The room is small and plain, save for the two windows that are washing it in pale blue light.
I’m in downward dog when I hear giggles from my fellow yoga mates. I look up to the front of the room where our instructor remains in her pose. Just past her, I see what the ruckus is all about.
In the window is an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin—grinning ear-to-ear, blowing bubbles and checking out our instructor’s behind.
I’m taking an hour-long “yoga among the dolphins” class in the underground viewing room at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat. In Vegas. It’s hard to believe I’m mere feet away from the cacophony of slot machines, clanking glasses and thumping music at The Mirage.
As the instructor twists us through poses, she explains that exercise with any type of animal releases a calming chemical in the brain. With 2.2 million gallons of water surrounding us, and dolphins gliding in and out of our view while their sounds are piped into the room, I can’t say I’m terribly relaxed. But I’m definitely entertained.
It’s my first time in Sin City, and, while most people are here to party, I’m here to find redemption from a life of indulgence. This means hiking, fitness classes, healthy eating and no (okay, minimal) alcohol. Why Vegas? Because, if I can do it here, I can do it anywhere.
All my colours
The one thing you can’t get away from in Vegas, even on the healthy route, is the bizarre.
“B-25,” says my therapist. But this is no game of bingo: it’s colour therapy.
I’m sitting in a magenta-lit treatment room at The Qua Baths & Spa in Caesars Palace, picking out four bottles from shelves on the side of the room. They are “Aura-Soma” Equilibrium bottles that look like square perfume containers filled with two brightly coloured liquids separating from each other like a science project.
The liquids are made from plant extracts, essential oils and precious stones and are designed to reveal my aura. I choose B-25: the convalescence/Florence Nightingale bottle.
“Someone with a deep caring for others …” says the book the therapist has handed me. Um, that doesn’t really sound like me. Convalescent might be closer.
She goes deeper, reading the bottles and the order in which I chose them, just as a fortune-teller would with tarot cards. At the end of the session—which also includes an hour-long massage with a coloured pomander (to protect the aura)—my bottles are making more sense. I need to let go of past disappointments. I know just the place.
It’s my last day in Vegas, and, satisfied that my body and soul have been redeemed, I head to Serendipity 3, a fancifully decorated throwback to the soda-fountain era, also at Caesars Palace.
Coming toward me is a giant cup brimming with what is said to improve cardiovascular health, cure headaches, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer. It’s chocolate, and I’m taking in the 14 different varieties with Serendipity 3’s frothy Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. I can feel my blood pressure lower by the slurp. It may look like sin, but, if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
More Paths to Redemption
Red Rock Canyon
Located 50 km west of the Strip, this almost-200,000-acre park is home to 19 official trails. Head to the Visitors Center for information on the best spots to see wildlife and waterfalls. (redrockcanyonlv.org)
Go Raw Café
Head here for a quick organic and vegan bite. It’s home to kale salads, smoothies and vegan sushi. The prices are decent, the portions are large and the service is fast. (gorawcafe.com)
At The Qua Baths & Spa, this treatment includes a massage, and a scarily accurate reading and healing where a crystal is held over various chakras. (caesars.com/qua)
Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort
Every restaurant in these two resorts has a substantial vegan menu (even the SW Steakhouse has vegan meatballs). Even better, the resort has organic cocktails and egg- and dairy-free cakes and cookies. (wynnlasvegas.com)
Paths to Damnation
For the glutton
Serendipity 3 is home to the US$1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae: five scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream, Grand Passion Caviar, Amedei Porcelana dark chocolate and edible 23kt. gold leaf. (caesarspalace.com)
For the lovelorn
A Little White Wedding Chapel on the strip has hosted Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Britney Spears, Slash and Frank Sinatra. It even married a man to his motorcycle. (alittlewhitechapel.com)
For the envious
The Secret Agent 702 tour transforms guests into “spies” for three days with disguises, ziplining, helicopters, limos, Ferraris and martinis. The price? US$6,800 for two. (papillon.com)
For the slothful
Hangover Heaven’s bus comes to you with its hangover cure and comfy bunk beds. Choose from three packages (ranging from US$99 to US$199) that include hydration fluid, nausea or headache medication, vitamins and antioxidants—all administered via IV. (hangoverheaven.com)