Las Vegas Journals

Getting the Most Out of My Money in Las Vegas

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A December 2005 trip to Las Vegas by funrun_9602

Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada More Photos
Quote: I did my research ahead of time to make sure I'd get the most out of my money. Here I will pass on to you what I did, for how much, and what I won't do the next time I go to Vegas.

Getting the Most Out of My Money in Las Vegas

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Overview

Accomodations Above the Norm Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
I did a fair amount of research while planning this trip; the Travel Channel website is a great start. The Bellagio is the overall best place in Vegas, from the Fountains of Bellagio and the Bellagio Buffet, to the art, the location, the variety of table games, etc. I enjoy just being there, and you don't need to spend money to do that. The best dessert I had was chocolate mousse from the Tintoretto Bakery in The Venetian. The best place to gamble is the Casino Royale next to Harrah's. The best view of the Strip is from the Voodoo Lounge on top of the Rio. Quick Tips: Locals told us we were there during their slowest time of the year: the 10 days before Christmas. In contrast, they say the bu...Read More

Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino

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Hotel | "Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino"

Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino I got a package deal from Fairfield (who also owns Harrah's) for two people for two nights for $99 total, if we gave 120 minutes for a timeshare sales presentation. Of course, we didn't buy the timeshare, but we got $50 cash and a few free Fairfield hotel night certificates for our time and attention, thus the two nights at the Rio were practically free. I am pretty sure we got a normal room, but it was HUGE (about 600 square feet). That's the size of my apartment! There was enough empty space to do a cartwheel in the middle. In the entryway, you are greeted with a mini fridge....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino
3700 W Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
(702) 252-7777

Carnival World Buffet

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Restaurant | "Rio Hotel Carnival World Buffet"

Quote:
Rio Hotel Carnival World Buffet website This was the first place we ate in Vegas, and I originally thought it was just okay, but after eating at other places, I would never eat here again; there are too many other REALLY GREAT options. Rio buffet was $13.95 each for breakfast—a bit pricey, I think. We fit in one trip for breakfast before they switched the food over to lunch at 11am. The buffet snaked around the entire room; standing in the middle, you couldn't even see where it ended. The entire thing had different foods; it wasn't just the same stuff, mirrored on different sides of the room. ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Carnival World Buffet
3700 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
(702) 364-9192

Sao Paulo Cafe

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Restaurant

Quote:
See the Sao Paulo Cafe website. I ate here for breakfast because it is the only place in the Rio where breakfast is served after 11am. I had the tall stack of pancakes for $8. It was a stack of six large pancakes that were fairly tasty. There weren't many items on the breakfast menu, but it covered the main bases: eggs, pancakes, waffles, fruit, and oatmeal. They also served Starbucks drinks. Overall, this place isn't anything special, and I am sure there are better breakfasts elsewhere in Vegas, although I thought this was tastier and a better value than the Rio breakfast buffet I had had ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Sao Paulo Cafe
3700 W. Flamingo Ave.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
702/777-7678

Bellagio Buffet

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Restaurant | "The Bellagio Buffet"

Quote:
Bellagio dining website Think "Bellagio opulence," and then think "Vegas buffet." The two images don’t go together, do they? Well, technically, this is a buffet in Las Vegas, but before you vomit at that thought, get that image out of your head, because The Bellagio Buffet is more appropriately described as "fine dining, self-served." You will never find a $7.99 prime rib dinner here. Actually, forget prime rib—that’s not good enough for the Bellagio—instead, try the world’s most tender and expensive meat, Kobe beef, or perhaps some rack of lamb, free-range turkey, or beef Wellington. These most expe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Bellagio Buffet
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 650-9459

Caesars Palace Lago Buffet

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Restaurant | "Cafe Lago (restaurant and buffet)"

Caesars Palace Lago Buffet Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Cafe Lago websiteWe were there on Saturday during lunch to eat breakfast, which I believe was served until 4pm. The restaurant is open 24 hours. There were á la carte items and a buffet. I believe the buffet was about $24. I had á la carte Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries, and my boyfriend had French toast with powdered sugar. Both meals were $12. My Belgian waffle was perfectly cooked, but very bland-tasting, and the strawberries weren't even ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Caesars Palace Lago Buffet
3570 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 731-7110

Il Fornario at New York-New York

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Restaurant | "Il Fornario"

Quote:
http://www.nynyhotelcasino.com/pages/dining_ilfornaio.asp Il Fornario offers fine dining in an authentic Italian style. To start with, rosemary, ciabatta, and Italian bread are baked fresh every morning and served to you with dipping oil. The bread was tasty; however, part of the connotation of fresh-baked bread is eating it warm, but this bread was actually colder than room temperature. Our entrée prices were $17 for chicken parmigiano and $23 for fish. Both of us thought the food was very tasty. My chicken parmigiano was absolutely huge compared to the amount of fish my boyfriend got. For mine, i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 21, 2004

Il Fornario at New York-New York
3790 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada
702/740-6403

Tintoretto Bakery

Restaurant

Tintoretto Bakery Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Tintoretto Bakery website We dined alfresco in the Grand Canal Shoppes next to the Tintoretto Bakery (no view of the canal from here). We decided to eat here because it looked like a place where we could grab a light, averaged-priced lunch. But after sitting down, we realized this place wasn't exactly what we had in mind. To counter the slightly high prices, we split a $12 four-cheese, oven-baked pizza. It tasted like most four-cheese pizzas I've had before, except there was absolutely zero crispiness in the thin crust. The pizzas at the Bellagio buffet were MUCH better than this one. The Highly Recommended Part...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 27, 2004

Tintoretto Bakery
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 414-3400

Club Rio

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Attraction

Quote:
See the Club Rio website. Blah, there’s nothing special here. I went to Club Rio with my boyfriend on a Friday during the slowest week of the year (before Christmas). We went at about 12:45 to 1:30am, and it was pretty boring because not even half of the dance floor was filled. I was annoyed at the two hired girls dancing on the podiums because they weren't very good dancers, and the DJ was very typical, you know, the kind that can't mix from one song into the next. The music was Top 40, very typical of any club. The crowd (if you could call it that) seemed to mostly be in the 18 to 21 a...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Club Rio
3700 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
+1 702 777 7777

VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub at Rio

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Attraction | "Voodoo Lounge"

VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub at Rio Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
See the Voodoo Lounge website. The cover price seemed pretty steep to us (and totally unfair to guys), but Voodoo Lounge's location on the top floor of the towering off-strip Rio Hotel & Casino provides about a 280-degree view of the Strip and the rest of Vegas. This awesome view is almost worth the cover price in and of itself! All the casinos look so amazing when you can see them all lit up in one view, and the lights of Las Vegas houses extend far out into the blackness of the desert. My boyfriend and I went on a Friday during the slowest week of the year (before Christ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub at Rio
3700 W Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
(702) 777-7800

Bellagio Fountains

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Attraction | "Fountains of Bellagio"

Bellagio Fountains Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
My absolute favorite attraction in Vegas is the Fountains of Bellagio, especially at night. I lost track of how many times I saw it—at least six. Each time you see it is likely to be a different song, different lighting depending to the time of day and weather, and a different viewing angle. Of all the Vegas shows and free attractions, the Bellagio Fountains has to be the most morally appropriate for children and most universally pleasing for people of all ages, languages, and backgrounds. And unlike other shows, it’s not so long that it’s going to consume much of your vacation time or cause you to plan all your other activities around its show schedule (see schedule below). The fountains consis...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 20, 2004

Bellagio Fountains
3600 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 693-7111

Mirage Hotel and Casino

Attraction | "The Volcano at The Mirage"

Quote:
This was cool when I was a kid, but it was highly disappointing this time around. It is, however, still cool how water and fire exist together. From The Mirage: Every fifteen minutes from 7pm to midnight, the earth shakes and flames shoot into the night sky, spewing smoke and fire 100 feet above the waters below, transforming a tranquil waterfall into spectacular streams of molten lava. The volcano at The Mirage has been a Las Vegas signature attraction since the resort opened in 1989, mesmerizing spectators with it thunderous, fiery display. The volcano, situated on three water-covered acres, is 54 feet high and circulates 119,000 gallons of water per minute. The show...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 27, 2004

Mirage Hotel and Casino
3400 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 791-7111

Fall of Atlantis & Festival Fountain

Attraction | "Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain"

Fall of Atlantis & Festival Fountain Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Forum Shops have two free animatronic fountain shows that come to life every hour, on the hour, Sunday through Thursday, from 10am to 11pm; Friday and Saturday, they run from 10am to midnight. If you didn't know it, you would swear they are just marble statues in the middle of a fountain, but they really do move! These will be big hits with your kids. The Atlantis show is more exciting than the festival one because it involves bursts of fire and shooting water, whereas the other one is just talking and moving statues with lasers on the dome ceiling. Plus, while you wait for the Atlantis show, you can look at the tropical fish in the giant tank underneath the fountain.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 27, 2004

Fall of Atlantis & Festival Fountain
Caesar's Palace / 3570 Las Vegas Blvd., S
Las Vegas, Nevada

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino

Attraction | "The Venetian"

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
This is my vote for hotel with overall most beautiful decor. This place is worth a stop inside, but not a long dinner or an overnight stay. When you enter the shops through the front door, the size and detail in the ceiling paintings is absolutely breathtaking (see photo). The front carport of the hotel has an equally grand ceiling. All the decor mimics things that are actually in Venice; my sister, who has been to the real Venice, immediately recognized the things in my Las Vegas Venetian photos. I also love the flooring here; it is a bunch of intersecting cubes that I think is better than the ugly, large floral motifs on most casino floors. Domes with oculars (circular skylights), chandeliers,...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 27, 2004

Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

Studio 54

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Attraction | "Studio 54 - Dollhouse night"

Studio 54 Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Studio 54 website My boyfriend and I went to Studio 54 on a Thursday night to see what Dollhouse was all about. The overall concept here is obviously to mimic the famous original Studio 54 that was in NYC in the 1950s, but I don't know enough about the original to comment on how accurate this imitation is. The layout was unique to me; there was a central raised dance floor flanked by two dance floor balconies above. The second floor had a VIP lounge area and bar along the perimeter of the room and a separate open lounge area. We spent most of our time here, since we almost had the lounge to oursel...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

Studio 54
3799 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
+1 702 891 1111; +1

Bellagio

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Hotel | "The Bellagio"

Bellagio Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
I spent the most time at the Bellagio. With no children under 18 allowed in the door (unless they’re hotel guests), the ambiance and sheer grandeur of the Bellagio make you feel like royalty. And there are so many beautiful, FREE things to do here! Despite being the most expensive hotel in Las Vegas, I have no doubt that it would be worth the money, when I get enough. From the moment you approach the Bellagio, the grand fountains in front foreshadow what you are about to experience (see my separate entry about them). Driving up to the front doors, the entrance is hidden from the Strip by lush vegetation, giving it a private feel. As you walk to the front doors, you may notice that the floor has ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 3, 2005

Bellagio
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 693-7111

How to Get the Most Out of Your Money

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Story/Tip

Quote:
You have a tight budget, but you don’t want to sleep in a sleazy off-strip hotel and eat generic buffet food. You want to indulge, you want to gamble, and you want to have enough money left to get home. If you’re going to be able to accomplish all of these things, you have to be frugal and you have to plan ahead. Learn how I accomplished all my goals and hopefully you’ll be able to do the same. 1. Determine what you really want to do in Vegas and roughly prioritize these activities. My goals: -eat really good food at non-franchise restaurants -stay in a hotel room that will make me FEEL like a big spender -experience some happening nightlife -win money...Read More