LAS VEGAS? Hyatt Hotels is rolling the dice on its first resort property here, banking on elegance and group business to drive market share in an off-the-Strip alternative to Glitter Gulch. When the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort holds its soft opening on Dec. 15, the 496-room property will be the anchor hotel of the $4.4 billion Lake Las Vegas master-planned community situated in Henderson, NV, 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Occupying 21 acres of waterfront on the 320-acre man-made lake, the property is being positioned as ?an oasis? for business and leisure travelers who want to be close to, but not in the middle of, the downtown whirlwind. ?Being in a resort destination, our guests will have it all,? said GM Mark Heinzelman. ?Las Vegas itself is booming, with major casinos going up. Our property is a perfect alternative to these very large, very built-up Strip hotels. When our guests get here, they will really feel they have come to an oasis.? That image is effectively conjured in the $140 million Hyatt, which is being developed by Dallas-based Woodbine Development Corp. The property features a Moroccan-style design set against a backdrop of mountains, two-story arched windows and loggias, two swimming pools and multiple terraces shaded by palm trees. The property is structured to complement the surrounding environment and homes that are part of the 2,242-acre master-planned resort community being developed by Transcontinental Properties, a subsidiary of Transcontinental Corp. The master developer is an owner/partner in the Regency property, together with Woodbine, Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Alaska-based Cook Inlet Region, a Native American corporation established by Congress. Cook has investments in several business segments, including tourism and real estate. Subtle Approach Although in casino country, the hotel is taking a subtle approach to the requisite bells and whistles. A European-style casino will be featured, said Heinzelman, located away from the hotel lobby in a section overlooking the lake and mountains. While Heinzelman said he expected high rollers to come to the property, ?we will be dependent on the group market instead of the gambling client, and we intend to pay attention to that market.? Meeting space at the property will be substantial. There?s 40,000 square feet of indoor function space, including a 21,330-square-foot ballroom that can be broken out into eight meeting rooms, plus 70,000 square feet of outdoor space that incorporates gardens, pool decks, courtyards, an open-air pavilion and a lawn. Four levels of dining will be available: a gourmet coffee/tea bar; a poolside bar and grill; a casual three-meal restaurant; and Japengo, a showcase dining spot that will offer Pacific Rim-inspired cuisine along with an extensive sushi bar. According to Robert Purdy, director of sales and marketing, ?pre-bookings are going great. We?ve received excellent response and client feedback has been very good.? ?We expect to get 60% of our business from groups,? said Heinzelman. ?We?ve had interest from incentive, association and corporate business, as well as local groups and a lot of interest from the wholesale market for FIT and travel agents looking for alternatives to the Strip.? He added that interest will help with the hotel?s positioning. ?We will be very close to one of the most famous places in the world, but as our publicity says: We?re beyond Vegas. It will be a destination for groups seeking something beyond the traditional Vegas hotel.? In addition to a more sophisticated atmosphere, there will be several other differences including two- and three-bedroom ?casitas? with private entrances; a general store that will deliver to the guestroom a variety of items in customized baskets; and unlimited use of the fitness center. Another point of difference will be the recreational offerings. Guests will have access to the Reflection Bay Golf Club, a 7,261-yard, par-72 Jack Nicklaus-designed course.