10 ways to escape to the islands in Vegas

Love palms trees, sand and surf? Enjoy listening to ukulele music? Like to put on a grass skirt and do the hula? Even though Las Vegas is situated in a desert valley, you can still chill out and have an island-style getaway here. Below you’ll find 10 ways to tap into the spirit of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in Sin City.

1.) Go to the Pure Aloha Festival at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Oct. 11 – 14. Vizzun Entertainment is presenting this double-faceted Hawaiian festival and concert series. The festival will feature more than 100 craft and merchandise booths as well as food vendors and rides. Entertainment will include dance performances by local groups. It runs Oct. 11 – 12 from 4 – 11 p.m., Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. General admission is $8, with a $2 discount given to seniors and children ages 5 – 10. The concert series features J Boog & Hot Rain on Oct. 12 and Willie K & the Kalama Brothers on Oct. 13. Doors open at 6 p.m. on both nights. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the show. They can be purchased through vizzun.com.

Society of Seven at the Riviera

Society of Seven with special guest Jasmine Trias at the Riviera

2.) See the Society of Seven at the Riviera. “American Idol” star Jasmine Trias is appearing with them as a special guest. This humorous group from Hawaii has a 40-year history. They will dazzle you with their high-energy performance, which is packed with lots of show tunes, pop hits, comedy and dancing. Society of Seven takes the stage in the Starlite Theatre at 9 p.m. nightly (dark on Oct. 13 and 27).

3.) Play golf at the Bali Hai Golf Club. Meant to evoke images of the South Pacific, this challenging 18-hole course is located at the southern end of the Strip near the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley, these breathtaking greens span seven acres and boast 4,000 trees (including 2,500 towering palms) and 100,000 tropical plants.

4.) Shop at Tommy Bahama. There’s no other retailer better known for creating luxury clothing and accessories that pay homage to the island lifestyle. Las Vegas is home to several stores. You’ll find Tommy Bahama in three of the city’s most popular malls: the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, The Forum Shops at Caesars and the Fashion Show mall. In Town Square Las Vegas, you can enjoy a bite from the Tommy Bahama Restaurant after perusing the store. And bargain hunters will be thrilled to discover the Tommy Bahama Outlet at the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, located in Primm at the Nevada/California border.

Kahunaville at Treasure Island

Some of the wonderful island-themed nibbles and drinks at Kahunaville in Treasure Island

5.) Grab a drink – if you can – at Kahunaville Tropical Restaurant in Treasure Island. Flair bartenders are always showing off in the bar, where a party-like atmosphere abounds. The décor here is amazing with bright colors, a tiki-style ceiling and palm fronds throughout. Plus, the menu reads like something straight out of paradise. Be sure to try the Calypso Calamari and Piña Colada Chicken!

6.) Browse the Hawaiian Marketplace on Las Vegas Boulevard near Harmon Avenue. Modeled after the International Marketplace in Honolulu, this outdoor shopping complex offers a mix of dining venues (like Zingers and Tamba Indian Cuisine & Lounge) and huts selling souvenirs and other stuff. There are larger-than-life statues (one pays tribute to King Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810), and in the late afternoons and evenings, free entertainment – including singing, dancing and folklore tales – is usually offered.

7.) Stop by the California Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas. It’s where a lot of Hawaiian residents who travel to Las Vegas choose to stay.  Staff members don Hawaiian shirts, and island hospitality is ever present. You can feast on the flavors of the “Aloha state” at Aloha Specialties, a fast food restaurant located on the resort’s mezzanine level. There are wicker chairs and tables covered with floral prints. Tuck into teriyaki plates, noodle dishes (like Chicken Tou Saimin) and rice bowls.

8.) ABC Stores has been a well-recognized convenience store in Hawaii, where it originated in the 1930s – and today it’s just as beloved in Las Vegas. You can pop into one of eight locations on the Strip or in downtown. This is where you’ll find affordably priced Sin City souvenirs and gifts (including the popular Mauna Loa macadamia nuts) as well as quick and affordable snacks.

The Spa and Salon at Golden Nugget

The Spa and Salon at Golden Nugget offers services like the Paradise Sugar Scrub and Tropical Body Butter Wrap

9.) Indulge in a spa treatment featuring indigenous island ingredients. The Spa and Salon at Golden Nugget in downtown boasts several wonderful services. The Paradise Sugar Glow uncovers new, healthy skin after a cane sugar and body butter application. A Tropical Body Butter Wrap allows you to relax while an attendant gently brushes a warm coconut or pineapple body butter lotion onto your skin.

10.) Swing by Roy’s restaurant. James Beard Award-winner Roy Yamaguchi opened the first Roy’s in Honolulu and now there are 31 locations around the world – including two in Las Vegas (one is situated east of the Strip on Flamingo Road and the other is on West Charleston Boulevard in Summerlin). During “Aloha Hour” order $5 appetizers – such as the Wagyu beef sliders, smoked Mahi Mahi tacos, Big Island ebi rolls and crunchy golden lobster potstickers – and Hawaiian specialty cocktails. Those who are in the mood to stay for dinner are sure to be impressed by the fine dining experience that combines European cooking techniques, Asian cuisine and Hawaiian hospitality.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.