By Trip Styler, on November 26, 2013

Las Vegas Strip spa hopping

Circa ten years ago, Lady Luck realized that people don’t visit Vegas for gambling alone, and began to roll the dice in a different direction. Enter non-gaming hotels, world-class shows, celeb-chef restaurants, and the golden ticket, some of the best hotel spas in America. I call this gaming-to-getaway shift, “vacation Vegas,” a place you can pop in and out for a weekend, and find peace in the Neon City’s quiet spaces.

One of the best outcomes of Vegas’ vacation revolution is the spa scene, a collection of far-flung retreats where no expense (or relaxation technique) is spared. Take the Sahra Spa & Hammam at The Cosmopolitan, an earthy and elegant escape clad in 420 tons of sandstone quarried from the local foothills. Here, Sin City gets clean – really clean – atop a heated stone slab called motherstone, as part of a scrub-soap-and-soothe Turkish Hammam treatment.

Spas dotting the Strip don’t stop at treatments. Fellow spa lovers, take note: most go the extra mile with soul-softening extras. In The Cosmopolitan’s case, vitality pools, a micromist steam room, and a monsoon cave means you can spend the entire day lounging in la-la land. (My version of winning big at one-arm bandit!)

Viewfinder Tip: No treatment booked? No problem. Many spas in Vegas offer a day rate so you can indulge in the inventive extras.

Another oasis famous for its pre- and post-treatment bliss is at Aria Resort & Casino. Done in an earth, wind, and fire theme, the Japanese-designed space begs to be savored. To make the most of this mega-sanctuary’s 80,000 square feet, I start my spa-cation in the Shio Salt Room. Firmly planted in a curvy lounger (which vibrates to the rhythm of pan flute music), I learn that the illuminated salt bricks surrounding me aid respiration and reveal radiant skin. This alone makes me clear my schedule for the rest of the day! I haven’t even reached the Ganbanyoku Beds yet, which are black mineral stone slabs emanating infrared rays to soothe muscles, eliminate toxins, improve circulation, and increase the metabolism.

Regal tones at Encore Spa

As if this restorative journey couldn’t take me any higher, I float over to Encore Spa at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas to play queen for a day. In the cream- and gold-frosted  Indonesian-meets-Middle-Eastern hideaway, I’m wooed by the exotic touches: golden lanterns, opulent mirrors, and walls adorned in butterflies. Getting a little too “in the moment”, I wonder if an attendant will appear to feed me grapes and fan me between hot and cold plunges. Thankfully, this is all in my mind, though. It is, however, Vegas, so I’m pretty sure it could be arranged.

Continuing my search for la dolce vita, I head straight for QUA Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace. Here, ancient Rome’s health rituals (cascading waterfalls, social baths, and mineral pools) make me lose all sense of place and time until I “come to,” somewhere between the ultra-heat therapy room and the Arctic snowflake shower. While many of my spa-capades to this point have focused on the body, I opt for some “face time” with a therapist who blasts pure O2xygen molecules into my pores, a treatment created exclusively for the ultra-luxury Nobu Hotel within Caesars. Jackpot: an hour later my skin is literally sporting a fountain-of-youth glow.


Heated-from-within tepidarium chairs at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

My final Vegas indulgence leads me to the Mandarin Oriental’s heaven, a beacon of natural light perched stories above the Strip. By Vegas standards, the MO’s spa is boutique at 27,000 square feet, confirming my belief that good things (like ice fountains and a vitality pool) come in small packages. In a nod to the spa’s Far East roots, I try the Chinese Foot Spa-within-a-spa, offering a trio of age-old treatments blending reflexology, herbal soaks, and massage to restore my stance before I return to life outside my cocoon of calm.

Who knew you could leave Vegas healthier than you arrived?

What are your favorite spa experiences?