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Published by Tara Bradley

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Published by: Tara Bradley on Feb 09, 2012
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Las Vegas, Nevada
QA spa fanatic ling f
sme healthy fun in in City
Most people choose their Vegasdigs by the hotel theme, the casino orthe shows. For this trip, I was lookingor something mellower, so I opted ora place that didn’t have any o that. The
Four Seasons Las Vegas
covers the 35th
to 39th oors o 
Mandalay Bay Resort
Casino-ree, it has its own dedicatedlobby with none o that ubiquitous slot
machine ping-ping-ping. Rooms eature
deep soaking tubs, L’Occitane products
and oor-to-ceiling windows with views
o the strip, so you can enjoy the sights without being in them. The pool trades
DJs or quiet lounges and excellent pool-side service (cold Evian spritz, anyone?).
 And when you want excitement, a longhallway connects you to everything at
Mandalay Bay.
 Rooms from $199
I’ve recently taken up running, but the thought o jogging down a citysidewalk dodging slow-moving tour-
ists did not appeal. So I swapped my run
or the chance to try
Jukari Fit to Flex
. Created by Reebok, themega-calorie-zapping class works with
specially-designed Jukari bands and uses
owing movements and dancelike rou-tines inspired by Cirque du Soleil. And
 while I never ound mysel hanging rom
the raters (thankully), aterward I wasdenitely sore. The class proved to be agood workout and un — and it was de-initely something to talk about. You can
 join one o the weekly classes, as I did, or
sign up or a private session with riends.
50-minute class, $40 per person
I like ew things more than soak-
ing in a warm tub, so
Caesars Palace Las
 Vegas Qua Baths & Spa
hit the rightnote. The relaxation areas are designedor water lovers, with three aptly named
pools — the Tepidarium (warm), Caldar-
ium (hot) and Frigidarium (cold).
Most Vegas spas keep oferings to the
 basics — massages, acials, etc. — so I was really excited to see Aura-SomaSynergy (135 minutes, $400) on the
treatment menu. Simply put, Aura-Soma
is a lie reading based on our coloredequilibrium bottles you select rom adisplay o 109. For interpretive reading,
the therapist was spot-on, shedding light
on my strengths and interpreting the bottle’s message as a way to approach a
creative block I’ve been having. Then she
let me choose a bottle rom my readingand incorporated that into a 75-minute
  perfect spaweekends 
   S   e   c   o   n   d   f   r   o   m   r   i   g   h   t  :   J   o   r   g   g   r   e   u   e   l   /   g   e   t   t   y   i   m   a   g   e   S  ;   o   p   p   o   S   i   t   e  :   Z   a   c   h   S   t   o   v   a   l   l
Lomi Lomi and cranial sacral massage,
enhanced by color therapy. The bonus: atake-home bottle o oil.
 When it comes to killer views,
the stunning Spa at
Mandarin Oriental
Las Vegas
wins with oor-to-ceiling win-
dows that overlook the Strip rom eight
ights up. A coating on the windows lets
 you see out but keeps people rom seeing
in — even at night, when this eature is atits best. Where else but Sin City can you
lie on an underwater lounger in a balmyhot tub and gaze out on Las Vegas Bou-
levard, not to mention strangers in a ew
neighboring buildings? It elt decadent,
 voyeuristic and utterly Vegas.
Treatments here are based on theprinciples o traditional Chinese medi-
cine. Ater the welcoming oot ritual — arelaxing soak and rub that’s part o every
treatment — I went or the Mahjong Bal-
ance Treatment (two hours, $300). Itstarted with a delicious salt scrub exo-liation ollowed by a massage using jade
stones to unblock energy. Cool mahjong
tiles are used at the end o the massage —
now that’s my kind o gaming.
You can’t escape Vegas without
some toxins — the smoke in the casinos,the dry desert air and, yes, maybe a lit-tle too much wine at the piano bar. Justentering the cavelike passageway thatleads to the pretreatment area at SahraSpa & Hammam at
Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
elt restorative, thanks to large,
dark stone walls brought in rom the des-
ert. It’s visually gorgeous too, especially
the waterall; backlit as it pours three sto-ries into the rock pond below, it reminded
me o liquid gold.
The Vitality & Vigor treatment (50minutes, $170) is unoicially recom-mended or hangovers. The session began as the therapist moved a pulsat-ing massage tool over me to loosen tight
muscles, which elt especially good ater
my tness class the day beore. Aterward
came a ull-body massage, and then in aneat twist, she placed two small oxygentubes under my nose. I deeply inhaledthe clean, resh breaths as she delivered
a head massage. Our session ended with
a detoxiying drink o vitamin-inused water, and I was on my way, relaxed,recovered and ready or another night
on the town.
For dinner, I met a riend at
restaurant where,in addition to lie-size artwork by the
eponymous artist, it also ofers a twist on
 Vegas dining. I am not a vegan — I’ll eat
 just about anything. But Encore’s owner,developer Steve Wynn, is a ormer vegan,
and, with his ches, put a lot o energytoward developing vegetarian menus astasty as the alternatives. My riend andI ordered the regular and vegan tast-ing menus or a share-and-comparedinner. First up: a sampling o reshsushi and vegan caulilower soup. Thelatter shocked me with its rich, creamytexture, courtesy o the almond-milk base. I’d have ordered this even with-out dietary restrictions! The next dish was a tossup: a tasty wild mushroomtart paired with delicate oie gras. Forthe main course, the steak beat out thegrilled branzino (but then again, I lovea good steak). With dessert, the non- vegan dish won hands down: veganchurros versus the winning dish, s’moredonuts lled with marshmallow cream,rolled in graham cracker crumbs andpaired with a warm chocolate dippingsauce. (Seriously, what could compete with that?) But overall it was great toknow you could have an elegant tastingmenu whatever your dietary restric-tions. Well done, Wynn and company!
I can’t go to Vegas without getting out
and touching the land. On past visits I’d
done a helicopter tour o the Grand Can-
 yon and Hoover Dam. But or this trip I wanted something dierent. A 45-min-
ute drive rom town is Eldorado Canyon,home to a restored 1880s gold mine. I’m ahistory buf, so I loved tramping throughthe tunnels, imaging what lie was like or
the men who worked here beore elec-tric lighting and hydraulic drills. (One word kept coming to mind: harrow-ing.) Book the trip through
 Awesome Adventures
and it’ll pair the outing with a horseback ride through the hills.You can also rent ATVs or kayaks and bring them to the Colorado River downthe hill, where you can stare out to Ari-
zona on the other bank.
Tours from $129
— Susan Moynihan
Fm ppsite page: napping pics f theClad rive; the pl at Fu easns;
an icnic Las Vegas sign; the ba at Bte.
Pevius page, fm tp: he andain
oiental; the hammam at aha pa.
  perect spaweekends 
   t   h   i   r   d   f   r   o   m   l   e   f   t  :   W   i   t   o   l   d   S   k   r   y   p   c   Z   a   k   /   g   e   t   t   y   i   m   a   g   e   S  ;   o   p   p   o   S   i   t   e  :   B   a   r   B   a   r   a   k   r   a   f   t
A gup spa eeend ith
nine fiends
Beore a dear riend was set to say
“I do,” a group o us decided to send her
o in style with a shower/spa weekendin Carlsbad, Caliornia. Our retreat:
Costa Resort and Spa
, where we rented
a communal three-bedroom villa withthree balconies, a living area and a ull
kitchen. As villa guests, we had access to
all o the resort amenities: eight pools,two gol courses (including the newlyrenamed Champions Course, which
recently underwent a $10 million reno-
 vation), a spa and the Chopra Center or Well-being, a haven o retreats and pro-grams centered on wellness and healing.I this couldn’t please our diverse group,
nothing could!
 Rooms from $269
Our goal was to put play dates, car-pools and deadlines behind us and enjoy
a relaxing day together at the Spa at LaCosta. So when we made our reserva-
tions, we signed up or the lunch package
that includes a treatment (massage oracial) ollowed by a private alrescolunch by the pool. Instructed to arriveearly, we walked the relexology path(created with a variety o stones to hit
diferent pressure points) and had time
to relax in the sauna, steam room andlounge area. Then we were ushered o 
to our treatments one by one; I went or
the acial, which included a mini mas-sage so it was a win/win. Aterward, all
o us sporting that glassy-eyed look you
can only get ater a great treatment, wemet back at the pool or an a la carte
lunch o salads and champagne.
You can’t do Caliornia withouthitting the beach, so we decided to tag-
team our beach time with a workout by
signing up or a paddle-boarding session
2 Stand Up Guys
. (The groom-to-
 be is an ex-pro surer, so he took greatpleasure in the idea o us braving the waves.) Our group has some total nov-ices in it, so we opted or the basicat-water lesson on Carlsbad Lagoon(they also oer ocean SUP or moreexperienced paddlers). Apparently,
 women have a better sense o balance, so
there were minimal wipeouts — though
some o the men around us didn’t are so well.
60 minutes, $50 per person, groups
 from two to eight people
The ood on-property was amaz-ing (Wednesday through Saturday the
BlueFire Grill
has live music near the
re pit), but we wanted to explore, so onenight we ventured out to
Flying Pig Pub& Kitchen
. This local haunt is tucked on
South Tremont Street, a side street o 
South Coast Highway 101 — i you’re not
looking or it, you’ll miss it. That would be
a shame, as the arm-to-table establish-ment oers up an ever-changing menuthat includes heaps o handmade bacon
mac-n-cheese (the serving is enough or
three), all-natural chicken and dump-lings, and cold goblets o crat beers.For dessert, we braved Dave’s caramel
pork belly sundae with vanilla ice cream,
chocolate chips and candied pork belly(yep, you read that right), which won
over even the shiest o eaters.
 We spent the latter part o our
last aternoon getting lost in San Diego’s
Cedros Avenue Design District
; its resi-dents are well-known architects, builders
and designers. But visitors have to check
out the artsy strip, lined with 85-somegalleries and boutiques. The
boutique was a standout, lled with handcrated jewelry, bags and
scarves. The necklaces are truly magni-
icent — creations in silver, vermeil androse gold, some accented with crystals,stones and gems. It’s the kind o place you nd those hard-to-come-by items,that bracelet or ring you aectionately wear all the time because it brings backgreat memories o times with riends.
— Tara Bradley
 San Diego, Caliornia
Fm tp left: Beautiful baubles at rebecca
man; pepping f a P lessn; anDieg’s Gaslamp Quate; pasta ithhuse-made p sausage at Fling Pig
Pub; the spa pl at La Csta.
  perect spaweekends 

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