By Mike Henle & Denitsa Yotova-Green
Situated less than 20 miles southeast of the Las Vegas Strip is a refreshing retreat with waterfalls, European-style architecture, and an ambiance hardly like the surrounding desert. Though only a short drive, Lake Las Vegas—technically in Henderson—is a world away.
The massive $2-billion, 3,592-acre development has brought hotel-casinos and a collection of impressive residential developments to one of the most unique communities in the Las Vegas area. Posh resorts such as The Ritz-Carlton, MonteLago Village Resort, and Loews at Lake Las Vegas Resort anchor the Mediterranean-inspired destination, and championship golf courses (see below), sensual spas, and restaurants that run the gamut from casual to fine dining round out the experience.
A floating stage—with seating for 2,500, one of the largest such venues in the country—features special events and performances by musicians such as LeAnn Rimes, Andrea Boccelli, and Kenny G. “You can’t beat the entertainment here,” says Lake Las Vegas resident Tony Karstensson. “And we can walk to eight different restaurants. There is nothing like it in the entire valley. It is totally cool.”
In addition, each winter, MonteLago Village unveils a floating ice-skating rink on Lake Las Vegas. In the summer, residents and visitors take advantage of the 320-acre lake (the largest privately-owned man-made lake in Nevada) via watercraft rentals, yacht cruises, boating, fishing, and romantic gondola rides. Lakeside jazz concerts, wine walks, art shows, and classic car shows are just a few of the events hosted at Lake Las Vegas. Cobblestone streets lead shoppers from boutique to boutique along picturesque promenades. If you’d rather stay in and relax, the Spa Moulay at Loews and the Ritz-Carlton Spa offer enticing treatment rooms, salons, and other services.
As an added enticement, the summer monsoons that frequent Southern Nevada accentuate Lake Las Vegas with lightning storms that create panoramic displays reminiscent of posters.
Karen and Don Saunders (left) sold their home in Dana Point, Calif., to purchase a home and open a jewelry store—the Turquoise Door—at Lake Las Vegas two years ago. “We truly believe in Lake Las Vegas,” Don says. “There is upscale golf, and that’s my number one reason for wanting to live here. And they have upscale housing along with beautiful clubhouses and a romantic village filled with unique shops and restaurants.” Don says that the impressive hotel-casinos provide the perfect environment without the hustle and bustle found on the Las Vegas Strip.
Tony, a financial planner, and his wife, Linne, a real estate agent, are pleased with life at Lake Las Vegas. Their 4,002 square-foot, two-story home is situated along the fourth fairway of The Falls. “We lived in Green Valley,” Linne says. “Tony wanted to live near the water, and this was ideal for us.”—MIKE HENLE
Former PGA Tour golfer Tom Weiskopf designed The Falls, a 7,250-yard, par-72 golf course. It is the newest course in the area, and it offers spectacular views of the surrounding desert, the lake, and the Las Vegas Strip. Eleven ponds and lakes, six holes with water features, three waterfalls, and 360 feet of elevation changes make The Falls picturesque and challenging.
Travis Hyde, assistant golf professional at the course, says that one of the best aspects of The Falls is the elevation changes. “Some lucky golfers are also able to see another unique feature, a herd of Bighorn sheep that roam the back nine,” Hyde says. “The Falls is best known for holes 12, 13, and 14. They have some of the best views and golf around.”
Sean Callahan, from San Bernardino, California, plays The Falls at least twice a year. He enjoys the layout, design, and how the golf course flows. “It’s a difficult course to play, but it’s also a fair one,” he says.
Reflection Bay, a 7,261-yard, par-72 Jack Nicklaus-designed course, offers something that no other in Vegas does: desert golf alongside a 320-acre lake. Located along 1.5 miles of Lake Las Vegas’ scenic shoreline, it combines beaches, bunkers, and palms to create a round of golf not easily forgotten.
The course, a former host of the annual Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, was named in Golf Digest’s biennial listing of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. “It’s a good mix of desert and water-based holes,” Hyde says. “It has four signature holes that line Lake Las Vegas and offer golfers a great vantage point and a great challenge.”
SouthShore, also a Jack Nicklaus design, is the private course at the resort and only members of The Club at Lake Las Vegas are allowed access. Callahan, who has had the opportunity to play the course, describes it as the perfect combination of The Falls and Reflection Bay. Hyde says it has “the best three finishing holes in Las Vegas. It ends with a par-3 in the mountains that requires a tee shot over a deep canyon. The final two are par-4s further up the mountain and have great views of Lake Las Vegas from all angles,” he says.
The Falls, Reflection Bay, and SouthShore are world-class courses equipped with full practice facilities, private lessons, merchandise, dining, and more. Fees vary seasonally and include green fees, golf cart, and use of the practice range. Rental clubs are available for $65, and tee times may be booked as early as 60 days in advance.
“What separates the golf courses at the resort from any other in the city is the diversity,” Hyde says. “Each course has its own unique character and style.”
Lake Las Vegas
Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort
MonteLago Village Resort
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas