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Results: What is your favorite Las Vegas attraction

The Secret Garden

5.71% • 12 votes

The Bellagio Fountains

70.95% • 149 votes

The Sirens of TI

1.90% • 4 votes

The Lion Habitat

6.67% • 14 votes

The Fremont street experience

10.00% • 21 votes

Shark Reef

0.48% • 1 votes

The Stratosphere

6.67% • 14 votes

The Volcano @ Mirage

3.81% • 8 votes

The Eiffel tower

0.95% • 2 votes

Rio Masquerade show in the sky

1.43% • 3 votes

You may not vote on this poll

210 votes in total.

    • trets77
    • By trets77 31st Dec 08, 11:48 AM
    • 2,864Posts
    • 2,686Thanks
    0 WOW
    Las Vegas thread and MSE guide 2009
    • #1
    • 31st Dec 08, 11:48 AM
    0 WOW
    Las Vegas thread and MSE guide 2009 31st Dec 08 at 11:48 AM

    .. 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 , and only one of those operates flights everyday and BMI will terminate their direct flights Easter 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 !!!

    That said going direct has big appeal , and when BMI stop their direct service , Virgin will be the only ones offering direct flights with decent baggage allowance .

    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 . there is very handy round up of all casinos current offers on the 1st page as well, make sure you check here for deals , before going into the most recent posts

    Other sites to check out are 3e&topic=57.90

    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 .

    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
    Last edited by trets77; 02-07-2009 at 3:14 PM.
Page 230
  • DaveyGee
    Lol - that was some worng turn Cottonwood Cove is about 100miles south of Valley of fire!
    Originally posted by wdyw
    Haha, thats like taking a wrong turn in Scotland and ending up in England!
    • ferf1223
    • By ferf1223 19th May 09, 10:41 PM
    • 8,919 Posts
    • 7,642 Thanks
    Valley of fire or red rock canyon? Was thinking of hiring a car and heading out to either 1 of these places, has anyone done this and what 1 do they recommend?

    Originally posted by DaveyGee
    I'd recommend Valley of Fire - it's more picturesque...yeah, it's further away...but it really is much more stunning to look at. A friend of ours (Gary) has said before that Red Rock is better if you want to go out hiking, Valley of Fire is better for driving around and taking pictures...having been to both, I would agree.
    • CAE
    • By CAE 19th May 09, 10:42 PM
    • 633 Posts
    • 389 Thanks
    The MSE Las Vegas Flicker Group is a great idea.

    There are now 11 members and 44 photos up on the site.

    And some of them are mine!!

    Hope you like them.

    I am haunting this thread at the moment as we go back at the beginning of November. Love reading those trip reports. Keep em coming!

    • Triker
    • By Triker 19th May 09, 10:45 PM
    • 7,072 Posts
    • 82,161 Thanks
    12 members now
    DFW Nerd 267. DEBT FREE 11.06.08
    Stick to It by R.B. Stanfield
    It matters not if you try and fail,
    And fail, and try again; But it matters much if you try and fail, And fail to try again.
    • Stew68
    • By Stew68 19th May 09, 10:54 PM
    • 797 Posts
    • 1,584 Thanks
    Well, I don't feel so lonely now, thanks for joining the flickr group everybody. I bet there aren't that many threads on the MSE forums that have this!!

    I'll try and post some more photos tomorrow, it'll be good if we can get some more up of the different rooms we've stayed in for reference.

    But we better keep posting some on this thread to give it some colour!!

    • nvh
    • By nvh 19th May 09, 11:19 PM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,934 Thanks
    wicked - nice one Stew... have joined and dumped a few piccies up there and a couple of videos...
    will put a couple more videos' up "next month" as you're only allowed 2 a month
    • ferf1223
    • By ferf1223 19th May 09, 11:59 PM
    • 8,919 Posts
    • 7,642 Thanks
    wicked - nice one Stew... have joined and dumped a few piccies up there and a couple of videos...
    will put a couple more videos' up "next month" as you're only allowed 2 a month
    Originally posted by nvh
    You do not know how many times I thought I should ask Trets who took the nighttime strip photo in the guide - I LOVE that picture and meant to mention it when you referenced it in your TR. So cool.
  • skippa59
    Hi everybody,
    i`m a long time lurker on this board, since before we went to Vegas in 07 for our 25th wedding anniversary. That time we did NY, Vegas and SF and thanks to all the info on this thread amongst others we had a fantastic time. Back again to Vegas this Aug/Sept.Starting with 5 nights @ MGM then flying to Hawaii for 5 nights, then on to LA for 4 before finishing off at The hotel @ MB for 5 more nights, special 50th birthday holiday. After reading funkyfins TR and seeing his photos of Yosemite wish I had arranged to Fly back to SF from Hawaii as I would have drove back to Vegas the Yosemite way. Am I right in thinking that it is too far to drive LA to Vegas via Yosemite in a couple of days?
    Also think the flickr group is a great idea, would it be ok if I post a few photo`s.
    Hi guys, got back last night via LA and Paris before eventually touching down in Heathrow. Wasn't too bad actually, slept most of LA to Paris flight and the other two were less than 1 hour each anyway.

    After going to bed at midnight, woke at 4am this morning and been catching up on e-mail since.

    Will post a trip report with as much as I can remember as soon as I get time.

    • funkyfin2000
    • By funkyfin2000 20th May 09, 7:46 AM
    • 587 Posts
    • 237 Thanks
    Welcome back Morph3us!!!! Looking forard to TR!!!

    Skippa = thanks, Yosemite is amazing and you should go!!!!

    LA to Yosemite to Vegas will be a long way yeah but its doable!!!!! Up via Fresno and Bakersfield from LA, get to Yosemite and then out of Yosemite via the Tioga Pass and back down to Vegas via Death Valley but it would be a long trip!!! Up to you mate

    • luci
    • By luci 20th May 09, 8:28 AM
    • 5,893 Posts
    • 4,647 Thanks
    Do you have to be a member of Flickr to view the photos? If not, can someone tell me how to as I can't see a link on the Flickr website.

    I can see photos on a friend's Flickr account without signing in when she posts links to them so can't understand why I can't see the MSE photos.

    ** Edit - I'm wondering if the answer is here
    Last edited by luci; 20-05-2009 at 8:30 AM.
    • nvh
    • By nvh 20th May 09, 8:48 AM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,934 Thanks
    luci, i'd recommend you sign up to be honest i thought it might be a bit of a pain but you don't really have to put much information in at all... to be honest, the main information you do put in is in setting up a Yahoo account

    my understanding with the MSE Group is that you have to join it to view the pictures, to join it, you must have a Flickr login

    ferf: cheers - i've got an A4 print of that one hanging in the kitchen - i completely fluked that photo i have to say! haha

    re: VoF v. Red Rock, i'd go for VoF too we found it much more interesting there
    Last edited by nvh; 20-05-2009 at 8:51 AM.
    • Stew68
    • By Stew68 20th May 09, 8:49 AM
    • 797 Posts
    • 1,584 Thanks

    I'm not sure why you can't see the photos, all the boxes are ticked to allow non members to see the photos. Maybe you have to be signed up to Flickr to see them?

    I'll have another look at lunchtime.

    • t-elle
    • By t-elle 20th May 09, 10:00 AM
    • 240 Posts
    • 117 Thanks
    Joined the Flickr group, good idea, nice way to see more pics!!!
    • nvh
    • By nvh 20th May 09, 10:03 AM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,934 Thanks
    just a heads up that the poll at the top thread finishes at the end of this month... so it's not too late for 'bellagio fountains' to be caught up hahaha

    shall we have ideas on what the next poll could be (unless Tretts has something lined up? )
    • ferf1223
    • By ferf1223 20th May 09, 10:21 AM
    • 8,919 Posts
    • 7,642 Thanks
    on the Flickr thing - I don't have a Flickr account, but I do have a Yahoo account (from an old email address I stopped using years ago).

    And I can log in just fine with my Yahoo username and password...just in case that helps anyone...if you have a Yahoo account you don't need to reregister for Flickr.
    • Stew68
    • By Stew68 20th May 09, 10:30 AM
    • 797 Posts
    • 1,584 Thanks
    on the Flickr thing - I don't have a Flickr account, but I do have a Yahoo account (from an old email address I stopped using years ago).

    And I can log in just fine with my Yahoo username and password...just in case that helps anyone...if you have a Yahoo account you don't need to reregister for Flickr.
    Originally posted by ferf1223
    I had the same thing with a BTinternet account when I originally set up an account, BTinternet use Yahoo as well so that would work.

    • Stew68
    • By Stew68 20th May 09, 10:31 AM
    • 797 Posts
    • 1,584 Thanks
    just a heads up that the poll at the top thread finishes at the end of this month... so it's not too late for 'bellagio fountains' to be caught up hahaha

    shall we have ideas on what the next poll could be (unless Tretts has something lined up? )
    Originally posted by nvh
    Best cheesecake at the cheesecake factory???
  • Feff36
    First trip to Vegas
    Just wanted to say a big thank you to all you regular posters for all the info and suggestions that I've been reading about on here for a few weeks now. My first trip to Vegas starts next Monday, after four days in San Francisco. I'm not quite so daunted about my first trip, given the wealth of info that's posted on here! I've joined the Flickr group and will post our photos when I can (we're staying in The Venetian, so I'll make sure to get a room photo for the online album). I've really enjoyed all the TRs too and would be happy to add my own if anyone is interested.
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 20th May 09, 11:53 AM
    • 9,072 Posts
    • 15,091 Thanks
    Just wanted to say a big thank you to all you regular posters for all the info and suggestions that I've been reading about on here for a few weeks now. My first trip to Vegas starts next Monday, after four days in San Francisco. I'm not quite so daunted about my first trip, given the wealth of info that's posted on here! I've joined the Flickr group and will post our photos when I can (we're staying in The Venetian, so I'll make sure to get a room photo for the online album). I've really enjoyed all the TRs too and would be happy to add my own if anyone is interested.
    Originally posted by Feff36
    Yes please! Always interested in trip reports!
    Have a great time!
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