The Spa at ENCORE
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., The Strip
Though it’s admittedly a little over-the-top (the gold color scheme means that even the tiniest details are gilded), spa at the Encore is generally held to be one of the best in town. The theme feels partly Indian and partly Moroccan, starting with the dramatic entrance: guests walk down a river-rock path lined with gold lanterns, to be greeted at the end by an 8-foot, hand-carved sculpture of Buddha. Inside, there are waterfall showers, a marble Jacuzzi room, and a series of hot and cold plunge pools. As for the treatments, we recommend the Nalu Body Ritual, which includes Polynesian massage, full body exfoliation, and a coconut oil scalp treatment. For expecting mothers, they offer a pregnancy-specific massage that’s pretty unmatched.
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental
3752 Las Vegas Boulevard S., The Strip
Mandarin Oriental is known for their luxurious spas, but the experience at their Las Vegas location is exceptional, even for them. The two-floor space offers treatments that are exclusive to Las Vegas, like the Lucky Eights, a soothing reflexology series. Even if you don’t have time for a formal appointment, relax by the pool and in their quiet lounges, both of which offer phenomenal views of the entire strip.
Airbnb Las Vegas
If you’re traveling with a group, Vegas is an excellent place to scope out the Airbnb scene. We’re particularly excited about this spot, nestled up against the mountains in the appropriately named Sunset neighborhood. There’s an infinity pool with excellent views, a waterslide, plus a huge yard.
3595 Las Vegas Blvd S., The Strip
Until now, most boutique hotel experiences in Vegas were embedded inside the larger hotels (read: Tower Suites at the Wynn, The Four Seasons at Montecarlo), which is part of what makes the Cromwell so special. The brand-new spot only has 88 rooms, so it feels much more personal than some of the larger, more sprawling compounds. It’s also home to the first-ever restaurant from Giada De Laurentiis—if you can get past the gift shop in the front, you'll find some of best meatballs and chewiest pizza on the strip. And, if you're into that kind of thing, the reviews of their nightclub, Drai's, have been uniformly positive so far.
The Mansion at MGM
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd., The Strip
Considering its location right in the middle of The Strip and its bustling casino, the MGM isn’t an obvious pick for the Un-Vegas Vegas guide: That said, the MGM Mansion program is really in a league of its own. The Mansion is actually physically separate from the MGM itself—the building is made up of 29 individual villas, which range from one- and two-bedrooms up to full-fledged homes. It features its own separate driveway and lobby area, making it a thoroughly private experience, despite its central location. Each villa overlooks a lush, Italian-style garden atrium that’s much more Tuscany than Vegas, and has its own private dining area. In an effort to keep the vibe quiet and civilized, there are no bachelor parties or big groups allowed.
The Westin Lake Las Vegas
101 Montelago Blvd., Henderson
The farthest from the strip of any of our recommendations (about 45 minutes east), Lake Las Vegas is one of the most Un-Vegas places in town and one of the better places to stay if you’ve brought the kids along. The Westin here is located right on the lake, with a series of pools, mountain views, and two huge waterslides. The resort also offers great access to the lake—there’s a small beach to lounge on, and guests can rent SUP boards, jet skis, and boats to explore the water. At night, grab a glass of wine and watch the desert sun go down over the water—the patio is outfitted with several fire pits that are perfect for congregating around.
3752 Las Vegas Boulevard S., The Strip
The Mandarin Oriental in Vegas has all the style and amenities you’d expect from the chain (Asian-inflected design, high-touch service, and cool flourishes like the 23rd floor lobby). That said, the real draw is the fact that this is one of the only hotels on The Strip without a casino, so it feels more like a retreat from the madness of the street than part of it. The spa is truly world-class, taking up two full floors with its sprawling pools and lounge rooms. Bonus: the 47-story building is LEED Gold certified.
Crystals at Aria
3720 Las Vegas Blvd S., The Strip
For the classic, glitzy Vegas shopping experience, don’t waste valuable time and energy wandering through every mall: head straight for the Shops at Crystals (located in the Aria). The mall has all of the classic big-name designers, but in a space designed by Daniel Libeskind: For whatever reason, perhaps because it's not attached to a casino, it's always nicely quiet, too.
3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd., The Strip
José Andrés’s taco and dumpling bar is a totally authentic taste of Mexico City that just happens to be situated inside the bustling Cosmopolitan hotel. It’s a fun, casual set up serving incredibly fresh tacos, BBQ oysters, and an avocado margarita that sounds strange but tastes incredible. For a great alternative to room service, there are also hearty noodle and fried rice dishes.
1131 S. Main St., Downtown
This off-the-beaten-path shop is home to tons of vintage homewares and a solid collection of mid-century antiques. It’s the kind of collection that feels like a labor of love, with furniture and art pieces that have been sourced from antique auctions to local garage sales.
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