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Red Rock Casino Resort makes bingo & bowling Las Vegas hip: No really

By Chris Baldwin, Contributor

Red Rock Casino Resort is one of the newer and more-unknown hotels in Las Vegas. Out near the red rocks and away from the Strip, Red Rock delivers four-star rooms and high-class bingo and bowling. It's a different kind of Vegas hotel for your next golf trip.

Red Rock Casino Resort - Bowling Alley
Red Rock Casino is trying to make bowling hip - no grime here.
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LAS VEGAS - The entire gigantic place looks like the set of a CSI nightclub scene. It's all red plush couches and gleaming colored glass.

If you ordered hip from a catalog of cool, this is what you'd end up with.

You're in the Red Rock Casino Resort, the new hotel that's far from the Vegas Strip and yet very cutting edge. This is the kind of setting that Young Hollywood flocks to in L.A.

Of course, it's hard to imagine any Tinseltown snobs carousing in a place where bingo and bowling gain prominent billing. That's right, bingo and bowling. Your grandmother's game and Fred Flintstone's game.

This is what happens when you put a high-end four-star hotel (minimum room price $149) about 30 minutes from the frenzy of Las Vegas Boulevard out the near the real red rocks of a desert national park. You find yourself straddling two worlds.

Red Rock does it by offering all the plush comforts that guests like Rudy Giuliani expect (the presidential contender held a big-money fundraiser here), while providing things locals can love. Like a bingo hall that could make the Church Lady faint in genuflection, and a 72-lane bowling alley.

This isn't just any bingo and bowling though.

As a Red Rock sales manager said, "It's the city's most upscale bingo room." He probably could have safely said it was the entire Western Hemisphere's.

At Red Rock, you can play bingo in the comforts others play high-stakes craps.

Bingo in Las Vegas?

Who says bingo can't be hip?

It turns out that, by making the surroundings more 21st-century, you can change the makeup of the players too. You'll see card-shark types merrily playing right alongside the blue-haired ladies at Red Rock. Picture Paulie Walnuts at an old folk's home.

And college kids. College kids love the bingo.

Red Rock's bowling also tends to toss aside stereotypes. This much more closely resembles upscale Manhattan's trendy Bowlmar Lanes - a spot with $14 cocktails and beautiful bartenders featured on Sex and the City - than your average grimy Midwest bowling alley.

It's also surprising to find a casino that so enthusiastically promotes bowling - or any leisure activity that takes customers away from the tables and slots. That's how Red Rock is though. This is one of the rare Las Vegas hotels where the lodging seems to wag the casino rather than the other way around.

For one thing, you don't even need to walk through the casino to check in. The hotel has its own separate entrance, a subdued quiet lobby with cascading water walls. There are coffee shops and quiet lounging areas where the electronic whirl of a slot machine is but a memory.

Red Rock almost tries to de-emphasize its casino.

Business leaders and convention group coordinators seem to like this. Apparently, it aids the "professional" atmosphere of your meeting to not walk past cocktail waitresses in plunging dresses and drunken unwashed horse-racing bettors at 11 a.m.

"It helps you avoid distractions," conference attendee Mark Plumas said.

Or at least put them off a few hours.

For Red Rock has all the casino action and requisite nightclubs for any party man to enjoy. They're just not in your face 24-7.

Creature comforts, nature's lure at Red Rock

Red Rock Casino Resort does not skimp on the rooms. Having only been open since April 2006 - and still being something of a secret today - helps. Everything is still new.

The 59 suites in this 800-room complex are definitely Vegas high roller-worthy.

A few include sprawling living rooms with couches for 25, regulation pool tables (red felt of course), a separate dining room, huge plasma TVs and views out to the red rocks.

Those striking rocks out the window are another feature that makes Red Rock Casino Resort atypical of Sin City. That's nature - and many of Red Rock's guests actually end up in it. There's an adventure spa along with the regular spa. This is a fancy term for a desk and staff that sets up excursions out into the nearby desert. There's mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and off-road driving.

Adventure travelers with a taste for the finer things in life tend to book Red Rock.

"I'm off-roading, getting dirty as all heck during the day," vacationer Reid Alexander said. "And then I'm all dressed up for dinner at night."

Dining is one area where Red Rock might need to do some catching up. While there are nine sit-down restaurants in the casino, the celebrity-chef craze hasn't made it out this far into the desert and it sometimes shows.

Salt Lick BBQ is particularly disappointing.

Good golf is much easier to find near Red Rock. It's a very good base to play Pete Dye's three-course, no-house wonderland, Paiute. This 54-hole complex is only 10-15 minutes from Red Rock.

For Paiute, that's easy access.

If you can pull yourself away from the bingo hall.

Chris BaldwinChris Baldwin, Contributor

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.


 
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Dates: July 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
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