The Las Vegas Strip is a thrill ride for sure.
But the girlie-show hucksters on street corners, traffic
congestion and dust-spewing construction pits can be maddening. For
clients looking for a Sin City experience away from the tumult, a
good alternative is the newly renovated Green Valley Ranch, a
luxury resort about 15 minutes southeast of the Strip in the
upscale suburb of Henderson.
More evocative of Palm Springs than Las Vegas, the 496-room
property Lilliputian by standards of today’s mega-resorts is a
refreshing outpost of good taste. The seven-story building is
Mediterranean revival; the interior Tuscany-flavored Old World. The
main entrance opens to a circular, light-filled lobby, with elegant
sofas and chairs, and not a slot machine in sight. Dark wood
cabinets and beautifully carved sideboards hold charming ornamental
boxes and silver decorative pieces. Artwork in gilt-edged frames,
European tapestries and silk drapes with tasseled tiebacks decorate
The rear of the lobby opens onto a dreamy outdoor space with three
acres of decorative vineyards and a stunning view of the Strip that
turns spectacular under the night sky. Palm trees and chaise
lounges with fat cushions encircle a large pool with a walk-in sand
beach. Huge, open-sided lounging boxes piled high with pillows look
to be awaiting a sultan and his harem. The drone of freeway traffic
becomes less noticeable with time.
On warm weekends, the pool scene can get crowded and noisy, but
tucked away alongside the newly expanded spa, which occupies a
separate building, is a smaller pool, lovely and infinitely more
relaxing. While the front desk told me that guests who do not book
a treatment must pay a resort fee to use the spa pool, the spa
staff cheerily admitted me, no questions asked.
When it comes to guestrooms, it’s the little things that count and
my standard room priced below the equivalent on the Strip delighted
at every turn. I liked the way the elegant bedspread was folded
into a triangle at the bottom corner of the bed. Small ceiling
lights illuminated beautifully framed prints, as if at a museum.
The Wall Street Journal outside my door in the morning put me in
such a good mood that I forgave the housekeeping staff for the used
filter left in the coffee machine and a crumpled piece of paper on
the floor. Rooms above the Whiskey Bar are best avoided on weekends
by guests who like to sleep.
Green Valley Ranch’s signature restaurant is the super-pricey
Hank’s Fine Steaks & Martinis and worth a visit if only to
check out the dramatic fire-and-ice display and the diners carving
into filets as fat as New York phonebooks. Less expensive choices
include the reliably good Il Fornaio, Sushi + Sake and Fado, which
serves Irish pub grub in an atmospheric setting with lots of dark,
weathered wood and old barrels and jugs on the walls. An oyster bar
and turf grill will open soon. There are more dining options at The
District, an outdoor shopping center next door to the resort.
Green Valley Ranch is 50 percent owned by Station Casinos, the
publicly traded company that has carved out a successful niche
catering to locals looking for a congenial place to gamble away
from the chaos of the Strip. The gambling scene here indeed hops,
especially at the newly expanded, 22-table poker room.
While Station Casinos markets Green Valley Ranch as a Cheers-like
neighborhood joint, the label seems ill-fitting for such a
sophisticated property with a cosmopolitan clientele. During my
stay, I ran into a family of vacationing Germans, a wedding party
from Indiana and ballroom dancers dressed to the nines for a
regional competition. All had a been-there, done-that attitude
about the Strip.
Apart from the casino and the multiplex at The District, nighttime
entertainment options are limited. The Whiskey Bar has a cool,
007-esque vibe and caters to the martini crowd. Fado features music
at night with a modest cover charge. Otherwise, a taxi to the Strip
runs $30 to $35 and clients should be sure to ask about the
resort’s free shuttle.
Green Valley Ranch Resort
2300 Paseo Verde Drive
Henderson, NV 89052