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JW Marriott A Classy Golf Destination Resort in Las Vegas

The JW Marriott in Summerlin, a northwest suburb of Las Vegas, has a huge ceiling lobby, providing a cool, North African/Mediterranean type of desert motif. There is plentiful natural lighting and real jungly plants, making the luxury resort glow in the late afternoon like sundown on the sand dunes, when the day relents to the evening Saharan brilliant night sky.

In certain parts of the Sahara it has not rained for ten thousand years, and lately in Vegas, it has been eerily rain sparse. While staying at the JW Marriott, which is actually a Canadian managed brand of the Marriott chain, I felt like I was in a 1930's newsreel, with the Marriott reminiscent of a Moroccan grand dame frontier fort, something out of Beau Gest. It is a wonderful resort sitting out amongst the retirementville enclave of Summerlin - giving it a sentinel loneliness, like the French Foreign Legion post that Gary Cooper left at the end of the movie "Morocco", with Marlena Deitrich trailing forlorn and behind.

Where is Summerlin? Summerin is a 36 square mile, master planned community developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation. For many years Summerlin was ranked as the nation's best selling master planned community, according to an independent survey by Robert Charles Lesser & Company, a leading national real estate consultant.

There are actually two hotels here, or I should say two six-story towers, with 541 guest rooms and suites, located on the south and west end of the immense resort. I heard through the grapevine that other towers are planned. The Spa Tower has 286 rooms and suites The Palms Tower with 255 rooms and suites. Guest rooms offer interior views of the gardens or panoramic views of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to the west. Rent a bike or hike the area. You can see the glistening lights of Vegas to the east, because you are actually in the foothills of the Redrock area, known for it's outstanding climbing routes.

The size of the guest rooms average about 560 square feet, and are very comfortable, with either king, queen or twin beds.What I really liked about the room was the huge Jacuzzi tub that you could lay down in. Ahhh - now that is pleasure!

Pool and Gardens - The elaborate $12.5 million complex of gardens and pools covers acres. The gardens include an 11,000 square foot grass edged pool with waterfall and four 25-yard swimming lanes, plus two 250-square foot spa pools equipped with handicap lifts. The Marriott Las Vegas is landscaped with 3,500 trees, including more than 800 palms, and features a $1.5 million lighting system. There is 24-hour valet parking service.

My usual first stop at a hotel is the in-house lounge. This is where you get the latest lounge lizard and bartender's versions of how to run a good hotel, and the chance to check out the out-of-towners. It is my Nielsen poll.

The chit chat was subdued and sublime, with a shift change, so there wasn't much coming forth with from the lounge bartender, just golf talk from a couple of packaged vacationers. After no major breaking news bulletins issued at the cozy lobby bar, I quickly drained my Heineken and spun away across the blond hardwood floors that could serve double duty in a line dance venue.

There are several restaurant presently at the JW Marriott. That evening I was inducted into fine Italian dining at Ceres, a formal and sedate dining venue - a sort of continental European atmosphere, with a very formal staff, held in check by the prim and proper restaurant manager, a step back to a Casablanca film figure. There we are back in Morocco. I really like Ceres, and they have a special room out towards the back of the restaurant that is private, but it was very hot - this was the last legs of summer. So I shed my jacket like snakeskin.

Ceres, in the Spa Tower, overlooks waterfalls and the garden and serves classic seafood dishes. Ceres also has a five seat section with a large paned glass looking on to the furiously working chefs. The chefs bring items to the glass for the diners to check, and they explain how things are prepared. It was a unique touch. You can sample the food, too.

This is Ceres' claim to fame - and it is fame well deserved, so pass it around to your friends.

* King Crab Mediterranean Seafood Stew.
* One pound of Alaska King Crab Legs.
* Pan-Seared Oregano Salmon, with Citrus Pine Nut Toasted Israeli Couscous. with Olive Roman Tomatoes, and Italian Parsley Butter Broth.
* Other fare includes Sea Bass, Snapper, Seafood Scampi, Lamb Chops, Steaks, Lobsters.

Everthing is served elegantly at Ceres. I picked the Salmon, just because it sounded the most elegant. When it arrived, it was seared perfectly, crispy outside, and flakey on the inside, just the way I like it. Take the Oyster Rockefeller for an appetizer.

Many of the other restaurants along the Promenade at the J.W. Marriott are under seperate management, such as Hamada Of Japan (dinner only for steaks and sushi), OXO's (dinner only for steaks and seafoods), and Spiedini Restorante (Milanese for "Quick Roast", serving urban Italian cuisine). The Marriott team manages Ceres (not on the Promenade) and the fun and popular J.C. Wooloughan's (on the Promendade) . . .

I found the coolest Irish pub in Las Vegas, and it is a real hideout, unless you are in the know or Irish. The Publican (what the Irish call a pub manager) has the most Irish of names - Declan McGettigan. He is the Publican of J.C. Wooloughan's Irish Pub (the only one in the world) at the JW Marriott Las Vegas, far off the Strip.

All the local Irish descent merrymakers know about the place. The entire pub was constructed in Ireland and shipped piece by piece to Las Vegas and reconstructed on site. The warm northern European hardwoods, bars, and tables mellow the place out like you were in Ireland yourself.

I was at the pub for lunch one afternoon and then returned later that evening. What a switch of events. I had a hale and hearty meal and then later I stepped into a real Irish jig band - Darby O'Gill and the Little People - cranking out the native tunes with some very ribald and thick Gaelic verse for the native Irish. People were jigging and singing and drinking Harps beer and other premium imports from Eire and telling dirty jokes to each other and I truly felt like I was in a local Celtic tavern - Blarney! The narrow pub made it a close atmosphere making it a chore to find a seat, but who could sit with all those fiddles energizing the joint? Real Irish music is played in the evenings from Wednesday through Sunday. During the NFL season the pub is also the home of the local Pittsburgh Steelers fan club, so grab a mug in the pub with some grub and watch the action.

There's a selection of traditional pub fare and Irish beers and whiskeys on the menu of the authentic casual dining establishment that is open from 11 a.m. and stays in full swing until the wee hours of the morning. During lunch I had a long chat with the pub's day manager - Troy, originally from Toronto, Canada, and it made me feel a real hometown Failte go dTi (welcome).

Traidisiunta Agus Nua (traditional dishes from the ol' Sod) includes Murphy's Boxty Corner. Boxty has long been a staple throughout Ireland. Mashed and grated potato pancakes are grilled and stuffed with a choice of selected items for a classic omelet. The Gaelic Steak and Mushroom is a ribeye in an Irish Whiskey Peppercorn Cream Sauce. Of course there is Corned Beef and Cabbage on the menu, a standard in the Conley kitchen and throughout Ireland; the finest corned beef is served with boiled cabbage and potato cakes or boiled yukons, topped with creamy parsley sauce. I saw a lady order the Beer Battered Fish and Chips and the fish was huge. Trust the Irish to get as many flavors into a staple dish. The fillets of cod come with peas, coleslaw or kettle fires. Then there is the All Day Irish Breakfast that includes imported Irish rashers and sausage. What you may ask is Bangers n' Mash? Take a hand of Irish sausages, grilled onions and good old mashed potatoes and you get a solution to hunger. The freshest of Atlantic North Sea salmon is flown in for the Salmon Of Knowledge, broiled with potato cakes and a medley of vegetables.

The lunch specials are only between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and arrive with Wooloughan's own brown Irish soda bread. For an appetizer I chose the Potato Leek Soup, a 19th century McCarthy family recipe handed down through the generations. It was rich with chicken stock and very comforting. I picked the Beef and Guinness Pie, which had tender chunks of beef marinated in Guinness - that's what sold me - and the pie is slowly cooked with mushrooms and vegetables, topped with puff pastry that is real crusty. You break through the crust to the tendrils of this steamy, hearty delight, and as Mickey Boyd (pub owner) ssays: "Eat it or drink it, either way you'll like it." The pub has a very substantial sandwich board as well. Try the Smoked Turkey and Irish Rasher Sandwich.

For dessert I tried Aunty Maura's Stickey Toffee Pudding, a classic from the homeland. I don't know Aunty, but the warm butter toffee over plum cake with a dash of whipped cream was indescribable and I know I would like Aunty Maura. You can also choose Rich Irish Cream Cheesecake, Banoffee Cream Pie (bananas and toffee), or Fresh Barry Truffles with Whipped Cream.

Wooloughan's is a "Craic" (Gaelic for fun) place at night, with an attentive and dedicated staff. Darby O'Gill and the Little People played on as long as the jokes lasted, I am sure. And if you know the Irish, their joke list is longer than Wooloughan's menu. The luncheon crowd is a little more subdued, but the attendants are helpful with suggestions, - beer or whiskey? - pie or stew? - and they all smile with an Irish glow in their cheeks. I guess they get a tot or two of Harp's throughout the day. HeyFind Article, they are the Irish! You can even check the Irish news at J.C. Wooloughan's website http://sideoftheroad.com/jcw/.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kriss Hammond, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com



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