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Spas/salons becoming luxurious centers for services, pampering

As casinos strive to become all-encompassing resorts, their on-property spas, salons and fitness centers are taking a starring role. These spas and salons are not just somewhere to get a quick haircut or manicure but have evolved into luxurious centers for all-day retreats. Casino spokespersons say the spas not only pamper hotel and casino guests but draw other customers too, making them contributors to the resorts’ bottom line.

Spas at the Harrah’s Entertainment casinos in Tunica definitely draw from local residents and the Memphis area, according to Guy Campbell, regional communications coordinator for the Grand, Horseshoe and Sheraton resorts.

“Many of those guests — approximately 35% — come to enjoy our golf course or a girls’ day out and fit a visit to the spa into that visit,” he said. “The most requested service is the Swedish massage by far, and that is what we recommend for a first time spa goer who would like to experience a massage that is very relaxing.”

Campbell said spa packages at Harrah’s properties vary and are constantly changed to offer guests a variety of services. “Currently, the most popular package is our Relaxation Package, which includes a 50-minute Swedish massage and the Bellissimo Facial, which is also 50 minutes,” he said.

With a whopping 18,600 square feet of space devoted to its Senses Spa, the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi is serious about giving guests an ultimate experience. Senses opened in August and has 40 employees. Massages, pedicures and manicures are the most popular services.

“It’s beautiful,” said director Kris Norton. “The most unusual feature is our coed lounge and steam room. It’s the only one on the Coast that has that. Couples who want to be together can be together.”

She adds that swim suits are required in the steam room and couples still go to separate sides of the spa for dressing and to don slippers and robes.

Norton said the spa manager is calling area offices letting them know they can schedule group events. “We’re going to really hit hard on that as a marketing strategy,” she said. “Offices can book as a group and that will be great for the holidays. We also want locals to know the spa is for everyone, not just hotel guests.”

The Spa and Salon at the recently reopened Beau Rivage Casino Resort in Biloxi is expansive and luxurious overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can enjoy the view or find a peaceful setting in the spa’s two distinct areas, the relaxation lounge and the mediation area. A juice bar features freshly squeezed vegetable juices and refreshing fruit smoothies, and the café specializes in light salads and sandwiches.

“The tranquil surroundings and expert staff are just the beginning of this new spa experience,” said spa director Michelle Kennedy. “Our expanded menu incorporates a fusion of treatments found at the world’s top resorts and perfected with Southern flair at Beau Rivage.”

Kennedy says the most requested services are massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. She recommends all the spa’s packages for total relaxation. The facility features 14 massage treatment rooms, four facial rooms, two deluxe pedicure rooms, four manicure stations, five stylist stations, three makeup stations, a workout facility and separate vanity areas for men and women featuring steam, sauna and whirlpool amenities.

Beau Rivage is also getting into the rising popularity of group spa events. “We will add a new group pedicure room in January,” Kennedy said. “It will be perfect for pamper parties of five friends or less to gather for an indulgent pedicure without missing a beat on the day’s gossip.”

The spa, salon and fitness center is also a great amenity at the renovated Isle of Capri Casino Resort in Biloxi. It was the first casino spa to reopen on the Coast after Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, and has 8,000 square feet of state-of-the-art services and equipment.

“There’s every treatment you could ever want from your toes to your head,” said Rich Westfall, director of community development. “Our guests and other visitors can have a great experience here.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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