Ritz-Carlton Blooms in the Desert

Lots of luxury, and just a little disappointment, make for a memorable stay at Lake Las Vegas Resort

By: Kathy Espin

From the start, I knew my stay at the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas was going to be special. Right after I entered the guest room, I stepped on the bathroom scale and found myself weighing about five pounds less than I actually do.

Now that’s the way to start a vacation!

But then that’s the Ritz-Carlton everything you expect from a luxury resort plus more.

The Ritz-Carlton is in the Lake Las Vegas Resort, 17 miles from the Strip. The upscale community (Celine Dion lives there) has been built around a man-made lake, and includes two championship golf courses.

The community is almost eerily perfect. Large swathes of emerald-green grass dot the stark desert. Waterfalls flow where God never intended. If Disney-like flawlessness is your clients’ style, they’ll love it.

The Ritz-Carlton fits nicely into its surroundings. It’s a sprawling, nine-story resort, built in an old-Mediterranean style (at least as Walt would have envisioned it).

The lobby is spacious, with a bar and a service area, and large French doors that open to a view of the garden below. Large bowls of fruit are everywhere. A front-desk hostess offered us warm towels to freshen up, and then escorted us to our room, providing a mini-tour of the hotel on the way.

Our room was on the Club Level, which is accessible only with a special key, and was located on a faux bridge modeled on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

The room was spacious, but its best feature was the double French doors that opened onto a small balcony. It was too small to accommodate furniture, making it more ornamental than functional, but it did offer a view of the lake and the pool.

The hotel’s decor is traditional, but in an understated way, with walls painted in subtle tones and furniture designed along simple lines.

The large bathroom, done in beautiful marble tile, had a double sink, enclosed shower and toilet, and a huge tub. There were large, fluffy towels; the diplomatic bathroom scale; and lighted, magnifying makeup mirror. One glaring omission, however, was the lack of a trash can.

The attendant service was impeccable. And turn-down service included the expected chocolates and an unexpected little book of bedtime stories. But not all the surprises were pleasant ones. The rooms and public areas are squeaky clean, but I was quite surprised to find a significant layer of dust on the hallway furniture. However, construction is still going on, and that could be the reason.

Another little surprise was the $12-a-night charge for valet parking. (Self-parking and short-term valet are free.) The cost is reasonable, compared to other cities, but, in Las Vegas, having to pay for parking is an unheard of charge. Usually, even valet parking is free for hotel guests and non-guests alike. Even at the Hyatt Regency, just across the man-made Lake Las Vegas, parking is free.

But, this is the Ritz-Carlton and not the place to look for bargains. Rack rates are $229 to $429, with the Club Level rooms about $100 more. Considering the level of service and amenities, the experience is well worth the price.

Ritz-Carlton: 800-241-333, 702-561-4700.