With over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, General Manager Maria DiMarco brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Ascaya community. We caught up with Maria to learn more about the winter at Ascaya, from Owners’ favorite seasonal events to the best (and surprising) activities available off-site during cooler months. See what she had to say below.
What do you look forward to most about the winter season at Ascaya?
Ascaya is magical in the winter. Every year, I look forward to enjoying all the glittering lights that decorate the community while sipping hot drinks on wintery days.
Can you take us through your ideal winter morning at Ascaya?
First, I would pick up one of Ascaya’s decadent organic hot beverage selections from the Clubhouse and head for a brisk hiking adventure on one of our beautiful on-site trails. After that, I’d enjoy a light and delicious lunch prepared by our community’s talented chefs – either a pesto turkey sandwich or a strawberry field salad, depending on my mood!
What is your favorite view from Ascaya this time of year?
My favorite, most captivating view from Ascaya can be seen from the Clubhouse’s gathering terrace. There, you can sit down by the fire and take in all-encompassing, spectacularly festive views of the iconic Las Vegas Strip and city beyond.
How did Ascaya kick off the new year? Can you tell us a little bit about the winter adventures and activities lined up for Owners?
Absolutely. This January, Ascaya was excited to host a special Charcuterie Board Class instructed by Chef Malcolm paired with a private wine tasting by Justin wines. Also on the schedule is our monthly Happy Hour event featuring wintery cocktails, mocktails, delicious bites, and more, plus our monthly Kids Fitness Fun Class that welcomes ages five and up for fun, high-energy afternoon activities. We’ll also be hosting our very first Tequila & Tacos Tuesday at the Clubhouse, it’s sure to be a blast. And that’s only January – there’s much more to come!
What’s something that might surprise us about Las Vegas in the winter?
There’s snow near Las Vegas! From Henderson, it’s only about an hour (54.2 miles) to Mt. Charleston by car. Whether you’re a skier, or simply seeking a cozy wintry escape, it’s easy to bounce from sun to snow this time of year.
What is your favorite part about working as a general manager at Ascaya?
The endless opportunities to positively impact Ascaya. One example of which is fostering new friendships in the community. I enjoy seeking solutions that will outlast my lifetime and leave the greatest impact on the community.
Let’s talk off-site activities – from shopping to hiking, what are the winter must-do’s near Ascaya?
I have a long list of favorites, but I narrowed it down to five:
- Visit the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Every season, the 14,000-square-foot Botanical Gardens are transformed into a fairytale winter wonderland by talented horticulture and engineering teams. Entrance is free and locals receive complimentary parking for three hours. A spectacular fountain display takes place every 30 minutes from 3pm to 6:30pm and every 15 minutes from 7pm to midnight.
- Take a hike on the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail. Located near Boulder City, the flat gravel trail hugs the hills on the southern shoreline of vast Lake Mead. The rail-trail offers panoramic views of the manmade lake and passes through five railroad tunnels on the way toward Hoover Dam. Parking is free at the trailhead lot just below the visitors’ center.
- Ski at Mt. Charleston. Lee Canyon is a short drive from Vegas and is located at 8,600 feet in the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area. Snowshoeing, sledding, building snowmen, making snow angels, and watching winter wildlife are just a few of the wonderful winter things you can enjoy!
- Go Ice skating at the Cosmopolitan. Enjoy warm cocktails, s’mores, and breathtaking views, allowing some Instagrammable shots complete with evening snow showers every 30 minutes throughout the season. Skate rentals begin at $15-30 per hour and locals receive complimentary self-parking for three hours.
- Enjoy a chocolate tasting and self-guided cactus garden tour at Ethel M Chocolates. Ethel M offers an excellent chocolate and wine tasting for those 21 or older. Choose a Classic Chocolate Tasting or Limited Edition Holiday Chocolate Tasting, both paired with fine wine. The premium experience costs $30 and self-guided cactus garden tours are free and open year round!