- The Washington Times - Friday, September 10, 2004

HENDERSON, Nev. — A sprawling resort rises up in the middle of the Nevada desert with lush golf courses, a lake and gondolas — but don’t bother looking for this oasis on the Las Vegas Strip.

Lake Las Vegas Resort is about 17 miles southeast of Las Vegas Boulevard, tucked between the sand and the roaming bighorn sheep of the nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The resort has three championship golf courses; Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt Regency hotels; and the Mediterranean-themed MonteLago Village, which also has condominiums.

The hotels were built next to a 320-acre lake, a centerpiece attraction stocked with largemouth bass and rainbow trout that visitors can catch and release through the resort’s fly-fishing program.

The lake is surrounded by an upscale residential development where retired professional athletes, executives and stars such as singer Celine Dion make their homes.

There’s a marina, and guests and residents use a water taxi to hopscotch around the lake.

Amenities run thick at Lake Las Vegas Resort. MonteLago Village has a casino, boutiques and restaurants. It has two yachts, including an 80-footer that can be rented for weddings or just a casual cruise.

The Ritz-Carlton has 349 luxury guest rooms, 64 of them on top of a Florentine-style bridge that spans the lake and has its own private lounge that celebrities covet.

The hotel’s 30,000-square-foot spa offers clay wraps and aquatic shiatsu. For clear desert nights, there’s a stargazing program, and astronomers are on hand to help identify constellations.

There’s also a private lagoon and a well-known eatery, Medici Cafe & Terrace, which Esquire magazine named one of America’s 20 best new restaurants in 2003.

The Hyatt Regency has two spacious swimming pools, palm-shaded terraces, tentlike cabanas and a water slide. People staying in one of the 493 guest rooms can relax next to the lake on sandy beaches.

Resort guests can golf at two public courses, the Falls and Reflection Bay. A round isn’t cheap, however, running from $120 to $260 depending on the season. The 7,261-yard, par-72 Reflection Bay course was designed by Jack Nicklaus. Tom Weiskopf designed the Falls, a 7,250-yard, par-72 course.

Rooms range from $159 a night at the Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton to $999 a night for a three-bedroom, three-bath condo at MonteLago.

Don’t expect to find all-night clubs at this resort. Lake Las Vegas Resort is to the Vegas Strip as the Florida Keys are to Miami — quiet and somewhat secluded, a place more suited to the older golfer than to the get-crazy tourists on the Strip.

Night life at Lake Las Vegas is sparse, but those hungry for shows and clubs can take a helicopter taxi or shuttle to the Strip. Visitors also can go on helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon from a helipad next to the lake; Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are a short car ride away.

• • •

From McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, take Interstate 215 east to Lake Mead Drive. Continue east, past Boulder Highway to Lake Las Vegas Parkway.

Ritz-Carlton: www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/lake_las_vegas, 702/567-4700.

Hyatt Regency: www.lakelasvegas.hyatt.com, 702/567-1234.

MonteLago Village: www.montelagovillage.com, 866/564-4799.

Medici Cafe & Terrace: 1610 Lake Las Vegas Parkway, Henderson; 702/567-4700; entrees from $13 for hamburgers to $40 for grilled lamb chops.

Golf courses: The Falls and Reflection Bay, www.lasvegasgolf.com, 800/470-4622; rounds run $120 to $260 depending on the season.

For more information: www.lakelasvegas.com, 800/564-1603.

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