Mention Las Vegas, and people’s first thoughts are of gambling, bright lights, and the place bachelors go for their last hoorah before heading down the aisle. But there is a softer side of Las Vegas. The Vegas you can visit for a relaxing escape. You can play a challenging game of golf, have an intimate dinner, and just relax without even stepping into a casino.

Begin your day with an early brunch reservation at Bouchon. The vision of world-renowned chef Thomas Keller, who was named "America’s Best Chef" by Time magazine, Bouchon is a version of his Napa Valley bistro, French Laundry. Keller is also the sole recipient of consecutive "Best Chef" awards from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. Located in the Venezia tower, Bouchon brings to Las Vegas the top cuisine and service that have made it a Napa Valley institution. Dine on specialties such as Bouchon French Toast made "bread pudding style" or sour dough waffles topped with Tahitian vanilla bean butter. Wash it down with a Bloody Marie (vs. the traditional Mary) or strawberry milk.

Next, head about 90 minutes north of Las Vegas, to the Wolf Creek Golf Club for a mid-morning tee time. It is the best way to enjoy your golf game before the temperature starts rising in the desert climate. Touting such accolades as "America’s Best New Course" by Golf Digest when it opened in 2000 and ranked as one of "America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses," Wolf Creek Golf Club can compete with any course anywhere for beauty and challenge. As far as the eyes can see, there are amazing views of the rugged landscape of gold and red rock canyons, a staple of Mesquite golf. The terrain is so extreme that the tractors which formed some of the fairways and greens had to be flown in by helicopter.

You will definitely be challenged at each hole. Wolf Creek offers five separate tee boxes for each hole, many of them have long stairways leading up to them and railings around them. The scorecard will tell you what tees you should be playing according to your handicap.

After a morning on the golf course, give your muscles a rub down with a sports massage at nearby CasaBlanca Resort. Then soak in their heated mineral water pools. Because of its location, you can get a five star massage for a three star price.

Next, head back to the Strip. Continue the wind down at TAO Asian Bistro, sister restaurant to the renowned New York hotspot and celebrity hangout with the same name. People-watch as you sip a TAO-tini– consisting of Absolut Mandarin, Stolichnaya Raspberry, Malibu Rum, cranberry and fresh lime juice. When you are ready to satisfy your craving for some Asian cuisine, TAO delivers. Specializing in Hong Kong Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisines, Chef Sam Hazen’s creations include everything from Kobe beef to traditional Peking Duck.

Stay and get your groove on, as TAO transforms into a hip night club. At 42,000 square feet, you have a lot of room to do the shopping cart move.


What & Where:
Bouchon
at The Venetian (3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-414-6200)
Wolf Creek Golf Club (403 Paradise Parkway, Mesquite, NV; 800-252-4653)
The CasaBlanca Resort, Casino, Golf & Spa ( 950 W Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite, NV; 1-877-GETAWAY
Tao at The Venetian (3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-388-8338)