Over the top is an understated way to describe Las Vegas.
Glitz: Sin City is home to the Neon Museum.
Fine dining: At just Mandalay Bay, Michael Minna has StripSteak and fellow Bay Area chef Charlie Palmer has Charlie Palmer Steak and Aureole.
Gambling: There are 78 casinos in downtown Las Vegas.
Shopping: Luxury boutiques from Tom Ford to Jimmy Choo dominate Crystals at City Center. Las Vegas is also the first city outside of Hawaii to have an ABC store — currently there are ones at Fashion Show Mall, Miracle Mile Shops and two at the Riviera Hotel & Casino and Planet Hollywood Resort Casino.
Entertainment: Headliners currently include Barry Manilow, Shania Twain, Elton John, Debbie Reynolds and Donny and Marie Osmond — as well as regulars Carrot Top, David Copperfield and comedians-magicians Penn & Teller.
With all that said, Las Vegas can be, well, overwhelming. Not in a bad way, but in a Las Vegas kind of way. And as much as I love staying on the Strip, sometimes I wish I could escape it. Just for a little while.
The answer: the Four Seasons.
The intimate, nongaming hotel is the ultimate respite to the glittering, anything-goes atmosphere of Sin City. Although you are literally steps away from Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the hotel — which has its own entrance and check-in area and private elevators — is high above the crowds.
Occupying just four floors — the 35th to 39th floors of one of the three Mandalay Bay towers — the hotel’s 424 nonsmoking rooms can only be accessed by security-keyed, express elevators. And with room rates starting at $179 per night, staying here was a no-brainer.
Serenity in 16 treatment rooms
Big doesn’t always mean best when it comes to spas in Las Vegas. Unlike the giant hotels that line the Strip, the spa at the Four Seasons — which ranks No. 1 by Trip Advisor among 280 hotels in Las Vegas — is neither huge nor flashy.
Small by Las Vegas standards, the spa — which measures 12,000 square feet and offers 16 treatment room, men’s and women’s locker rooms and a relaxation lounge — is perfectly run; In fact, Conde Nast Traveler this year ranked it No. 4 among the top 100 spas in the U.S.
Managed by Shane Kelly, the spa offers a menu of fully customizable treatments, seasonal treatments and treatments that cater to desert-wary skin — focusing on hydration, anti-aging and relaxation.
Pick a treatment, make it your own
In lieu of donating cash to the casino’s black jack tables, consider indulging instead in a treatment or two. During my visit last month, I indulged in two treatments. First, I scheduled an 80-minute Lavender Dreams massage — a full-body aromatic salt-and-lavender-oil exfoliation and the spa’s most-popular offering — followed by a 50-minute Youthful Intervention facial, a treatment that uses an alpha-hydroxy acid scrub to resurface your skin as well as sea retinol to boost cellular turnover and skin regeneration.
What set this spa apart from the others on the Strip are two things: individualized service and attention to detail. The spa’s highly trained aestheticians only work with premiere product lines — such as Image Skin Care, a line that incorporates organic ingredients — to provide visitors with medically effective results.
A night at the Four Seasons Las Vegas
Starting at $179 per night
Offered year-round, this is the best available rate at the Four Seasons. The hotel also offers several complimentary services — perks that almost all other Las Vegas hotels charge for in addition to room rate. The perks include access to the Four Seasons pool and poolside amenities, the adjoining Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s pool facilities, the hotel’s house car service and the fitness center. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/lasvegas.
Lavender Dreams massage at the Four Seasons
Starting at $240
An 80-minute Lavender Dreams massage — the most popular treatment at the spa at the Four Seasons Las Vegas — is exactly how it sounds: dreamy. As your skin replenishes, the treatment — a full-body aromatic salt-and-lavender-oil exfoliation — is followed by a scalp and foot massage; for a real splurge, book the 100-minute treatment ($310). The spa — located on the ground floor of the hotel near the front lobby — is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/lasvegas/spa.
By the numbers
Spas in Las Vegas: 47
Hotel rooms in Las Vegas: 148,935
Visitors to Las Vegas in 2010: 37,335,436