Hyatt Regency at Lake Las Vegas: Welcome to Fantasyland

By Doug Saunders, Contributor

HENDERSON, NV - South of the city of Las Vegas is the hamlet of Henderson, another burg on steroids that has mushroomed in growth during the last decade. Lake Mead Blvd. winds out of the town to a truly remarkable development, in a region where the remarkable is merely commonplace. Lake Las Vegas is a 320-acre man made lake surrounded by 2200 acres of exclusive home-sites, stunning golf courses, and elegant hotel resorts. Oh, the casinos may think they have done everything by having pirate ships sinking in their front yard or reconstructing the Pyramid as their casino center but this is all just chump change dreaming in comparison to what has been created here at this $4 billion (yes, that is with a B) project.

Hyatt Regency - Pool
Hyatt Regency is a Lake Las Vegas hotel that gives women golfers less testosterone and more pool pampering.
Hyatt Regency - Pool

The concept for Lake Las Vegas was first kicked around (and scoffed at) thirty years ago but it really didn't get legs until 1989 when the foresight and deep pockets of Ron Boeddeker and his Transcontinental Group took over the development. Transcontinental built its reputation through various development projects such as Waikoloa Village in Hawaii, Lake Arrowhead in California, and McCormack Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona.

By means of land swaps with the Bureau of Land Management and the engineering marvel of a 17 story earthen dam, the largest private lake in the state has been formed just 1-½ miles from massive Lake Mead. The complex has two distinct regions, the exclusive South Shore area with home sites ranging upwards of $5 million, a marina, and the private Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course at the South Shore Golf Club, and the North Shore area with more housing as well as the 495 room Hyatt Regency at Lake Las Vegas which is linked to Reflection Bay Golf Club, another Jack Nicklaus designed course.

What one finds here is truly impressive, but what is coming is staggering. As you drive to the property you pass the next phase of Lake Las Vegas. First, at the entrance are the signs of the recently completed Tom Weiskopf course, The Falls at Lake Las Vegas, which will open to the public in late September. As you drive down the hill towards the lake, the massive shell of the next cornerstone, The MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas, overwhelms you. Here will be 450-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a complete Mediterranean style village, 800 condominiums, and a 40,000 square foot casino that will anchor this project as a complete destination resort.

This project's size, scope, and vision would seem arrogantly out of place anywhere else, but with the Vegas strip just 17 miles away, it seems like a logical progression in this land of fantasy.

The Four Star Hyatt opened in December of 1999 and strives to provide the grace, style, and relaxed atmosphere of the Mediterranean. The motif is distinctly Moroccan with handmade tin and silver lamps, brightly colored mosaic tiles, hand carved and hand painted tables, and spacious lounge areas from which to enjoy the views of the tranquil lake. To spend a few days here will leave you with a sense that you're no where near Las Vegas; you are transformed to another existence.

The spacious rooms feature sweeping views of the lake or surrounding mountains. Also included at the resort are 47 two-room suites, which can handle small business meetings as well as ten two and three bedroom "casbahs" with private entrances for the ultimate in seclusion. Standard rooms include hand painted armoires, coffee maker, plush towel and bathrobes, refrigerators safes, and sundry items.

Around the property are two pools, a complete fitness center, a full service spa, and a selection of three restaurants including Japengo which features a Pacific Rim inspired menu for elegant dining overlooking the lake. Don't worry about missing out on that gambling thing because an in house casino provides 24-hour action in a most relaxed atmosphere. There is a white sand beach at the lake shore and access to paddleboats, fishing, and boat tours of the lake.

If you never wanted to go near a golf course, you could do it here but not seeing one would be impossible as three holes of the Reflection Bay Golf Club are on the shore of the lake, right in front of the hotel. They lay there as a temptation to play their magnificent layout. Of course, not playing Reflection Bay would be like going to Aspen and not skiing or going to the Caribbean and not swimming. You must tee it up.

This course will not disappoint. Nicklaus made great use of the natural flow of the land and brings the lake into play as the course sweeps along the water. This course is the first of at least three and maybe five courses that will surround the lake in the next few years. But now, during the early development, before that area is covered in houses, the natural landscape is the dominant vista, a great change from most Vegas tracts. (See Reflection Bay review).

After a round of golf or an afternoon enjoying the pool, a walk at sunset along the shore line allows the energy of this unique project to sink in. The bells, whistles, and bright lights that typify the Las Vegas Strip can't even dent the horizon with a faint glint of light. Here, the stars shine brightly as you look to the south towards the hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land that will never be developed. This is a special place that is going to change dramatically in the next five years. But right now, its magic is powerful and the Hyatt Regency adds to it.

Doug Saunders, Contributor

Doug Saunders has covered more than 20 major championships and his unique perspectives on the game have appeared in numerous publications including Golf World, GolfWeek, Golf Course Management, Golf Course News, Golfdom, and the USGA Golf Journal. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, California Golf Writers, and the Sierra Nevada Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • hyatt

    Golfer wrote on: Oct 24, 2008

    The Hyatt (former) is now a luxurious Loews Hotel property and has been for 2 years. Japengo is now Marssa.


  • Golfing vegas

    Las Vegas wrote on: Jul 31, 2008

    The hyatt regency in my opinion has a very solid course. not the best, but all in all very playable, and well kept.