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MONTELAGO VILLAGE

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1600 Lake Las Vegas Parkway

Henderson, NV 89011

702-752-9558

website

Free to wander

Shop prices vary

Times vary per store

C

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A lakeside collection of stores, restaurants, art galleries, and gardens all done in a charming Italian village theme.

Where is it?

At Lake Las Vegas, about 17 miles east of The Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

It's free to wander and window-shop. The restaurants are moderately priced but whether the items in the stores are worth the sometimes high prices is up to you.

What else do I need to know?

It's a good place to get away from the noise and fury of The Strip.

What's the bottom line?

Not as enjoyable as it used to be, but still a nice diversion.

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FULL REVIEW

When MonteLago Village opened a few years ago it was a true destination. Filled with shopping, dining, recreation, hotel options, and gaming, all set amongst the picturesque Lake Las Vegas area, it was a no-brainer to encourage people to drive the 25 minutes to get there.

But the economic meltdown of 2008/2009 brought about hard times for the Lake leading to the closure of two of the three golf courses (with the third going private), one of the major hotels (The Ritz Carlton, effective May 2010), and the casino (effective March 2010).

Things have bee up and down ever since then. The casino reopened in 2011 only to close again in 2013. The former Ritz reopened as Ravella and then changed hands again and is now the Hilton Lake Las Vegas. The ups and downs of the area make it hard to take things too seriously or recommend it too highly.

I actually hope things do improve here because the village itself is charming.Located about 25 minutes east of The Strip off Lake Mead Drive, MonteLago Village is designed to resemble a quaint Italian seaside town, complete with cobblestone streets, village squares, and a small marina. Take some time to appreciate what the architects and builders have done here... long, rambling, clay-tiled rooflines, jutting balconies and recessed terraces, trickling fountains, intricate stone and woodwork, and a light-washed, candy-colored paint scheme complete the faithful recreations of everything from Italianate villas to a rock walled church.

But the real draw, as far as I'm concerned, has less to do with the actual things to do here and more about the overall experience. You've been up half the night gambling and drinking, seeing show after show, running from tigers to volcanoes, and you really could just use a break couldn't you? Come here and take a stroll through the village and along pathways through gardens that line Lake Las Vegas. Even though it is often microwave oven hot, I don't mind the heat because the atmosphere of the whole place is so darned charming.

It's worth noting that they do a lot of special events here including wine walks, movies under the stars, concerts on the lake, jazz festivals, and more. Check the website above for event listings.

To get to MonteLago Village and Casino, take Interstate 15 (the freeway right next to the Strip) south to the 215 east (as if you're going to the airport). That will meander through the southern reaches of Las Vegas and eventually turn into Lake Mead Drive. Go another 6 miles or so and look for the signs pointing to Lake Las Vegas.

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