PDA

View Full Version : Vegas Virgin - help!!!


Katieinwonderland
05-25-2009, 02:54 PM
DH and I are going to Las Vegas in July for four days/three nights and we need serious planning help! I have never been before, and DH has only been once...for his brothers bachelors weekend...where he stayed at the Hard Rock Resort and spent the day drinking and the night drinking even more. So we're pretty clueless, and we made the mistake of asking all our friends who have been there, and researching on the Internet...I swear, EVERYONE has given us a million opinions on where to stay and what to do and I'm totally overwhelmed!

So I thought I would turn to the wonderful Diser's out there to help me! These are my questions!

1. HOTEL!!! It seems like almost every hotel has both good and bad reviews, so perhaps you guys can help us pick! We've narrowed it down to four: Paris, New York New York, Monte Carlo and Mirage. We picked Paris because my cousin told me it was the most perfect location; New York New York because it seems to be really fun; Monte Carlo because it seems like a good hotel and we got a GREAT price on it; and Mirage, again, for location and a friend stayed there and adored it. Any opinions would be good! We want to be central to everything, we want somewhere fun to get the authentic Vegas experience and we want somewhere safe, obviously, which is clean. We didn't really have a budget as such, but stayed away from Bellagio/Caesars Palace/Wynn etc because it's just a base really, we won't be spending much time there to enjoy real luxury places.

2. HELICOPTER TOURS! We think we'd like to try a helicopter ride from Vegas over the Grand Canyon, but when we looked around, we weren't sure about prices! The places we found cost more than the flights will from Orlando to Vegas!!! We don't necessarily mind that price if that's standard, but did anyone have any great deals, or know of anywhere to stay away from?

3. GAMBLING! We set ourselves a spending limit so we wouldn't gamble away all our money, but we're kind of confused about the casinos. Can you visit the casinos in hotels you're not staying at? And when people say a casino is 'tight', do they mean you don't win very much? Are some more known for this than others? Is there a minimum you have to spend in the casinos? I just want to play something easy like the slots!

4. WHAT TO DO! What else should we do?! We know we want to see the Bellagio fountains, and we know we want to ride the thrill rides at the top of the Stratosphere - we also just want to spend some time walking round, exploring etc. I will be 24, DH will be 25 when we go so we might like to get a meal somewhere nice, find good places to drink etc. if anyone has any recommendations?

TIA for advice, it is much appreciated!

plutolovr
05-25-2009, 04:07 PM
My DH and I go to Vegas at least twice a year, so I'll try to answer some of your questions....

1. HOTEL!!! It seems like almost every hotel has both good and bad reviews, so perhaps you guys can help us pick! We've narrowed it down to four: Paris, New York New York, Monte Carlo and Mirage. We picked Paris because my cousin told me it was the most perfect location; New York New York because it seems to be really fun; Monte Carlo because it seems like a good hotel and we got a GREAT price on it; and Mirage, again, for location and a friend stayed there and adored it. Any opinions would be good! We want to be central to everything, we want somewhere fun to get the authentic Vegas experience and we want somewhere safe, obviously, which is clean. We didn't really have a budget as such, but stayed away from Bellagio/Caesars Palace/Wynn etc because it's just a base really, we won't be spending much time there to enjoy real luxury places.

Out of these hotels I would go with the Mirage. It's in a great location and they just refurbed their rooms. There is one not on your list that is also pretty nice and reasonably priced and in a great location and that's Planet Hollywood. We have stayed at Mirage and NYNY and I liked Mirage better.

2. HELICOPTER TOURS! We think we'd like to try a helicopter ride from Vegas over the Grand Canyon, but when we looked around, we weren't sure about prices! The places we found cost more than the flights will from Orlando to Vegas!!! We don't necessarily mind that price if that's standard, but did anyone have any great deals, or know of anywhere to stay away from?

This one I can't help with, but when I was looking at some of the helicopter tours I noticed they were pretty price, about $500 or more. If you don't want to spend that much you can do something else like go to the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon. We usually try to go somewhere and hike a little and Valley of Fire if really awesome. You can rent a car for the day and most of the strip hotels have car rental counters.

3. GAMBLING! We set ourselves a spending limit so we wouldn't gamble away all our money, but we're kind of confused about the casinos. Can you visit the casinos in hotels you're not staying at? And when people say a casino is 'tight', do they mean you don't win very much? Are some more known for this than others? Is there a minimum you have to spend in the casinos? I just want to play something easy like the slots!

You can gamble at any of the casinos. The strip casinos seem to be "tighter" as you said. We will go Downtown (the old part of town) to gamble there sometimes as their table limits are less and the atmosphere is much more relaxed and fun. This is also where you can see the Freemont Street Experience. Very cool. You will find slot machines at all casinos in all denominations, penny, nickle, dimes, etc.

4. WHAT TO DO! What else should we do?! We know we want to see the Bellagio fountains, and we know we want to ride the thrill rides at the top of the Stratosphere - we also just want to spend some time walking round, exploring etc. I will be 24, DH will be 25 when we go so we might like to get a meal somewhere nice, find good places to drink etc. if anyone has any recommendations?

For a cheap good meal go to In-n-Out Burger. The buffet at Mirage is nice and the one at Bellagio is wonderful. Go shopping at the Forum Shops at Caesars and the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood. Go to a show. Cirque is having some specials. LOVE at the Mirage is great if you like Beatles music and KA at MGM is great too.

Have fun and good luck. I'll be there next weekend.

lisaradz
05-25-2009, 07:42 PM
Hi,

We just returned from Vegas last week. We stayed at Paris. It is a wonderful location. It is directly across the street from the Bellagio so if you get a room facing the strip you can see the dancing waters from your room. I haven't stayed at NY NY. I heard that the rooms are pretty plain. My only complaint about New York is that it is way down at the end of the strip. We stayed at Monte Carlo before, room was comparable to Paris. Monte Carlo was a lot more smokey than Paris. Monte Carlo wins hands down though for their pool. They have a wave pool, lazy river and regular pool. Paris pool is kind of boring. I didn't get to check out NY NY pool. I have never even been in Mirage. I'm a Disney kind of gal so I like the theming.

We don't gamble very much so we spend time by the pool. One of our favorite things this time was to go to Madame Tousand (sp?) Wax Museum at the Venetian. You can take pictures with all the stars. The Entertainment guide has a coupon for it too. I think with the coupon it was $15 per person. The mall at Venetian was cool too. They offer gondola rides in the mall. If you go to the Giant Coke Bottle on the strip (you can't miss it) they sell discount tickets for shows that are showing that night or the next day.

Cirque de Soleil shows are all great. Don't waste your money on Peepshow with Kelly Monoco. It wasn't worth the money. I heard Terry Fator show was great. He is the ventriloquist from America's Got Talent.

My favorite restaurant is Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. If you like people watching, it's a great location to sit outside and just watch.

Not sure if you already purchased your package, but if not I highly recommend using Costco travel. We got two nights at Paris and round trip airfare from SFO for $137 per person. We couldn't NOT go! You will have a blast!

Katieinwonderland
05-25-2009, 08:09 PM
Thank you for your replies! We haven't booked yet, we were waiting for good airfare deals so will definitely check out Costco travel! Thanks for reminding me about the gondola rides at the Venetian, that was something I REALLY wanted to do when I saw pictures, but had totally forgotten! It's now added to my list!

With your comment about New York New York being further away, how easy is it to walk to everything? I mean, the major hotels we want to check out are Bellagio, the Venetian and ones with fun theming like NYNY if we decide not to stay there. DH mentioned renting a car but I couldn't imagine we'd need it...hmmm maybe we will. Then we could do Red Rock Canyon/Valley of Fire (I googled pictures and they looked really pretty!)

I had two more questions to add!!! A friend of mine just emailed me about hotels and said "remember the $20 trick at check in!" What on earth does that mean??!! A tip I guess? Do you just hand it over and ask for an upgrade or something??!! I see that going very wrong for me!

The other question was about getting from the airport - a lot of people have said that when we get a cab, remind them which way to go otherwise you'll get stuck in traffic and have a huge fare. One friend said that if we're going to Paris tell the driver "not to take the tunnel" - is that something that a driver will understand, or be able to do, I don't want to have to explain because I won't know what I mean!!!

Plutolovr, have a great time next week!:woohoo:

tink68
05-25-2009, 08:37 PM
Just got back from the Mirage a month ago and had a great time. This is a good location and you can walk to many of the casinos and shops. Whatever hotel you stay at get there Players Card. Whenever you gamble you put this card in the slot and it keeps points. If you gamble alot you can get comps on room, dinners, etc. Don't take the tunnel means that this is a new way that the cab drivers will take you and it adds about $10 to your amount you will pay. Plus they are crazy drivers and scare me everytime. :scared1: :rotfl:
I have never done the helicopter rides so sorry I cannot help with that. Go to vegas.com and it will show you alot about hotels, shows, etc.
Good luck and have fun! :)

kaytieeldr
05-25-2009, 10:05 PM
Thank you for your replies! We haven't booked yet, we were waiting for good airfare deals so will definitely check out Costco travel! Eh, I'd go with individually-booked components, rather than a package. You could get a package quote then compare it to what you can arrange on your own.

With your comment about New York New York being further away, how easy is it to walk to everything? What's generally considered "The Strip" runs from Mandalay Bay at the south end to the Stratosphere at the north end (although, really, Las Vegas Boulevard is much, much longer) = three miles.

I had two more questions to add!!! A friend of mine just emailed me about hotels and said "remember the $20 trick at check in!" What on earth does that mean??!! A tip I guess? Do you just hand it over and ask for an upgrade or something??!! I see that going very wrong for me! Yes, it's a tip. See the travel forum at fatwallet.com for MUCH more information.

The other question was about getting from the airport - a lot of people have said that when we get a cab, remind them which way to go otherwise you'll get stuck in traffic and have a huge fare. One friend said that if we're going to Paris tell the driver "not to take the tunnel" - is that something that a driver will understand, or be able to do, I don't want to have to explain because I won't know what I mean!!! Unless you're arriving in the middle of the night - really, there's no traffic at 3 AM - there's going to be traffic, which will affect your fare. Yes, if you say, "don't take the tunnel", the driver will know what you mean.
There are also shuttles, no reservation required, just walk out the end of the terminal. Like Mears, the shuttle will likely stop at several hotels. Don't bother with round-trip reservations - it's better to take a taxi back to the airport. A good cab driver will know the best route. I've only used the shuttle once, but my sister has had them just not show up for the return trip.

lisaradz
05-26-2009, 12:08 PM
Can't wait to read about the $20 tip trick!:banana:

I usually call the hotel a few day before and ask them to comfirm the reservation and then mention if it's an anniversary, bday etc. It's worked quite a few times. This last time we were upgraded to a Red Room at Paris.

Even if you stay at NYNY you won't need a rental car. You can totally walk everywhere, just bring comfy shoes. Don't make my mistake and wear fancy heals when you have to walk a mile to get to the show... It's cheaper to just take a cab when needed then to rent a car. We took a cab from NYNY to Venetian because we knew we were going to be walking around the mall and wanted to make sure we had enough energy. You are half our age so you won't have any trouble getting around. Besides getting there is sometimes lots of fun. Enjoy

Katieinwonderland
05-27-2009, 08:54 PM
So I went on Fatwallet.com and WOW! It's great! It not only talked about the $20 trick and how to do it to get the best results (who knew it was so complicated?!) but it gave you a percentage success rate for all the hotels!!! I spent AGES on there!!!

I finally made a decision on a hotel, and it wasn't any of the ones on our short list! DH's parents are members of Hilton's Grand Vacation Club, which they never really use so they tend to give them to us (it's very tough :thumbsup2) We used them for our honeymoon in Hawaii last year, and we mentioned to them we were planning a Vegas trip, they told us we should use their points to stay at the Las Vegas Hilton. At first I wasn't sure because it's not on the strip, but it's free so it seems silly to turn it down. It'll be a good base I guess, and at least we know what to expect with Hilton's, we stay in them a lot.

We also vetoed the Grand Canyon helicopter tour, it just seems crazy to pay something like $700 on our first trip out there - if we love Vegas and go back, maybe we'll try it then.

Anyway, wanted to update and say thanks a million for the Fat Wallet tip, it was amazing! Wonder if it will work using points at a hotel?

jims2cool
05-28-2009, 06:49 PM
Can someone explain the $20 tip trick???

kaytieeldr
05-29-2009, 12:08 AM
Ultimately, it's a discreet $20 or more tip to the desk clerk in Las Vegas hotels - but really, it's explained MUCH better in the travel forum at Fatwallet.com

jlima
05-31-2009, 03:14 AM
Can someone explain the $20 tip trick???Vegas hotels save their best rooms for their best customers. Rated casino guests will get the best rooms (suite on high floor with view, spa tub, etc.); and guests who pay a higher rate to guarantee a particular type of room will get the room they reserve. But, people who pay lower rates will usually get a room in a less desirable part of a property, like a low floor with no view or an older room or part of the property. Particularly, reservations that are booked through wholesalers come in at lower rates, and these are usually the ones who get the less desirable rooms (Priceline, etc.)

Most Strip properties have many, many suites. If there are upgraded rooms and suites available, sometimes the front desk clerks will upgrade you when you check in, with or without the $20 trick. I would never try it on a busy weekend, like a major sporting event or New Year's Eve; because the property will have MANY casino guests and would, in all likelihood, be sold out of suites. But, on a slow night in August, yep, I'd try.

jlima
05-31-2009, 03:16 AM
The other question was about getting from the airport - a lot of people have said that when we get a cab, remind them which way to go otherwise you'll get stuck in traffic and have a huge fare. One friend said that if we're going to Paris tell the driver "not to take the tunnel" - is that something that a driver will understand, or be able to do, I don't want to have to explain because I won't know what I mean!!!Since you are staying at Hilton Grand Vacations at the Las Vegas Hilton, taking the tunnel/freeway route would be a scam. The driver can just leave the airport, get onto Paradise through the Thomas & Mack parking lot, and take Paradise directly to HGV (Paradise changes to a one way street at Harmon; you make a right on Tropicana when you leave the airport, then cut through the Thomas & Mack Arena's parking lot to get to the part of Paradise that has 2-way traffic). If you are arriving on a Friday or Saturday night, expect lots of traffic. There's no way around it, unless your driver takes crazy detours through a neighborhood that's not so nice.

jlima
05-31-2009, 03:51 AM
3. GAMBLING! We set ourselves a spending limit so we wouldn't gamble away all our money, but we're kind of confused about the casinos. Can you visit the casinos in hotels you're not staying at? And when people say a casino is 'tight', do they mean you don't win very much? Are some more known for this than others? Is there a minimum you have to spend in the casinos? I just want to play something easy like the slots!You can walk into any casino you want to. Some games have minimums, but casinos don't have cover charges or a minimum to wager. You could bet one penny on a penny slot if you wanted to.

Different casinos have different rules for their table games; and different payout percentages for their machines. For instance, some blackjack games only pay even money for blackjack instead of 2-to-1. Some games have different rules if they are dealing from one deck of cards, two decks, or four or six decks. Every casino has different table minimums on different days. If you arrive on a Wednesday and find $3 blackjack tables; and on Saturday every table has a $10 minimum, that's just how it is; they want to make more money when there are more people around.

Slot machines that have more than three reels are more difficult to win. The ones that have lots of paylines will turn you into a different player without you realizing it. If a machine has nine pay lines, and you have to bet 5 coins on each payline to win a progressive jackpot, and it's a penny game, then the casino just changed you from a penny player to a nickle player without even getting up. Some machines will show a total of coins you have; some machines will display an amount of money in the machine. Most machines now are ticket in/ticket out; when you cash out, the machine prints a ticket that you redeem from a cashier or kiosk, or you can just put it in another machine.

Generally, downtown casinos have more liberal table games. IMO machines are the same everywhere, except at the airport. I would NEVER play a machine at the airport, ever.