The Ritz-Carlton’s club-level rooms are on the lake-spanning bridge.
WHAT IT IS: Going to Vegas without the explicit goal of gambling is like going to Cozumel and not stepping foot on a beach. Vegas without Vegas? Doesn’t seem right, does it? Welcome to Lake Las Vegas Resort, a planned community launched in 1987 that spans more than 3,500 acres about 17 miles away from the Las Vegas strip. The focal point of the community is the 320-acre, man-made lake. A trip to Lake Las Vegas is more like a relaxing getaway of golf and spa treatments than a sleep-deprived weekend of debauchery. WHAT TO DO: Resorts are about sitting poolside, lingering at cafes, and taking in scenic views, and Lake Las Vegas accommodates on all accounts. The property also delivers on two of our favorite pastimes: shopping and golf. The golf courses are as challenging as they are beautiful. Jack Nicklaus designed Reflection Bay, featuring five holes along one and a half miles of shoreline. The Falls course, a Tom Weiskopf design, makes the most of the elevation changes and scenic landscapes that the desert mountains provide. A third daily-fee course designed by Tom Fazio is in the planning stages, and the members-only SouthShore Golf Course is great if you know someone who

Lake Las Vegas is a family-friendly resort.
can finagle a tee time. If your interests tend more toward baubles than birdies, make your way to MonteLago Village. The pedestrian-friendly, Mediterranean-inspired village includes a cluster of clothing boutiques, art galleries, and the like, connected by cobblestone streets and interrupted by piazzas. If the gambling bug simply won’t relent, visit the casino at the Hyatt Regency or Casino MonteLago in the village. DID YOU SAY LAKE? Yes. The lake not only offers beautiful views, but also a bevy of activities. A marina at one end houses numerous sailboats and two yachts available for public charter. On a smaller scale, paddleboats and kayaks let travelers tour the lake at their leisure, or water taxis and gondolas let someone else do the work. The lake, stocked with largemouth bass, rainbow trout, crayfish, and carp, gives fishermen reason to visit the shore. And, through Valentine’s Day, the lake offers a floating ice skating rink. WHAT TO EAT: What would a Mediterranean-inspired village be without Italian food? Not much. Enter Luna Rossa (702-568-9921), where whatever is on special is reliably good. Just up the path, Como’s (702-567-9950; www.comosllv.com) is more lounge than steakhouse, but a little bit of both. For sushi that is fresh, delicious, and creative, you can do no better than Japengo (706-567-1234), with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake from inside the Hyatt Regency.

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The stocked lake means pack the rod and reel.
FASTFACTS

Where to Stay
The Hyatt Regency (www.lakelasvegas.hyatt.com; spring rates start at $239), the main location for the 2001 film America’s Sweethearts, has 496 rooms, a spa, and a casino. In addition to its 349 guest rooms, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas (www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/lake_las_vegas; spring rates start at $294) has 64 club-level rooms dramatically situated on a bridge that spans the lake, similar to Florence’s Ponte Vecchio. Both resorts have shuttle service to and from McCarran International Airport.


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Serenity Now

The spa offers pampering.
After (or before) a day on the lake, on the links, or in the Mediterranean-inspired shopping village, spend a few hours unwinding at one (or both) of Lake Las Vegas’ two decadent spas. The 9,000-square-foot Spa Moulay (702-567-1234) at the Hyatt Regency offers a full-service beauty salon, plus a spa menu filled with soothing massages, skin therapies, body wraps and scrubs, and moisturizing facials. Keeping fit? Their fitness center has a complete line of Life Fitness cardio and strength training equipment.

The Ritz-Carlton’s Spa Vita di Lago (702-567-6400) has 24 relaxing treatment rooms spread out over 30,000 square feet of luxury. Personalized fitness programs, wellness programs, and specialty skin treatments please even the pickiest spa-goers. Fitness classes include yoga and pilates, for those who simply cannot skip a day of downward dog. New Age treatments inspired by the water and desert and rooted in the tradition and sophistication of Italy round out the offerings.
—NANCY NICHOLS
Photos Courtesy of Lake Las Vegas