Season Brings Spicy Spas; Holiday Chocolate a Hit; Pin Up and Playmate

las vegas spa

The holidays in Las Vegas bring spicy spa treatments

by Aleza Freeman

Spice up your holidays in Vegas with a merry little massage or serene spa treatment featuring the seasonal scents of peppermint, cinnamon and apple cider. Spas up and down the Las Vegas Strip are giving the gift of relaxation with a variety of winter specials.

The gold & cinnamon season The Grand Spa at MGM Grand offers a golden-cinnamon theme for the holiday season, according to the spa’s assistant manager Nicole Halverson. Gold encourages renewal, while cinnamon has long been respected for promoting circulation and metabolism in the body, she says.

The spa’s Golden Veil Facial incorporates the beauty and benefits of 24 karat gold to restore your golden complexion including a gold flecked peel to encourage cellular renewal, a golden lifting serum, and a layer of lifting strips covered in melted beeswax and golden mineral powder.

The 50-minute Golden Cinnamon Pedicure immerses tired feet into a bath of cinnamon sparkling soak. Toenails are painted to perfection in one of OPIs signature winter colors then finished off with a delicate dusting of golden powder that will leave toes shimmering for the holidays.

Prepare for the holiday party season with a hot cinnamon facial at Green Valley Ranch Spa. The 50-minute Cinnamon Facial ($150) revitalizes your complexion with a deep cleansing treatment and a cinnamon enzyme defoliant, followed by a double-layer protein mask to clarify your pores and a refining and firming moisturizer.

Peppermint pampering Costa Del Sur Spa and Salon at South Point is offering peppermint treatments ranging in price from $50 to $135. The 25-minute Peppermint Body Exfoliation ($50) refreshes the skin with a peppermint salt scrub followed by a moisturizing massage with a peppermint-scented shea butter enriched with vitamin E. The 50-minute Peppermint Relaxation Massage ($110) reduces the body’s pressure and re-balances and cleanses energy points with a peppermint-infused massage. The spa is also offering a 50-minute Peppermint Facial ($135) as well as peppermint-infused manicures and pedicures  for $85.

Treat your feet to a candy cane-inspired pedicure, the 50-minute Peppermint Pedicure ($90) at Green Valley Ranch Spa including a peppermint sugar scrub, skin-softening paraffin wax treatment and relaxing massage with a peppermint moisturizer followed by a polish with your choice of color. We suggest red and white stripes!

Sugar, spice & everything nice Take a sweet and spicy retreat with the 50-minute Sugar and Spice Facial at Aquae Sulis Spa at JW Marriot ($95). Skin is exfoliated with a sugar shea polish followed by a spicy organic pumpkin mask. A hand and arm massage with a warm whoopie shea butter cream completes the treatment. Pamper your hands and feet with a Candy Cane and Champagne Dream Manicure and Pedicure ($28-$75). A fizzy Champagne soak is followed by a sweet cream scrub to exfoliate dry skin and a whoopie shea butter cream massage.

Spa Mandalay is offering a 50-minute Warm Apple Cider Massage. The delectable holiday scent of warm apple cider fills the air during this custom full-body pressure massage that increases circulation, soothes tired muscles and creates and overall sense of relaxation.

Balance & bliss Achieve a balanced state of mind and body at Spa Bellagio with a 50-minute Yuletide Balance ($170) massage and rosemary hot oil scalp treatment in a room filled with yuletide aromatherapy of spruce and frankincense. Of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without presents: a parting gift of Balancing Aromatherapy Bath Salt and Green Ginger Tea.

Melt away holiday stress with this nourishing 80-minute Heavenly Holiday Meltdown ($135) at Spa Aquae. Skin is exfoliated with a sweet cream scrub followed by a massage with warm, hydrating whoopie cream.

The Stress Buster treatment at the Spa at Mandarin Oriental provides ultimate bliss with skin brushing, exfoliation and a facial massage. The body is massaged with blended aromatherapy oils, combined with the use of hot stones to release tension. This treatment ends with a deeply soothing head massage.

Relax and rehydrate REVIV, the IV wellness spa at MGM Grand, will re-hydrate winter revelers Jan. 1 through 5 with a free B12 energy supplement, with the purchase of any IV treatment ($99-$195). The berry-flavored shot contains two ounces of Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and more.

12 Days of Christmas Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with 12 days of specials Friday, Dec. 13 through Tuesday, Dec. 24 at  Spa Mio at M Resort:

¦Friday- Free haircut with color service ¦Saturday – 25 percent off all retail products ¦Sunday – Any 50-minute facial for $90 ¦Monday – 30 percent off any full price service ¦Tuesday  – 75-minute massage, scrub and manicure for $130 ¦Wednesday  – Any 80-minute treatment for $130 ¦Thursday – Any 50-minute massage for $85 ¦Friday  – 20 percent off each $100 gift card purchase ¦Saturday – Master shave and men’s haircut for $65 ¦Sunday  – Free shellac add-on when you book a manicure or pedicure at full price ¦Monday – My Mio Time massage & facial for $155 ¦Tuesday – 30 percent off all retail products


chocolate santa

Wrap up some holiday chocolate in Las Vegas

by Kristine McKenzie

Need a special gift for the holidays? Looking for a last minute stocking stuffer? You really can’t go wrong with chocolate. Luckily Las Vegas has several fine chocolate shops and gourmet pâtisseries where you’ll find every kind of holiday treat imaginable, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest person on your shopping list. Jean Philippe Pâtisserie at Aria or Bellagio

Jean Philippe Patisserie is a chocolate lover’s delight. After all, the pastry shop boasts the largest chocolate fountain in the world. The shop is filled with beautiful holiday treats like chocolate praline trees and festive chocolate Santas including a skiing Santa, a surfing Santa and a Santa on rollerblades.

The Santas range from $16.25 – $31.25. The treats are hand decorated and made from fine European milk chocolate with dark and white chocolate accents.

If you stop into the Bellagio location, you can also see the massive chocolate Grinch figure display, made from 50 pounds of the sweet stuff and 112 pounds of sugar-rolling fondant. Standing tall at five feet, six inches, the Grinch is surrounded by ornaments and gifts made from chocolate and colored fondant.

Payard Pâtisserie at Caesars Palace

Acclaimed pastry chef Francois Payard is offering beautiful items for the holidays like the Holiday Stars box, which features dark chocolate stars filled with caramel beurre salé.

There’s also a 50-piece chocolate collection holiday edition. The handmade chocolate assortment includes dark chocolate orange cranberry, milk chocolate pear, dark chocolate mandarin and milk chocolate caramel pecan.

Max Brenner at the Forum Shops at Caesars

Max Brenner takes chocolate very seriously and the retail store adjacent to the restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars sells a variety of seriously good chocolate gifts.

Anyone would love to receive one of Max’s signature Hug Mug gift sets. The mugs, specially designed to be picked up with both hands, come in sets with wonderful thick Italian hot chocolate.

Other choices include holiday gift tins, holiday bonbons filled with ganache or praline, carmelized pistachios rolled in hazelnut cream and fine cocoa powder, and dark praline wafers coated with dark chocolate and hazelnut cream.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat at the Forum Shops at Caesars

Vosges Haut-Chocolat offers unique chocolate specialties made from fine ingredients from around the world. The store features several beautiful gifts for the holidays including a chocolate advent calendar for $135. The doors of the box swing open to reveal 24 drawers and the holiday poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Each day, slide out a drawer and indulge in a morsel of goodness. The drawers are filled with a selection of caramels, organic peanut butter bonbons, toffee and mini exotic chocolate bars. Flip the drawer before returning it to its place and slowly, a holiday greeting will be revealed. You can even save the box and order replacement chocolates for next year.

Another option is the holiday truffle collection with 12 pieces for $32. The truffles include marrone pistachio (Italian chestnuts with Sicily’s Bronte pistachios and deep milk chocolate), holiday plum pudding (plum, Armagnac, marzipan and dark chocolate) peppermint candy cane (peppermint candy cane and dark chocolate) and eggnog & Jamaican rum (Appleton Estate Jamaican rum, Grenadian nutmeg, ginger and Dominican white chocolate.

Sugar Factory at Paris Las Vegas, Miracle Mile Shops, Town Square, The Mirage, MGM Grand

With a name like Sugar Factory you know you’ll be able to find some sweet gifts at this shop. Sugar Factory is offering several special gift baskets for the holidays.

Santa’s Secret Stash gift basket is filled with peppermint ribbons, a Santa PEZ Christmas Cane, a marshmallow Santa, Christmas Dots and mini milk chocolate Santas, priced at $48. Mrs. Claus’ Secret Stash is in a tote bag filled with a milk chocolate jingle bell ornament, gingerbread cookies, chocolate-peppermint crunch, white chocolate Christmas tree pretzels and a three-piece lollipop tree ornament gift box, priced at $86. The ultimate Sugar Factory holiday gift is Santa’s VIP Tub. It includes a Peppermint Dream swirl lollipop, white chocolate dipped Oreos, white chocolate birch tree pretzel rods, a cookies and cream chocolate crunch bag, almond white chocolate and dark chocolate peppermint bark, assorted ribbon candy, vanilla clodhoppers, a Christmas mix of Jelly Bellys and much more. The gift also includes two of Sugar Factory’s famous Couture Pops ($200).

Ethel M in Henderson

The Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson produces tasty chocolates and hand-packs the boxes of treats on site. The store adjacent to the factory sells lots of holiday favorites including the Holiday Deluxe Collection (24 pieces for $34). It’s a selection of customer favorites including Almond Krisps, chewy and creamy caramels, and Satin Crèmes, plus seasonal favorites like pumpkin pie, egg nog, peppermint silk and pecan pie. You can also enjoy the Crème Liqueur Tin (30 pieces $45), which is only around for the holidays. Favorite premium spirits are mixed into a creamy filling and covered in dark and milk chocolate. This collection includes coffee, orange, rum, amaretto, bourbon and Irish crème barrel-shaped liqueur chocolates.

And don’t forget the seasonal favorite Peppermint Bark — hand-crushed peppermints in a creamy white chocolate, spread on a layer of premium dark chocolate packaged in a festive keepsake tin (6.4 oz. for $22).

M&M’s World at Showcase Mall

Showcase Mall on the Strip is home to four floors of chocolate heaven with M&M’s World. The store is full of M&M themed gifts, clothing, accessories, trinkets and of course, chocolate.

Add some cheer to your holiday party with custom printed M&M’s. You can make a Christmas Blend with red and green candies with custom messages and images printed on them like “Merry Christmas,” “Ho Ho Ho” or drawings of Santa hats.

During the holiday season the store will be full of special merchandise like a nutcracker M&M dispenser, holiday stockings and ornaments.

See’s Candies at  Rio, Bally’s, Monte Carlo, Circus Circus, Paris

See’s Candies has several chocolate shop locations around Las Vegas and during the holidays the company sells a wide variety of special gifts. Stop in for some egg nog truffles, chocolate Santas, Christmas peanut brittle or old-fashioned fudge. The Holiday Fancy assortment features fruit truffles, cashew brittle, caramels, divinity puffs and almond squares.


pin up 

Pin Up

By Chuck Rounds  


Pin Up is playing in the showroom at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino. It is a fun dance and musical production that has really turned out to be a top notch show. The show stars Claire Sinclair—the 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year, and includes a great cast of dancers, a wonderful singer, and a great band. The show is a celebration of the “pin up,” and each of the numbers tracks its way through the calendar year. It is well done and a lot of fun.

The show pays tribute to an era of yesteryear in another significant way. This show is produced by the hotel—unheard of in today’s market, but such a tremendous and significant step for Las Vegas entertainment, and I hope that other hotels begin to follow suit. The only other hotel funded show in Las Vegas is Jubilee!…the last holdover from the era when all of the shows were funded by the hotels. It is hard to relate what a significant step this is, and thanks go to the Stratosphere for taking that step.

Pin Up is a strong and good production…with a few oddities. One might think that a show about pin ups starring a Playboy Playmate of the Year might have some nudity in it…but it doesn’t. One might think that the 21 and over age restriction for the show might point to some racy material…but there isn’t any. There is no content in the production that could even be given a rating above PG. The women are sexy, but with no nudity, bad language, or racy material; it could almost be considered family friendly. (There are reports that Sinclair will do a strip tease down to pasties in the future, but I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

Claire Sinclair is the star and host of this show. She is a beautiful woman, and she is very personable on stage…she does, however; still need a lot of work on her stage presence, effective speaking, dancing, walking, and acting. She pulls off her role in this production because she has been sufficiently marginalized in the show. It is a smart move on the side of the production team at this stage of the game. I hope that she works on all of her performance and stage attributes. If she could be effectively inserted into additional parts of the show; eventually she could be a major force with which to reckon.

The rest of the cast is magnificent. Anne Martinez, the lead vocalist, handles a bunch of different musical styles with panache and grace, and brings a sultry and sexy flair to all of the songs. The dancers are the hardest working cast members out there with number, after number, after number, and do an incredible job. The only male dancer in the cast, Ryan Kelsey, has such a tremendous presence and skill level that he makes all the other men in the audience wish that they could be him. And finally, the musicians…there is nothing like having musicians. They are great and add all the real dynamics to the show.

There is a challenge number between a tapper and a drummer that doesn’t work…not because these people aren’t good, but because the musicians keep verbally diminishing the dancer. It takes away from the entire integrity of the number, and there is no communion between the performers at the end of the number.

Additionally, the show is crying out for one kickass acrobat/gymnast. There are several times that a gymnastic or acrobatic skill is showcased, but these are additional skills that the dancers possess rather than being “what they do.” The outcome is a fair routine rather than one that could bring us to our feet.

My favorite number is the gun spinning; whip cracking routine…there is nothing better than a good gun spinner. And it is a skill that is not overly seen. I believe that the performers name is Meghan (anyone please correct me if I’m wrong.) She deserves a lot of lauds and praises.

Pin Up is a good show…if it keeps moving in the direction its going; it could be a great show.

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