By Sharon Gittleman
LAS VEGAS – What goes on there may stay there, but the word has gotten out to LGBT travelers about Las Vegas – and the entertainment Mecca has gotten the message.
Erika Yowell, Senior Manager of Media Relations for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the LGBT community has been a boon for the city.
“In recent years, the resort community has recognized that gay and lesbian travelers make up a significant percent of our visitors,” said Yowell.
Recently, attractions geared especially to the LGBT traveler have started to open up in Las Vegas.
Krave, which bills itself as the only gay alternative nightclub on the strip, promises visitors “man-made entertainment with musical moves and muscle,” and a “girl bar.”
Krave opened for business last year, said Yowell.
Blue Moon is Las Vegas’ first resort for gay men, Yowell said.
“It’s a hotel a few blocks west of the strip,” she said. “They have a clothing-optional secluded pool area. It’s a super laid-back environment, where gay men can lounge, cuddle and lay around by the pool.”
A sauna, Jacuzzi, sun deck and steam room are just a few of Blue Moon’s attractions.
Gays and lesbians who stay at a traditional hotel on the strip don’t have to worry about hostile receptions when they ask for one room.
“Having a same-sex couple come to a front desk won’t raise any eyebrows at any hotel in town,” she said. “It’s way too sophisticated a hospitality environment for something like that to happen.”
If matrimony is on your mind, you’ll want to add the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel to your itinerary.
While gay marriage isn’t legal yet in Las Vegas, you can enjoy a “themed” union ceremony at the combination bed and breakfast and wedding chapel. “Elvis” will bless your blissful day from the back of a pink Cadillac or in the 50’s-style Doo Wop diner.
Brides and grooms who are fans of one 1960s vintage space opera can be married standing on a transporter in the Starship Chapel by “Captain James T. Quirk” or “Captain Schpock” surrounded by life-size cutouts of you-know-who.
Themed weddings, roulette wheels and night life aren’t the only city attractions, said Yowell.
Within a five mile corridor, visitors to Las Vegas can find luxurious spas, restaurants operated by celebrity chefs, glamorous shopping and more, said Yowell.
“There are some beautiful samples of southwest dessert scenery,” she said. “We have the Red Rock Canyon. You can do a road bike tour – there’s rock climbing and hiking.”
One new hotel, Wynn Las Vegas, even offers a man-made mountain and lake.
“You feel like you’re not on the Las Vegas strip,” she said. “It’s one of the most expensive resorts in the world – rooms are about $200 a night.”
Opulence is the hotel’s selling point, said Yowell. Manolo Blahnik shoes are available at a store at the hotel – there’s even a Ferrari Maserati dealership on site.
“Las Vegas not only has showgirls and feathers and magic shows, we have Broadway quality productions. We are hailed as ‘Broadway West,'” she said.
Wynn Las Vegas hosts one of those shows, a production many gays and lesbians would enjoy, Yowell said.
The Tony-award winning musical “Avenue Q” tells its story with human actors and their large-scale puppet alter egos.
“Two of the puppets are gay,” said Yowell.
While luxuries abound, the average Las Vegas visitor spends $660 for a three day trip – not including what they leave behind at the gaming table, said Yowell.
“We have the best of the best,” she said.