A visit to the world’s gambling centre without spending a fortune? Well, the gambling part is up to you… but with Marco Polo’s top insider tips, you CAN visit Las Vegas AND save money! Let us show you how:
Accommodation in Las Vegas is noticeably more expensive on Friday and Saturday nights, so if you are given the choice then try to time your arrival for a Sunday.
Nowhere else in the world does supply and demand influence hotel prices as extremely as in Las Vegas. Just like the airlines: every day, every flight has a new price, designed to maximise profit and to attract guests on the down days. So when business is slow in the middle of the week, say on a Tuesday, a room in an exclusive hotel can cost as little as 59 dollars and then next day when a trade fair starts and the city is full, the same room will cost you $249.
On websites, prices are shown months in advance but a visit to a travel agency is also worthwhile: sometimes travel agents have a set rate for rooms which can even be cheaper during trade fairs or over the holiday season, meaning they can be a better option than booking online.
The USA Hostel Las Vegas is a very comfortable youth hostel with Jacuzzi, swimming pool, billiards, ping-pong tables, internet access and a well equipped kitchen. A daily pancake breakfast and a Sunday barbecue are included in the price, as is the cost of your transport to the bus or train station. 1322 Fremont St | Downtown | Tel. 702 3 85 11 50 | www.lasvegashostel.net
America’s Best Value Inn: A motel sans casino with clean and comfortable rooms that are simple and fuss free. Only a block away from the excitement of the Strip. It also has its own attractive swimming pool. 250 rooms | 167 E. Tropicana Ave | Tel. 1 817 3 33 52 12 | Bus 201 East from corner Strip/Tropicana Ave | www.americasbestvalueinn.com
Motel 6: One of the cheapest motels in the city but the accommodation is quite acceptable, with a swimming pool and in a good location not far from the MGM Grand. 600 rooms | 195 E. Tropicana Ave | tel. 702 7 98 07 28 | Bus 201 East from the corner Strip/Tropicana Ave | www.motel6.com
Browse through the events magazines like What’s on? (www.whats-on.com) or Vegas Magazine (lasvegasmagazine.com) for coupons. There are even coupon websites available like www.vegascoupons.com, or you can find special promotion codes on the Internet, for example at www.smartervegas.com. Even restaurants, shows and exhibitions use coupons in their marketing. You can often get two tickets for the price of one, a free starter or even a free main dish.
Free shuttle buses travel to almost all of the hotel casinos and other attractions that are away from the Strip, e.g. to the Orleans, the Hard Rock Hotel or the Rio Suites. The monorails between the Bellagio, CityCenter and Monte Carlo, between Mirage and the TI Treasure Island as well as the line between Excalibur – Luxor – Mandalay Bay are all free.
Visit the www.vegasfreebie.com website for an overview of the free attractions and shows in Las Vegas.
Low prices away from the Strip: more and more of the large resorts that are not on the Strip itself try to make up for their location with low prices and this is where you will find some excellent buffets at very reasonable prices. West of the Strip, try the inexpensive prime rib in the Cortez Room (Gold Coast Casino. While east of the Strip, Mr. Lucky’s (Hard Rock Hotel) serves huge salads for $10. Close by is the Bougainvillea Cafe (Silver Seven’s – formerly Terrible’s) serving for example, a Thai curry for $5.99.
The food courts in the shopping malls are also a good source of cheap meals (e.g. in the Fashion Show Mall). You can get anything from pizza to Chinese sweet and sour and Mexican tortillas to ice-cream – and it is all self-serve.
Du Paris Golden Gate Bay City Diner: An American diner with prices, portions, design and service that harks back to the good ol’ days. Delicious pancakes for breakfast! Have your starter at the San Francisco Shrimp Bar (in the same hotel). The shrimp cocktail with home-made cocktail sauce at only $1.99 is a still a winner. More than 40 million dishes have been sold since 1959! Daily 24 hours | In the Golden Gate | 1 Fremont St | Tel. 702 3 85 19 06
Courtyard Café: American and spicy New Orleans cuisine at reasonable prices. A decent steak with different side dishes for only $18 – which is not something you will find often in Las Vegas. Daily 24 hours | In the Orleans Casino | 4500 W. Tropicana Ave | Tel. 702 3 65 71 11 | Bus 201 West from corner Strip/Tropicana Ave
Dragon Noodle: Every kind of Asian noodle dish made with fresh ingredients as well as traditional Chinese cuisine, often visited by Asian guests – which speaks volumes about the quality of the food. Sun–Thu 10.30am–1pm, Fri/Sat 10.30am–midnight | In the Monte Carlo | 3770 Las Vegas Blvd S. | Tel. 702 7 30 79 65 | www.montecarlo.com
Free Live Music
In the large hotels, bars and casinos, up-and-coming bands and singers from all over the USA often perform over the weekends. From the Indigo Lounge in Bally’s, to the Bond Bar in the Cosmopolitan, the La Scene Lounge in the Venetian to the Koi Lounge in Planet Hollywood. You can relax and enjoy without worrying about the cost as there are no cover charges. Sometimes it is not even necessary to order a drink.
Lions at MGM Casino
Whilst the tiger in the Mirage can only be viewed from behind bars, the MGM Casino shows their wild cats completely free. There is a glass enclosure in the centre of the casino with a pride of lions and they can even be viewed from underneath in a glass tunnel – if you are lucky, one might just be on top of the tunnel. The lions work in shifts: six hours in the exhibition and then two days of freedom on a nearby ranch (Open daily 11am–10pm | free entrance).
1950 Chevys, Cadillacs and antique Fords and even one of Elvis’ original cars, are all on show at the Imperial Palace – a car buff’s dream. Download a coupon from the Auto Collections website and book a free entrance ticket. Daily 10am–6pm | Entrance $8.95, free entrance with printed coupon from the website | Located in the Imperial Palace | 3535 S. Las Vegas Blvd | www.autocollections.com
Every afternoon and evening, the water fountains in front of the Bellagio dance a water ballet accompanied by melodies from Broadway shows, famous operas, Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti and Céline Dion. The 1200 jets perform an impressive, choreographed water ballet of light and music every 30 minutes in the afternoons, at night every 15 minutes. Insider tip: Get the best view from the Eiffel Tower on the opposite side.
Original historic souvenirs need not be expensive. Los Angeles Antiques on the outskirts of Downtown offer a wonderful collection of memorabilia from old casinos: from gambling chips and neon signs to lovely decorative pieces. Mon–Thu 10am–6pm, Fri/Sat until 8pm, Sun noon–5pm | 625 Las Vegas Blvd S. | The Deuce bus | lostvegas.vpweb.com
Colourful accessories, new and second-hand wares – the selection at the Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet at the western edge of the city is huge. Many dealers, but the prices are good – and you can also negotiate. Fri–Sun 10am–6pm | 1717 S. Decatur Blvd | Bus 204 West corner Strip/Charleston, then bus 103 South | www.fantasticindoorswapmeet.com
Buy the Las Vegas Marco Polo Guide.