Lake Las Vegas’ Desert/Lake Oasis

Las VegasThe razzle-dazzle of the Strip often makes it easy to forget that we live in one of the states most devastated by the recession — and that we live in the desert. I was so excited to get out of town (even if it was only 20 minutes down the road!) last weekend, and I landed at the lovely Loews hotel at Lake Las Vegas. It was very beautiful and peaceful out there, and I can’t believe it was so close all this time. And I learned a lot about what happened to my state during the two years I was off and about, traveling and living abroad.

Lake Las Vegas rose to fame when Celine Dion bought a house there during her first run at the Colosseum. Less than an hour’s drive from the Strip (although a certain super-star songstress reportedly preferred a helicopter), the Lake was going to be fab. Three golf courses, a shopping center on the way, a Ritz Carlton… The problems came when the economy went sour. I hadn’t been there for years and couldn’t believe how different it was. The empty shopping center sits unused, the Ritz had closed, two of the three golf greens remained shuttered after the entire threesome foreclosed. I took a morning stroll through one of the two closed ones. It’s so strange, the contrasting colors of golf course grass, brown desert and a lake.

Las Vegas

Palm trees…

Las Vegas

… and cacti, on the same walk!

Lake Las Vegas

The Loews itself was gorgeous and fitting for its surroundings. Instead of Β super-glitzy, Strip-worthy decor, the hotel boasted pretty accents.

Lake Las Vegas

Plus, Loews offered some interesting activities us desert-dwellers don’t see often…

Lake Las Vegas

Who wants to join me?!

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Thanks for showing yet another side of life near Vegas that breaks the stereotypes. Makes me want to visit more and more!

  2. Literally an oasis!

    Was this just for some time off? What prompted the little getaway?

  3. Vegas is definitely unique! Looking for any getaway I can, Shaun. Taking another one this weekend!

  4. When Celine moves into any neighbourhood the place goes downhill. Nice to see that Loews is still standing! πŸ™‚

  5. Oh, Celine… She really does have mystical powers in Vegas!

  6. Ahh I’ll join you! But no golfing, it’s boring.

  7. What an oasis!

  8. Haha no golfing here!!

  9. When they first opened up out there they used to have concerts on a floating stage and fireworks over the lake. Do they still do those?

    It’s a beautiful place. I guess it’s just not what most people come to Vegas for.

  10. Oh wow! I don’t think they do, but I’m going to watch out for that. They still do wine walks… I think it was being billed as a retirement area… And that’s where the crunch happened?

  11. Oooh it’s so fabulous, just like you! What an awesome getaway.

  12. AMAZING to get away!!

  13. I want to join you!

    I had no idea this existed. I assume the lake is man made?

    I think we should go check it out next time I come visit as part of Celine Dion themed weekend I’m planning for us (only half kidding about that! ha)… but mostly so we can say “I went kayaking…in the desert”

  14. HA yes, it is… πŸ˜‰

  15. Its always so sad to hear of businesses going bust. But its a beautiful place. I love your desert scenery photos. They reminded me again why I enjoy visiting a place so hot and arid. Kayaking is one of my favorite activities – I’ll join you.

  16. How great to feel like you really got a vacation without having to travel more than 20 minutes! Looks like it’s a totally different scene from what people usually think of when they think Vegas.

  17. So close! A great get-away place for you.

  18. Never realized it was so close to my side of town duh.

  19. Ahhh man, I might need to come visit you soon… it’s getting cold here in Toronto and those kayaks look mighty inviting πŸ™‚

  20. The RITZ closed? Wow, I tend to think of the big chains like them being totally untouchable.

  21. Right? Seems so untouchable!

  22. I’m so unfamiliar with desert landscapes being a Florida girl, but I LOVE this! Might be time for a Vegas jaunt in the near future…

  23. Such an unusual landscape. I’d like to have a closer look at this lake.

  24. I’m also from Florida! The desert is wild…

  25. I actually didn’t even know there was such a place called Lake Las Vegas! Shows my ignorance of the geography in that part of the country…

  26. I like the lake but what more I like is: small red pebbles on the banks. Thanks for sharing.

  27. This is definitely far from the idea we have of Las Vegas, I had already heard the city is in big crisis, very sad. In Europe the situation in plunging at freefall speed, always more companies are closing down, big and small, such a disaster I found getting back from China…

  28. It’s great to have places like this right in your own back yard. We don’t have to travel far to see the beauty anywhere in the world. I love the photo of the palm trees reflected in the water. We haven’t been to Vegas, but this side of it, I could definitely do!

  29. It IS sad! I really hope Nevada bounces back soon. Watching the news about Europe, of course. No, we don’t have to travel far, and having a little travel blog has definitely gotten me out there more and made me appreciate that!

  30. I need a quickie little trip outside of the city!! πŸ™‚ Will totally go kayaking with you on the lake, but be warned, I’m not good.

  31. I’m awful — we could never go together haha. We’d never get anywhere!

  32. Like others have mentioned I’m quite surprised by this!

  33. 3 golf courses next to each other in the desert & such a lake? I don’t know, but that is not really the way how water should get used in the desert…

  34. You’re right, Melvin, that golf courses take up an enormous amount of water for us. Many of our courses are pretty brown and not “pretty” in the traditional sense. We have an impressive and aggressive lady in charge of our water who has done wonders. Our reserves are full. But we are broke, with the highest unemployment in the country.Tourism is our major concern right now.

  35. This is such a cute part of town! I really wish it wasn’t so far away or I’d be down there a lot more often!

  36. I wish YOU didn’t live so far away from the Lake — or me!

  37. I keep wanting to go out there on one of my trips, and I keep not making it there. Augh! It’s so pretty….if only it weren’t so far from the Strip. πŸ™

  38. I didn’t realize places like this existed in Vegas. πŸ™‚ Btw.. I just saw round trip flights from SD to Vegas for $40 on Airfarewatchdog!

  39. I stayed out at Ravella this past summer, and I really like it out there… it’s a nice, calm change from the Strip. I do get the feeling that it’s growing again!

  40. Fascinating. It is really startling when you see these clear, unavoidable signs that the country – and the people in it – are really struggling. It’s hard not to think, “Here, in the US?”

    In less depressing news, we LOVE vegas and need to get down there. It’s been several months – too long for my taste. πŸ™‚

  41. Yes, I was trying to be positive, but it was a tad bit depressing… YES, come to Vegas!! Drinks!

  42. What a great set of pictures– it looks like an oasis!

  43. I can’t believe I have yet to make it to Vegas yet…. Never even knew this lake existed, looks gorgeous! Add another reason to get my ass there!

  44. It is an oasis, Charu! I want to go back.

    Pete, you guys have to come out here. Between the Strip and then all the things that a surrounding desert offers… It can be surreal!

  45. how fun! nice change of pace from the busy strip!

  46. The PERFECT change of pace!

  47. What a wonderful looking place for you to share. We’ve seen a lot of hotels and golf courses that were started with such optimism, also fall victim of “this stinking economy.” I am hopefully going to be in Vegas soon, and this is just the kind of place I’d love to visit and tell people about. Good one, live wire! πŸ™‚

  48. I think it’s an interesting little slice of Vegas life! Houses are starting to sell out there again. Maybe it’ll recover!

  49. We stayed at the old ritz in July. It’s called Ravella now. There’s a delicious Irish place in the shopping center.

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