|Toccare Spa at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey|
The last time I visited Atlantic City was before I discovered spas, so you know it's been a long time. On that trip, my husband and I went with another couple to see a concert and play a little Blackjack. Very little. It was a Saturday night, and the lowest stakes table we could find was $15. My heart races and hands sweat with $10 bets - not exactly relaxing. I rarely wager that much. Betting $15 was too stressful for me, so I didn't play at all. My husband did. The dealers were fast and not particularly friendly. We decided we didn't have to return to Atlantic City unless there was a compelling reason to do so.
Well, a compelling reason came along in July, 2003. The Borgata, the first new hotel casino in Atlantic City in 13 years opened with it's 50,000 square-foot Toccare Spa. I had to take a look. My husband and I decided to take a one-night mid-week romantic getaway.
The Pump Room
We arrived on a Tuesday morning in time for a workout before our spa treatments. We checked in at the Spa Reception Desk. I was taken to the Women's Spa and Jeff to the Men's Spa where we changed into our workout clothes. We met in The Pump Room. I spent about 45 minutes on an elliptical that overlooked the indoor pool and outdoor Spa Garden. Large TVs were also available to watch. When we were finished, we both headed back to the appropriate spas for a shower and to relax before meeting again for our treatment, The Toccare Touch for Two in the Spa Suite.
The showers offered Essentiel Elements rosemary shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. These all contain the essential oils of rosemary and mint which is designed to stimulate the senses and revive circulation. Mint essential oil is an excellent aid in relieving headaches and muscle tension while rosemary helps eliminate mental fatigue and rejuvenates the senses. I thought it was a good choice before my massage. Other amenities in the shower and vanity areas included shower caps, razors, shaving lotion, hair dryers, combs and brushes and hair mousse/gel (you must ask for this item from the spa attendant).
I decided to relax in the Women's Spa Wet Area for a while. This is a lovely facility with three whirlpools, steam room, shower and sauna and lined with comfortable lounge chairs. A fountain, lit from under the water, cascaded into the central whirlpool, filling the serene space with the soothing sound of flowing water and dancing images of water reflecting on the wall and ceiling. There were three other women in the area, but it was quiet and peaceful.
At 12:50, ten minutes before my appointment, I moved to the Women's Lounge to wait for my therapist. I got a bottle of water from the small fridge. Fruit and juice were also available. This room strangely had a lot more energy than the wet area. The music seemed louder and there was a large, flat screen TV with Joan Rivers critiquing what the celebrities wore to the recent Emmy Award ceremony - not very relaxing. I personally don't think TVs belong in any spa. Perhaps they appeal to younger spa guests. In any case, I was only there for a few minutes before a therapist came to escort me to the Spa Suite.
Jeff was waiting for me in the Spa Suite, a large, lovely room with a comfortable lounge and whirlpool separated by a fireplace wall. On the whirlpool side, there were two massage tables waiting for us. We were both having the Toccare Touch massage. The therapists left the suite and returned after we were settled on our tables. The Toccare Touch began with Comfort Zone Peace of Mind oil poured on my navel and massaged in a slow, circular motion. A scalp massage was next, then the feet. The scent reminded me of fragranpani, but I never followed up to see if I was right. The best part of the massage began on the arms. Comfort Zone's massage oil (half lotion and half oil) was lavishly applied to my arm. My therapist, Beth, lightly massaged my arm with long, slow strokes with her hands and forearms. She worked her way around to the other arm, legs and back. While Beth was massaging me, Jeff was also being massaged. It was very relaxing. It was more of a massage for the skin than the underlying muscles, and my skin loved it! The massage lotion/oil did not leave our skin oily, even though it felt very "slick" while being massaged. When our massages were over, we stayed in the Spa Suite for an additional hour. At the time of my visit, the Spa Suite could be rented for 60 Minutes ($150) or 30 Minutes ($75). It is a very nice place to relax and recover after a massage. We enjoyed the whirlpool and lounge (the TV was not working, but I certainly didn't care). We showered in the large marble bathroom equipped with heated towel rack. The bath products here were Essentiel Elements citrus made from essential oils of tangerine, grapefruit and mandarin orange designed to soften the skin and purify and stimulate the digestive system, while the clean fresh scent is inspiring and uplifting. Another good choice!
As we left the Spa Suite, I could see one of Toccare Spa's Decadent Bath Suites across the hall with a deep claw-foot tub and plush red lounge. It reminded me of something out of the 1890's wild west. What fun! There are 22 treatment rooms in the Spa. There is another lovely Decadent Bath Suite - The Zen Suite, designed in an Asian motif. There are also a number of wet treatment rooms - two Hydrotherapy Suites with hydrotherapy tubs and Swiss Showers and two Vichy Shower Suites (one with an open table, one with a closed table). In addition, there are five Facial Treatment Rooms and 10 Massage Treatment Rooms. About half of the spa's 50,000 square feet are dedicated the Toccare Spa, Pierre & Carlo Salon, Shaving Grace barber shop and The Pump Room. The other half is used by the Indoor Pool and Whirlpools and the outdoor Spa Garden.
Other treatments offered as Spa Toccare include:
Facials: Bilberry (sensitive), Hydramemory (hydrating/nourishing), Action Sublime Anti-Aging Treatment (with retinol, hyularonic acid and lacto proteins), Borgata Glow (with enzymes), Botanical Republic (propilis), Real Restoration (natural botanicals, vital vitamins, trace minerals and amino acids).
Men's Treatments: Yo' Rock Facial Epicuren, Classic Man Body (microdermabrasion scrub and herbal linament rub), Executive Soak (Pacific Noni and seaweed extract), Borgata Buster (Swedish and deep tissue massage).
Body Treatments: Monticelli Mud (detoxifying), Wine and Roses (Napa Valley grape seed scrub, white rose bath and full body massage), D'Age (oil of Kamani restores body elasticity and firmness), Organic Body Mask (antioxidant), Teeny Tiny Tan Lines (sunless tan), Microinfusion (Tri-Crystal Microdermabrasion Body Scrub with rosemary), Grand Master B (propolis, olive oil and coconut milk body wrap), Salt Scrub (pure mineral salts immersed in pure essential oils and nourishing botanicals).
Baths: Rosemary Renegade, Rosemary Renegade with Chai Tea Facial Mask, Sensuous Soak (with fizzing bath powder), Inner C (relaxing, detoxifying and rehydrating).
Massage: Toccare Touch (full body relaxation), Complete Retreat (full body with tangerine, mint or citrus), Swedish, Reflexology, Deep Tissue.
Dynamic Duo Treatments: Toccare Touch for Two, Swedish for Two, Borgata Glow Facial for Two.
Use of the Spa facility is complementary to customers and guests who purchase a treatment of 50 minutes or more. This includes access to the sauna, steam room, whirlpool, lockers, locker room amenities and lounge. The Spa facility may also be used even if you are not getting a treatment. It would be great for before and after a workout in The Pump Room or using the swimming pool. However, at the time of my visit, there was a charge: $15.00 midweek and $25.00 weekends by appointment.
Pierre & Carlo
Pierre & Carlo Salon offers hair services (shampoo, cut, blow dry, style, perms, relaxers, hair color), make-up (application, lesson, bridal, lashes) and nail services (French manicure, Bella Mani manicure, Bella Spa manicure, Hot Stone manicure, Hot Stone pedicure, acrylic, gel, tips, strengthening treatment), skin lightening service, hand peel exfoliant.
Shaving Grace barber shop is the The Borgata's " monument to masculinity" offering everything from billiards and wide-screen sports to executive manicures, pedicures, haircuts, straight razor shaves, hot towel treatments, and shoe shines.
We stayed in a Fiore Suite Tuesday night. It was a large comfortable room with sitting area, king bed and a huge marble bathroom. The bathroom offered a deep soaking tub and separate shower - both big enough for two! The view was fabulous - even from the bed. Perhaps one of the nicest features of staying in a Fiore Suite was that we had access to the VIP Lounge on the casino level. We could stop in there for complementary drinks and snacks and read the newspaper. It was a nice, quiet place to take a break from the buzz of the casino. And we didn't have to go all the way to our rooms to do it.
The Borgata is unique in it's location in Atlantic City because it is not on the boardwalk. It sits on 29 acres away from the other casinos. It is part of Boyd Gaming and MGM MIRAGE - under the same umbrella as Las Vegas' Bellagio, MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Mirage, Treasure Island, New York, New York, Golden Nugget Las Vegas, Boardwalk, Beau Rivage and more. The hotel and casino are lavishly decorated with Dale Chihouly glass sculptures which I love. I first saw his work at the Naples Museum of Art Museum while I was visiting the spa at the Ritz Carlton, Naples FL and have since seen it at the Elemis Spa at Mohegan Sun in CT and Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires in MA. It was fun just walking around finding them all.
We ate at two casual Borgata restaurants and enjoyed them both - the first was The Metropolitan (Jeff chose this for the oyster bar) and the second was Noodles of The World (for the noodles!). Another time, we will have to try the fine dining restaurants. They all looked very appealing.
Finally, we got a chance to play Blackjack at a $5 table. I say finally, because we had to wait over an hour to get seats at one of four $5 tables. I never understood the casinos' logic for only having a few low-stakes tables - and they all do it. I would think they would make more money opening more $5 tables than having people wait in line to get at the few open ones. How about $3 or $2 tables? They have nickel slots! It's just the way it is, I guess. But judging by the number of people waiting with us, I can see we are not the only ones who are not willing to bet $10, $15 or more for each hand. End of rant. Anyway, the Borgata dealers were relaxed and friendly. The wagers were in my comfort zone. And I walked away with 50% more than I started with (Jeff came out even). We have a reason (actually, quite a few of them!) to come back to Atlantic City. Thanks, Borgata!
Photos copyright 2003, Julie
Licensed to About.com