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A mere 17 miles from naughty Las Vegas nightlife, gondolas drift along a two-mile-long lake ringed by sandy beaches, golf courses, and palm trees. Lake Las Vegas--a three-year-old resort made up of luxury residences, condominium-hotels, an upscale village, and two flagship hotels--is a low-key alternative to the Strip. At sunset, take in jazz concerts on the shore or movies under the stars. Click here for a comprehensive list of gay-owned and gay-friendly accommodations in Las Vegas.
THE ADVENTURE Paddle Lake Mead--just a 15-minute drive away--to explore hidden coves, rain caves, secret islands, and the stunning Black Canyon, with walls rising 2,000 feet high. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Willow Beach Marina (928-767-4747). For guided kayaking trips, contact Kayak Lake Mead (928-767-3061), Boulder City Outfitters(702-293-1190), or Desert Adventures (702-510-4746).
THE SPA If you've visited Florence, the 349-room Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas (702-567-4700, rooms from $159) will elicit déjà vu. Its Ponte Vecchio–style bridge straddles the lake, with built-in rooms offering views of clear blue water, rugged gray mountains, and harsh but beautiful desertscapes. The resort has the feeling of a Tuscan villa, with arched doorways, interior courtyards, statuary, trompe l'oeil artwork, vine-covered trellises, shaded loggias--and from your balcony, a moon that hits your eye like a big pizza pie. Its spa emphasizes mind and body remedies that include private meditation gardens and music therapy.
THE TREATMENT After swimming, kayaking, and hiking, your muscles may be screaming. The "Muscle Repair Treatment" soothes the aches with arnica, fir, and rosemary extracts. Then, while you're wrapped in cool linens, lie back for a heavenly scalp massage (50 minutes for $125).
GET YOUR GAY ON Most of the Strip's hip lounges and dance clubs--Pure at Caesars Palace, Mix Lounge atop THEhotel, Tao at the Venetian, Studio 54 at the MGM Grand, and Tryst at Wynn--have a diverse crowd, but the enormous, high-end Krave (702-836-0830) is the only totally gay nightclub, with the largest square footage of any in the West, they say. The "Fruit Loop" on Paradise Road, between Tropicana Boulevard and Harmon Avenue (one block south of the Hard Rock Hotel), offers an array of smaller Levi's bars and dance clubs.