the "thankyou" tab at the bottom lol ) . Please post any questions you want answering , the people who regularly post here will be happy to try and assist.

and remember ..........."What happens in Vegas .....stays in Vegas "
have fun

please contact me if any info on this guide is incorrect or has become out of date.

please don't use the reply or quote link in posts# 1,2,3 as it reposts the entire text within your reply . thank you

thanks to the following MSE members for contributing to this guide ...nvh,ferf1223,sheel,rachmear,photome ,Stoneman , Froggit,

this thread is expected to be long as it also acts as social forum for discussion on Las Vegas , I know it can be hard to find the answer your looking for among so many posts ,so please don't be afraid to post and ask a question , and i can point to you to where the answer may be in the thread , or myself and others can offer our advice .

thanks to all the MSE members who have helped on this guide.
Better in my pocket than theirs

Last edited by trets77; 31-12-2009 at 6:40 PM.
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# 4
Old 02-07-2009, 3:12 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: uk
Posts: 2,861

Useful links and info

Restaurant reviews from MSE members of Favorite places to eat ...( more to be added soon)

The Cheesecake Factory

Mon Ami Gabi

Grand Lux Cafe

Spice Market Buffet

The Peppermill

Facebook hotel pages

Helpful map with loads of info ( many thanks to Froggitt)

Forums public Flickr photo album
...Please feel free to join and add your own trip photos

List of Free Wi-Fi spots

The money and miles method of booking virgin flights as described in previous Las Vegas thread . you need to sign up for the virgin flyer club first and it now also requires you have account activity before purchasing.

Once you have joined you can buy miles, which gives you money off flights, e.g Buy 2000 miles per person for 15 per 1000 plus 15 admin fee. so if you need 4000 miles for two people you can buy them for 4 x 15 plus 15 admin fee total 75. You are limited to buying 19000 miles per year. You can then save just over 200 per person.

However, if you apply for a Virgin Atlantic card you can get 3000 miles just for a first spend on it. The only snag there is that it takes a while for the miles to be credited, and if you want to book the flight soon that could be a problem. The credit card takes around a week to arrive, and you earn 1 mile for each spent on it, so you could build up miles that way.

Unfortunatly this method no longer seems to produce savings of much worth . but it might still be worth a go

link to 2008 thread
number of posts
number of hits when closed

results of the last poll

What is your Favorite time of Year to visit Las Vegas

November/December 24.62% (combined)
September 21.54%
April 17.69%
October 16.92%
August 8.46%
July + March 5.38% (each)
January/February 4.62% (combined)
June 3.08%

Link to 2007 thread

number of posts


number of hits when closed


Other useful links


Carhire 3000 .... they will often price match any better quote and include all car insurances in with the price . so probably worth searching with travelsupermarket before going to them .

.................................................. .................................................. ..........................................

MGM properties players club sign up

.................................................. .................................................. ...........................................

Check conventions

.................................................. .................................................. .........................................

Interactive Vegas map

.................................................. .................................................. .......................................

Vegas weather

.................................................. .................................................. ........................................

Las Vegas really need a car to get there

.................................................. .................................................. ............
Cheapo Vegas

LCI Players club info

List of main Players Clubs on or within walking distance to the strip:

Total Rewards
Ballys, Caesars, Flamingo, Harrah's, Imperial Palace, Paris, Rio

Players Club
Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, NYNY, Treasure Island

Red Card
Wynn, Encore

Club Grazie
Venetian, Palazzo

Planet Hollywood

Players Card
Casino Royale

Passport Players Club
Ellis Island

List of Players Clubs off-strip (vehicle required):

Boarding Pass
Boulder Station, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Red Rock, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station, Texas Station, Aliante Station

American Can Club
Cannery, Eastside Cannery

Club Coast
Gold Coast, Orleans, Suncoast, Sam’s Town

The Club
South Point

Imagine Rewards
M Resort

One Card

Club Uno
Monte Lago Casino

You can sign up for these clubs at the casino, you just need to have some photo ID – I used my UK photo driving licence which was accepted everywhere. Some also allow you to sign up online (in advance) but I don’t believe you qualify for some of the ‘freebies’ on offer. Also, where there are multiple casinos in one club, you can only sign up once so you should check which one offers the best deal for you. I found a list of sign-up offers on the following website, although they do seem to change quite often:

Now, people ask, is it worth signing up ? Well, it’s free for a start. What I did was try to join early in the morning, either before or after breakfast, as there were not really any queues. It only takes about 2 mins and once you have joined not only should you get some sort of freebie (slot play, vouchers etc), but as long as you put your card in the slot machines as you play them, you will start to build up points which may help you qualify for reduced rate or even ‘comped’ rooms in the future. It’s impossible for me to say how much you would need to spend but some people on here have received ‘comped’ rooms for relatively small amounts of slot play.

Trip reports














.................................................. ................................................
Better in my pocket than theirs

Last edited by trets77; 20-12-2009 at 5:59 PM.
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# 5
Old 02-07-2009, 3:18 PM
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Location: uk
Posts: 2,861

FYI the thread has been split into 2 due to techie problems caused by threads over 5000 posts . everything the same as before otherwise .

Please Bookmark this page as the Las Vegas thread

link to part 1 of 2009 thread
Better in my pocket than theirs

Last edited by trets77; 02-07-2009 at 4:57 PM.
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# 6
Old 02-07-2009, 4:17 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 358

Looking foor Trets77, well done,

Multiple choice on the poll!

so what is the target for posts/views for this year!

Also very easy to see who is going, just click on the number of people going on the respective months

Last edited by Trust; 02-07-2009 at 4:19 PM. Reason: change
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# 7
Old 02-07-2009, 6:31 PM
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Posts: 1,382

could do with a 'Not planning to go this year / already been' option for the poll

think i'm all spent up for this year unless I can get some more of those cheapo 200pp flights again

... in fact, not even sure i'll get to go next year at the moment
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# 8
Old 02-07-2009, 7:31 PM
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dunno if its been posted but in half an hour (20.00 uk time ) on ch5 there is a program about a demolition company taking down an old vegas casino

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# 9
Old 02-07-2009, 7:36 PM
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Originally Posted by WestHamDaz View Post
dunno if its been posted but in half an hour (20.00 uk time ) on ch5 there is a program about a demolition company taking down an old vegas casino
Cool - thanks! Have set it to record.
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# 10
Old 02-07-2009, 7:50 PM
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I do hope this is the one I have already seen. Wont finish work until 9.30.
Does anyone know which hotel this is?
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# 11
Old 02-07-2009, 7:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gewens View Post
I do hope this is the one I have already seen. Wont finish work until 9.30.
Does anyone know which hotel this is?
according to the epg its a new series

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Old 02-07-2009, 7:57 PM
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Originally Posted by WestHamDaz View Post
according to the epg its a new series
I do hope it is repeated again soon then.
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# 13
Old 02-07-2009, 8:01 PM
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Its about the frontier...
Down with the signature fascists!!
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# 14
Old 02-07-2009, 8:07 PM
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just had an email from regarding a BA sale...London to Vegas from 379 for flights from 25.10.09 to 23.06.10
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# 15
Old 02-07-2009, 8:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gewens View Post
I do hope it is repeated again soon then.
just checked and it's not on again in the next couple of weeks (so says my Tivo EPG!)

Just added a couple more videos to the MSE Flickr Group:

One of the Kahunaville Paradise Sampler (TI), and one of the 'old' volcano at the Mirage

will try to get some pics of our rooms up soon, tho we tend to video them!
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Old 02-07-2009, 8:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ferf1223 View Post
just had an email from regarding a BA sale...London to Vegas from 379 for flights from 25.10.09 to 23.06.10
Just checked my dates (13th - 27th November) and it comes out at 403. Paid 428 last week with the Virgin sale. Although their is a 25 saving, I still would have gone with Virgin as Gatwick is closer to me.
But I have got to say, it will be nice to have a bit of compertition on that route for direct flights.
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# 17
Old 02-07-2009, 8:26 PM
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I'm booked!
16th Aug for 11 nights. Booked with Expedia for the first time, flying US airways from Birmingham via Phil. staying at the South Point, cost 700 each. That was 89 cheaper than booking flights/hotel myself at the time of booking.Using APH parking 42 got a 7 discount using aph/offers Always enjoyed paying the South Coast a visit on previous trips and intend to hire a car, Dodge Charger from Thrifty costing 275 using netflights. I have a B'day on the 17th it the big one Hawaii comes to mind:confused: where did the time go? me somewhere in Vegas on the 17th. All the savings I got are from using info on this site TYVM.
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# 18
Old 02-07-2009, 8:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ferf1223 View Post
just had an email from regarding a BA sale...London to Vegas from 379 for flights from 25.10.09 to 23.06.10
Theres also a Virgin seat sale coming up... with Vegas from 334
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Old 02-07-2009, 8:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nvh View Post
could do with a 'Not planning to go this year / already been' option for the poll
I agree!
Is it possible to add an option once the poll has started?
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# 20
Old 02-07-2009, 8:42 PM
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Originally Posted by doodle_bug View Post
I'm booked!
16th Aug for 11 nights. Booked with Expedia for the first time, flying US airways from Birmingham via Phil. staying at the South Point, cost 700 each. That was 89 cheaper than booking flights/hotel myself at the time of booking.Using APH parking 42 got a 7 discount using aph/offers Always enjoyed paying the South Coast a visit on previous trips and intend to hire a car, Dodge Charger from Thrifty costing 275 using netflights. I have a B'day on the 17th it the big one Hawaii comes to mind:confused: where did the time go? me somewhere in Vegas on the 17th. All the savings I got are from using info on this site TYVM.

Better in my pocket than theirs
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