Sure, Las Vegans with means and opportunity are fleeing our fiery summer by jetting off to all kinds of exotic locales. Those of us tethered to a desk or routine know how to find more creative ways to soothe our wanderlust. These seven quick escapes, drawn from our Best of the City issue, will leave you feeling like you got away from it all—with minimal damage to your pocketbook. Got a free evening, or even an hour? Get ready to find your bliss.
Best Staycation Bargain: El Cortez
With about 150,000 hotel rooms, Las Vegas has plenty of options, but the historic El Cortez wins for a few good reasons: It is perfectly positioned on Fremont East for a night of crawling among all the cool new bars without worrying about how to get home; it’s still got historical charm but with some contemporary refurbishments (such as the new Designer Suites and the lime-green modern Cabana Suites); and midweek rates are as low as $21 a night. 600 Fremont St., ElCortezHotelCasino.com.
Best Locals-Only Pampering Deal: Spa and Salon at Red Rock Resort
Monday through Thursday, all spa treatments at the Spa and Salon at Red Rock Resort are 30 percent off (20 percent on the weekends), and anything on the menu at the salon is 20 percent off every day. Either deal includes free access to the facilities and private pool at this Condé Nast Top 100 Resort Spa. So, each visit includes quality and affordability. Need we say more? 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 797-7878, RedRock.SCLV.com/Spa.
Best Place to Get a Manicure/Pedicure: Bond
You’ll get the chic atmosphere and treatment of a resort-style salon without paying the price at Bond. Bellagio Spa veteran Shawna Traynor opened her “nail lounge” earlier this year with a menu of creative offerings, such as the Chocolate Covered Strawberry, which starts with a strawberry oil and mineral soak, followed by a strawberry scrub and chocolate mask, and then finishes with a super-hydrating chocolate lotion lather-up. Bond’s specialty manicures and pedicures incorporate Me Bath products, and they change seasonally. $50 pedicure, $30 manicure; 4115 Grand Canyon Dr., Suite 101, 545-0100.
Best Place to Meet Francophiles: Cognac Lounge at Restaurant Guy Savoy
There are probably other places to meet more Francophiles—we have to have an embassy or consulate around here somewhere. But the chic marble-and-fireplace setting of the Cognac Lounge at Restaurant Guy Savoy is the best place. Lower yourself down onto the petite furniture or hoist yourself up onto a dainty stool at the bar, then gird your wallet as reality sets in: Here you can indulge not only in any number of high-end Cognacs (Hardy, Hennessy, Hine …), but you can also have servers wheel in Savoy’s famous dessert cart. In Caesars Palace, 731-7286.
Best Nighttime View: Planetarium at Southern Nevada’s Cheyenne Campus
Tucked inside the L Building of the College of Southern Nevada’s Cheyenne Campus, the Planetarium is your best place to learn about the skies. With multiple presentations on Fridays and Saturdays, there are plenty of opportunities to get your astronomy fix. Bonuses include being able to see artifacts from the space program, including a main landing-gear wheel from the Discovery Space Shuttle on display, and free telescope viewings after the 8 p.m. shows. 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave.; for programs and times, visit CSN.edu/planetarium.
Best Club-Hop Itinerary: Three-Course Sundays at Encore
Looking for the finest day-to-night experience without ever leaving the hotel? With Las Vegas’ summer heat, no one can blame you. Dip into Three-Course Sundays at Encore. Start with the Grill at Encore Beach Club for bites and cocktails before jumping in and pool-partying the day away. Then clean up and head to Andrea’s for Asian fare and seasonal cocktails with help from the custom iPad app drink menu. Finally cruise over to XS’ Sunday Nightswim and splash the night away, where the starlight pool party overflows with floating toys and beautiful people. In Encore, WynnSocial.com.
Best Overlooked Day Trip: Rogers Spring
This 130-mile round trip highlights just how much divergent beauty the desert has to offer. Rogers Spring, located off Lake Mead’s Northshore Road, is an eye-catching natural oasis framed by a large cluster of palm trees seemingly in the middle of nowhere. A closer look reveals a wide, blue pool filled with small fish, created by a spring that flows at a rate of up to 1,000 gallons per minute (submerging your face is discouraged because of potentially dangerous amoeba common to hot springs). The area features shaded picnic areas with grills (although no drinking water is available on site), and a short hike takes you to a picturesque overlook where you can see much of the lake. Drive home through the Valley of Fire, just 20 minutes from Rogers Spring, to give the day a colorful ending.