Las Vegas Deals And Comps

I really enjoy your newsletter and am taking my elderly parents out there in mid March of 2000. We have reservations at Bellagio. I take them every year, last year we stayed at Bally’s, year before MGM.

There is nothing my parents enjoy more than getting a deal or comps of any kind. There used to be a person who had a site that gave the best deals. For instance. the steak dinner at Binion’s, for $?? .99 cent shrimp cocktail at ??, breakfast buffet at ??, lunch buffet at ??, IMAX show at ?? . etc..

They also told about the casino’s best comp programs when you sign up for their casino cards. Like how quickly you could accumulate enough points to get a free buffet or get one just for signing up.

I can’t find the site anymore and thought maybe you would like to post such a list at your newsletter. A lot of times the info in the letter didn’t change for months and that was okay. It uncovered some pretty interesting deals a lot of tourists never would have known about similar to your writings.

Please keep up the good work, I read you religiously.

Ted Responds:

The deals tend to change more than ever, although we have noted things like the $4.95 steak 24 hours at Ellis Island, the late night Binion’s $3.00 steak and the like.





CEO/Managing Editor

Grand Lux Cafe At Venetian Las Vegas Margharitta Pizza

Thanks so much for your informative newsletters … always look forward to receiving them. I visited Las Vegas the first week in December. Although I’ve visited the Mirage several times, this was the first trip during which I ate at their buffet. Absolutely a fabulous experience! The food was hot and very well presented. All you can eat crab legs and peeled shrimp..what a deal!! The bread pudding the Mirage is worth the price of an airline ticket!

We stayed the Venetian and ate several meals at the Grand Lux Cafe just off the casino. I highly advise any of their salads and the Margharitta pizza is just divine! It’s also great to be seated in the little courtyard. It’s just far enough away from the casino floor to be relaxing, but just close enough to still hear the “ca-ching” of cash flowing!!

Cheers and happy 2000

Steak Special At Ellis Island Las Vegas Good

Randy Pendleton wrote:

Merry Christmas to you too Ted. I just returned from seven days in Vegas last night, and the weather was perfect every day except one. Returned to Indiana and it’s 17 degrees and snowing. Also, thanks to your advice, I tried the steak special at Ellis Island, and it was a super deal for the money. I tried the buffets at Bellagio, Resort at Summerlin, Main Street Station, and the sea food buffet at the Rio. Rio wins hands down however I had lunch buffets at all of the others and they were all half the price of the Rio. Can’t beat the ribs and pizza at Main Street, or the shrimp and deserts at The Resort at Summerlin, or the prime rib at Bellagio. The cheese cake was a toss up between Main Street, and Bellagio. I cant wait to go back!

Visting Laughlin and Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas

Thelma Brady wrote:

First of all I would like to thank you for your news letter every week, I have learned a lot about Vegas from reading them. Really enjoy them.

We recently returned from Vegas, spent about a month out there, went to Lake Tahoe for the first time (beautiful ). Also went to Laughlin too. Beautiful there, to we really love Laughlin its so nice and quiet out there. Also went back to Vegas, took the Grand Canyon tour which was very nice, but they tell you you are going to have breakfast and lunch, which is fine we thought.

First of all the the breakfast was a big joke, they took us to an airport I don’t know which one very small all we got was a cup of coffee,juice, & a danish which was ok not the best, but no tables to sit at very few seats,because of all the tours that was there, so if your bus was one of the last ones in you stood up to eat which wasn’t to easy.

Also when we got to lunch at the Holiday Inn we had to pay for our soda the meal wasn’t that good (buffet) not much to pick from , mashed potatoes, no gravy for them, and deserts at all. I would not recommend this trip to anyone I knew was going.

Otherwise the trip to Vegas was wonderful as always.

Thank you for your time.

Reader Responses To Tipping In Las Vegas Article

John Strutt of Southey, SK, Canada writes in response to last week’s issue on tipping:

Good Day Ted,

Thanks for the great newsletter. My wife always plays nickels when we are in Vegas. I like beer (like most men) and we always tip $1 for each two beer the waitress brings. They seem very happy with the $1 and to tell you the truth, we never had to order a beer or ask for one. The waitress automatically brought them every 20 minutes or so. Now that’s service. I find this works in all casinos.

All the best,

Ted Responds:

Certainly you should do what works best for you. Our guidelines were general, but there is no question that service depends on the time of day, the caliber of the property, etc. A $1 tip for a couple is often not out of line as she is making one trip to get to both of you. If she makes it back before your glass sits empty long, she is happy and you are getting the level of service you tipped for. Thanks for the input!





CEO/Managing Editor

Gerald & Gloria Speen wrote:

Hello Ted,

We want to extend our thanks and compliment you for the excellent article on tipping. It  is the first practical, reasonable, down-to-earth schedule we have seen. It is fair and ties the size of the tips to the true service rendered. Too many times, the articles on tipping are too generous for the services provided or assume that the service is worth far more than it is. We were particularly pleased with your comments about buffets where the patron does all the work and the extent of the server’s effort was to bring you drinks. Also, tipping at the slots. We have seen huge tips recommended for the change person just because they happened to be in the neighborhood and nothing more.

Thanks for getting it straight.

Do I Need To Keep My Passport On Me When In Las Vegas

Craig Ashton of England wrote:

Dear ‘In Vegas’,

Next summer I plan to tour America for 4 weeks. The first week will be spent in Las Vegas. I will be 23 years old and will have a valid passport to prove my age. However, it is not my wish to carry my passport with me to prove my age. I am writing to ask you if there is any alternative to carrying my passport around with me I.e. Would a photocopy be acceptable in the casino’s and bars?

Ted Responds:

It is mandatory that you have original proof of age in all areas where gaming or alcohol sales take place. In fact, if you are young or young looking, we suggest having this handy at all times in casinos. Clubs are different, as they just need to verify once as you enter.





CEO/Managing Editor

Las Vegas Trip Report: Shows And Staying Off-Strip

David C. Surette of Vancouver, British Columbia wrote:

Many thanks for your newsletter during the past few months as I planned my 1st time ever Vegas trip. We have just returned from what turned out to be a totally enjoyable vacation which included a few days in Vegas. The spectacle of the Strip was overwhelming; we didn’t manage to get to the downtown area or the outskirts as we were thoroughly immersed in centralized exploration. The mega-resorts were fabulous and provided great backdrops and settings for our numerous photos. We were only there for 46 hours but managed to see all the major sites and resort properties between the Luxor and the Stratosphere. We tempted fate and the laws of physics by partaking in both of the Stratosphere’s attractions (fortunately, before the wonderful buffet dinner at the Bellagio). Our other meal was the Dinner Buffet offered by Mandalay Bay. Almost every review we read rated Bellagio as the #1 Buffet in Vegas…. however, we found Mandalay Bay to be superior in this respect. The food quality and selection was equal or better than Bellagio, the cost was ~$7 less and the setting/ambience was similar. At Bellagio they peel and devein the jumbo shrimp and slice the Alaska King crab legs for you… I’d rather do it the Mandalay Bay way where they make you work bit for that wonderful seafood flavor by not deveining the shrimp or slicing up the crab legs ! Believe it or not, seafood tastes better when savoring that wonderful taste is prolonged by wrestling with the shells.

We saw a great show both evenings, booked through “Best Reservations” as advertised in your newsletter (editors note: ).  As the tickets were prepaid (in addition to a $9.90 service charge per show) we merely showed up at the “will-call” section of the Box Office an hour before showtime, presented the credit card and sited the reservation #. Our tickets were handed to us and it was “showtime”. We had great seats for both shows: Sigfreid & Roy and Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere. Overall we preferred Mystere over S&R but wanted to be counted in the many who have seen S&R during their 29 year reign in Las Vegas as the #1 Box office draw. I am already planning our next Vegas jaunt which will include seeing Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and Lance Burton, shows we couldn’t possibly fit in this time around.

Our fondest and most vivid recollections of the Strip were Paris and the Venetian’s facades, the Star Trek experience at the LV Hilton,  Bellagio’s fountain, everything at Mandalay Bay, Treasure Island’s “touristy” Pirate Battle, and the realization that things (mega-resorts) are actually much farther away than they appear. We stayed about 3/4 mile off the Strip at Quality Inn Key Largo and took taxis everywhere we went. In retrospect, it would have been less expensive to rent a car but the hassle clearly wouldn’t have been worth it.

We discovered that Vegas is a tip-hungry town… especially taxi drivers. Standard tips at the Buffets seemed to be about $5/table…we tipped about $5 for drinks at the gaming tables. The only uncomfortable or disturbing experience we had was with a cab driver who insisted on a better tip. He literally was not going to let us out of the cab until we paid him off. The trip was from the Bellagio to the Mirage for the S&R show… the cost on the meter was about $4.60 .. I gave him $6 and waved off the change, tried to open
the door and found it locked. From his broken English I initially thought that he wanted to give me change or misunderstood that he could keep the change but quickly realized that he was asking for more. He seemed to suggest that he had to pay out-of-pocket for the right to pick up guests of the Bellagio and that he was losing money by only receiving a $1.40 tip. We were already running a bit late for the show (had to forego the two free drinks) and I didn’t want to argue so I firmly and with some authority in my voice demanded that he immediately unlock the door (as we couldn’t). He complied but continued to rant as we walked toward the Mirage entrance, a tad embarrassing but we survived.

On our next visit we’ll shell out the extra bucks and stay at either Treasure Island or Mandalay Bay. Our accommodations at QI’s Key Largo were adequate (clean, quiet and roomy) but too far away from the Strip. The check-in staff there were exceptionally polite, efficient and courteous. Given the nature of the interaction we observed with some of the other guests, I commend their patience and professionalism. We missed our flight to LA because we arrived at the airport after the baggage check-in time limit. We were held up in traffic because of a serious accident and the flight time was moved 20 minutes forward…. two things I didn’t count on. We had to be in LA to catch a Cruise Ship so we split up and hit the other airline line-ups in search of two seats to LA in time to make the cruise. Fortunately, Southwest Airlines came through for us and we were in LA with 2 hours to spare.

Looking forward to our next visit!

Ted Responds:

Thanks for the great letter. It inspired us to write our article on tipping today. If a cabby has to pay to pick up at Bellagio, that’s not only news to us, but not your problem. Your tip was plenty generous for a short trip.

I too have had cabbys attempt to screw me by taking me the longer route, etc. (thinking I was a tourist that didn’t know any better). Anytime you get into ANY dispute with a cab driver, simply mention that you are going to call the Taxicab Authority and file a complaint. Ever seen a cab driver’s face turn pale? I have. The Nevada Taxi Cab Authority is at 486-6532 and is also listed in the white pages under “Nevada – State of / Taxicab Authority.”

Also, remember that is says right on the cab – that they carry less than $5 in change. While that is generally not true, and unpleasant cabby can refuse to change in your bigger bills so get small bills before you catch the cab. Casinos aren’t short on change! Better yet, just rent a car at and save yourself the hassles and cab lines.





CEO/Managing Editor








Las Vegas Trip Report Golden Nugget Downtown Las Vegas

Janice and David Haynes wrote:

My husband and I (we are from New York), spent a week in Vegas last month, staying downtown at the Golden Nugget, which has always been our favorite place to stay. We met his parents out there, who are from Florida, and did a lot of buffets, as that is their favorite places to eat when there. We found the Rio Seafood Buffet, the Mirage, and the Golden Nugget to be excellent fare, versus the cost in each instance. We also went to the Main Street Station and found it to be very mediocre. I do admit that we did not go there on their seafood night, so perhaps it may have been better, but I would not spend the money again to find out, when I know the quality of other places. As always, Stefanos in the Golden Nugget for one of our “regular dinners” was excellent!

This was our first time to see the Bellagio (stayed for 4 of the fountain shows – it was fantastic), the Venetian (only checked out the outside, as well as Paris,) and did a side day trip to see the Star Trek Experience and found it to be one of the best motion rides we have ever been on. We also loved the museum portion; true Star Trek fans could spend hours in here. Our favorite thing was the visit to Quark’s Bar afterwards – great drinks, great snacks and great atmosphere with the characters sitting in the bar and talking with everyone. I kicked myself all the way back to the Golden Nugget for forgetting my camera!!! However, I couldn’t get over how dead the casino of the Las Vegas Hilton was – if there was 20 people in there, that was a lot….

As always, the Golden Nugget’s rooms were roomy, tastefully decorated, and we were in the North Tower which is closer to the casino. We never had to wait for an elevator, which has been a negative experience in the past when we have been in the South Tower. Our favorite thing in being downtown, was the fewer numbers of children being in the hotels and casinos; we love kids…just not on our vacations in Vegas!! Take them to Disneyworld where they belong. I have had my fill of having my ankles run over by strollers in the past and expect it there; but in Las Vegas I applaud the efforts of the hotels limiting access to children.

We love the glitter of the strip, but always felt like we were “home” when we came back downtown at night. We can’t wait until our next trip in May!

Overall, we had a great trip and appreciate the information posted in this newsletter, as it helped us make decisions about some of the things we did during the week. keep up the great work!!

Reviews Of Las Vegas Casino Architecture: Bellagio, Paris, Mandalay Bay, Venetian

David from Houston writes:

My comments about Las Vegas:

I go to Las Vegas every year. This year was to see the four new resort hotels. Two were disappointments, one was very nice, and the other one was simply stunning.

Bellagio: Architecture wise, this resort was not very appealing, the inside was just average, really nothing to justify the hype associated with it. The fountain show in the lagoon however was really nice. The classical piece of music fit the fountains perfectly. However, they need to only use that piece of music, I saw the fountain show three times, two times they had the classical music, and the last time they had this awful music titled ( Big Spender) it did not match the fountains at all, and was a total turn-off. I was not the only one dissatisfied by the music selection.

Paris: The Eiffel Tower was real nice looking especially at night all lit up. However that was the only nice thing about the appearance of the hotel. The inside had no architectural features. The ceiling was painted like the sky. That is fine if it is in a corridor like the forum shops in Caesars. However, having the whole ceiling painted like the sky seems a bit much. It seems like they wanted a cheap way out. There has been talk about it being cramped inside, only in certain places; otherwise I did not think it was too cramped. Anyway, certainly not one of the nicer resorts. One other thing which I did not like, at the crap table, the chips that were used also included Bally’s chips and vice versa. I thought that was really goofy. I guess they belong to the same corporation. But that was a negative that should be changed.

Mandalay Bay: The architecture inside was really nice, the ceilings had a lot of intricate moldings. The layout was really nice. The outside I did not see, I walked through the Luxor walkway. The people that worked there were real friendly. Very nice place.

Venetian: Simply stunning. I could not believe the architecture outside. It really did look like Venice. Everything was on a grand scale, even the walkway to the wax museum. The inside entry to check in made my jaw drop. Without a doubt, the most beautiful resort in LAS VEGAS. The ceiling architecture was very nice. The ceiling above the stairway leading to the canal shops looked like Michelangelo painted it. The gold color on the oversized molding on that ceiling was a beautiful touch. And the canal inside with the shops was spectacular.

Other recommendations to see in Vegas:

Imax movies at Caesars and Luxor. Also, the wax museum at the Venetian is well worth it. The Mystere‘ show at Treasure Island, well worth the money. Coca Cola Museum The Forum Shops in Caesars. Treasure Island Ship Battle. Gamblers Museum in Tropicana Hotel, very informative., Fountains at Bellagio Dolphin/Tiger habitat at Mirage Hotel.

Las Vegas Trip Report: Love MGM Grand

Susan in South Florida wrote:

My husband and I were in Vegas Oct 9-15. Stayed at the MGM Grand and loved the way they treat their guests! The buffet was pretty fantastic. We got to look at all the new hotels and my favorite is the Venetian because we got to see one of the rooms. Very very elegant and HUGE! I stayed at the Bellagio last April. It was very beautiful but a little too “Full of Itself” if you know what I mean. Saw the Rat Pack this trip. Fabulous!! I LOVE Vegas.