By  on February 19, 2002


Greener Pastures

For those who prefer a more intimate resort experience off the Strip, there's the 201-room Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa, located 10 miles away in Henderson, Nev. There's not a single slot machine to be found in the Mediterranean-style lobby. The gaming and restaurants -- including The Original Pancake House, Il Fornaio and Border Grill -- have a separate entrance, designed to lure locals to the property, as well. Another big draw for R&R-seekers is the 10,000-square-foot Dolphin Court Grand Spa, with treatment rooms featuring glass ceilings and underwater views of an overhead reflecting pool. Beyond that, there's an artificial sandy beach and a cabana-lined pool. But you won't completely forget that you're in Vegas: From most windows in the hotel, you can enjoy a dazzling view of the Strip. Interstate 215 and Green Valley Parkway, (702) 617-7777,

Raising the Bar

Whiskey Sky, the nightspot at Green Valley Ranch, offers up the same chic attitude as its L.A. counterparts, also owned by Rande Gerber. Patrons enter the watering hole, designed by Michael Czysz, either from a set of 2,000-pound white lacquer double doors off the lobby or a glossy white staircase accessible by private elevator. Cocktail-sipping hotties are then transported into a groovy world of shaken, not stirred martinis and ambient lighting. "I was inspired by all those great James Bond movies of the Seventies," Czysz said. "You can almost imagine Sean Connery holding court with a cadre of Bond girls next to the 12-foot fireplace." There's also a pool table, a glass-encased dance floor and a terrace filled with the same pillow-strewn mattresses as Sky Bar and eight covered poolside "opium dens," each with its own bed, flat-screen TV, mist system, stereo/CD player and computer portal. Interstate 215 and Green Valley Parkway, (702) 617-7777.

Velvet Underground

Ever since its star-studded opening in January, Light has given visitors yet another drinking and dancing option, smack dab in the middle of the action, just above the main casino at the Bellagio Hotel. An 8,000-square-foot rectangular bar and lounge area surrounds a huge, sunken dance floor bordered with velvet booths and ottomans. Fire-juggling dancers also gyrate to top-40 tunes on the bar's dance floor. For the first few months, at least, count on this haunt to be a prime star-sighting spot. Bellagio Hotel, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 693-7111. Open 6 p.m.-4 a.m. daily.

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