Did you ever fantasize about taking a trip and just being a spa harlo? I mean literally every day — maybe twice a day or more — having every part of your overworked, super-stressed body made to feel as beautiful as Cleopatra herself? Every once in a while, doesn’t everyone need a “strip-n-dip” trip?
You’ve heard of the spa vacations. Almost every tourism office around the world wants us to come to their destination for the ultimate spa experience. The lure? Facials, massages, body scrubs, pedicures, manicures, hot tubs and saunas — each and every treatment promoted with a unique twist or that extra-special experience, a particular rock for that rock massage or the perfect men’s moisturizers for the face or even a concoction.
For my ultimate “strip-n-dip trip” I went to the home of the “must-do” spa trip, Vegas, baby! Vegas has arguably the largest concentration of over-the-top luxury spas designed for tourists, so it was time to check out the Strip’s most luxurious hotels: the new Delano, the Bellagio and Vdara (three of MGM’s LGBT-friendly Vegas resorts).
First things first. Spa trips should begin at 80 minutes! Skip the skimpy 50-minute massage and splurge for the longer treatments. Most spa services in Las Vegas could be considered expensive but in reality they are a better overall value with the longer treatment, and you can chill all day in a luxurious respite from the energy of the Strip. (Perfect if you have a late-night flight.)
Here are my top-four recommendations for a trip where you’ll flip and tip:
ESPA at Vdara Hotel & Spa
Start with a men’s radiance facial in over-the-top City Center at ESPA at Vdara Hotel & Spa. Peel the city stress right off your face. ESPA and Vdara forged a partnership between the lavish skin-care brand and the luxuriously chic all-suite hotel. Vdara’s 18,000-square-foot, two-level haven features 11 treatment rooms with three distinct relaxation lounges, a co-ed meditation room, sauna, eucalyptus steam rooms, hot plunges and heated lounge chairs.
BATHHOUSE Spa at Delano
What gay traveler could resist a visit to the BATHHOUSE? Try something out of your normal Swedish massage and give your entire body a treatment. The Anti-Aging Body Treatment is a full-salt body scrub made with salts (a bit messy, but your skin will be flawless) and a Red Rock Canyon-inspired Red Mud Wrap. The wrap is accompanied by a relaxing scalp and neck massage. It’s like a three-part treatment. Much of BATHHOUSE Spa’s new menu infuses the soothing elements of locally sourced ingredients, including cacti and wildflowers, as well as other playful nods to the desert.
One of the coolest treatments on the Strip is the Deep Coconut Surrender Massage at Bellagio. It is a therapeutic muscle-work massage but instead of oils, warm coconut milk combined with warm stones make up this signature massage. For those working in an office, you will love that the treatment focuses on the back, neck and shoulders.
Shara Spa at the Cosmopolitan
Vegas is about nightlife and fun, so when you need a bit of detoxification, try the Sahara Desert Aroma Therapy Massage. It uses a signature desert rose with a desert mist and essential oils to relieve any remaining tension you brought with you.
One cannot live by spa alone! You do need evening entertainment — especially after the spas close. At any MGM resort you will find an incredible Cirque du Soleil performance. The newest is “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay. The show is a not-to-miss spectacular dedicated to the King of Pop. It has an impressive mix of live music, MJ dance, Cirque acrobatics and 3D film and hologram technology that are showstoppers.
Jeff Guaracino is the author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.”