Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort (101 Montelago Blvd., Henderson, 702-567-6000 or 800-23-LOEWS, $199-$350) is on the north shore of Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, on the former site of the Hyatt Regency Resort. A private 320-acre lake surrounds the hotel, which features 493 guest rooms. An 18-hole golf course, full-service spa and European-style casino are among the features. Get "tee'd off," tempt Lady Luck, get roughed up, or just plain luxuriate at the sumptuous spa.
A snazzy Ritz Carlton (1610 Lake Las Vegas Pkwy., Henderson, 702-567-4700 or 800-241-3333 or, fax 702/567-4777, $179-$600) is also in the Lake Las Vegas area. The Mediterranean-style luxury resort features 349 rooms and suites, a full-service spa and fitness center, 36 holes of championship golf, beach and lake activities and Italian gardens. It doesn't get any more elegant in these parts than the Ritz, which offers incredibly deft service and a serene ambience that sets it well apart from luxury hotels on the Strip.
Caesars Palace (3750 Vegas Blvd. S, 702-731-7110 or 877-427-7243, $129-$600) still reigns as one of the classiest of large hotels. The tower rooms, pool and spa are among the town's best. Forum Shops mall is home to some of the fanciest shopping and dining in town, and it's forever expanding. The Augustus Tower saw Guy Savoy's dining room and a 35,000-foot spa open in spring 2006. Caesars was also one of the first casinos to boast top-name dining options, and the roster remains highly impressive, with Jean-Marie Josselin's Hawaiian fusion room 808, Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, and Bradley Ogden's eponymous restaurant. Plus, it's home to Celine Dion and Elton John's live shows.
The Mirage (3400 Vegas Blvd. S, 702-791-7111 or 800-374-9000, $99-$625) is another class act, with a tropical motif that makes its casino one of the most pleasant to sit in. Service and facilities are excellent. Bally's (3645 Las Vegas Blvd. S, 702-739-4111 or 888-742-9248, fax 702-739-4405, $69-$799) is a solid non-themed choice, with a sophisticated, comfortable casino and a monorail connection to the MGM Grand. It does a large convention and meetings business, making it comfortable for business travelers. The Luxor (3900 Las Vegas Blvd S, 702-262-4100 or 888-777-0188, $79-$629) is a gay favorite, with a nice combination of good rates, an excellent gym, spa, and pool complex, and really great rooms in its tower. The Egyptian theme is well executed and tasteful. A recently opened mall connects the Luxor to Mandalay Bay. Note that the corner elevators don't access every floor.
The Flamingo Las Vegas (3555 Vegas Blvd. S, 702-733-3111 or 800-HARRAHS, $55-$350) has historical appeal (it was Bugsy Siegel's dream back in 1946) and has been refurbished and updated with fun touches like real pink flamingos and penguins frolicking near the great outdoor pool/grotto complex. The all-suites Rio Hotel (3700 W. Flamingo Rd., 702-777-7777 or 888-746-7153, $89-$499) has a Latin Carnival theme, great prices, huge rooms and great views. Just west of the Strip, the Rio offers easy access to I-15, a good variety of dining options--budget through gourmet, with diverse ethnic offerings--and friendly, efficient service.
For those who really want to escape the tourists, the Alexis Park Resort (375 E. Harmon Ave, 702-796-3300 or 800-582-2228, fax 702-796-3357, $69-$349) is one of the few hotels in town with no neon, gaming tables or slots, making it peacefully attractive, more affordable than the Four Seasons, and very popular with businesspeople. It is a country club-like complex of 32 Mediterranean-style buildings set on 19 acres of landscaped gardens. If you're on a tight budget and want tacky Vegas in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, the Imperial Palace (3535 Las Vegas Blvd. S, 702-731-3311 or 800-634-6441, $75-$219) is the place. Don't say we didn't warn you.
The Sahara (2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S, 702-737-2111 or 888-696-2121, $45-$330) is a great budget option, with rooms and suites in a Moroccan motif and a 5,000-square-foot pool. The Barbary Coast (3595 Vegas Blvd. S, 702-737-7111 or 888-227-2279, $80-$180), which becomes a Harrah's property Feb. 1, offers similar savings and a great location in the dead center of the Strip. The Golden Nugget (129 E. Fremont St., 702-385-7111 or 800-846-5336, $59-$339) is the best choice downtown, elegantly appointed with spacious rooms and extra-large beds.Part One | Part Two | Part Three