Savvy travelers know that some of the best places they’ll discover on vacation are those that the locals frequent.
Station Casinos has been a favorite hotel and casino operator among Las Vegas locals for years. The company started out in 1976 with the opening of a casino that later became Palace Station hotel. Today, the company operates 18 casinos and resorts around the Las Vegas area, known for providing dining, entertainment and gaming to locals and tourists alike.
The Station Casinos hotels range from budget-friendly to high-end resort-style properties.
Two hotels, Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa and Green Valley Ranch, stand out as the company’s luxury properties. Both are AAA Four Diamond Award-winning resorts that offer all of the amenities customers are looking for in a Vegas hotel, but in a less crowded, more relaxed atmosphere than their Strip counterparts.
Green Valley Ranch
Green Valley Ranch, which opened in 2001, is located in Henderson, about 15 minutes from the Strip.
The hotel’s Vice President and General Manager Don Richardson said even though the resort isn’t on Las Vegas Boulevard, guests will still find it convenient and accessible.
“We’re only minutes from the Strip and in some cases guests can get from McCarran Airport to Green Valley Ranch quicker than they can get to some of the Strip casinos,” he said.
The hotel also offers shuttle service to the airport and to the Las Vegas Strip for its guests.
Richardson said even though the hotel may not be in the center of all the action, guests will get the best of everything a Las Vegas vacation has to offer.
“When guests who aren’t familiar with the resort try to understand what we are and who we are, really it’s a Las Vegas experience without having to go down to the Strip,” he said. “This really gives you everything that you want out of Las Vegas. It gives you your gaming; it gives you your beautiful hotel with all of the amenities like the pool and the spa, fine dining, buffet restaurant, entertainment – it gives you everything you get at the Strip, but with a little bit more privacy and intimacy and most importantly, more personalized service…”
Green Valley Ranch has a large casino and 495 rooms ranging from standard rooms to several different types of luxury suites. “We have a great room product. It is a beautiful Tuscan-type décor,” said Richardson. “Both towers have rooms overlooking the pool area and the Las Vegas Strip.”
Richardson said Green Valley Ranch doesn’t cater to any one distinct demographic, but prides itself on offering something for everyone. “We try to offer something for every segment of the market.
We certainly are a high-end resort destination, but we have a lot of fun, exciting things for a younger clientele. We’ve got things for families – we’ve got an arcade and a Regal movie theater. We’ve got casual dining, we’ve got fine dining.”
One of the highlights of the property is the pool area, which features daybeds, rattan chairs and cabanas.
It’s the brainchild of Michael Czyz, the man who designed the home and pool of Lenny Kravitz.
“We’ve got a great backyard recreational facility,” said Richardson “We’ve got four different pools out there – we’ve got our main pool, which includes a sand entrance with a beach area for families with children. We’ve got a spa pool for people who want a little bit more of a relaxing atmosphere. Then we’ve got a third pool, which is part of our private cabana area if you want a little bit of an exclusive pool experience. Lastly, we have our Pond, which is our 21 and older pool area, which is a little bit more of a day club type of an experience.”
Richardson said entertainment is another big draw at Green Valley Ranch.
“We offer tremendous entertainment here…we have everything from lounge entertainment including acts like Steel Panther and other types of local bands and then we have all types of headline entertainment – everything from Smokey Robinson to the Black Eyed Peas.”
Other amenities at the resort include a full-service spa and a sports book that was voted one of the top 100 sports books in the country by “Sports Illustrated.”
Those who are looking for nightlife and other diversions will find no shortage of either at Green Valley Ranch.
The District at Green Valley Ranch is located adjacent to the resort. The pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined shopping area captures a quaint downtown feel with more than 50 sophisticated shops and restaurants, including Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, REI, Cheesecake Factory and Williams-Sonoma.
Green Valley Ranch offers a multitude of nightlife options. Beer pong and live music are among the offerings at the energetic Quinn’s Irish Pub, while the dimly lit center bar, Drop Bar provides a more hip, relaxing experience.
Richardson said the hotel is also reopening what used to be The Whiskey nightclub, starting on Labor Day weekend. The venue will be called the Lobby Bar.
“What’s nice about it is it’s both indoors and outdoors so I think it appeals to a lot of people depending on whether or not they want to be inside and chill or they want to be outside and enjoy the Vegas weather in the fall,” Richardson said.
Richardson said besides all of the amenities the resort offers, it prides itself on its customer service, which is imperative because of its big local customer base.
“We’re heavily focused on providing a higher level of service because on the Strip they may only see those guests once or twice a year, where here, we see the same guests four, five, six, seven times a week so we know in order to earn their loyalty we have to have the highest level of service that there is in all of Las Vegas.”
Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa
Station Casinos opened Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in 2006. Located in the northwest part of town, about 20-30 minutes from the Strip, the resort is just minutes from the famed Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
The resort takes advantage of its stunning surroundings. Stacy Stagg, assistant general manager of the property, said the hotel offers a unique adventure spa program that allows guests to plan hikes, kayaking trips and other outdoor activities at Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead.
“There’s a lot more to Las Vegas than just the Strip and I think people don’t realize that until they come this far west and see it,” Stagg said.
The rooms at the resort also offer either a breathtaking view of the canyon or the Strip from floor-to-ceiling windows.
“We get a lot of repeat business from guests who don’t expect something of this magnitude here off the Strip,” said Stagg. “We compare ourselves to Wynn, the Venetian – that’s our competitive set.”
Stagg said the rooms at Red Rock offer everything you can find on the Strip, but in a more intimate setting.
“Guests can be a big fish in a little pond at Red Rock. We have 800 rooms versus 5,000 rooms on the Strip.
We have a fabulous room product. We have 150 signature suites throughout the towers that have a standard room with a little living area attached and a 42-inch television set.
“On the 20th floor we have seven beautiful luxury suites and then down the center of the building we also have our presidential and luxury suites.”
Stagg said one of the highlights is a suite on the end of the tower with a 180-degree view from the canyon to the Strip. “We’ve had Justin Timberlake and Kanye West stay there and they found it an extremely comparable, if not better, experience than they’ve had on the Strip,” she said.
While there is plenty of action in the casino at Red Rock, Stagg said the property is laid out in a way that allows guests seclusion and privacy if they are just looking for a relaxing hotel experience.
“We have the east side of the building, which caters to hotel guests. You can come in the porte cochere on the east side, have a fabulous hotel experience, be dropped from your elevator right into the pool environment – without ever having to walk into the casino, which is different than Strip hotels,” she said. “Then we have our ‘locals’ side of the building on the west side with our bowling, movie theaters, food court, race and sports book.”
Just like its sister property, Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock also has an extensive pool area featuring a beach area, cabanas, wading pools and an island. The Cabana Club offers European-style pools with a live DJ on weekend afternoons.
“Guests tell us that time and time again, once they get up here and they see the beautiful property, the beautiful pool, they’re wowed and we do get a lot of repeat business because of that,” Stagg said.
The pool area is also home to dozens of concerts throughout the summer from big-name entertainers like Don Henley (appearing Sept. 18) and Train (Sept. 24).
The resort also has a lounge area inside that will feature popular band Zowie Bowie beginning in September. “They opened the property, had great success here and they’re going to be back at Red Rock,” Stagg said.
One of the newest additions to the property is a Yard House bar and restaurant that offers a massive beer selection and classic American food.
The resort also offers a variety of other dining options.
“We’ve got different price points in our restaurants that cater to a higher-end clientele like T-Bones, Terra Rossa and Hachi,” said Stagg. “But then we’ve also got a lower price point like Cabo, and the café and our buffet.”
Like Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock offers shuttle service to the Strip and the airport. Stagg said the hotel is not as far away as people might think and that a lot of people like the remoteness of the Red Rock Canyon area.
She said the fact that locals are so loyal to Red Rock is a good testimonial for why people should try an off-Strip getaway.
“When I travel I like to find out what the locals like to do – and that’s what we offer. There’s a lot of shopping out here, there’s a lot of different restaurants and we can have that variety and appease the guests, but not be in that congested environment of the Strip.”