Atlantic City gambles on spa appeal
WHEN THOSE charged with promoting Atlantic City's non-gaming attractions created their marketing game plan, there was no question that the town's critical mass of luxury spas would be an important strategic component.
Since Resorts International (now Resorts Casino Hotel) opened in 1978, casinos have provided guests a place to get a massage or sweat in a steam room or sauna. But today, such facilities exist on an entirely different plane.
"I think customers would think twice about staying at hotels that don't have a high-end spa," said Andrea Magalhaes, director of salon and spa operations for Caesars Atlantic City and Bally's Atlantic City.
Treatments generally start in the $100-$125 range for a 50-minute Swedish massage. Aromatherapy, hot-stone rubdowns and acupuncture can add significantly to the tab. Qua at Caesars Atlantic City offers a $5,000 session dubbed "Dieci Mani" (Italian for "ten hands"). The Borgata's Spa Toccare was the town's first such operation to be marketed as a destination in its own right.
Today, a number of properties in Atlantic City have made such salons a crucial part of their sales strategies. Here is a sampling:
Bask Spa: AyCee's newest super-spa encompasses 32,000 square feet. Its coed bathhouse boasts heated mineral pools, a hammam (Turkish bath), and a Himalayan-salt grotto. There are 32 therapy rooms for hydrating facials, therapeutic massages and acupuncture. Core fusion and yoga classes, too. The Bathhouse Bar has a health-conscious menu - including organic wines and cocktails.
Revel Casino Hotel, 500 Boardwalk, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 609-225-9855, revelresorts.com.
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa: Local outlet of the national chain offers massages, facials, makeup, skin and body treatments.
Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, 777 Harrah's Blvd., 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 609-441-5333, harrahsresort.com.
Immersion Spa at the Water Club: Spa on the 32nd and 33rd floors has a 25-yard infinity-edge lap pool, 16 "experience" rooms, state-of-the-art fitness center and a gourmet menu created by "Next Iron Chef" champ Geoffrey Zakarian. Provides unmatched, 360-degree water views in keeping with the property's theme.
Water Club at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, One Borgata Way, hours vary, 609-317-7555, theborgata.com.
Qua: Smaller but no less opulent version of the complex at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Ancient Roman motif. Its hot-tub space could have been Nero's. Has a couple's studio, Vichy showers, herbal steam room and cedarwood sauna.
Caesars Atlantic City, Boardwalk at Arkansas Avenue, hours vary, 609-343-2400, harrahs.com/qua-caesars-atlantic-city.
Sea Spa: This 10,000-square-foot facility emphasizes salt water therapies. Also has massage and other treatments. Amenities include a saltwater pool, 10 private treatment rooms, coed Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
Chelsea Hotel, Boardwalk at Chelsea Avenue, hours vary, 609-429-4554, thechelsea-ac.com.
Spa Toccare: Launched the high-end spa movement in Atlantic City in 2003. Offers a variety of massage and facial treatments; its gender-segregated whirlpool tubs have waterfalls. Women's salon and barbershop.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, One Borgata Way, hours vary, 609-317-7555, theborgata.com.