Hedonism and health: two sides of the Las Vegas coin

JoAnna Haugen

Travel writer

No longer must a trip to Vegas be all about excess – for every all-night rave there’s a serene morning-after spa. Strike the perfect balance between revelry and R&R with the city’s top spots and experiences

Picture that pre-conceived notion of Las Vegas: the smoky casinos, maze-like building interiors and greasy buffet spreads. Now crush that vision, open your mind and book a plane ticket to the new and improved Las Vegas. The city has gone through drastic changes in recent years, and new, refreshing details make it more appealing than ever, but today’s Vegas caters for every traveller – whether your style leans towards naughty, nice, or a bit of both.

Party Hard

Party Hard

Sin City’s mantra is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but it could just as easily be “Go big or go home!” From flashy casino resorts with slot machines chiming 24 hours a day to beat-pumping nightclubs and one-of-a-kind experiences, it’s easy to leave with a story worth retelling.

If DJs are your jam, you’re in luck. Las Vegas’ nightclubs are some of the best in the world, with big-name DJs packing the dance floor every night of the week. Drai’s Nightclub (pictured bottom) at The Cromwell is one of the hippest on the scene, while nothing beats the size and scale of Hakkasan at MGM Grand. In the summer, take your shape-throwing with a side of sunshine at one of the many day clubs located on the Strip. Don’t be surprised to see the likes of Zedd and David Guetta spinning at Encore Beach Club, or try Marquee at The Cosmopolitan for a cool, more laid-back vibe.

In fact, all music lovers have cause to get excited here; Vegas festivals are big news. September’s locally grown Life Is Beautiful festival is a three-day blowout of live music, performance art, and inspirational speakers – people flock here to see headliners such as Kanye West, Imagine Dragons and Stevie Wonder. Additionally, the three-day Electric Daisy Carnival each June draws tens of thousands to rave under the neon sky, while Route 91 Harvest in September/October features the biggest names in country music.

Of course, you can’t plan a trip to Sin City without creating a few ‘only in Vegas’ memories. Thrill seekers should head to the Las Vegas Speedway: choose from a fleet of speed racers like Lamborghinis and Ferraris, then put the pedal to the metal, racing around the track. Or, take your adrenaline rush airborne with Sky Combat Ace (pictured top), where you can fly your own fighter jet, or go along for the ride as trained pilots turn and tumble aircrafts through a kaleidoscopic choreography of manoeuvres. And why not? After all, this is Vegas, baby!

Rest Easy

Rest Easy

For every over-the-top moment that defines Las Vegas, there is one that invites visitors to sit back and relax. Yes, it is completely possible to be health-conscious and happy here too.

For starters, check into a Stay Well room at MGM Grand. Designed by Dr. Deepak Chopra, the Cleveland Clinic and Delos, these wellness rooms are outfitted with vitamin C-infused showers, air purification systems, dawn simulation clocks and fridges stocked with fresh juice and filtered water. Elsewhere, while nearly every casino resort is also home to a spa, one stands out above them all: Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace is 55,000 square feet of pure bliss with 50 treatment rooms, 35 massage studios, heated tubs and steam rooms. For a more intimate escapist spa experience in a casino-free hotel, it has to be the world-famous ESPA‘s base in Vdara hotel (pictured top) – ESPA’s first in Vegas.

While almost all hotels have excellent fitness centres, this town offers some truly unique ways to work out. Downward facing dog among dolphins anyone? Held in the underwater dolphin viewing area at The Mirage’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat, dolphin yoga (pictured bottom left) is friendly for all skill levels (but very popular, so reserve your spot in advance). Finally, finish off your virtuous day at VegeNation (pictured bottom right), an all-vegan restaurant located downtown with such good food that even devoted meat-eaters love it. Although the entire menu is noteworthy, stand-out dishes include the steamed shiitake and spinach dumplings, and Moroccan tagine with roasted vegetables.

It’s true, overindulgence traditionally defines Las Vegas, but explore this quirky city’s healthy side and odds are you’ll walk away a winner.

Now you know that it is possible to have your cake, eat it, and work it off afterwards, check out our Vegas guide for more activities, info and hotels, then book that trip

Hotel Offers

Worldwide deals and discounts for American Express Cardmembers