Sunday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
I never went to sleepaway camp as a kid—I was too scared of the dark, of creepy-crawly things and of being away from home. While I’ve come to terms with the latter—the parents are thousands of miles away—the two former still keep me out of the tent and sleeping-bag sections of REI. Falling well within my definition of “roughing it,” Red Rock Retreat (now on its second summer season at Red Rock Resort) pulls me out of the grueling nightlife routine of seemingly endless pool parties, drinking and debauchery and instead gives me a new itinerary of … pool parties, drinking and debauchery.
Okay, so there’s little about Red Rock Retreat that is actually like a retreat. There are no trust falls, no ropes courses, no “Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya” by a stone-ringed fire. Last I checked, this is Las Vegas. We don’t do outside that much, and when we acquiesce, we expect there to at least be a fully stocked bar, drinks involving a blender and loud, loud music. And hot staff members.
I’m pleased to report, Retreat has all that and a bag of bowling balls.
Whereas last year’s Retreat began in the middle of the night Sunday and ended late Tuesday afternoon, this year’s event has, well, retreated a bit. We check in anytime after 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and still check out on Tuesday afternoon. The price has retreated as well, descending from $139 for one and a half nights to $130 for two whole nights.
Availing myself of the complimentary apples and itty-bitty waters at the front desk, I head off to my room to watch the sun sink into the west. As far as the itinerary goes, according to my booze director Chance McDaniel, it’s free time until 10 p.m. Munching contentedly on a free apple—the in-room snacks are booby-trapped and cost as much as a down payment on a house—I watch kids scamper around the pool complex and the concentric circles of red and orange chaises, which from here look like Tic-Tacs.
At 10 on the dot-ish we round up the troops and head off to the bowling alley for the hokiest if not the best part of the Retreat—the bowling tournament. Socks and bowling shoes of all sizes have been laid out thoughtfully for us, as has a cash bar. We select our balls and immediately assume new names: I am … Panty Raider, with Jack “Watches & Crotches” Colton to my right, Deanna “Show me your—something naughty” Rilling to my left.
A team of six in total, we break all bowling-league rules both foreign and domestic, placing in direct peril the limbs and other appendages of our teammates. We create new rules like “You must have a drink in your non-bowling hand,” but this only results in beer on the foul line. New rule: “You have to imitate whatever is happening on the video screen during your turn.” This quickly has Colton pimp-walking, Deanna showing off her humps and me “getting low.” And it only goes downhill from there. In short, it’s the finest two hours I’ve ever passed in a bowling alley. And here’s the kicker—none of us were drinking. I guess we gave our livers the night off, a little Red Rock Retreat of their own.
That all comes to a frosty, rummy end Monday when I finally peel myself out of the best hotel bed in a city of hotel beds to loll by the Cherry pool at a solar-powered pool party (the DJ rig and sound system run off solar panels). After a breakfast of a piña colada with a Myers’ Dark Rum float, it’s straight into the shade of a cabana for me while the daring and baring sun themselves like seals in San Francisco Bay.
Later that night we do it all over again. But the smell of Patron pervades as shots are shuttled back and forth from VIP host to VIP host. Ambassadors of goodwill, those shots, and well received. By far the most shocking quote of the night (aside from “Ass. The other cleavage.”) is uttered by a partied-out promoter: “Phew! I gotta get some R&R!