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The JW Marriott Proves Vegas is More Than The Strip
Thirty five years of visiting one town is a long tradition. And when you have always stayed in the best hotels in town – all of them within 2 miles of each other – changing the routine is not easy. But change we did (and agreeably so) for a few days when we stayed at the JW Marriott in Summerlin, an area 20 minutes northwest of the famous Las Vegas Strip and its mega hotels.
You may be asking yourself right about now what would cause us to leave what we know and love for a complete mystery, and that would be an especially good question regarding a place like Las Vegas, where, quite frankly, people might argue that unless you stay on The Strip you may as well visit somewhere else.
But one of our good friends from California had married and moved to Las Vegas and her Public Relations firm represents the JW Marriott. After hearing her extol the virtues and reading about the resort, we easily decided to spend three days.
As with most adventures in life, there are positives and negatives that need to be balanced. The JW is about 25-35 minutes from the airport as opposed to 10-15 for the Strip hotels. On the other hand, Strip congestion usually becomes almost painful after a few days, while the expanse of the JW property promises plenty of privacy. And the mass of humanity is not limited to the Strip itself. Most of the better hotels have thousands of hotel rooms, making for crowded lobbies and casinos. At the JW, however, crowds are appreciably lighter since the hotel has a more traditional room number – 548, to be exact. Of course, what is good for one may not be another’s cup of tea. Want a sneak peek into our conclusion? Stay at least 5 nights in Las Vegas, and always spend at least a couple of them at the quiet and elegant JW Marriott. Here is why.
The Property: At 561 square feet, the standard accommodations at this Las Vegas Resort are among the most spacious and luxurious in the city. Tastefully appointed, each room was designed to satisfy the guest's desire for comfort and style. Expansive marble bathrooms featuring Jacuzzi tubs and separate, glass enclosed, raindrop showers are the centerpiece of the room experience. Walk-in closets, oversized televisions, ceiling fans, wonderfully comfortable beds, and warm, elegant decor complete this extraordinary and distinguishing feature of this resort.
Once you talk yourself into leaving the comfort of the room (we suggest also looking at the rates for the unbeatable one bedroom suite with an extra bath and large balcony), you will discover the beauty of the grounds surrounding the hotel. Gardens, greenery, trees, water, and private areas combine to transform a simple stroll into an almost bucolic experience. Time will melt away – a good thing, too, because there is lots of lovely landscaping to enjoy.
If you like the water, the Resort features a rather large pool more on the traditional side than you might see at The Mirage, for example, but enjoying the sun with the quiet, surrounding view of gardens and trees rather than engines and city buildings is a definite plus for the blood pressure. If you want privacy with your sun and water, consider reserving (as soon as you know you want one) one of the nearby cabanas which offer TV and food service.
Most of the hotels in Nevada have arrangements with golf courses for the large contingent of golfers that travel to the sun. The JW Marriott is almost across the street from, and has an exclusive relationship with, one of the undisputedly best courses in the country – the Tournament Players Club. But one is not confined to that course only, as there are 9 courses nearby where the concierges (yes, there are more than one in the hotel to help) can easily obtain tee times.
The Restaurants: With only 548 rooms at the JW Marriott, you might not think there would be a wide selection of places to dine, but that would be incorrect. The resort not only services its own guests, but much of the surrounding community, which is growing in size and affluence. You can choose from five different establishments for lunch and eight for dinner – certainly enough to give everyone a fair choice.
The Carmel Room: This is arguably the most beautiful room in all of Las Vegas, and we think unarguably the most romantic. Dark hues and leathers bring back memories of times past, and the private alcoves enclosed by curtains allow truly private dining in the most intimate of circumstances. As if this were not enough, the cuisine prepared by Chef Steven Varga and the professional and friendly service match most of their competition city wide. When you add in the gentler prices that being off the Strip allows the Carmel Room to charge, and then put it all together, the Carmel Room is one fabulous stop, whether you are staying at the JW Marriott or anywhere else in town.
JC Wooloughan’s Irish Pub: If you are like us, and search out authentic Irish pubs and Irish music, you won’t do better than Wooloughan’s. The beautiful interior was shipped in its entirety from Ireland and reconstructed at the Resort. From Wednesday through Saturday evenings live music is on tap, and every night you find a wide selection of International beers. And the food? Excellent pub creations from fish and chips to prime rib to corned beef and cabbage. As with the Carmel Room, a visit here is a good idea no matter where you stay.
Ceres: This contemporary dining room is enhanced by views of surrounding waterfalls, pools, and gardens. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers what many might still call a Continental menu (though we think it is more American inspired and nicely interpreted by Chef Bruce Knapik). If you like a healthy breakfast, or any other kind for that matter, the buffet where most everything is made to order is for you.
Shizen: If you want some fast Japanese food (sushi, traditional, or hibachi table), this is a pretty good stop. But be aware there is little ambiance.
Promenade Café: All night casino restaurants run the gamut from terrible to almost gourmet. Promenade is very good – somewhat surprising in a smaller hotel. We ate excellent omelets and sandwiches, and the staff does all it can to ensure your food will be prepared just as you want it.
The Spa and Fitness Center: What an absolute pleasure in every respect. It is, however, an absolute impossibility to list the scores and scores of services available in the modern and relaxing spa, so do check them out online. We chose special facials, including one based on caviar, and though we looked a few years younger for only a little while, our skin has been healthier for weeks. Others were taking advantage of the 36 separate treatment rooms where they experienced body treatments, massages, oils, hot rocks, and wraps. The salon services are complete and professional. Just be sure not to plan anything too soon after these treatments. You will be too relaxed.
The fitness center has a full range of state of the art cardio and strength equipment. And whether you are using the fitness center, the spa, or both, the locker rooms (men’s and women’s are separate) are yours for the day. Enjoy fruit, tea, or water. Read the paper. Relax in cold soaks or Jacuzzis. Take some steam or sauna. And finish in the hydrotherapy pool. As we said above, schedule at least a full day for yourself. It will usually be less crowded than the Strip facilities, and just as good.
Conclusion: By now it must be obvious that we highly recommend the JW Marriott in Las Vegas. No, we aren’t going to give up the excitement of The Strip, but we think we will extend our annual visit for a few days so we can relax and dine at the JW Now the big question is when to go – at the beginning or the end of the journey. But go we will.
For more information go to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 702-869-7339.
Wine writers and educators Monty (Nightlawyer12@aol.com)and Sara Preiser divide their time between Palm Beach County, Florida and the Napa Valley in California. They publish the world's most comprehensive guide to Napa Valley wineries and restaurants titled, appropriately, The Preiser Key to Napa Valley.