In preparation for a big night out, Vegas spa guests often tack on salon services to a day of pampering. At the Mirage, that means a visit to Los Angeles–based colorist Kim Vo’s new outpost. Vo, who counts Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson as clients, offers makeup services and eyebrow shaping, as well as cuts and color, in a dramatic black and white space behind a wall of glass that opens into the mall for all the world to see. Most intriguing of all is the wig bar, the first place in the country to stock a library of ready-made extensions in a palette of colors to match the hair of nearly any walk-in. “We call it razzle-dazzle,” says Vo, who adds that passersby often stop in front of the glass to watch him work. “We want to show people what fashion is firsthand.”
The Palms Casino Resort is also expecting a crowd to gather in its new spa, Drift, which is centered around a coed Turkish bath called a hammam. The main Palms casino and hotel has a distinct MySpace-generation appeal (a tattoo parlor opens directly onto the casino floor), but the spa, in the new Palms Place residential tower next door, is geared toward grown-ups. Many of the treatment rooms, outfitted in coppery mosaic tiles, have landscaped terraces (natural light and fresh air are rare commodities in this town). And then there’s the womblike hammam, with heated surfaces and artful tile work. “This is a place where male and female guests can mingle,” says Jennifer Noble, the spa director. Whether mingling will lead to canoodling will become clearer after Drift’s spring opening.
Qua, the spa that opened at Caesars Palace in late 2006, also boasts a coed meet-up spot, a tiled circular sauna called the Laconium room that’s maintained at a constant 140˚ and 35 percent humidity. (According to spa director Jennifer Lynn, these are the optimum conditions for relaxation.) But fraternizing with the opposite sex seems less of a priority at this place, which turns out to be the most luxurious spa in town. Both the men’s and women’s areas boast Arctic Ice rooms—heavily air-conditioned chambers in which snow falls from the ceiling and a machine produces giant ice shavings to rub on your overheated skin after you emerge from the sauna, Roman baths or herbal steam rooms. With dark wood accents and several tons of stone, a tea lounge with its own tea sommelier, and 51 treatment rooms, Qua is a surprisingly tasteful refuge within the 3,349-room behemoth that is Caesars. There are so many inviting spots that I find myself pinballing from one room to the next in a 20-minute, hot-cold-hot-cold-wet-dry six-towel frenzy.
Afterward, as I recuperate in the tea lounge, exhausted but thoroughly cleansed, it occurs to me that Qua handily encapsulates what Las Vegas spas are all about. In a city where 95˚ is considered temperate, five-figure bar bills are routine and bedtime is 6 a.m., even relaxing is an intense experience.