The city that raises sensuality to an art form is on a roll. From gondola rides at The Venetian to Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic pool party at Bellagio, everything in Las Vegas is bigger than life.
Sporting the largest concentration of spas in America (more than forty), Vegas hosts this year’s International Spa Association (ISPA) conference and trade show November 8–11 at The Venetian. Beyond palazzo-like lobby frescoes, marble floors, and indoor canals, the Venetian’s Canyon Ranch SpaClub exudes cool energy. Alongside a forty-foot rock-climbing wall, you can sample Canyon Ranch cuisine. With forty massage rooms, fourteen facial rooms, specialty suites, three aerobics studios, a fitness center, and salon, this haven of health’s 450-person staff conducts about 800 treatments on a typical day. Specialties include a soak in the Royal King’s Bath (an $18,000 bronze tub), a Mango Sugar Glow, and Euphoria, a 100-minute, $300 combination of revitalizing modalities. Book a spa appointment and the daily facility fee ($30) is reduced to $15. Reservations are essential: call (877) 220-2688. The world’s largest all-suites hotel (4,049) also features eighteen restaurants as well as art galleries from Russia’s Hermitage Museum and New York’s Guggenheim. For more information call (877) 283-6423 or visit www.venetian.com
Whether you want to shop, play sun-kissed golf courses, hike red-rock canyons, or exercise your luck in a casino, the action in Vegas is non-stop. Along the 4.5-mile Strip of Las Vegas Boulevard, stroll from dancing waters at Bellagio to pirate battles at Treasure Island, ride the free monorail between higherise hotel spas at MGM Grand and the Sahara, and experience culture shock at The Forum Shops in Caesars Palace as Roman-inspired statues come to life amid fashion boutiques. At the southern end of the Strip visit the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, home of the chic Bathhouse gym and spa as well as the new THEhotel at Mandalay Bay featuring Vegas’ only topless pool (for ages 21 and up).
Discover why Britney Spears danced the night away at Ghostbar atop the Palms Casino Resort, which has hosted botox cocktail parties in its 20,000-square-foot spa. Located a few dusty blocks from the Strip’s roller-coaster riddled, family-oriented attractions, the Palms’ flashy bar and ritzy French restaurant Alize hover forty-one stories above the glittering desert expanse. From megaclub Rain to Little Buddha (a spinoff from Paris’ famed Buddha Bar), the Palms’ playground seethes with pop-fueled sexiness. Reversing trends, the crowd here is younger, more interested in dancing than gambling or relaxing.
Escape to Red Rock Canyon state park, about thirty minutes from the Strip. Hike trails amid ancient sandstone formations. There’s even an energy vortex and Native American rock art in the park, which has athirteen-mile scenic drive starting at the visitor center. Nearby, dip into a watery oasis at the elegant JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf. The 40,000-square-foot Aquae Sulis spa features thirty-six treatment rooms and a fitness center and movement studio with views of blooming gardens and bubbling pools. For more information call (877) 869-8777 or visit www.gowestmarriott.com/lasvegas
Not to be outdone, the Mediterranean-style Ritz-Carlton and the Hyatt Regency at Lake Las Vegas offer world-class spas, thirty-six holes of championship golf, and water sports just seventeen miles south of town. New off the Strip: Westin Casuarina Resort, complete with a Hibiscus Spa and Westin’s signature “Heavenly Beds.” For an authentic destination spa experience, revitalize at Green Valley Tennis & Spa Resort or Red Mountain Spa, both located amid spectacular canyons near the historic town of St. George, Utah, just ninety minutes north of Vegas. Top tickets on the Strip: Celine Dion’s show at Ceasars; Penn & Teller’s cheeky magic at Rio; Cirque du Soliel’s sex-as-spectacle “Zumanity” at New York-New York and long-running “O” at Bellagio. MGM Grand gambled $150 million on a new theater for Cirque’s latest extravaganza designed for Sin City.
And then there’s Wynn Las Vegas, scheduled to open spring 2005, with what could be the most lavish spa in Sin City. Conceived by Steve Wynn, who brought us Bellagio, his $2.4 billion megaresort already slows traffic on the Strip. In this town, nothing trumps excess.
For information on lodging, attractions, and dining visit www.lasvegas24hours.com (access its Spa Guide), www.lasvegas.com or www.lvrj.com. Information on the burgeoning spa scene is available from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau; call (702) 892-0711 or visit www.vegasfreedom.com.Honored by ISPA for industry leadership, Bernard Burt co-authored 100 Best Spas of the World (Globe Pequot Press) with Pamela Price and tracks trends for Spa Management Journal. Burt’s Best is an exclusive feature of Healing Lifestyles & Spas. For updates visit www.SpaGoer.com.