The JW Marriott in Summerlin, a northwest suburb of Las Vegas, has a huge ceiling lobby, providing a cool, North African/Mediterranean type of desert motif. There is plentiful natural lighting and real jungly plants, making the luxury resort glow in the late afternoon like sundown on the sand dunes, when the day relents to the evening Saharan brilliant night sky.
In certain parts of the Sahara it has not rained for ten thousand years, and lately in Vegas, it has been eerily rain sparse. While staying at the JW Marriott, which is actually a Canadian managed brand of the Marriott chain, I felt like I was in a 1930's newsreel, with the Marriott reminiscent of a Moroccan grand dame frontier fort, something out of Beau Gest. It is a wonderful resort sitting out amongst the retirementville enclave of Summerlin - giving it a sentinel loneliness, like the French Foreign Legion post that Gary Cooper left at the end of the movie "Morocco", with Marlena Deitrich trailing forlorn and behind.
Where is Summerlin? Summerin is a 36 square mile, master planned community developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation. For many years Summerlin was ranked as the nation's best selling master planned community, according to an independent survey by Robert Charles Lesser & Company, a leading national real estate consultant.
There are actually two hotels here, or I should say two six-story towers, with 541 guest rooms and suites, located on the south and west end of the immense resort. I heard through the grapevine that other towers are planned. The Spa Tower has 286 rooms and suites The Palms Tower with 255 rooms and suites. Guest rooms offer interior views of the gardens or panoramic views of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to the west. Rent a bike or hike the area. You can see the glistening lights of Vegas to the east, because you are actually in the foothills of the Redrock area, known for it's outstanding climbing routes.
The size of the guest rooms average about 560 square feet, and are very comfortable, with either king, queen or twin beds.What I really liked about the room was the huge Jacuzzi tub that you could lay down in. Ahhh - now that is pleasure!
Pool and Gardens - The elaborate $12.5 million complex of gardens and pools covers acres. The gardens include an 11,000 square foot grass edged pool with waterfall and four 25-yard swimming lanes, plus two 250-square foot spa pools equipped with handicap lifts. The Marriott Las Vegas is landscaped with 3,500 trees, including more than 800 palms, and features a $1.5 million lighting system. There is 24-hour valet parking service.
My usual first stop at a hotel is the in-house lounge. This is where you get the latest lounge lizard and bartender's versions of how to run a good hotel, and the chance to check out the out-of-towners. It is my Nielsen poll.
The chit chat was subdued and sublime, with a shift change, so there wasn't much coming forth with from the lounge bartender, just golf talk from a couple of packaged vacationers. After no major breaking news bulletins issued at the cozy lobby bar, I quickly drained my Heineken and spun away across the blond hardwood floors that could serve double duty in a line dance venue.
There are several restaurant presently at the JW Marriott. That evening I was inducted into fine Italian dining at Ceres, a formal and sedate dining venue - a sort of continental European atmosphere, with a very formal staff, held in check by the prim and proper restaurant manager, a step back to a Casablanca film figure. There we are back in Morocco. I really like Ceres, and they have a special room out towards the back of the restaurant that is private, but it was very hot - this was the last legs of summer. So I shed my jacket like snakeskin.
Ceres, in the Spa Tower, overlooks waterfalls and the garden and serves classic seafood dishes. Ceres also has a five seat section with a large paned glass looking on to the furiously working chefs. The chefs bring items to the glass for the diners to check, and they explain how things are prepared. It was a unique touch. You can sample the food, too.
This is Ceres' claim to fame - and it is fame well deserved, so pass it around to your friends.
- King Crab Mediterranean Seafood Stew.
- One pound of Alaska King Crab Legs.
- Pan-Seared Oregano Salmon, with Citrus Pine Nut Toasted Israeli Couscous. with Olive Roman Tomatoes, and Italian Parsley Butter Broth.
- Other fare includes Sea Bass, Snapper, Seafood Scampi, Lamb Chops, Steaks, Lobsters.
Everthing is served elegantly at Ceres. I picked the Salmon, just because it sounded the most elegant. When it arrived, it was seared perfectly, crispy outside, and flakey on the inside, just the way I like it. Take the Oyster Rockefeller for an appetizer.
Many of the other restaurants along the Promenade at the J.W. Marriott are under seperate management, such as Hamada Of Japan (dinner only for steaks and sushi), OXO's (dinner only for steaks and seafoods), and Spiedini Restorante (Milanese for "Quick Roast", serving urban Italian cuisine). The Marriott team manages Ceres (not on the Promenade) and the fun and popular J.C. Wooloughan's (on the Promendade) . . .
I found the coolest Irish pub in Las Vegas, and it is a real hideout, unless you are in the know or Irish. The Publican (what the Irish call a pub manager) has the most Irish of names - Declan McGettigan. He is the Publican of J.C. Wooloughan's Irish Pub (the only one in the world) at the JW Marriott Las Vegas, far off the Strip.
All the local Irish descent merrymakers know about the place. The entire pub was constructed in Ireland and shipped piece by piece to Las Vegas and reconstructed on site. The warm northern European hardwoods, bars, and tables mellow the place out like you were in Ireland yourself.
I was at the pub for lunch one afternoon and then returned later that evening. What a switch of events. I had a hale and hearty meal and then later I stepped into a real Irish jig band - Darby O'Gill and the Little People - cranking out the native tunes with some very ribald and thick Gaelic verse for the native Irish. People were jigging and singing and drinking Harps beer and other premium imports from Eire and telling dirty jokes to each other and I truly felt like I was in a local Celtic tavern - Blarney! The narrow pub made it a close atmosphere making it a chore to find a seat, but who could sit with all those fiddles energizing the joint? Real Irish music is played in the evenings from Wednesday through Sunday. During the NFL season the pub is also the home of the local Pittsburgh Steelers fan club, so grab a mug in the pub with some grub and watch the action.
There's a selection of traditional pub fare and Irish beers and whiskeys on the menu of the authentic casual dining establishment that is open from 11 a.m. and stays in full swing until the wee hours of the morning. During lunch I had a long chat with the pub's day manager - Troy, originally from Toronto, Canada, and it made me feel a real hometown Failte go dTi (welcome).
Traidisiunta Agus Nua (traditional dishes from the ol' Sod) includes Murphy's Boxty Corner. Boxty has long been a staple throughout Ireland. Mashed and grated potato pancakes are grilled and stuffed with a choice of selected items for a classic omelet. The Gaelic Steak and Mushroom is a ribeye in an Irish Whiskey Peppercorn Cream Sauce. Of course there is Corned Beef and Cabbage on the menu, a standard in the Conley kitchen and throughout Ireland; the finest corned beef is served with boiled cabbage and potato cakes or boiled yukons, topped with creamy parsley sauce. I saw a lady order the Beer Battered Fish and Chips and the fish was huge. Trust the Irish to get as many flavors into a staple dish. The fillets of cod come with peas, coleslaw or kettle fires. Then there is the All Day Irish Breakfast that includes imported Irish rashers and sausage. What you may ask is Bangers n' Mash? Take a hand of Irish sausages, grilled onions and good old mashed potatoes and you get a solution to hunger. The freshest of Atlantic North Sea salmon is flown in for the Salmon Of Knowledge, broiled with potato cakes and a medley of vegetables.
The lunch specials are only between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and arrive with Wooloughan's own brown Irish soda bread. For an appetizer I chose the Potato Leek Soup, a 19th century McCarthy family recipe handed down through the generations. It was rich with chicken stock and very comforting. I picked the Beef and Guinness Pie, which had tender chunks of beef marinated in Guinness - that's what sold me - and the pie is slowly cooked with mushrooms and vegetables, topped with puff pastry that is real crusty. You break through the crust to the tendrils of this steamy, hearty delight, and as Mickey Boyd (pub owner) ssays: "Eat it or drink it, either way you'll like it." The pub has a very substantial sandwich board as well. Try the Smoked Turkey and Irish Rasher Sandwich.
For dessert I tried Aunty Maura's Stickey Toffee Pudding, a classic from the homeland. I don't know Aunty, but the warm butter toffee over plum cake with a dash of whipped cream was indescribable and I know I would like Aunty Maura. You can also choose Rich Irish Cream Cheesecake, Banoffee Cream Pie (bananas and toffee), or Fresh Barry Truffles with Whipped Cream.
Wooloughan's is a "Craic" (Gaelic for fun) place at night, with an attentive and dedicated staff. Darby O'Gill and the Little People played on as long as the jokes lasted, I am sure. And if you know the Irish, their joke list is longer than Wooloughan's menu. The luncheon crowd is a little more subdued, but the attendants are helpful with suggestions, - beer or whiskey? - pie or stew? - and they all smile with an Irish glow in their cheeks. I guess they get a tot or two of Harp's throughout the day. Hey, they are the Irish! You can even check the Irish news at J.C. Wooloughan's website http://sideoftheroad.com/jcw/.
The Rampart Casino manages the casino and the 24-hour coffee shop and Buffet at the JW Marriott. The Rampart has one of the best race and sports book in Las Vegas. There arena that seats 2,500 for live sports venues.
The Rampart Casino has a slot club with cash back, complimentary services and high returns. The 50,000 square foot casino has slots, tables and two salons prives for private games. The circular casino has two hotel towers splayed off with the Promenade lined with stores, shops and the above mentioned restaurants.
Outdoors - The pool is one of the best features at the JW Marriott. It is huge - at least an acre or so of water with the average depth no more than 3 or 4 feet. The fake waterfall is soothing, and the poolside bar serves serve drinks poolside. The pool cupola bar is a blueprint of the Del Coronado in San Diego.
The poolside cabana tents are very private, with ceiling fans and a cement floor. You can close the canvas flaps or leave them open, and the cushiony lounge chairs hold two persons at full length.
If I where to improve the Marriott I would build an open-air concert arena around the pool, beef up the wait staff, lower the drink prices, and bring on the Reggae. I will be back with my golf friends, and pool buddies.
OFF STRIP MEETINGS AT THE JW MARRIOTT
The Conference and Banquet Center, with more than 21,000 square feet of meeting space, can accommodate events and banquets for up to 1,100 people. The JW Marriott Las Vegas provides audio/visual and technological connectivity with an on-hand technical staff for sophisticated presentations and displays.
Business Meetings - The JW Marriott Las Vegas offers tranquil and serene environments to host high-powered board meetings, executive retreats, corporate functions, or romantic weddings, receptions and social affairs. Any event can be designed to meet specific needs according to the director of catering and conference services.
Planning business meetings at the Conference and Banquet Center is convenient with one manager coordinating all activities for a group's events. This manager assists meeting planners and affords them keyed access to their own planning office in the Conference Center.
The Conference and Banquet Center - with more than 21,000 square feet of meeting space, can accommodate up to 1,100 people. Facility features include a 14,000 square foot Grand Ballroom, with 19-foot ceilings and up to 11 breakout rooms, a built in theatrical stage and gracious reception foyers. Garden areas, private dining and outdoor terraces are also available.
It is equipped with the latest technology, including lecterns with sound and light control, data projectors, multi image dissolve units and programmers; computers and peripherals. An audiovisual staff member can assist with presentation, sound and image needs.
With its Spanish revival architecture and interiors, 11 acres of private gardens and dramatic mountain surrounds. The JW Marriott Las Vegas offers graceful service throughout.
You have the freedom to choose from several location ceremonies and receptions. They include Mediterranean-inspired banquet halls with comfortable anterooms, a dramatic ballroom, a large rooftop terrace overlooking the lights of Las Vegas and the pavilion in the cloistered garden.
PREFERRED TEE TIMES ON 10 VEGAS COURSES
And speaking of golf - The Marriott has you teed up. Contact the friendly concierge for details. They can set up tee times at all area golf courses.
The JW Marriott Las Vegas offers tee times at the Tournament Players Club at the Canyons Golf Course (home to the Las Vegas Senior Classic), and offers world-class golf at nine other area courses. Tee times can be booked through hotel reservations and arrangements can be made for corporate and group competitions. A hotel golf package is also available.
The JW Marriott Las Vegas provides complimentary shuttle service to each course, including TPC at the Canyons, Angel Park Golf Club, and the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, Badlands Golf Club, Painted Desert Golf Club and three Del Webb Sun City courses. Jetsetters Magazine has featured many of these unique courses in its pages, and here are links to a sampling:
The Courses Surrounding The JW Marriott Las Vegas
Tournament Players Club at the Canyons - Site of the annual Las Vegas Senior Classic, is a par 71 course designed by Bobby Wood with player consultant Raymond Floyd. It features canyon fairways, flanked by rugged desert terrain.
Angel Park Golf Club - Has two Arnold Palmer designed 18-hole par 71 courses, a 12-hole par 3 executive course with 9 holes lit for night golfing and 18-hole putting course.
The Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Features two par 72 courses set in the striking high desert ancestral home of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. The two courses were designed by renowned architect Pete Dye and are his only courses in Nevada.
Badlands Golf Club - Three 9-hole courses designed by Johnny Miller with player consultant Chi Chi Rodriquez, is a severe test for even the most experienced first time visitor. Players can combine any two courses to play a full round of golf.
The Anthem at Del Web Sun City - Designed by Casper, it is a sporty track offering a panoramic view of the Las Vegas valley. Rolling hills set the scene for the first nine holes. Steeper terrain provides a challenging back nine. Par is 72 at 6,512 yards.
Palm Valley Golf Club at Del Webb Sun City - A meticulously manicured Billy Caspar signature course designed by Casper/Nash team in 1989. The course is a scenic marvel, featuring undulating fairways, and rolling green hills. Par is 72 at 6,840 yards.
Painted Desert Golf Club - The former site for the Nevada Open, a par 72 course designed by Jay Moorish. Set within a natural desert habitat, Painted Desert features numerous mounds, challenging greens and target fairways, making it a challenging place to play.
Eagle Crest Golf Club at Del Webb Sun City - Boasts the highest elevation in the valley. The four-year old Casper/Nash designed executive course has six par 4s. Par is 60 spanning 4,067 yards of terrain. Ancillary features are second to none.
AQUAE SULIS HEALTH SPA
There are no traditional Turkish baths at Aquae Sulis, but Arzu, the spa manager, is from Istanbul. Aguae Sulis is a 40,000 square foot luxury spa; founded on ancient traditions of ritual bathing, body treatments and their attendant benefits. Translated from Latin, Aquae Sulis means "Waters of the Sun", and the purifying power of water is an essential ingredient of all its spa treatments.
Aquae Sulis has 36 treatment rooms, whirlpools, cascading waterfall showers, and outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Therapies include Shiatsu, reflexology, and Swedish massage and salt and body glows.
Therapies and treatments found at Aquae Sulis have been gathered from around the world, combining ancient wisdom with modern science. Massage therapies include: Asian Shiatsu and reflexology techniques, natural hot stone therapy and classic Swedish massage. Restorative marine and botanical elements form the basis of facial beauty therapies. Bath therapies include the Hydrotone hydrotherapy tub and Vichy showers using ingredients ranging from orange honey to Austrian Moor Mud.
Spa Facilities - Adjacent to the Spa hotel tower is Aquae Sulis, a 40,000-square foot luxury health spa offering a full range of treatments, including massages, facials, aromatherapy, body wraps, loofah scrubs and yoga. The facilities feature a cavitosonic relaxation room, whirlpools, cascading waterfall, showers, an outdoor hydrotherapy pool, Watsu tub, complete cardiovascular and weight training equipment area and aerobic studio.
Services include individual exercise programs and nutritional and stress management consultations. Aquae Sulis houses a boutique and a full service salon.
Aquae Sulis Spa Innovations - Cyber Therapy - After their aura photographed and analyzed, guests receive an appropriate spa treatment to balance the body's seven Chakras. A post-treatment aura photo shows the treatment's effectiveness.
Aquae Sulis offers complete cardiovascular and weight training equipment, Tai Chi classes, yoga, Pilates mat class, and cardio kickbox classes. Services include personal fitness training and nutritional and stress management consultation. Guided hiking, off road cycling, horseback riding and rock climbing with professional instructors in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area are also on demand.
The Aquae Sulis Ritual
The ritual is a signature of the spa that centers on a hydrotherapy pool designed to take the body through a series of water stimuli, echoing ancient Roman bathing traditions. Guests prepare for any treatment with this hydrotherapy circuit that includes cold and hot plunges, a soak in the warm whirlpool, the outdoors hydrotherapy pool, steam, sauna and waterfall showers.
WEDDINGS AT THE JW MARRIOTT
Wedding parties have the opportunity to select a venue sited for rehearsal dinners, bridesmaid's brunches or evening parties when choosing the JW Marriott Las Vegas. They can enjoy a day of pampering at Aquae Sulis spa.
Once the JW Marriott Las Vegas' catering or conference specialist meets with a planner or bride, an especially designed event is created.
The Classic Epicurean - Wedding Ceremony at the Pavilion or at a location within the banquet facility. Celebration reception with hors d'oeuvres, wine/beverage service. Four course dinner with wine/beverage service, sparkling toast and wedding cake. Wedding room with banquet setup, Damask linens, Schoenwald "Donna" fine china. Sant Andrea serving pieces, Schott Swizzle crystal, risers/stage for band, dance floor, reception and fit tables, personalized menu cards sweetheart table and white glove uniformed staff.
The Sterling Epicurean - Wedding ceremony at the Pavilion or at a location within the banquet facility. Hosted bar throughout the evening. Cocktail reception with hot and cold passed hors d'oeuvres, appetizers set amidst artisan crafted ice sculpture, wine/beverage service. Four-course, choice of entrée dinner with wine/beverage service, sparking toast, wedding cake.
Wedding room with banquet setup, Damask linens, Schoenwald "Donna" fine china, Sant Andrea serving pieces, Schott Zweissel crystal, dance floor, reception and gift tables, personalized menu, cards, sweetheart table and white glove uniformed staff.
The Grand Epicurean - Wedding ceremony at the Pavilion or at a location within the banquet facility. Hosted bar and specialty beverages are throughout the evening. Cocktail reception with hot and cold passed hors d'oeuvres, appetizers set amidst artisan crafted ice sculpture, pasta or risotto bar, hot wok or Chinese lettuce wrap bar and wine/beverage service. Four Course Reception Dinner with choice of entrée, premium wine and beverage, service, sparkling wine toast and custom designed wedding cake. Wedding room with banquet setup, Damask linens, Schoenwald "Donna" fine china, Sant Andrea serving pieces, Schott Zweisel crystal, risers/stage for band, dance floor, reception and gift table, personalized cards, sweetheart table and white globe uniformed staff.
- By Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.