Here are three reasons to visit Las Vegas in the summer:
- The deals are great.
- The pools are awesome.
- Sunshine is guaranteed.
Here are three reasons not to visit Las Vegas in the summer:
- The mercury is soaring.
- Seriously, it is ridiculously hot.
- Do you remember the face-melting scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark? That’s what it feels like.
Fortunately, it is possible to take advantage of special offers (check out the Caesars Palace semi-annual sale, with rooms from $89 U.S.) without risking heat stroke. Just take it easy, stay hydrated and have some "cool" diversions planned. (And, no, none of them involve gambling: With our dollar dropping, it'll be impossible to avoid getting burned at the casinos.)
Let's start at the pool, because it's likely that is where you'll spend much of the day. Give yourself the gift of a guaranteed shade umbrella and splurge on a lounger, daybed or, if you really want to feel like a baller, a cabana. At the Delano Beach Club, one of the Strip's newest properties, freebies include frozen grapes and fruit-flavoured waters. The 16 cabanas include perks such as 46-inch flat-screen TVs, Evian facial spray and chilled towels. From $325
Vegas knows how to do pools, but it also has spas mastered. Two are especially worthy of a visit in the scorching summer heat. At the Bellagio spa, the Thermal Seaweed Body Wrap is a must. Yes, it involves heat. But before you are coddled in warm blankets, cold seaweed goop is smeared all over your body. It sounds disgusting – and if you don't like the smell of the ocean, do not do this – but after the 50-minute session, I felt fully refreshed – almost like a new person. It is, hands down, my favourite spa treatment ever.
At Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace, purchasing any treatment gets you access to the "roman baths," which is the typical water circuit (warm pool, hot pool, sauna etc.) with the gimmicky but fun addition of the "arctic ice room." In this 55 F, glass-tiled chamber, "snow" falls from the ceiling. It certainly beats working up the nerve to dip into a cold-plunge pool. Day passes from $55
If a life-sized snow globe isn't wintry enough for you, consider Minus5 Ice Bar, guaranteed to cool you off quickly. The temperature in here is, you guessed it, -5 C. And, go figure, it's surprisingly popular with visitors from northern climates. The $75 VIP package gets you access to the ice-filled room, two drinks (served in ice glasses, of course), a faux-fur coat, gloves and a souvenir hat to keep you warm and a framed pic of you doing your best Jon Snow/Princess Elsa impression. Goofy? A little. But it's Vegas. Just go with it. Two locations: Monte Carlo and Mandalay Bay.
Just outside the main Monte Carlo entrance is BLVD Creamery – the first ice-cream parlour I know of where ID is required. Yes, you have to be 21 to order one of its house-made boozy treats, they contain that much alcohol. The "flight" of flavours when I visited included Alaskan oatmeal stout, Shock Top and ACE Pear Cider. Travelling with kids (or already had too many margaritas)? You can always get a G-rated flavour, or a chocolate-covered frozen banana.
Nightlife entertainment in Vegas typically means weaving through a hot, sweaty dance floor. If the thought of that makes you want to flee, get far away from the crowds with a ride on the High Roller. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., it's happy hour – a 30-minute all-you-can-drink ride around the 550-foot-tall observation wheel in an air-conditioned cabin. An afternoon Happy Hour takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. $52
For a more low-key (and down-to-earth) evening, celebrate with a chilled glass of bubbly at Fizz, the champagne bar that boasts Canadian David Furnish (a.k.a. Elton John's husband) as its creative director. It's a luxe little lounge with lots of plush leather, cozy booths and glittering chandeliers. Ladies, ask nicely and the doorman might give you a free drink ticket or two – or even a wristband that lets you sip free until 11 p.m.
Of course, you could just stay in your room all night and order room service. The recently refurbished rooms at the Bellagio pack a colourful punch; the indigo/platinum rooms are more traditional, while the green tea/plum design is better suited to a girls getaway weekend. The perk of staying here – besides the huge marble bathrooms – is the chance to take in the iconic Bellagio fountain show indoors (the sound comes in through a TV channel). Every 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the time of day), more than 1,200 nozzles blast water in time to popular songs. It's a classic Vegas experience – and more enjoyable when you're not risking a sunburn to see it. Rooms from as low as $149 in August
But for a real show, escape the heat and make for dreary, rainy London at the Mirage, the setting of the Beatles LOVE show by Cirque du Soleil. Not that things stay grey for long. The in-the-round stage soon explodes with colour and sound; rather than the typical Cirque route of wowing through seemingly impossible physical acts (although they're here, don't worry), this show is a full-on, joyful assault on the senses set to hits by the Liverpool wonders. I've already seen it twice. From $87
Finally, end your trip in the cool chic of the American Express Centurion Lounge at McCarran International Airport (especially if you're on the dreaded red-eye). From the moment you walk through the glossy blue doors, this truly feels like an exclusive lounge. Showers feature travel-sized L'Occitane toiletries, the buffet is the vision of Scarpetta chef Scott Conant (I feasted on chicken cacciatore and far too many perfect chocolate-chip cookies) and the bartender is happy to shake up custom cocktails. Warning: The plane ride will seem worse than normal after this. $50 for Amex card holders.
The writer stayed at the Bellagio as a guest of Virtuoso Travel Week. It did not review or approve this article.