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Could Las Vegas be the Next Wellness Capital of America?

A holistic sanctuary found in one of the least likely places

The view from a luxury suite on the 17th floor of Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa, encompasses a vast suburban scene framed by jagged mountains. Looking down there is the white roof of a shopping mall, an orderly parking garage, a spiraling freeway system. Beyond the highways are neat rows of cookie-cutter houses, a Spanish-style Lego-land ending abruptly at the foothills of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which glows pale pink in the fast-moving morning sun. The scrub-covered, sandstone formations are a rock-climbing mecca with hiking and mountain biking galore. On the opposite side of the hotel, ten miles to the east, is the infamous Last Vegas strip. 

Stepping off the elevator at Red Rock in Summerlin, Nevada, requires a moment of cognitive dissonance. To the left is a sign marked “Spa” with an arrow pointing toward a hallway ending in two heavy glass doors. To the right is a sign marked “Casino” that leads to the cavernous interior of the Red Rock complex. The casino’s vaulted room holds the familiar Las Vegas tableau of gamblers congregating around gaming screens. At the center of it all is the Lucky Bar, dripping in Swarovski crystals, (there are 3.1 million pieces of crystal on the property), where cocktail servers deliver drinks in custom gold plated dresses.

Surrounding the casino there is a movie theater, a bowling alley, a food court, an upscale “restaurant row,” over 100,000 square feet of conference rooms, 796 hotel rooms, including 7 penthouses straight out of Entourage. And then, to the left, there is The Spa, which just re-opened as a part of a $35 million property renovation. Red Rock enlisted Well & Being, a spa operator specializing in top-of-the-line classic services as well as integrative health amenities, to guide the renovation and manage the spa under the Well & Being banner.

Pool at the Red Rock Spa

Think of it as a “Canyon Ranch lite” concept. Their unofficial motto is to meet their clients wherever they are on their wellness journey. Instead of inviting guests to immerse themselves in an experience isolated from the outside world (and the temptation of bad habits), Well & Being has no brick and mortar retreat of its own. It partners with luxury hotels such as The Fairmont Princess Scottsdale and the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas to incorporate a menu of wellness options for guests who might be curious to try, say, acupuncture or aerial yoga, without sacrificing their entire vacation to a strict regimen of 6am hikes and sobriety. The idea that a luxury pamper session is no longer just about a facial and a blow-out, it’s about offering treatments that heal and support a holistic lifestyle, is the core of Well & Being’s business model and mission.   

Outdoor Showers at the Red Rock Spa

Dr. Low Dog is W&B’s Chief Medical Officer. With gleaming dark hair, red nails, and that special glow that only comes from clean living, she is a perfect embodiment of the company ethos. Dr. Low Dog works with each new property to bring their staff and offerings up to W&B standards. The first thing she teaches her facialists, masseuses, acupuncturists, nutritionists, yoga and fitness practitioners is that they are not just performing a service, they are true therapists. Their goal is to impart knowledge, big or small, that the guests can take home with them and integrate into their daily lives. In the case of Red Rock, a full reversal of the time-honored tradition that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

The spa’s lobby is decked in white marble. The displays of beauty products, (Naturopathica, Dr. Lancer), sparkle in the Nevada sun filtering through the windows. It practically begs to be Instagrammed, and almost makes one forget precisely where they are. On offer are personalized fitness and nutrition plans, a turn in the BodPod—the official body composition measurement tool of the NFL—Vertical Wall Yoga, In Trinity Board training, acupuncture, massage for athletes, stress or depression relief, and dermatologist-level facials. Red Rock’s Well & Being is the only place one can get a Dr. Lancer facial outside of his practice in Beverly Hills, CA. 

Lobby of the Red Rock Spa

As our concept of wellness undergoes a cultural shift, from hippy-dippy voodoo to elite status symbol, it is also trickling into the main stream. Most recently evidenced in the products we buy (see: Honest Co. valued at $1.7 billion), to the explosion of yoga studios, to Target stores announcing they will grow their own food. A Las Vegas casino investing in a Well & Being spa appears to be just another shred of evidence of the changing times. Perhaps it’s not so wacky that we see a holistic lifestyle sanctuary crop up in arguably, the least likely of all cities. Om shanti/ jack pot.