This property first opened in the late '90s as The Reserve, a small locals casino-hotel with an overwhelming jungle theme and not enough of the extras and perks that make most locals want to go to places like this. It never really took off and the hotel was purchased by local giants Station Casinos, who promptly turned it into a Henderson sibling of their popular Fiesta Rancho hotel.
What a difference a fresh coat of paint and a fresher management style can make.
They updated the exterior, removing the universally derided "rusted metal shack in the African jungle" look to a light and bright adobe scheme in keeping with the Fiesta name. It's a huge improvement and makes going here feel less like you're a wounded gazelle trying to outrun a hungry puma. Are there pumas in Africa? Whatever.
Inside the changes were a bit more subtle - although subtle is not a word one would probably ascribe to the inside of the Fiesta Henderson. Previously it was an oppressive, overgrown jungle with too many cutesy faux trees and foliage competing with too many slot machines and video poker. Now the foliage has been trimmed back, the floor plan has been de-cluttered, and some lighting has been strung trying to evoke a Mexican beach feel. I'd personally like to see a less frenetic approach but it is absolute improvement over the original. In other words you may still feel like the wounded gazelle but the puma isn't as much of a threat.
Work with me here, folks.
A 2006 expansion added more casino space, a 12-screen all-digital movie theater complex, a food court, a race and sports book, and some more goodies to go with the various dining establishments (steakhouse, buffet, etc.) and bars that are scattered throughout the property.
The 224 rooms in a 10-story tower are pretty simple but they cover the basics. You've got your bed or beds, a table and chairs, a smallish TV with cable, pay-per-view, high-speed Internet, a hair dryer, iron and board, and coffee service in the smallish bathroom.
Although the far-flung Henderson location is a bit of a drag, the prices at this hotel can often make up for the 10 miles or so you have to travel to get to The Strip. It's not unusual to find rates as low as $29 during the week and $89 on the weekend, which is a crazy good bargain for any hotel in Las Vegas much less one that offers as much good stuff as this one. Of course that's before they tack on the $15.95 per night resort fee.
As with other locals oriented hotels this probably isn't going to be one of your first choices when it comes to booking a hotel stay and that's fair. But definitely keep this one on your alternative list when everything else is full or too expensive. And on a future trip get off The Strip to visit fun smaller joints like this one!