HENDERSON, Nev. - Sure, you could stay on the Las Vegas Strip. You could have the sound of cha-chings pounding through your head as you cross a smoke-filled casino floor the morning after a long night of "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" shenanigans.
Or you could . . . not.
At Loews Lake Las Vegas, a 21-acre resort and spa 17 miles from the Strip, a Vegas vacation can actually be -- would you believe it? -- relaxing.
And that's because Lake Las Vegas, a ritzy suburb with high-end hotels (the Ritz Carlton is also here) and upscale condos is to the Strip what Beverly Hills is to Hollywood: quieter, cleaner, and you can walk through it without bumping into someone.
Also, there's no gambling. That's right, the Loews has no slot machines, no card tables, no roulette wheels. Gamblers have to leave the grounds altogether to find the nearest casino, located a mile or so down the street at the MonteLago Village, a replica Italian village adjacent to the Ritz Carlton.
In 2007, the Loews, formerly a Hyatt hotel, underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation that brought added amenities, including 32-inch flat-screen TVs in all of its 493 guest rooms, spruced-up suites, three upscale restaurants and a renovation of the lakeside fire pit and pool deck.
Poolside cabanas and palm-shaded terraces -- both important features, considering the scorching Vegas summers -- were also added to the hotel's outdoor offerings, which already included a
Pedal boats and canoes and an electric boat are available free of charge for guests who want to explore 320-acre Lake Las Vegas, which is man-made and private. Daredevils interested in getting a loftier perspective can arrange for private helicopter tours of the area and nearby Hoover Dam (for a price, of course).
Then there's the spa. Eleven treatment rooms offer everything from massages and facials to manicures and pedicures. There's also a full-service beauty salon and complete fitness center. Parents will appreciate the "Loews Loves Kids" program, which offers child care and activities.
But perhaps more important -- and this is a dog lover speaking -- there's the "Loews Loves Pets" program, which caters to the hotel's four-legged guests. Pet-friendly services include a special room-service menu -- you know, just in case Fido's hungry for a gourmet meat patty. Nice, right?
Bet they don't do that at the MGM.
IF YOU GO
LOEWS LAKE LAS VEGAS: 101 Montelago Blvd., Henderson, Nev. Average nightly rate: $279. Reservations:(702) 567-6000. Information: www.loewshotels.com
MONTELAGO VILLAGE: A replica Italian village complete with cobblestone streets, piazzas, waterfront restaurants and an assortment of high-end boutiques and art galleries as well as a 40,000-square-foot casino. (702) 564-4766.
LAKE MEAD: National recreation area is 10 miles away. The 16th-largest man-made lake in the world, this is where Vegas locals go to cool off in the summertime. Fishing, sailing, kayaking, swimmingand wildlife viewing opportunitiesabound. (702) 293-8990.
HOOVER DAM: Located a A few miles from Lake Las Vegas and towering 725 feet above the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam stands as the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere. It was completed in 1936 and has since been named named one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century. Tours and information (866) 730-9097, (702) 494-2517.