Las Vegas spas have no equal for sheer size and extravagance. The hotels are huge and flashy, and so are many of the spas. Recently opened spas in Las Vegas like Sahra Spa & Hammam at The Cosmopolitan, The Spa at ARIA and Qua at Ceasars Palace have exotic European technologies like laconiums, hammams, ice fountains and water circuits that make for a visually rich and relaxing experience. But it's not all about flash -- Vegas attracts great massage therapists and master estheticians. Here are the best spas in Las Vegas and what they offer.
Encore is the newest and perhaps most beautiful hotel ever created by legendary Vegas hotelier Steve Wynn, who also built Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. The Spa at Encore is truly stunning, combining opulence and good taste. The locker room area is hung with rich fabrics and Venetian glass chandeliers, and the walk to the treatment rooms feels like a journey into sacred space. (See photo.) The best rooms are beautiful garden suites with a shower and natural light. The menu includes "Transforming Rituals" like the Encore Escape, which incorporates hot poultices, lomi-lomi, hot stones and a scalp massage. Very relaxing.
Spa Bellagio was the first truly extravagant spa to open in Vegas, and it still holds up. With 55,000 square feet and 56 treatment rooms, it's not just a massage, it's an experience. The extravagent hotel is styled after a Tuscan town, with the famous fountains out front. The salon is flashy with gold, but the spa upstairs is quieter and more earthy, with nice touches like the jade tiles in the floor that are lit from below. The therapists here are uniformly wonderful, and it's one of the few places in Vegas where you can get a watsu treatment.
Part of CityCenter, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is probably the most intimate, opulent and expensive spa on The Strip. See a slide show of The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. The sexy 27,000 sq. ft. spa on two floors was designed to evoke 1930s Shanghai. It combines intimacy with the latest spa technologies, including experience showers, a stunning hammam, and tile tepidarium chairs that keep your warm while you look out at Vegas. It caters to couples -- seven of its 17 treatment rooms are couples suites.
This is one of the smaller, quieter spas on the Las Vegas Strip, and that's one reason I love it. Vdara is part of the $8.5 billion CityCenter complex of hotels that opened late 2009. This all-suite hotel and spa has no casino (ARIA casino is next door) and just one restaurant and one bar. The two-level, 18,000 square foot spa with 11 treatment rooms has lots of natural elements that are grounding, including a stone fountain in the relaxation lounge. I had one the of the best massages of my life here.
The major hotel of the $8.5 billion City Center, ARIA Resort & Casino is one of the newest and most sophisticated properties in Las Vegas, with a tasteful (and surprisingly green) casion, restaurants, clubs, the "Viva Elvis" show. Its spa has set new records for size -- 80,000 square-foot spa, 62 treatment rooms and two innovative new relaxation rooms -- heated black mineral stone beds that emit infra-red heat (and feel great to lay on) and a salt meditation room with lounge chairs that vibrate to music. It also has spa suites for eight -- perfect for bridal parties. See slide show of The Spa at ARIA.
Caesars was the first of the mega-resorts and still one of the most popular -- its six towers over 80 acres! The theme of ancient Rome, with statuary, fountains and the odd centurion. Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars is one of the city's newer spas and large at 50,000 sq. feet. It features "Roman baths" (which honestly don't look so different from the regular wet facilities). Besides the usual steam and sauna, there's an Arctic Ice Room to cool off (though the man-made "snow" looks suspiciously like foam) and a tepid laconium that's pleasant for resting. They call all the therapists "artisans" here. Despite the Roman theme they have Native American treatments. I tried the Mohave Rain, which uses something like 13 essential oils on your spine.
This is the biggest spa in Vegas, a 137,000 square-foot mega-spa with 82 treatment rooms, two spa cafes, a 40 foot rock-climbing wall, a full gym and cycling studio, a Bridal Studio, and European technology like a water circuit called Aquavana, Crystal Steam Rooms, Experiential Rains showers, Finnish Sauna, Herbal Laconium and indoor Igloo. Whew! You can still get nutritional counseling, but in Vegas the Strip Tease Fitness classes are popular. Expect the great massage therapists that Canyon Ranch is known for.
The Cosmopolitan is the newest and hippest hotel on the Strip, with sophisticated electronic art like the four square columns at check-in with ever-changing projections. Stunning. The rooms have balconies and chairs that, if you're lucky, overlook the Bellagio water fountain show next door. The entrance to the Sahra Spa & Hammam on the 14th floor is lined with 420 tons of sandstone quarried nearby, which gives it an earthy Red Rock Canyon feel. Unusual amenities include a spectacular 1,200 square foot hammam where up to four people can get a treatment and enjoy the heated stone loungers. The spa has three Spa Suites with multiple treatment tables. The spa is on the same floor as the pool. Beware excited, wet kids in elevators.
The Spa at Wynn is not as glamourous The Spa at Encore next door, but it is comfortable and handsome. I especially like the fireplace in the locker room area, topped with a faux marble of a woman getting out of the bath. You could curl up on a sofa by that for a good long while. The walls are an earthy orange, and there's a Jacuzzi room decorated with green Majolica plates and a holy man in meditation posture. It has 45 treatment rooms, and its signature spa treatment is the Good Luck Ritual, an 80-minute long treatment based on the elements of Feng Shui.
Located not far off the Strip, Hard Rock Hotel has an unusual but beautiful spa. The entrance has a gothic look, with black wood, brass studs and gorgeous clay tiles on the ceiling . There's a coed lounge or "library" with crystal chandeliers and a black and white piece of art that has the lyrics to "Stairway to Heaven". The locker rooms are lined with stark white subway tiles that look very cool, and Reliquary is one of the few Vegas spas with a large co-ed bath house where you can hang out. It looks like there is natural light, a very pleasant illusion. For exercise, there's a pole dancing studio. Outside, the pool scene is big -- they can fit as many as 7,000 people into their three pool areas.