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Insider Tips from the People Behind the Best Day Spas

BY: Editors | Jul 25, 2016

Insider Tips from the People Behind the Best Day Spas_Sanctuary Spa

A recently renovated gem in one of Las Vegas’s glitziest hotels and casinos. A tropical paradise where spa treatments incorporate the surf and the sand along Hawaii's pristine shores. A tranquil, Asian-inspired day spa where achieving a zen state of mind is within reach. Sounds nice, right? We thought so, too.

In fact, these spas are located at some of the most luxurious resorts in the country. That makes them sought-after destinations but, conversely, intimidating for the unpracticed spa-goer. That’s why we asked the directors of these spots for their advice—applicable at their own locations as well as your local spa—on achieving the best experience possible.

What services are essential?

Every spa adventure should begin with indulging in the concept of relaxation. A full-body 24K signature massage—with the addition of a scalp rituals or hand and foot scrubs—is the perfect way to [soothe away] the rigors of daily life. After this treatment, … if the idea is to completely find your zen experience, then a 24K signature facial is called for. If you would like to prepare yourself for your evening out on the town, then a spa manicure and pedicure followed by a spectacular blowout should be your next course of action.”

– Jeff Wescott, spa and salon operations manager
Spa and Salon at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, NV

"Our in-ocean Wai Vari massage is unique and magical. The guest is given a wetsuit to wear for this weightlessly floating massage that provides gentle stretching. It's particularly popular during whale season, as you lay back in the water and feel gently caressed by the waves, often you will hear the whales singing to provide a truly unique Hawaiian experience."

– Pat Makozak, senior spa director
The Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, HI

Both massages and facials are essential spa treatments, though which type of massage or facial is essential is completely unique to each individual. For instance, a Swedish massage is ideal for those who are simply looking to reduce stress and relax. The stretching and compression incorporated into a Thai massage are excellent for accessing the body’s energy lines in order to rejuvenate the body and bring about a state of mindfulness.”

Likewise, the type of facial that’s integral to one’s day-spa experience is up to that person. “While some guests may need a Vita D brightening facial to help repair and protect against sun exposure, others may benefit more from our collagen-stimulating Skin Fit facial.”

– LaRae Verros, spa director
Sanctuary Spa at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, AZ

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Above: treatment rooms off the meditation courtyard at Sanctuary Spa in Arizona

What services are splurges?

“Splurging in Las Vegas is easy. Indulge with an airbrush-makeup application or a spray tan, or embrace full decadence by adding a full-body sugar scrub from our body-treatment options.”

– JW of Spa and Salon at the Golden Nugget

“The Luk Pra Kope is our signature treatment; it was developed especially for the Sanctuary Spa. Meaning ‘to massage with medicinal herbs,’ this journey begins with an energizing foot scrub. Organic herbs are then steamed and rolled along your body’s energy pathways. The compresses, coupled with Thai massage, soothe muscles, increase circulation and mobility, and create a sense of harmony. Lasting a full two hours, it is well worth the splurge!”

– LV of Sanctuary Spa

The "Oceanside Couples massage. The session takes place in [one of our three] indigenously built Hawaiian hale (a bamboo hut with thatching) that offer a gorgeous view of the ocean, lapping waves and tropical breezes for an all encompassing sensory experience."

– PM of The Spa at The Four Seasons Wailea

The "105-minute signature botanical body titual offers a perfect combination of a comforting body wrap followed by a relaxing warm-stone massage."

– Jennifer M. Cerasani, marketing director
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, DC

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Above: the pool outside the Spa and Salon at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas

How can you get the most out of your visit?

“Spending time in our intimate spa atmosphere is the best way to enjoy your time with us. Stop in early and stay late to take in our newly renovated spa facilities, including a dry sauna, steam room, and whirlpool, completely unencumbered by the cares of the day.”

– JW of Spa and Salon at the Golden Nugget

“Definitely arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your first service in order to get checked in and to change into your robe and sandals. This will give you a few minutes to receive a brief tour of the spa, as well. Of course, arriving earlier or staying later will allow you to enjoy the many amenities that we offer, including a steam room and [hot tub] in both the men’s and women’s areas, as well our fitness center and lap pool.

“We also schedule a variety of complimentary fitness classes in our Movement Studio, ranging from yoga and stretch to Dance Fusion. In addition, our guests who are visiting the spa Monday through Thursday are invited to enjoy the main resort pool.”

– LV of Sanctuary Spa

"Order in lunch and stay the night at the hotel for a full-day or weekend spa retreat."

– JMC of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

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Above: the pool at The Spa at The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

What's an ideal spa-day agenda? In other words, how should clients schedule services?

“Relaxation is a very personal experience. How each person relaxes and the pace at which they relax varies. However, when scheduling your appointments, … it is best to move from a condition of ‘undone’ to ‘finished’ in appearance. [Because] massage and body treatments can leave you in an unfinished state, [they] should be prioritized first. Manicures, pedicures, facials, hair, and makeup are finishing services that leave you looking and feeling beautiful.”

– JW of Spa and Salon at the Golden Nugget

“An ideal spa day is a day that is customized to fit your specific wants and needs! There is no one way to relax, no cookie-cutter approach. Some of our guests like to work hard in the fitness center, take a yoga class to stretch, have a therapeutic massage to work out the kinks, lunch in the courtyard, and then wrap up their day with a facial in the afternoon. Others are a bit more pressed for time—they like to come in the morning, have a facial, and leave feeling bright and energized for the day. Our spa coordinators will assist with creating the perfect custom spa day, depending on [how much time you have] and which treatments you have chosen.“

– LV of Sanctuary Spa

"We recommend that our guests start with experiencing our facilities, followed by body treatments including massages, then facials, and ending with nail services."

– JMC of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

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Above: waterfront river views from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, DC

What is one thing that typically surprises guests but shouldn’t?

The hidden gem “surprises many with its beautifully appointed atrium and fitness and spa facilities. More importantly, the high-quality, intimate guest service delivered by the spa staff separates our brand from much larger competitors throughout Las Vegas. Our staff’s sole [goal] is to deliver unparalleled guest service in ... our luxurious spa.”

– JW of Spa and Salon at the Golden Nugget

“Clients are continually surprised and impressed by the depth and knowledge of our therapists. Sanctuary Spa is home to Sensei Therapists, a select group of exceptional, licensed therapists that are committed to their craft. In Japan, the title of sensei [confers] a great deal of honor and respect. One who is referred to as a sensei is usually considered a teacher or mentor; they understand the importance of being a guide as well as a listener.

“Sanctuary Spa has developed the Sensei Therapist Program based on these complex standards. The services they provide capture a mind, body, spirit approach to holistic wellness and restoration that is not often found.”

– LV of Sanctuary Spa

"A lot of our guests are surprised by our stunning waterfront view in our coed River View Relaxation Room, as well as the size of our spa. We have 20,000 square feet, which makes us the largest resort spa in the Capital Region."

– JMC of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

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