When we think of off-strip places that cater to locals, we picture retirees enjoying a buffet followed by video poker and then an early bedtime. Well, not all locals are in their 70s, and this place sets out to please those that are only "nearly" 70. It's as luxurious as the nicer Strip resorts, without all the hassles or pleasures of being on the Strip. It's also a long way from the action, so we don't recommend it for people seeking the true "Vegas" experience.
The rooms are the standard for "upscale but not too upscale." They are the same space as most of the oversized rooms in town at 450 s.f. They excel in two areas, the first being the quality of materials. The carpets are rich, the bedding is plush, the furniture is solid wood and the pictures on the wall don't have any scrawled graffiti yet. The colors are typical beige with a few darker colors. Really, these are very pretty rooms to look at, and very reminiscent of the ones at the JW Marriott
. Rooms come with a king or two queens. All have writing desks with high-speed Internet access for an extra fee. The other place the rooms excel is in the amenities, which include safes, mini-bar fridges (everything costs dough), irons and the equally important ironing boards, full closets, hairdryers, coffee makers, alarm clocks with CD players and 2-line phones. The bathrooms have separate glass showers and deep tubs and there are a couple of robes in the room so you can throw one on and run down to the casino to put 50 bucks on Red 17. CAUTION: Beware of outrageous mandatory "amenity fees" that will be tacked on to your room rate.
Service Quality: It's an odd mix of outstanding on the hotel side and adequate on the casino side. The hotel is first class all the way, but the casino is not as upscale and does not score the same high marks. It caters to middle-aged locals.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: Nice little bottles of the usual cleaning supplies, including the shampoo, separate conditioner (for scandalous lustrousness), lotion and bath gel. Also, there is the second prize of freebies, the shoe mitt, and a little glass jar of Q-tips and cotton balls.
Clientele: The hotel is the luxury-sedan crowd, mostly late 40s and above in the rooms. The casino caters to locals and young hipsters. It's a bizarre and uneasy mix. If you're older and living comfortably you'll feel right in the hotel but out of sorts in the young and restless casino, and vice-versa.
How's the Pool? Fantabulous! They have a sand beach in the too-warm main pool, which has a bridge overhead and lots of chaise lounges. There are also some white plaster hutches with mattresses, pillows and built-in TVs beside the pool, where you can snuggle under the stars. A long row of pricey cabanas are lined up along a long, narrow wading pool. The biggest downer (besides the crappy overpriced margaritas) is that they close it way too early in the evening (7 p.m. and 6 p.m. last time we were there). There is lots of open space and grass and the glass-enclosed spa where you can watch rich people get facials, or have the poor people watch you. Oh yeah, they also have a European-style club in a secluded area for those willing to drop a lot of money.
Resort Fee: (What is this?)
$24.99 per night. You get wired and wireless internet, local and toll-free calls, daily paper, fitness center access, shoe shines (tip not included) and an airport shuttle.
Table Games: They deal blackjack, craps, roulette, Pai Gow, Let it Ride, Three Card poker and mini-baccarat. The whole casino area feels very much like a Station Casino, and is not anywhere near as elegant as the rest of the property. Single-deck blackjack pays a lousy 6:5, so skip it.
Bet Minimums: Blackjack is $5 when slow, as is craps, roulette is a $1 chip/$5 minimum on a two-zero wheel. Blackjack has the typical lousy Station Casinos rules, certainly not worth driving out here for. Craps has only 3-4-5x odds available. Baccarat is a ritzy $10 a hand. In other words, if you don't want to rub elbows with us, play baccarat.
Machines: Loads of dollar machines, lots of new video slots and many of the machines spit out those paper receipts that you can cash in for money at the change booth. The lamest part of that is how the machines make a phony coin dropping sound, as though they are saying "Here is what you should hear." We found a decent selection of full pay video poker.
Cocktails? Fair. The place has that Station Casino mentality of "Oh, we better not get people drunk because we don't want them crashing into our palm trees." Well, we've got news for them: we're not all the designated driver.
Who Gets Comps? Green action starts the bidding for meals. Even black action isn't going to score a room, unless you play at least eight hours a day. The Slot Club is the Station Casinos' Boarding Pass, a truly mediocre to slightly crummy slot club.
China Spice: For the most part, this is pretty typical Chinese. It's not as spicy as the name suggests, but the menu is fresh and comprehensive enough to please most everyone. Want a little extra spice? Just ask for a few more peppers mixed in.
Feast Buffet: A very good, but boring buffet, just like at every other Station Casino. It is not a fancy buffet, just a meat and potatoes one with ribs, chicken, cheap steaks, some seafood and lots of pretty good desserts. The prices are right, with a pricier upscale weekend brunch that includes a big ol' heaping of seafood on Sundays. Well, that higher brunch price makes sense, right? Brunch is, after all, the smushing together of both breakfast and lunch.
Hank's: This is the fancy steakhouse at Green Valley. They claim themselves famous for steaks and martinis, though if you have enough of the latter they could serve you horse meat and you wouldn't know. The menu is sort of California steakhouse, with a a load of seafood. It is ridiculously expensive, and very chi-chi inside. Open dinners only.
Original Pancake House: If this place was half as cool as the little cartoon chef on its logo, we'd move in and live under one of the booths. Lucky for them, it's not. It's a better than average coffee shop that claims to be the original pancake house, but is clearly not the original bacon house, or even the original egg house. Most days it's only open for breakfast and lunch.
Sushi + Sake: Standard sushi. For the best, try Nobu at the Hard Rock. But if you are out this way and you don't want one of the city's fine sushi buffets, this is a decent, if pricey, option. They have a sushi buffet in the early evening weeknights for around $35.
Terra Verde: The name translates to Green Earth, but don't worry, they are aren't going to serve you a pile of dirt with some food coloring. The restaurant serves up fairly traditional Italian, including pizzas, and has a big-ass wine selection. Open for dinners.
Tides Oyster Bar: This place is like a combination sports bar and oyster bar. Lots of southern seafood dishes, including po' boys and raw oysters. On the walls are big screens for seeing which ballplayer is popping the most steroids.
Turf Grill: Primarily, this place serves coffee shop style sandwiches, like hamburgers, cheesesteaks and clubs. The great thing is they open really early so you can get your cheeseburger for breakfast.
The fast food joints lining one wall include overpriced food and beverage from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Tropical Smoothie Caf�, Panda Express, Fatburger, U-Swirl Yogurt, Village Pizza and Wing Stop. Quinn's Irish Pub serves not-very-Irish finger foods like pizza skins and chicken fingers.
Drop Bar: If your turtleneck is clean and you're happy with how that goatee is growing in, you will fit in at this ridiculousy overbaked concept bar. It's a round bar in the center of the table game pit, with a thin veil separating it from the unhip gamblers. The chairs and sofas are more from the they-look-cool school than the comnfortable one. Drinks are overpriced, but there are lots of attractive people in their twenties hanging out.
Grand Events Center: The concerts here are not cutting edge. They aren't always exactly mainstream, either. It's a mix of older alternative acts like Joe Jackson and just plain older acts like Kenny Loggins, who just may fly into the danger zone,so those of you in the first three rows watch out!
Movie Theaters: They have ten screens for your viewing pleasure here at the Regal GVR 10. Pay once, sneak into all ten. Bring your own snacks, too.
Movie Theaters: Ten screens deliver the latest Hollywood pablum in brilliant color and spine-tingling sound.
Ovation: This 400-seat club appeals to the classic rock and country crowds with acts like Rick Springflied and Montgomery Gentry. In short, the club is nice, but the acts play it safe.
Number of TVs: Five big screens and 33 smaller plasma screens ring the sports book ceiling. Plus, twelve more screens in the bar area.
Number of Seats: About 44 leather seats that are all very comfortable. Plus, about 160 race seats with individual TVs, which just goes to show that the rich just keep on getting richer. The VIP area has 33 seats, which means GVR thinks there are only 33 people good enough to sit there.
How Many Betting Windows? About 12 total for the sports and pony boys and girls. Slate boards for race and sports.
Free Drinks? The cocktail waitresses seem to come through fairly often.
Snack Bar? Yes, food is available from the Turf Grill. Go ahead and order and blow what you just won by putting $2 on the favorite to show.
Minimum Wager: $5 sports, $2 for racing.
Other Notes: It's a really nice book overall, but sort of quiet and mostly a draw for older locals.
Number of Tables: There are 18 tables, with as many as a dozen going on weekends. Usually, it's fewer, especially on weekdays.
Comfort of Chairs: Oh, goodness. Such a swank place and yet such ordinary chairs.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? No, but it is relatively secluded and as quiet as the inside of a Buick. Just the way the seniors like it.
Game Spreads and Limits: Texas Hold Em in both limit ($2-$4) and no limit flavors ($1-$2 up to $5-$10) and a fairly frequent Omaha game at $4-$8.
How Crowded is the Room? It can get pretty busy on weekends. It is located out in the suburbs and you'll find a lot of seniors in here, even on weekdays. On weekends, however, a younger, looser and more aggressive clientele moves in, especially to the NL games.
Comps? The very standard $1 per hour of play. Whoop de doo.
How Good Are the Players? A mixed bag. Some of the locals have been playing badly for 30 years and will continue to play badly. Some are rocks just grinding it out, and they might make it tougher for you. Weekend crowds are easier to beat.
What Else Do I Need to Know? The room in general gives off the vibe of Michelob's Amber Bock beer. That is, they dress it up all serious, but it's really pretty generic. It's a very big room and there is a ton of space, but it's otherwise not worth going out of your way for.