Not all that glitters in Las Vegas sparkles along its Strip. There’s plenty of treasure off Las Vegas Boulevard in the form of upscale hotels with panache and pricing below what might be found under the neon.
Green Valley Ranch is another luxe “locals’” casino by Station, which captures its fair share of people who love their Vegas in measured doses. Décor is a little bit European manor house meets Alhambra, but it works, and 490 rooms and suites are located in a tower removed from the casino. One of its best advantages is its adjacency to The District, a walkable outdoor dining and retail zone, and an increasingly terrific restaurant program.
Also about 10 miles west of the Strip is a shiny, red tower accented by the red rock hills behind it. Station Casinos opened the 815-room Red Rock Hotel in 2006 as their ode to hip hotels with a summer rock concert line-up staged at the pool and a Rande Gerber nightclub. The glassy, clean-edged guest rooms run in desert hues. The spa presents unusual experiences, such as a boxing ring for couples and guided excursions into the desert as part of its “Adventure Spa” menu.
This hotel 10 miles west of the Strip in Summerlin, opened in 1999 as a luxury resort anchored into the area’s championship golf greens. The rolling Mediterranean manor features 541-rooms and a 49,000-square-foot spa. Guest rooms remain comfortably luxurious with windows onto the desert, pools and gardens. Find a casino, a buffet and a promenade here, but the spa remains a central attraction mostly for its outdoor pool and watercourse of healing Jacuzzi jet cubbies.
Themed bowling suites? A Hard Rock first. Over-the-top and outside-the-bikini pool scenes? Blame it on the Hard Rock. The guest population at this 657-room, “boutique-sized, by Vegas standards” hotel keeps a youth demo of 20s and 30s, bolstered by a sizzling nightclub scene (Vanity), pool scene (REHAB) and intimate, legend-name rock concerts at The Joint (Dylan plays here, Styx and REO Speedwagon are on the roster as are Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, and Incubus).