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Two guys’ getaways perfect for putting a smile on your guy’s face this holiday season.

By Steve Habel

If Christmas isn’t about gifts, then why do so many people spend so much time trying to figure out just the right present to put under the tree for the men in our circles? If you really want to make a guy happy this holiday season, forget the ties, the shirts, the electronic equipment or the gift certificate to that wings place around the corner. Give the dude something he would never give himself: a trip with some buddies on that most holy of men’s holidays, Super Bowl weekend, that shouts out “You da man!” and “Have fun!” along with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah.” Remember, too, that when your man’s happy, he wants to make everyone around him happy. Here are two suggestions, one close by and another away from the family, to make a fella’s holidays the best ever.

Golf With All the Trimmings at the Omni Barton Creek

It’s amazing to believe how many golfers in the Austin area have not played courses at the Omni Barton Creek, our area’s No. 1 spot for the gr and game. Barton Creek is considered the best golf resort in Texas by Golf Digest and is included in the top five golf resorts you can play in Texas by Golfweek magazine.

The resort has four great golf tracks: the Fazio Foothills and Fazio Canyons as designed by, you guessed it, famous golf course architect Tom Fazio; the Crenshaw Creekside, fashioned by Austin’s own Ben Crenshaw; and the Palmer Lakeside, routed above Lake Travis in Spicewood by the king himself, Arnold Palmer. The two Fazio-designed courses are ranked among the best in Texas.

The folks at Barton Creek know how to treat people right, and they’ll go all out for your man and his buddies for a Super Bowl bash. A weekend holed up in the plush resort or in one of the resort’s three-bedroom villas with an itinerary that includes unlimited golf, great grub and a soothing spa treatment on the days running up to the game can set the stage for the big event itself.

The resort will provide some themed cocktails and appetizers and will show the Super Bowl in Barton’s Lounge, which is also a great spot to play a game of pool or car ds. Other activities available at the resort include tennis and hiking on the nature trail. As most men have discovered by now, getting a massage at a resort is no longer just for women. Barton Creek’s Three Springs Spa has some great men’s-focused treatments, such as the sports-specific muscle and joint massage, which addresses the muscle groups associated with specific sports movements (as well as the wrapping of presents and putting together toys and bicycles), and the men’s performance facial, which utilizes precise formulations of natural, organic and biodynamic botanicals all customized for men’s skin.

For a weekend golf getaway without really getting away, Barton Creek can’t be beat. Palmer Lakeside Perfect present package Barton Creek offers a Guys Golf Getaway. Starting at $175 per person per night, it includes luxurious resort accommodations; unlimited golf on any of the resort’s Barton Creek championship courses; a welcome bucket of beer, chips and salsa; unlimited use of practice facilities; daily breakfast and a satisfying three-course steak dinner in the AAA Four Diamond-rated Hill Country Dining Room; and a $25 retail voucher valid at any of the resort’s retail shops.

Villa is Not Vanilla

If a villa is more your man’s taste, Barton Creek’s such accommodations are 2,600 square feet and fully furnished with three bedrooms and three and a half baths. The villas include a large, comfortable living area complete with a media center and fireplace, a fully furnished kitchen with island, two master suites (one king bed in each) with its own garden bath and dual vanities, a third bedroom (with two queen beds) with an attached bath, a dining room adjacent to the living area, a separate utility room with a washer and dryer, and a covered deck with outdoor seating and a barbecue grill.

Going Over the Top In—Where Else?—Vegas

Football fans can pa y top dollar and about freeze to death to watch the Super Bowl live at New Jersey’s Met Life Stadium, or they can experience the game in true Las Vegas style. Not only can fans see all the action from multiple state-of-the-art HD televisions, they also can enjoy whiskey and beer, energetic game-day parties, live sports-book betting and even a soothing shave, all at Sin City ’s MGM Resorts. With the clearest high-definition televisions in the country, fans can get in the game like never before at the recently renovated Race & Sports Book at The Mirage. The innovative “4K” projection system uses cutting-edge technology capable of displaying a picture at more than four times the resolution of any other high-definition TV screen, so even the smallest details are crystal clear.

Another option is watching the game from the Skyboxes at MGM Grand. These exclusive boxes are equipped with 42-inch plasma TVs and surround-sound audio systems and come with their very own beverage server, complimentary food and the latest video-game systems. Each of the four luxury boxes offers a bird’s-eye view from the second level of MGM Grand’s legendary Race & Sports Book.

Football fanatics can host the ultimate Super Bowl bash in a 2,500-square-foot Executive Parlor Suite at Bellagio. Not only can guests enjoy surround-sound audio systems and state-of-the-art technology in the media room with six HDTV screens, they also can get in on the action with a game of billiards or grab a drink at the fully stocked wet bar. Man, even football-man, cannot live by gridiron action alone, and eating in Vegas is the third- or fourth-best thing a man can do in Sin City.

The Pub at Monte Carlo serves up classic favorites such as juicy burgers, fresh chicken quesadillas and more. Fans can quench their thirst with cocktails like the Kentucky Highball or Cosmopolitan, or order a traditional beer and shot combo for the same price. Take 35 TV screens, throw in a selection of more than 300 beers, and that equals a sports fan’s paradise.

If your football fan wants to kick off Super Bowl Sunday bright and early, The Sporting House Bar & Grill at New York-New York is the place to start the day. Fans simply need to wake up and head to The Sporting House to enjoy the pregame shows with two 16-foot, high-definition screens and 130 high-definition TVs, all while enjoying breakfast items such as hearty s teak and eggs or a scrumptious breakfast burrito.

Shaving Points

Whiskey, grooming and football? They go hand in hand at The Barber Shop at The Mirage with its new Whiskey Bar and Keg. Guests can choose between an ice-cold beer on tap and four unique types of whiskey while getting a clean shave and watching the game at this one-of-a-kind barbershop. Guys in need of a break from the nonstop sports action won’t want to miss the Royal Shave at Bellagio. Take a step back from the excitement and enjoy a traditional shave, complete with a steamed hot towel, warm shaving cream, alum block and a botanical-based mask. And don’t worry; this barbershop is equipped with an HDTV so guests won’t be behind when they snap back to reality and rejoin the game-time fun.


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