By Jacqueline Monahan
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Encore Spa: Like an Address to Nirvana

For a swim, massage, facial, or hot stone treatment, nothing can get you to feel like you’re resting on a cloud like the Spa at Encore.  With 70,000 square feet dedicated to this private paradise, there’s no shortage of space, elegance or relaxation incentives.

Guests can access the spa, salon, fitness center and the spa's retail store from the elegant reception area, located just off of the fifth floor elevators.  After check-in an attendant provides a brief tour.  White cotton robes and brown slippers, the kind that are conducive to poolside/water activities are handed out with locker assignments for storage of personal effects.  A relaxation area is provided with a row of chaise lounge chairs and pillows.  There’s a short wait before your aesthetician arrives to escort you to a treatment room, which is a visual treat in itself.  Private rooms are located off of the spacious hallway which hosts a massive gold Buddha at either end and lined with large ornate vases and lanterns (also golden) that lend an air of tranquility before your experience even begins.

encore spa lobby - photo by russell macmasters

Your humble correspondent, intrepid as always in the line of duty, braved the luxurious surroundings, the enormous gilded Buddha and the refreshments to bring you this report. Of the energizing facial she experienced.  Facial just doesn’t provide the scope of this treatment, which incorporates arms and legs (from foot to knee) in its soothing reach.  Although this 80-minute facial is the most aggressive one offered (using a chemical peel and extractions) its accompanying accoutrements could lull even the most hyper Type A personality into a trance-like state.  Dim lights and soft music in a variety of styles (your choice) begin to work their magic as you lie in a bed with a mist of steam covering your face before it’s slathered with a variety of potions designed to cleanse and invigorate.

My aesthetician whispered her game plan and any questions to me, never ceasing her near miraculous touch on my skin.  She extended the treatment to my décolletage and shoulders, massaging the length of my arms and hands.  She did the same with my lower legs, and suddenly the 80 minute treatment seemed too short.  I did not answer her last communication to me (that the treatment was over) because by that time I had mentally left the room for more celestial pursuits.

The spa holds 51 treatment rooms and offers a full complement of facials, massage, and body treatments.  Men’s services are offered as well as a Couples Ritual including either an Ayurvedic (for circulation, elimination of toxins) or organic-themed massage.

encore spa treatment hall - photo by russell macmasters

Like the rest of Encore, its spa pays attention to detail.  Lounge chairs are heated. A prep room is equipped with a comprehensive array of cosmetics and toiletries for guests’ convenience. Shower heads spray toward you from all angles, not just overhead.  Each direction that the eye falls is pleasingly rewarded with soothing art-infused fixtures and meditational statues that let you know you’re within an atmosphere of care and calm.

Open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., advanced booking is recommended and guests should arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of their scheduled appointment.  The facility also offers a sauna, steam room, and wet spas that beckon seductively.

Whether your particular treatment preference features a sea salt scrub infused with lavender, a massage with heated or chilled stones to relieve tension or improve circulation, or immersion in a tranquil pool, the Spa at Encore will surely have you calling for a repeat performance.

For further information:

The Spa at Encore
Encore/Wynn Las Vegas
3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 770-4772

Xanadu Las Vegas is Coming Soon to the Plaza Hotel and Casino.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror fans will want to be at The Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for the April 17-19 kickoff of Xanadu Las Vegas, a convention dedicated to imaginative art, technology, SFX, independent films, literature, anime and games.  Targeted to the preferences of scream queens, Trekkies and techies alike, multi-media premieres, parties, exhibits, vendors, futuristic fun and fangs await those brave enough to take the journey.  The tributaries of this creative river are impressive indeed and branch off into sub-genres and fantastic planets revolving madly in their own sensational orbits.


Three distinguished guests of honor headline the festivities.  Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer; internationally known master of graphic art, Brom; and Joe Viskocil, Academy award winning special effects technician, (Star Wars Independence Day, True Lies, The Abyss, Terminator, Alien: Resurrection, Star Trek: Nemesis, Team America, Arlington Road and more).

robert j. sawyer
Robert J. Sawyer

gothic artist brom

academy award winner joe viskocil
Joe Viskocil

Viskocil is the man who actually blew up the Deathstar – and the White House for those who like their destructive pyrotechnics to hit a little closer to home.  Other films include The Panic Room and Interview with a Vampire.  Viskocil will also host a video presentation that gets my vote for Most Appropriate Title:  Blow Me Up, Blow Me Down.

viskocil at work

Robert J. Sawyer, proclaimed to be "just about the best science-fiction writer out there these days" by The Denver Rocky Mountain News — is one of only seven writers in history to win all three of the science-fiction field's top honors for best novel of the year: a 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, a 1996 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.  Sawyer is the only writer in history to win the top science fiction awards in the United States, China, Japan, France, and Spain.

Acclaimed gothic artist Brom’s powerful and haunting visions can be found in his two art books "Darkwerks" and "Offerings" and also his illustrated novel "the Plucker".  His work is woven throughout every facet of the genre, from novels (Michael Moorcock, Terry Brooks, R.A.Salvatore, E.R. Burroughs), Role-playing (TSR, White Wolf, WOTC), comics (DC, Chaos, Dark Horse), Games (Doom2, Heretic, Diablo2, World of Warcraft), and film (Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, Galaxy Quest, Ghosts of Mars, Scooby Doo, Van Helsing).

a brom creation

brom creation

A growing featured artist roster includes Academy Award winning makeup master/actor Tom Woodruff, Jr. (Monster Squad, Pumpkinhead, Leviathon) actress/femme fatale Case Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Terminal Invasion, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles) filmmaker James Kerwin (Yesterday was a Lie) writer/producer Andrew Deutsch (Gold) actor/stuntman Michael Papajohn (Spiderman, Charlie’s Angels), and Heroes star David H. Lawrence, among others.

chase masterson
Chase Masterson

Gamers will get to participate in an array of strategy, role-playing and warfare offerings including BattleTech (classic version, too) Dungeons and Dragons, Hordes, Tunnels and Trolls, Monsterpocalypse, and the world’s premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering.

Anime aficionados will encounter the worlds of Haibane Renmaei, Last Exile, and Serial Experiments Lain, among others, along with a Maid Café for a three dimensional off-screen experience.

An Artists Alley will feature imaginative art from both international and local talent. A  futuristic fashion show (Fashion X) will kinetically display casual wear, haute couture, business attire, intimates (fantasy lingerie anyone?) urban assault gear and even uniforms.  Its costume counterpart (Costume X) will highlight creations based on movies, books or nightmares generated.  Costumes may not be more than 7 feet tall, fall apart, or reveal anything that isn't normally visible on a public beach.  Imagine the wild get-ups of cons-gone-by that necessitated the institution of such rules.

A multitude of panels assures a “something for everyone” allure, and even those possessing the most fleeting of attention spans will find a tantalizing topic or two.  Here’s just a sample:  Making Time For Fairies! Fantasy Photography Demonstration by internationally renowned artist and photographer Joseph Corsentino; Women In Movies And TV -The Panel with Women in the Title, by fan favorite Toni Blair; Writing Your First Novel by Cosmic Dust author Robert White; A Romp Through The Galaxy with Star Trek favorite Lawrence Montaigne; Vox Populi - Voiceovers, Violence and Videos with Neil Kaplan, (Care Bears, Optimus Prime); and Tom Safer's Cartoon Spectacular, hosted by one of the leading exponents of animated programming.

CINEMA XANADU features a collection of independent features and short films, many of them world premieres.  Science fiction author Neil Schulman is scheduled to screen his film, "Lady Magdalene", which stars Nichelle Nichols (Uhuru from Star Trek).  A juried film festival will culminate in an awards ceremony (Best Independent Feature and Best Independent Short) and contract offer from Echelon Studios.

Club X promises to be part dance party, part time machine as the 80’s returns in all its neon, big-hair, Members-Only-jacket-and-Sergio-Valente-jeans glory.  As of this writing it’s a toss-up between a D.J. and a live band, but odds favor something Modern English or Flock of Seagulls for authentic flavor.

Yes, there will be a Con Suite.  There will be assorted soirees along a corridor of character-driven stations, robots and monsters mixing in with medieval madmen and Martian cavewomen.   Realizing that fermentation often fosters friendship, a traditional Dead Dog Party will close the festivities by continuing the time honored tradition of wringing every ounce of joy from a convention (and drinking it).

Xanadu Las Vegas will happen in Vegas and stay in it, branding its “X” mark in an innovative way that doesn’t conjure up porn, poison or moonshine.  Then again, maybe that’s precisely what’s needed.  You’ll just have to see for yourself..

For further information:

Plaza Hotel & Casino
1 S Main St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 386-2110
(800) 634-6575


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