Las Vegas Journals

Las Vegas tips, tricks, and best deals

An August 2001 trip to Las Vegas by Scott S.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada More Photos
Quote: I searched the Internet for every Las Vegas coupon, discount, and tourbook, then spent a week finding out which ones were really worth it. Take a look at my journal entries for places to see, things to do, places to eat, and where to stay to get the most out of your trip to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas tips, tricks, and best deals

Overview

Paris, Las Vegas Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
There are still good 99-cent shrimp cocktails if you know where to go, along with many other great deals to be had by the traveler who does his or her homework first. Please take a look at my journal entries for the places, attractions, meals and deals to help you make the most of your time (and money) in Las Vegas!Quick Tips: Please read my journal entries for more info, but don't miss: >www.lasvegasadvisor.com >www.lasvegasfunbook.com >www.cheapovegas.com >Mandalay Bay - beach, pool, and spa >"Speed" and "Manhattan Express" rides >Blue Man Group at Luxor >See Cirque du Soliel "Mystere" but SKIP "O"! ...Read More

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Mandalay Bay"

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
There are times to go cheap, and there are times when it is worth it to spend the money. Mandalay Bay is worth the price of admission in my book. This beautiful luxury hotel is located at the south end of the famous Las Vegas Strip, convenient to the airport and next to Luxor. The advantage of this location is that unlike hotels located in the middle of the Strip that have thousands of pedestrians in and around them, Mandalay Bay is not a point that everyone passes through on their way to another hotel. Although it is still full of guests and gamblers, there are far fewer "gawkers" clogging up the hallways. This also makes it easier to get in and out of with your car, since there is far less traf...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
(702) 632-7777

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Mandalay Bay - Pool and Spa"

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Some of the best parts of Mandalay Bay, other than the excellent service, beautiful surroundings, and great location, are the pool area and the spa. First, the pool area, or Mandalay Beach as they refer to it. It is a large complex that includes multiple pools and hot tubs, a "lazy river" ride, a wave pool, a "beach" with real sand, private cabanas, and a stage for live music. If you plan on spending any time at the pool at all (and if it''s 110 degrees outside you probably will) you will be happy you chose Mandalay Bay. I suspect that if you had kids you could keep them occupied here all day. We thouroughly enjoyed taking a dip and catching some rays. Some tips to remember: the drinks are ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
(702) 632-7777

Hard Rock Cafe

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Hard Rock's Steak and Shrimp Secret"

Quote:
The Hard Rock's 24-hour restaurant, "Mr. Lucky's", usually has unadvertised specials. These are not on the menu; you have to ask for them. The steak and shrimp for $5.99 is listed as one of the best values in Las Vegas, and it was very good when we had it. The steak, while not exactly filet mignon, was decent, while the shrimp (3) were excellent. Salad and potato were also included. As an added bonus, it is available 24 hours so when your red-eye flight lands and you are looking for some chow, this is a great place to go, especially if you follow it up with the 55-gallon drum they call a cup of coffee. The Hard Rock is also an excellent place to people watch, and the location of "Mr. Lucky'...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 4, 2001

Hard Rock Cafe
4475 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 733-8400

Seafood Salad Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
The Pirate Battle in Buccaneer Bay at Treasure Island is one of the better-known free attractions on the Strip, and is a must-see on your trip to Las Vegas. But it is always crowded, and standing in the late-day sun trying to see over the people in front of you can take some of the fun out of it. An alternative is to make a reservation at the Buccaneer Bay Restaurant, which has views of the battle. Make sure to request a seat with a view, and remember that the battle is staged at 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00pm; the restaurant closes at 10:30pm. The food is good but pricey (some entrees are over $50), and the service is excellent. NOTE: you may have to share a window with another party to see...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 4, 2001

French Market Buffet Orleans Hotel Casino

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Stuff Your Face at the Orleans Buffet"

Quote:
Finding a buffet in Las Vegas is easy; choosing one can be hard. The $30 gourmet buffets at the Bellagio and Aladdin are good but pricey, and the $1.99 "bargains" at some unnamed locations prove that you get what you pay for. But if you are looking for a very good meal and a very good price, give the Orleans French Market Buffet a shot. It is consistently ranked among the best deals in town, with good reason. The selection of food is huge, with Mexican, American, Italian, seafood, and other types of chow, all of it quite good. I was into the fried steak and country gravy myself, since I figure that you need a hearty serving of foods from the "fried and breaded" group to keep your strength up...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 5, 2001

French Market Buffet Orleans Hotel Casino
4500 W Tropicana Ave
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 365-7111

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Lunch with BAM at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House"

Quote:
If you are a fan of celebrity chef Emeril, then this restaurant is a must. After watching him create dished with "BAM" on his TV show, I had to take the opportunity to taste one of his creations myself, and I was not disappointed. We were told that the house specialties were the BBQ Shrimp and the Crab Cakes, so we ordered those. My wife is a crab cake junkie and she swore they were the best she had ever had. I feel the same way about shrimp, and Emeril's staff "kicked it up a notch" to great effect with their BBQ Shrimp. If you like seafood and are looking for something a little more interesting than fried flounder or the peel-n-eat shrimp from the casino buffet, you will not regret choosin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2001

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House
MGM Grand Hotel Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 891-7374

Holy Cow

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Great (free!) food and beer at Holy Cow"

Quote:
A great pit stop after visiting the Sahara or riding the "Speed" ride, or heading down to Freemont Street, Holy Cow is a small and quirky brewpub/restaurant/casino located right across Sahara Blvd from Sahara and the NASCAR Cafe. Leave your car at the Sahara and enjoy the best nachos (with steak) that I have had in a long time. If you think that Chi-Chi's is the epitome of Mexican cuisine, prepare for a pleasant surprise when the waitress brings you a mountain of fresh chips, shredded beef (ask for it), cheese, excellent fresh guacamole, and other assorted tasty items. The chicken quesadillas are equally as good. And to top it off, Holy Cow is a brew pub where you can enjoy any of a number of hand...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

Holy Cow
2423 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 732-2697

Manhattan Express Roller Coaster

Attraction | ""Manhattan Express" ride at NY, NY"

Manhattan Express Roller Coaster Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
The "Manhattan Express" ride at New York New York casino is one of the new roller coasters that is beginning to crop up on the Strip, and along with "Speed" at the Sahara, it is one of the better ones. Although it is relatively tame compared to what you would find at a Six Flags-type amusement park, it is a pretty good steel coaster ride with two decent drops, and some loops and corkscrews. Of particular interest is a half-corkscrew that sends you upside-down into a half-loop, and although it is hard to describe, most coaster enthusiasts will agree that this unique element is the second-best part of the ride. The best part, whether you love coasters or not, is the fantastic view as the coaster make...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

Manhattan Express Roller Coaster
3790 S. Las Vegas Boulvard
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 740-6969

SPEED - The Ride

Attraction | ""Speed" ride at the Sahara"

Quote:
Like the Manhattan Express at NYNY, "Speed" is a new steel roller coaster on the Strip and is worth the trek. Located in the NASCAR Cafe attached to the Sahara, it is a decent ride (one of the best in Vegas, in my opinion) but isn't quite as scary as a monster rollercoaster you might find at a large amusement park (which might be a good thing to you). But don't get me wrong, it is a very good ride. "Speed" is a linear-induction coaster, which means that instead of a long slow climb up the first hill followed by a big drop, you are launched right out of the building like you were taking off from an aircraft carrier. You then go through some loops, twists and turns, go straight up, experience a brie...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

SPEED - The Ride
2535 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
+1 702 737 2111

Stratosphere Tower

Attraction | "Stratosphere Tower and Thrill Rides"

Quote:
The Stratosphere tower is one of the more recognizable landmarks on the Strip, a tower standing over 1000 feet high. In fact, I was told by an employee there that it is the tallest structure west of the Mississippi and that it was originally intended to be about 2000 feet high, but that plan was nixed by the FAA. At any rate, it is a very tall building and the views from the observation tower at the top are unbelievable. However, having said that, there is nothing else to recommend about the Stratosphere. The two thrill rides at the top are a waste of your money. The "High Roller" roller coaster has a nice view but the ride is suitable only for the very meek. The "Big Shot" is marginally be...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

Stratosphere Tower
2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
(702) 380-7777

Blue Man Group at The Venetian

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Blue Man Group - not just Pentium salesmen!"

Blue Man Group at The Venetian Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
If you haven't heard of them, the Blue Man Group is comprised of those three bald blue guys playing percussion in the Pentium-4 commercials. They are also one of the hottest shows in Las Vegas, selling out night after night, after their long-running show in New York City. I had the opportunity to see them in a very small theatre in New York a few years ago, and it was one of the best shows I can recall. My only concern about seeing them in Las Vegas was wondering if they would be able to take a show designed for a small room and make it "big enough" for a Las Vegas showroom. They did not disappoint. It is hard to adequately describe a BMG show. They never speak, but communicate thr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 30, 2001

Blue Man Group at The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(866) 641-SHOW

Mystere at Treasure Island

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Guess who went to see Cirque du Soliel "Mystere"?"

Mystere at Treasure Island Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
If you need proof that "Mystere" is one of the shows to see in Las Vegas, then consider that we bumped into none other than former president Clinton on his way out of the theatre. And I'm sure he has no problem getting tickets to whatever shows he wants to see. To describe any Cirque du Soliel production as a modern circus is not really accurate, and if you are interested in circus acts your time is probably better spent at the tacky Circus Circus. But if you are interested in a mesmerizing show that transports you somewhere beautiful for 90 minutes, "Mystere" is for you. There is minimal narration as the beautiful live music and the amazing artistry of the dancers and acrobats takes center s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 30, 2001

Mystere at Treasure Island
3300 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 796-9999

"O" by Cirque Du Soleil

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | ""O" is a big ZERO"

Quote:
Having seen Cirque du Soliel's other show in Las Vegas, we also got tickets for "O". We has seen a story about this show on the Travel Channel, and knew that it combined the world-famous Cirque du Soliel performers with a technological marvel of a stage that allows them to alternately walk on water, float on it, swim through it, or dive into it. It sounded like an amazing proposition, but sadly, it did not live up to it's billing. The drawback to this show is that they seem to me to be relying far too much on the gimmick that is the stage. Once the initial "ooh"s and "aah"s are out of the way, the show does not have any of the humor, warmth, charm, or beauty of "Mystere". With only one or tw...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 30, 2001

"O" by Cirque Du Soleil
Bellagio Casino, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(888) 987-3456

Golden Gate Casino and Hotel

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Golden Gate Casino"

Quote:
Did you ever play cards for pennies when you were a little kid? Well, maybe you didn't, but since I grew up in the shadow of Atlantic City when casino gambling was legalized, I did. We played blackjack and poker, mostly made the rules up as we went, and had fun. Years later, I played blackjack in Atlantic City and discovered that it wasn't any fun at all. Everybody at the table was quiet, unless you deviated from "standard" blackjack strategy, when everyone at the table yelled at you. I decided that I was not going to waste my time at the blackjack tables in Atlantic City. What does this have to do with the Golden Gate Casino and you? The Golden Gate is a small but comfortable casino locat...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 30, 2001

Golden Gate Casino and Hotel
1 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 382-3510

Free Fun!

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Free casino chips, drinks, comps"

Quote:
If you aren't a high-roller, there are two tricks to getting stuff Las Vegas casinos: casino club cards and funbooks. All of the major casinos have a player's club card that they want you to sign up for so they can track your play and periodically mail stuff to you. By signing up, you often can get special deals on rooms or food. Some of the casinos offer a special incentive to sign up, such as bonuses on play, a one-time rebate for your losses, or a funbook. Make sure you get all the details beforehand, especially on the "rebate" deals; you usually have to play a certain amount for a certain time, and the rebate comes in the form of a check that is mailed to your home, and you can on...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 4, 2001

Free Fun!
Hotels on the Vegas Strip and More
Las Vegas, Nevada

General Las Vegas Tips

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Mandalay Bay Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
I can't claim to be an expert on every possible deal and discount in Las Vegas, nor can I claim to know everything there is to do... there are just way too many of both. But I can share those things that I have learned through my own personal experience traveling to Las Vegas. Some general tips: > For great guides to just about every hotel in town, visit www.cheapovegas.com - informative, funny, and they tell you what free swag you can steal from the bathrooms of various hotels. > There are many coupon books available on the Internet with 2-for-1 deals and other offers. The one offered by the Las Vegas Advisor (www.lasvegasadvisor.com) is not free but is excellent, an...Read More
Quote:
Within 12 hours of arriving in Las Vegas, make sure that you head over to Vacation Village. It is located at 6711 Las Vegas Blvd South, which is the extreme southern end of the Strip, below Mandalay Bay, near the airport. Why would I want to go there, you ask? Free cash, of course! Go to the Promotions Booth, which is located directly across from the front door, and present your airline tickets to get a free spin on their big wheel. You will win $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, a free room, or half of your airline ticket money back. I guess they only want to pay your way out, not fly you round-trip, but it is one of the few "sure things" in town... just keep you fingers crossed that you don't win the free ...Read More