Supervised Kids Quest activities program, with an indoor maze and basketball court
About a 10-minute drive from several excellent golf courses
Located next to two major highways and a shopping mall
20 minutes by car from the Strip
Casino smells of smoke
Pool closes in early evening
Daily resort fee (includes Wi-Fi and Strip/airport shuttle service)
No coffeemakers in rooms
It's about 20 minutes from the Strip, but this Mediterranean-style resort in the suburbs offers plenty to do: an awesome sand-bottom pool, impressive casino, movie theater, 40,000-square-foot spa, and nightly live music. The 495 guest rooms are elegantly furnished and spacious -- even the standard rooms are about 100 square feet larger than average rooms on the Strip. Travelers might want to compare Green Valley with the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, which offer lower rates, but isn't as glam.
It's about 20 minutes from the Strip, but this photogenic resort has its own bit of glitz and glamour
When the Green Valley Ranch first opened in 2001, it was a see-and-be-seen scene, with Bill Clinton lounging by the pool and George Clooney hanging out at the bar. In 2004, the Discovery Channel used the resort as the setting of a reality TV series, "American Casino." Today, however, it mostly attracts more couples and conference attendees -- and a steady stream of locals -- than celebrities. The property's A-lister days appear to have passed, but Green Valley is still an impressive, full-service resort. And although it is just 15 to 20 minutes from the Strip, it feels worlds away, thanks to its Mediterranean-style buildings, extravagant Old World-inspired interiors, long skinny pine shrubs pointing to the Nevada sky, and gorgeous sand-bottom pool with a disappearing edge waterfall and a bridge that spans its length.
Large groups and conference-goers often dominate the property. A weekend during the high season might see as many as two or three weddings (the ceremony usually occurs on the open terrace), plenty of anniversary celebrations, and honeymooner getaways. "But not many bachelor parties," a hotel manager told us. "They go to the Palms or Hooters for that."
If you're looking for a Vegas vacation without the crowds or fuss of the Strip, the Green Valley Ranch is still one of the best in the area for both low-key families and high-rolling gamblers seeking a little Vegas-style thrill. However, if you're looking to be a distance from the Strip and actually enjoy Nevada's landscape -- not its shopping malls -- Red Rock Resort may be a better option. This sister property has an equally cool pool and casino, a movie theater, and even a bowling alley. But unlike Green Valley Ranch, the Red Rock is smack in the middle of Red Rock Canyon National Park -- great for hiking, biking, and admiring natural splendor.
Located in suburban Las Vegas, 15 to 20 minutes from the Strip, next to two highways and a shopping mall
Green Valley is located in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, the second largest city in Nevada. The resort is just off Paseo Verde Parkway and the Las Vegas Beltway, though clever landscaping mostly shields guests from sights and sounds of rushing traffic.
The resort is located about 15 minutes from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and less than 20 minutes from the Strip, depending on the exact destination
The hotel shuttle (included in the mandatory resort fee), travels to and from McCarran International Airport and the Strip; it is first-come, first-serve and leaves approximately every hour on the half-hour
Many of the area's top golf courses -- Revere Golf Club, Rio Secco Golf Club, and Legacy Golf Club -- are about 10 minutes away by car (the resort's concierge can help guests plan a day on the greens and can get guests decent rates, and occasionally, a priority tee time)
Swank rooms with warm marigold walls, plush carpeting, and classic decor
Just shy of 500 square feet, standard rooms are at least 100 square feet larger than the average room on the Strip. And even standard rooms feature plenty of luxe details, like Bose sound systems, thick bathrobes, and cozy easy chairs with ottomans. Some rooms feature French doors opening onto tiled balconies overlooking the pool area. All rooms have stocked minibars and 42-inch flat-screen TVs with about 40 cable channels, including HBO. Bathrooms have lovely details like decorative Spanish tiling and marble sink counters, plus Gilchrest & Soames travel toiletries. Suites range in size from 700 to 4,000 square feet; the 1,500-square-foot Tuscany Suite is especially swanky. Note that none of the couches in the larger rooms open up into beds, but rollaways are available for a nightly fee. Cribs are available at no extra charge.
The huge sand-bottom pool has a well-groomed artificial beach on one side (great for kids), a bridge passing over the entire length, and a disappearing waterfall edge. The pool is surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs and beds, but there isn't much shade and umbrellas are limited, so guests who want protection from the sun will need to find a spot early. (Cabanas for up to seven people are available for a fee, plus a food-and-drink minimum.) Be aware that the pool closes in the early evening -- a source of dismay for many hotel guests, especially those there for all-day conferences. The hotel's backyard pool area and on-site lounge serves as venues for concert events; live music is performed every night of the week, and the hotel often builds vacation packages around upcoming concerts.
The excellent spa is adjacent to the main pool and features 22 private treatment rooms, whirlpools in both the women's and men's areas, a coed whirlpool, and a small serene lap pool (for guests 21 and up only). The fitness center overlooks the spa pool, and has more treadmills and elliptical machines than guests could ever need. Other features include a Regal Cinemas movie theater that shows current releases and a Kids Quest program that provides a big supervised play area (with an indoor climber, basketball court, air-hockey table, movies, toys, computer games, and more) for an hourly fee.
A hotel shuttle to and from McCarran Airport and the Strip (pick-up and drop-off at the Mandalay Bay) is included in resort fee. Guests should check with the hotel for schedules, which run every few hours daily. Shuttle seating is first come, first serve. The resort fee also covers Wi-Fi, local phone calls, access to the spa and fitness center, use of the business center, a daily newspaper, and coffee in the lobby.
The Green Valley is happy to accommodate dogs, as long as they are 40 pounds or less. Other pets, such as cats, are permitted to the hotel manager's discretion. There is a fee per pet, per room, and a two-pet per room maximum.
A glamorous casino that constantly bustles with locals and is a great place for beginners
The casino has more than 2,000 slot machines, 55 game tables, a 24-hour poker salon, and a 220-seat race and sports book venue. This casino is popular among the residents of Henderson, especially for the low-stakes $5 blackjack table. (The minimum bet at many blackjack tables on the Strip is at least $15.)
Resort has elegant -- but not extravagant -- casino dining down pat, as well good poolside grub and 24/7 room service
There are plenty of mealtime choices at the Green Valley Ranch. The casino has 10 restaurants, including Hank's Fine Steaks & Martinis, serving prime beef cuts and some 25 martini varieties, and Bottiglia, a Tuscan-focused Italian restaurant with a 120-plus wine selection, wood-fired pizzas, and roasted meats and fish. Other options include Grand Cafe for American comfort food; Borracha for Mexican fare and tequila; Tides Seafood and Sushi Bar for oysters, sashimi, and grilled fish; and Feast Buffet for a classic Vegas all-you-can-eat experience. The casino has its own mall-like food court with a Fatburger, Panda Express, and Starbucks. Room service is available 24 hours a day.
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