Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas to close in May 2010

The grounds at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, set to close on May 2
The grounds at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, set to close on May 2

Yesterday we read on USA Today’s Hotel Check-in blog that the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas will shutter its doors in early May.

Although we’re never happy to hear about another hotel becoming a victim of the economy, we can’t say we’re all too surprised that a hotel overlooking Lake Las Vegas is having trouble succeeding. This 1991 man-made “oasis” is a little bizarre, with lots of stucco, bright colors, and a replica of the Ponte Vecchio — all in the middle of the desert. Visitors who land here aren’t aiming for a typical Vegas trip — the Strip is about 30 minutes away by car — and there are more appealing places to vacation if you’re planning an active family vacation, even if you like a desert climate.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas

Still, we really liked the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas when we visited last year, and it had been considered the top hotel on the shores of the lake. The grounds are beautifully manicured to resemble Italian gardens, the rooms are regal and comfortable, and the staff is formal but friendly.

We can only speculate, but perhaps part of the problem is that the other two resorts on Lake Las Vegas offer similar experiences for much less money. While the Ritz-Carlton seems like a good deal right now at $245, the comparable Loews Lake Las Vegas is a steal at $137 and the less-polished apartment-style MonteLago Village Resort is only $116.

Once the Ritz-Carlton closes, here’s where you can stay in suburban Las Vegas if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway removed from the bright lights and clanging slot machines of Sin City, but still close enough for a night on the town:

Loews Lake Las Vegas

Price: $137/night
Pearls: 4 out of 5
Location: Suburban Las Vegas
A gorgeous, upscale, lakeside resort 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Luxurious in its details, from the in-room amenities to the fireplaces by the stunning lake-view terrace. Recreational options include two sprawling pools, a full-service spa, a fancy fitness center, and a tennis court. Dining is limited, though the service is excellent.

MonteLago Village Resort

Price: $116/night
Pearls: 3.5 out of 5
Location: Suburban Las Vegas
About 30 minutes from the buzz and bustle of the Strip, this no-frills hotel features apartment-style guest rooms, lovely views of the desert mountains and the man-made Lake Las Vegas — and more affordable rates than the neighboring Ritz-Carlton and Loews Hotel. Ideal for the traveler more interested in exploring the outdoors than a casino or mall.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort Spa and Golf

Price: $230/night
Pearls: 4 out of 5
Location: Suburban Las Vegas
Tasteful but staid, this suburban Las Vegas property (45 minutes from Lake Las Vegas; 20 minutes from The Strip) draws golfers (the area offers seven fine public courses), business conventioneers, wedding parties, locals hitting the casino, and a smattering of families. Though perhaps unexciting, it is a tried-and-true resort with an excellent spa, waterfall pool, and servicable restaurants.

Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa

Price: $159/night
Pearls: 4.5 out of 5
Location: Suburban Las Vegas
This hip resort, located half an hour from the Strip (in the opposite direction of Lake Las Vegas), boasts an impressive pool, notable spa, multiplex movie theater, and 72-lane bowling alley. Especially popular among families, this desert oasis offers some Vegas glamour — but the glitz is set amid the natural glories of Red Rock Canyon, not neon and asphalt.

And if you want a straight-up Sin City trip, explore all of our favorite Las Vegas hotels here — or skip right to our favorite value hotels or our favorite luxury hotels, all of which are in or near the center of the hullabaloo.