Let your hair down, be indulgent, and play with the high-rollers on your Las Vegas vacation. But give yourself a fitness treat at the same time? Certainly. At the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, it is entirely possible to do both-play for the winning hand in high-stakes poker and relax under the talented hands of a professional masseuse-all in the same afternoon. Raise the stakes in a lively game of poker then raise the bar as you lift weights in the hotel's state-of-the-art gym. Buy a fabulous sarong in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, then shed it to drink in Vitamin D straight from the sun at the pools and cabanas.
Mandalay Bay Beach
When swimming is your workout of choice, try out all four palm-tree-surrounded pools in the complex. Early, before the revelers get up and make their way to the pool for a wake-up dip, there is ample space for undisturbed lap swimming. If you had a late night yourself, try a different type of aquatic exercise, body surfing in the wave pool where you can ride crests up to six feet high. Join your fellow travelers for an after-swim drink and lounge in one of the poolside cabanas or gazebos.
Runners break out their sneakers early to beat the Las Vegas heat hit the half-mile jogging track encircling Mandalay Bay Beach. Step off the track and give your calves and ankles an unusual workout with a fast-walk on the 2700 tons of sand shipped in to replicate a tropical paradise.
Get in your reps at the 3,000-square-foot fitness center, an anchor of the Spa's ode to healthful beauty in 21 treatment rooms and luxurious lounging areas. Designed more as a palace of wellness than a sweaty gym, the music, colors and lighting are complemented by large windows overlooking the Mandalay Bay lagoon. There is a nominal daily charge for spa access which includes the weights and cardio equipment in the fitness center, a redwood sauna, eucalyptus steam room, cold plunge, heated whirlpools, and aromatic showers. The fee also includes the use of a robe and sandals (plus a T-shirt and shorts, although you are welcome to use your own attire for the gym if you wish).
Indulge completely with a spa treatment, something that likely is not a part in your everyday fitness program. Choose from Swedish, shiatsu, Ayurveda, hot stone, or Spa Mandalay's signature Desert Sage scented massage techniques. Full body treatments, body wraps and skin care services may be more your style; or simply take a moisturizing warm paraffin hand and foot treatment.
Celebrity chefs abound at the Mandalay Hotel and Casino. Fine dining, casual eateries and quick snack stops need not sabotage your fitness plan. Instead, satiate you palate with one-of-a-kind meals that are nourishing and bursting with flavor. At Border's Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's Mexican restaurant, start with the Baja Ceviche â€“ seafood marinated in lime with cilantro, onion, tomato and a touch of onion, topped with avocado. For the main course, order the grilled skirt steak with piquant spices and vegetables, leaving room for a light flan topped with caramel sauce for dessert.
Look at the menu before you go to any of Mandalay Bay's restaurants. Picking a simple appetizer, a lightly-sauced entree, meat or fish, and a fun dessert or after-dinner drink helps avoid high-calorie impulse orders. At Mix, master chef Alain Ducasse's award-winning French/American restaurant, consider the tuna tartare with mango chutney, rack of Colorado lamb, and profiteroles to share with your traveling companion. For dinner at Wolfgang Puck's first Italian restaurant, Lupo, try antipasti with roasted baby beets and arugula, goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette, followed by organic chicken, pot roasted with escarole and touches of chili, lemon and garlic in white wine.
Set up a golf outing through the concierge service. For a fee, you and your friends will be transported via limousine to one of the finest golf courses in the United States' southwest. The Desert Pines Golf Club, Royal Links Golf Club and Bali Hai Golf Club have all been ranked by the readers of GolfWorld magazine amongst the top 50 golf courses in the country. Desert Pines is a Dye-designed course replicating the famed, pine-tree-lined golfing destinations in the Carolinas just 15 minutes away from Mandalay Bay. Royal Links is designed as an ode to the golf links that define British Open courses and is located within 10 miles of the hotel. Within view of Mandalay Bay, the Bali Hai Golf Club is a tropical-themed oasis in the center of Las Vegas where the course designers, Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley, included Par 3s, 4s and 5s. At each location, consider walking the course for the exercise, or simply relax between holes as the cart girls and caddies attend to your every need.
Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
Don't worry that all your time in Las Vegas will end up on fitness activities for fitness sake. Step into the Beachside Casino straight from lounging by the pool. Swimsuits and casual wear perfectly acceptable in the three-story, climate-controlled casino. Take time to catch a night's entertainment in the House of Blues, see the Disney production Lion King, or dance in the magical Eyecandy Sound Lounge. Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino has been a AAA Four Diamond Award winner every year since 2001.
Mandalay Bay pool area and Beachside Casino, Erin Khoo
Spa Mandalay, DCWriterDawn
Mix at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, bluewaikik.com via Flickr
Bali Hai Golf Course, danperry.com via Flickr