I totally agree that the Mirage is a good place to stay but the new buffet really isn’t that great. The room is pretty nice (for a buffet) and the food wasn’t bad but the place is just a logistical nightmare. There’s not a lot of room to move around when getting your food and dishes seemed to be randomly placed (example: breakfast meats and potatoes on one side of the room, scrambled eggs on the other side of the room).
To the original poster, of the places you listed, I’d pick the Flaming-o.
Location is everything and it’s just a lot closer to the places wifey and I like to go.
Plus they’ve got penguins.
You also might consider splitting your stay at a couple places.
Maybe the Flaming-o for two nights and then someplace at the south end of the strip for another two nights. Also, when pricing Vegas hotels, remember that Friday and Saturday nights cost a whole lot more than the rest of the week. So maybe stay at a nicer place for the first 3 nights and then move somewhere cheaper for your Friday night stay. I personally think it’s too much of a PITA to do but I know a lot of people who like to split their stays.
I personally wouldn’t stay at the Stratosphere or Sahara and I’m somewhat leery of the Excalibur. But then I’m kind of snooty that way. Wifey and I are staying at the Bellagio in a couple weeks. We got lake view room for $139/nt Sunday-Wednesday. Stayed at Treasure Island for $89/nt midweek a little while ago. I think you should be able to do better than $79 for the Flaming-o.
Whatever you do, make sure you pace yourself when you’re there. You will always end up walking way more than you expected. Don’t try to see and do everything. It’s just not worth it.