Spotlight On Las Vegas
There s very big news at the Bellagio, which added a $375 million Spa Tower and became the only Las Vegas resort casino to receive the AAA Five Diamond Award.
as Vegas is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, but the centenarian desert city is not showing its age. In fact, with so many new hotel rooms, restaurants, and yes, spas, Vegas is as shiny and bright as if it were born yesterday.
There s very big news at the Bellagio, which added a $375 million Spa Tower and became the only Las Vegas resort casino to receive the AAA Five Diamond Award. The penthouse suites in this tower are drop dead gorgeous even in a city that excels in over-the-top everything; they re from 1500 to 2000 square feet of luxury loaded with every toy including state-of-the-art entertainment components, original artwork, his and hers bathrooms and, of course, breathtaking views.
An integral part of this expansion was the expansion of the Spa Bellagio, which now boasts over 65,000square feet of pure luxury. The design combines sleek clean lines with such natural materials as travertine, granite, bleached walnut and onyx. In deference to the Latin origins of the word spa (as in solus per aqua, meaning health by water), there are reflecting pools, water walls and illuminated aqua-colored glass.
Among the spa s fun options are Pamper Parties whereby a group of friends or relatives or a bridal party can gather at the spa for a day or half-day of indulgence – lounging in their robes, sampling a variety of spa treatments and enjoying light refreshments – almost in the manner of ancient Rome.
The spa s menu incorporates a fusion of international treatments: Thai Yoga Massage, Gem Therapy, Indian Head Massage, Ashiatsu Massage, Balinese Massage and Watsu (also known as Water Shiatsu). I sampled several treatments, beginning with a session at the Watsu pool (70 minutes, $190). This aquatic massage is derived from a Japanese healing technique, combining the stretches of Zen Shiatsu with the soothing element of body temperature water. With complete confidence in my therapist I just let go, trusting her to guide my body through the water in ways that would be beneficial and not at all scary. Held firmly in her grasp, I floated; I was gently stretched, and gradually drifted into a state of profound relaxation that was simply marvelous.
Later I had a Thai Yoga Massage (70 minutes, $190), an ancient form of therapeutic healing that is given on a floor mat and combines acupressure, energy balancing, stretching, and applied yoga exercise. Again, my therapist was deft and sure; challenging my body in ways that relaxed me, yet also enhanced my flexibility and my energy levels.
My spa delights included an Indian Head Massage (25 minutes, $70), based on an ancient Ayurvedic healing system. My therapist worked on my head, neck and shoulders – where my tensions accumulated daily. In an act of kindness to my chapped lips, I also had an Ultimate Lip Treatment that started with an exfoliation with magnesium oxide granules to smooth the fine lines & wrinkles and finished with collagen-infusing and moisturizing nutrients to smooth the fine lines and wrinkles.
Later in my stay at the Bellagio, I indulged in the glamour of the Egyptian Gold treatment (50 minutes, $150), which is based on an Egyptian ritual. After a gentle exfoliation I was anointed with lavender scented lotion and then lightly dusted with gold dust, which gave me a mysterious and luminescent glow. Cleopatra, eat your heart out.
As my somewhat shaggy haircut no longer matched my newfound glitter, I paid a visit to the Bellagio salon, where I was promptly greeted with champagne and strawberries, the offer of a latte later and plenty of personalized attention. The staff here seemed hip, happy and loaded with energy. So did the clients, a fair number of men. The young surfer dude in the next chair was having a baliage, which had the stylist giving him whatever blonde streaks the sun had failed to provide. I had some shape cut into my shaggy locks and an application of color first-aid to brighten my winter-dulled hair.
Now I was ready to hit the casino floor, take in a show, or enjoy a gourmet meal at one of the Bellagio s top restaurants.
For information about Spa Bellagio, call 702-693-7472 or visit www.bellagio.com.
Spa Mirage is older than Spa Bellagio, but it, too, has distinctive charms, starting with the spacious and comfortable relaxation room stocked with big bowls of pretzels and fruit, and a selection of water, herbal teas and fruit drinks. There s also an exercise room and an extensive spa menu that includes massage therapies, hydrotherapy services, steam rooms and saunas. The steam room uses an infusion of eucalyptus, which is great for clearing the head. Salon Mirage does facials, manicures and pedicures.
In addition to the larger, communal whirlpools, it s possible to have a private bath ($50) surrounded by aromatic candles. There are three bath choices: Aromatherapy Seaweed, Aromatherapy Relaxation, and Natural Moor Mud Bath. Later, the bath attendant serves a warm cup of herbal tea, a nice conclusion to a relaxing ritual.
My favorite treatment here was the Mirage Miracle (50 minutes, $125). First I was wrapped in Propolis, raw material collected from honeybees; I had previously used – and loved – Propolis-based facial products, so I was eager to see what it would do as a body treatment. Next, warm coconut milk was poured over the wrap to seal in the Propolis, which is rich in antioxidants. My treatment ended with a gentle massage and, as expected, my skin was soft and smooth.
For information about Spa Mirage, call 702-791-7111 or visit www.mirage.com.
Spa at Treasure Island
This spa is small and compact, like a New York City apartment: the lockers, waiting area and changing rooms are all located in one fairly small space. The spa does, however, have a eucalyptus steam room and a redwood sauna as well as whirlpools. But what the spa lacks in space and glitz it makes up for in skilled therapists.
Here I had one of my best facials ever–the Plaisir de Sens (75 minutes, $140), which means pleasures of the senses; that s not only the name of the treatment, it s also an accurate description of the experience. This is no simple facial, it invokes several modalities, including Ayurvedic and hot volcanic stone, and it involves the total body. My therapist began by working on my back, then massaging my arms and legs. I luxuriated in rosemary essential oils. My face drank up the nourishing, hydrating masks. Chakra point massage and gemstone therapy were used to balance my body. I (reluctantly) left the treatment room with glowing skin and an overall sense of well-being.
For information about the Spa at Treasure Island, call 702-894-7444 or visit www.treasureisland.com.
The MGM Grand Spa
The Grand Spa is 30,000 square feet with 30 treatment rooms, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and relaxation lounges. There s also a fitness center, which overlooks the lushly landscaped 6.6-acre Grand Pool complex. The
spa menu offers a full array of massages, body scrubs, body bronzing and treatments for men.
The spa s two-hour signature treatment is called The Dreaming Ritual. Priced at $285 for two hours, it incorporates Australian Aboriginal massage techniques, a hair mask, and hand and foot treatments. The therapist explained that in this ritual, nothing would be put on the body that could not be eaten, so everything in the Li tya product line that s used is pure and chemical-free. The prelude to the ritual, which is called smudging , involves burning indigenous leaves and inhaling the aroma. We began with an herbal foot soak, then a salt rub. Next come rich body masks and the hand, foot and scalp treatments. The finale is an Australian Aboriginal massage.
I also tried the Nirvana, a signature massage that incorporates several cultural modalities. The treatment combined Ayurvedic oils with Abhyanga massage, Shirodhara hot oil placement, hot stones, a cool eye mask, a foot balancing massage, and customized music. This, too, was a total sensory experience – especially as I followed it with a facial that included a non-medical grade AHA peel that removed dead skin without causing irritation, followed by a drenching hydration.
Along with the spa, the Grand has a terrific salon, Christophe. For a couple of decades, Christophe has tended the locks of celebrities from Beverly Hills to New York. Now he and his staff tend the tresses of Vegas royalty – and just plain folks. In addition to a full house of hair, nail and makeup services, Christophe hosts bridal and bachelorette parties that include champagne and dessert along with the sampling of services. I had an excellent manicure ($38) and pedicure here ($65), both administered – first time in my experience – by a young man. (For those who want their toes adorned in private, the spa has private pedicure rooms.)
For more information about the Grand Spa, call (800) 929-1111 or visit www.mgmgrand.com; for appointments at the Christophe Salon, call (702) 891-3339.
What s especially exciting at the Grand – in addition to the superb restaurants and facilities – are the new SKYLOFTS, which combine Vegas luxury with the privacy of very upscale apartments. These stylish two-story loft-style accommodations reflect elegance, not glitz; they were designed by architect Tony Chi, who created an atmosphere of indulgence wrapped in neutral tones and graced by rich textures.
Located on the top floors of the MGM Grand, each of the lofts has 24-foot floor-to-ceiling windows that provide dramatic views of the world-famous Vegas skyline. Priced from $800 to $10,000 per night, SKYLOFTS range in size from 1400 to 6000 square feet, in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts.
Among the luxurious touches: custom-designed Bang & Olufsen and Sony HDTV audio-visual equipment, 32-inch LCD monitors in every bathroom, and customized PC-based music selections so that guests can enjoy the music of their choice. Fax machines with individual guest-assigned numbers are provided, along with pre-engraved personal stationery and business cards, and a selection of top shelf bar beverages and gourmet snacks. Custom-designed remote controls operate the TV, DVD, radio, draperies, temperature and lighting.
The level of personal service and amenities matches the superiority of the accommodations. Guests are picked up at the airport in a Mercedes Maybach; they are pre-registered and checked in by the concierge. Upon arrival, they re greeted by their butler, who is available 24 hours a day to draw baths, to unpack (and pack) luggage, to press clothes and to shine shoes. The butler also provides amenities that turn each loft into a personal spa. The selection includes personalized bath oils and salts, candles, aromatherapy, mood lighting and calming music. The infinity bathtubs are stunning; they allow either total relaxation or easy television viewing, for each loft has no fewer than three plasma screen sets. Also available are sleep amenities: a choice of pillows, herbal teas and relaxing music.
Guests may choose to dine in one of the Grand s fine restaurants like Craftsteak and Shibuya, or they may have their selections served in the Loft. And, should they wish to enjoy a massage or facial in the privacy of their accommodations, that, too, can be arranged.
For more information or reservations, call 877-646-5638 or visit www.skyloftsmgmgrand.com.