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.The Wild West

For those who think that cocktails served by model-esque bartenders is a bit too tame, but for whom strip bars are a tad too risque, there is Coyote Ugly. Similar to its New York sibling and the hit movie of the same name, the bar serves up Southern saloon atmosphere and hot female bartenders, who have elevated pouring drinks to an art form (co-owner Jennifer Worthington was actually an associate producer of the film). Each night, sexy, sassy, tough-talking "coyotes" climb atop the bar to perform a bold show filled with stunts ranging from fire-blowing to body shots to choreographed dance numbers, all while inviting customer interaction. There is ample room for patrons to dance on the bar, where even the most reserved guests are persuaded to showcase their talents and leave their undergarments behind for the "Bra Wall of Fame." New York-New York Hotel and Casino, 3790 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (702) 740-6969. Open Daily 4 p.m.-4 a.m. Cover $10 after 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Masterpiece Theaters

Art aficionados are heralding the arrival in Las Vegas of two new museums, both located at the Venetian Hotel.

"Masterpieces and Master Collectors," the inaugural exhibition of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, traces Modernism's roots in late 19th-century France, beginning with Impressionists Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre Auguste Renoir. Also on display are Post-Impressionist and early Modernist pieces by Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne, as well as 20th-century Modernist pieces by Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard. Paintings by Pablo Picasso done prior to and during the development of Cubism are on view, as are Cubist works by Fernand Leger, Robert Delaunay and Frank Kupka. The exhibition ends with abstract pieces by Wassily Kandinsky.

The Guggenheim Las Vegas, a 63,700-square-foot exhibition hall, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, will house large-scale exhibitions, the first of which is "The Art of the Motorcycle." The show explores the motorcycle as both a cultural icon and design achievement. The exhibition chronicles the most compelling moments in the evolution of motorcycle technology and design, and places the motorcycle within a cultural and historical context. More than 130 motorcycles are arranged chronologically, from a steam engine attached to a bicycle dating to 1868 to the most technologically advanced models. The exhibition also features a collection of approximately 200 pieces of motorcycle memorabilia, including ads and sales brochures. The Venetian Hotel, 3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (702) 414-2440, Both open 9:30 a.m-8:30 p.m. daily.Mobile Station

Alexander Calder, perhaps one of the best-known American sculptors, is credited with turning the mobile into a legitimate art form during the Thirties. Now a retrospective of his work from 1926 to 1976 is on display in the Bellagio Fine Art Gallery through July 24. Aside from mobiles, Calder created toys, jewelry and household objects made from wire, string, glass and ceramic fragments. Most of the pieces in the exhibition remained in the artist's personal collection, and many are rarely viewed by the public. Among the seldom seen pieces are "Roxbury Fish" and "Panama." 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (702) 693-7871, Open Sunday-Thursday,10 a.m-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday,10 a.m.-9 p.m.

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