The resort formerly known as the Hyatt Lake Las Vegas and then as the Loews Lake Las Vegas has entered a new era as Westin Lake Las Vegas, an important link in the upscale hotelier's corporate chain. Changes to the hotel have been (and are expected to be) modest at best - mostly some decor changes and the addition of the new parent company's trademark "Heavenly" beds.
When it opened as the Hyatt, the reaction from most Vegas visitors was a polite and respectful shrug. Although many believed in the brand, the location of the hotel some 25-30 minutes east of just about everything most visitors want to do when they hit town didn't put it up high on the options list. Despite this, they managed to do pretty good business, focusing mainly on families, recreation fanatics, and business travelers to fill (at least some of) their nearly 500 rooms.
As the Loews, not much changed for both good and ill.
The entire place has a vaguely Moroccan theme to it, but it is not as obvious or overwhelming as the former Aladdin or Sahara. Instead they get by with intricately carved woodwork, rich and colorful fabrics, tasteful jeweled lamps, and subtle artworks. Some of that is being toned down in the Westin transition.
The lobby is a gigantic cascading three-story affair with giant windows looking out at the lake, all of which can be opened to create an outdoor feeling. A multi-level lounge is a beautiful space to sit with a drink or listen to the frequent live entertainment.
There used to be a small casino but it closed. Casino MonteLago, on the other side of the lake, is also closed as of October 2013. If you need to get your blackjack jones satisfied, you'll have to go to Henderson and check out places like Green Valley Ranch, Sunset Station, or Fiesta Henderson.
Recreation and relaxation are the primary goals here so head outside to take a look at all of the options. There are two huge heated pools (one with its own theme-park worthy water slide), cabanas, a bar and grill, a sports court, a putting green, a lagoon with a private beach, water sports equipment rental (paddle boats, kayaks, fishing gear, etc.), gardens and gazebos, and much more that I can't possibly list here. An almost endless list of activities (poolside movies anyone?) accompanies the facilities. No matter how nice the pool/recreation area is at the Strip hotel where you were last, it can't possibly compare to the amenities and opportunities here.
All of this makes the Westin a wonderful option for families. Not only do they have all of this stuff to do but they also feature special programs designed to make kids and even pets feel welcome.
Adjacent to the main pool area is the full-service spa, featuring complimentary use of the exercise (cardio machines, nautilus style weights) and sauna/whirlpool facilities plus ten private treatment rooms for massage and other pampering.
There are two primary restaurants - Marssa, an Asian-fusion restaurant specializing in sushi; and Rick's Café (Morocco, get it?), a moderately priced eatery with a wide-ranging menu that will offer something for just about everyone. Marrakesh Express, a 24-hour coffee-bar and marketplace (sandwiches and other goodies to take back to your room) rounds out the dining options. But don't forget to take that water taxi across to MonteLago Village where you'll find more things to eat and drink.
The 496 rooms (including 47 suites) are fairly standard in terms of layout and size but they are very well appointed. Each features one king or two queen beds, coffee makers, robes, refrigerators, hair dryers, safe, iron and board, a writing desk, high-speed Internet access, in-room movies, flat screen TVs, and more. Under Westin the rooms got a refresh with upgraded furnishings including the aforementioned "Heavenly" beds. Most rooms come with "Juliet" balconies (doors open inward, railing is inches from the doorsill), a nice touch.
Prices for the rooms are on the high side. Expect a rock bottom in the neighborhood of $129 and up weekdays and $199 and up weekends, although busier times will of course cost more. Plus you have to add in a $29 per night resort fee and extra costs if you want a lake view or their upgraded, concierge level rooms and all of the perks that come with it (club room with complimentary food and beverage service for starters).
If you're after a non-stop, party-style, gamble 'til you drop Vegas vacation you'd do best staying closer to the action. But if you're looking for a relaxing Vegas vacation the Westin Lake Las Vegas is a terrific bet.