Escape to One of Las Vegas' 10 Best Resorts

Photo courtesy of The Venetian
By Terrisa Meeks, Las Vegas Local Expert

When you think of Las Vegas resorts, you might think of large, lavish hotels on the Strip with every kind of amenity you can imagine. And while the resorts on the Strip offer guests an incredible experience, resorts off the Strip can provide a more relaxing escape.

Some off-the-Strip resorts, like the Red Rock and M Resort, offer guests modern, stylish accommodations close to hiking, biking, rock climbing and golf. You’ll find casinos, spas, great pools and a selection of restaurants in these neighborhood hotels, and the Strip is just a short drive away. Shopping and family-friendly activities are also nearby, giving guests plenty to do without venturing very far away. If you’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip, these Las Vegas resorts will give you a wealth of things to do and first-class rooms in which to stay–and you’ll also get to enjoy a great view of the Las Vegas Strip in the distance.

If you’d rather stay on the Strip, several resorts can give you a fun-filled stay, full of so many things to do that you may have to come back a second time to do them all. The well-appointed rooms will tempt you with comfortable beds and large soaking tubs in the bathrooms. Away from the room, guests can enjoy world-class spas, entertainment, restaurants, shopping and nightclubs, not to mention the large casinos.

10. The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino
Photo courtesy of The Venetian

The Venetian is connected to its neighbor, Palazzo, and it's difficult to tell when you've left one of these Vegas resorts and entered another. Their combined square footage makes the complex one of the world's largest, and it's also one of the premier convention spaces in Las Vegas. The Venetian is all-suites, and the Old World Italy design theme is echoed throughout the property. A large selection of restaurants are found both in the resort and in the large shopping area that famously includes Venetian-like canals and gondola rides. Popular shows rotate through the showrooms and most holidays are celebrated with on-site special events. The award-winning Canyon Ranch Spa Club gives guests every type of spa option, being one of the world's largest day spas.

9. Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of Ian McWilliams

Encore and its sister property, Wynn, and often thought of as one Las Vegas resort, which is a generally correct idea. One of the differences between the two is that Encore is an all-suites property, so while both resorts offer guests award-winning accommodations, one of Encore's elegantly appointed suites is a step above. Exclusive shops, acclaimed restaurants and shows and a stylish, modern décor invite you to stay and escape from the outside world. Mature landscaping salvaged from the property's former life as the Desert Inn sets this Vegas resort apart from its neighbors, sheltering the entrance from view. The understated elegance here is intentional, giving guests the feeling of exclusivity and retreat. The redesigned golf course gives golfers the chance to experience one of the few remaining on-the-Strip courses.

8. Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino
Photo courtesy of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

The Mandalay Bay Resort's all-inclusive feeling is perfect for anyone who would rather check in and stay put. The large, comfortable rooms have wonderful views of the Strip or the Las Vegas valley. A large pool, which includes a sandy beach and a lazy river, awaits you. The resort's spacious spa is a treat for all the senses, and a big selection of restaurants (like Stripsteak, Herbert Keller's Fleur and Wolfgang Puck's Lupo) ensure that you can enjoy a sumptuous dinner at a different place every night. A tram connects the resort to the Luxor and Excalibur--so you can check in and easily explore the area without ever getting back in your car or a taxi.

7. Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
Photo courtesy of Monte Carlo Resort and Casino

The Monte Carlo Resort & Casino doesn't have a very large footprint on the Strip, but this Las Vegas resort's tucked-away, upscale vibe is somewhat European. In addition to the standard rooms, the Monte Carlo also includes the ultra-exclusive Hotel 32 on its top floor, with swanky suites and penthouses outfitted with superior features and amenities. The well-designed pool area is a favorite with families, the full-service spa provides an abundance of relaxing options and the restaurant selections include places like Andre's, featuring award-winning French food in a romantic setting. The Monte Carlo's moderate, easily navigated size and the resort's prime location on the Strip are both bonuses that enhance this Vegas resort's appeal.

6. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Resort & Spa

The J.W. Marriott Resort, located west of Las Vegas and just across the street from Angel Park Golf Course, provides a casino-free resort experience. If you're determined to gamble, the Rampart Casino is within easy walking distance. However, if you'd rather indulge in spa treatments, or explore the desert around Las Vegas, or play golf, or shop, you can skip the casino and concentrate on pure relaxation. In this western Las Vegas neighborhood, you can enjoy an escape unlike what you'll find at resorts on the Strip. This part of Las Vegas equals fewer lines to wait in and probably a smaller tab at any of the area's restaurants, which equals less stress and more relaxation.

5. The M Resort Spa Casino
Photo courtesy of The M Resort

The high-rise of the M Resort Spa Casino in Henderson can be seen for miles. It's an easy place to spot, but might not be the first place visitors think of when they want a resort experience. That's a mistake, because M caters to both local Las Vegans and visitors. Upscale casual is the design in the large, comfortable rooms. Elsewhere on the property, guests will find an abundance of things to do. The acclaimed Spa Mio will massage away your worries, and the salon can provide some additional pampering. Onsite restaurants (including a popular buffet), a trendy wine bar called Hostile Grape, and a fabulous pool that has its own day club during pool season combine to make M a great resort experience. Not far from the Strip, in terms of miles, the M is worlds away in terms of atmosphere.

4. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
Photo courtesy of Leonardo Pallotta

The MGM Grand is impressively large, but that's not the reason it's one of the top resorts in Las Vegas. The resort's well-appointed and stylish rooms range from a standard size accommodations (one king or two queens) to suites and penthouses. The exclusive Skylofts or The Mansion give guests options for extreme luxury. All rooms have been designed for both comfort and style, from pillow-top mattresses to the Carrera marble in the bathroom. The MGM's size means there are numerous options for restaurants and bars onsite, plus a large casino, and an expansive pool complex that includes a popular pool club. The Grand Garden Arena hosts the biggest names and events. Guests will never lack for something to do when staying at the MGM

3. The Palms Casino Resort
Photo courtesy of The Palms Casino Resort

A short drive west of the Strip, the Palms Casino Resort caters to a young, hip crowd. Two towers offer guests a choice of the standard Vegas hotel casino experience or a more exclusive suites experience, including a range of imaginatively decorated suites in the Fantasy Tower. More than ten restaurants at the Palms include award-winning French fare at Alize and delectable steaks at N9NE. For nightlife, it's hard to beat the Palms, with hot nightclub Rain, the Playboy Club, and Ghostbar. The Drift Spa includes the sexy co-ed Hammam. If you're looking for something that's in Las Vegas, but still has that feeling of a bit of an escape, The Palms Resort may be just what you're looking for.

2. Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Green Valley Ranch Resort

The Green Valley Ranch Resort (commonly referred to as GVR) isn't actually in Las Vegas--it's in Henderson, and it's just a short drive from the Strip. GVR comes with all the things you'd normally find at a Las Vegas resort: comfortable and well designed rooms, great pool, casino, restaurants, a spa and entertainment, but it's not as crowded or as busy as a place located on the Strip. Right next door to GVR, shoppers can stroll through The District, a mixed-use shopping plaza with retailers like West Elm and Charming Charlie, along with a large selection of restaurants. You're a short drive away from Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, making it a good choice if you're planning excursions in that area.

1. Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Red Rock Hotel Las Vegas

The Red Rock Resort gets its name from its close location to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and the design of the property is a complementary combination of fountains and stone. The rooms are large and modern, and guests can choose from views of the colorful cliffs or the distant Strip. Amenities include a spa, restaurants, a movie theater and a bowling alley, along with a full casino. Although the Red Rock is on far west side of Las Vegas, guests have easy access to the freeway, putting the Strip about a 30-minute drive away. Red Rock is also adjacent to a large new shopping complex, and in addition to the restaurants on site, several more are located within a few miles.