While it’s certainly easy to think of the Las Vegas Strip as a four-mile-long derailment of your best intentions—including good health and sobriety—you could actually argue that Vegas offers the most extravagant and luxurious wellness trail ever conceived. Indeed, you can book yourself into a spa—like the massive Canyon Ranch in Palazzo—and get an experience so close to that of its siblings in Lenox or Tucson that you might not know where you are. Or, you could be similarly transported to Turkey and Morocco via surprisingly authentic Turkish-bath-style hammams in both The Cosmopolitan and Mandarin Oriental; or go right to Japan, smelling therapeutic salt bricks, via the Shio Salt Room in the Spa at Aria. Whether you want to undo the damage from the night before, or head it off at the pass, you can easily ensconce yourself in a great Vegas spa for an entire day. Here are some of my favorites:
Sahra Spa & Hammam
The Cosmopolitan’s 50,000 square foot spa takes the “oasis in the desert” theme quite seriously: walking through the sandstone halls is like a dreamy shuffle through a slot canyon. The waterfall-accented lounge makes a good resting place, but to really get away from everyone, book the $95-an-hour spa penthouse with its own steam room, side-by-side hydrotherapy tubs, group treatment area, wet bar and living room. Smaller spa suites have treatment areas, private steam rooms and showers and meditation and lounge areas. The treatment to book is the new Moroccan Journey, which gives you exclusive use of the 1,200-square-foot hammam, where you’ll be cleansed and exfoliated with volcanic black soap and a traditional Kese mitt, then get a rhassoul clay masque, sealed in with pure honey. Breathe deeply in the eucalyptus steam roam and take a soak—but it doesn’t end there. Finally, you’ll get a signature Sahra Massage. Total decadence.
Spa at Mandarin Oriental
Roman-style baths worthy of Caligula, indoor igloos and massive communal spaces: where most spas on the Strip impress with size (and bells and whistles), Mandarin Oriental’s nurturing little spa goes for exclusive opulence, channeling the vibe of Shanghai in the 1930s. Think dark woods, grey marble and pops of jewel-tone purples and fuchsias. It has the most lovely, formal service of any of the spas on the Strip—all treatments start with a traditional Chinese foot ritual—and the hammam lit with blue stars is pure magic. Lie on the heated marble motherstone for a traditional Turkish scrub, but don’t miss the Laconium room (a heated relaxation room with contoured bench seating) or the temperature-controlled Tepidarium.
The treatment to book: the Rhassoul treatment, in the women’s facility, in which you are covered in clay and exposed to dry and wet heat to release toxins and nourish the skin.
The Spa at Aria
In contrast to the intimate Spa at Mandarin Oriental, the cavernous space of the 80,000-square-foot Spa at Aria is what makes it particularly luxurious. Guests can completely remove themselves from the fray and relax on the heated-stone ganbanyoku beds, on which you lie to purge toxins and stimulate circulation (they're the only such beds in the U.S.). You can also try the Shio Salt Room, in which you lie on comfortable lounges and breathe in the therapeutic salt air, or a co-ed pool that looks over the resort’s outdoor pool scene. If you’re going with a significant other, meet up in the area between the men’s and women’s sides, in the balcony pool lounge, where you can canoodle while overlooking the resort’s rowdier pool scene below.
Qua Baths & Spa
In 2005, Qua introduced the concept of the super-spa to Vegas, with its then-unheard-of 50,000-square-foot area in Caesars Palace. It remains one of the best spas on the Strip, with its cascading waterfalls, three Roman baths, and an Arctic Ice Room (push a button and it snows). It’s also one of the best spas for those seeking a bit of exclusivity (read: you don’t want to cross a casino floor in your bathrobe). Within Augustus tower, it shares exclusive real estate with Restaurant Guy Savoy, and only guests of the tower and these two venues may valet their cars here. Since Nobu Hotel opened its boutique hotel inside Caesars, some of the loveliest treatments are from the exclusive Nobu menu, approved by Chef Matsuhisa himself (you’ll have to ask for that one; it doesn’t appear in the regular spa menu). Book the 90-minute Nagomi Ritual, which begins with a traditional Japanese footbath, includes a full-body massage that incorporates Thai, Balinese and shiatsu massage, and ends in a facial.
The Spa at Encore
Where Wynn’s sister property is Asian-themed and exotic, its spa amps up the drama just a notch. Glowing golden Moroccan lanterns line long hallways, giving it an authentic eastern grandeur that’s rare on the Strip. This aesthetic splendor is all carefully controlled by high technology, via the digital screens that also allow guests to control water temperature, pressure and mood lighting in the waterfall showers. The treatment to book: The Nalu Body Ritual—borrowed from the tropical-inspired treatments at newly renovated Spa at Wynn—which fuses massage, body exfoliation and a coconut oil scalp treatment that is a total de-stressor.