Spas in casino resorts have come a long way since Steve Wynn (who else?) opened the first casino spa at his Golden Nugget in the 1980s.
Today, spas in casino hotels are among the most profitable in the world. These world-class facilities are placed with hotels with thousands of guest rooms, and cater to a captive, free-spending clientele that both appreciates pampering and sees the value of balancing high-octane indulgence with recharging, health-oriented pursuits.
The Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian recently expanded to 69,000 square feet and 90 treatment rooms, making it the largest spa in the world. It features an opulent thermal suite circuit, complete with sauna butler and more.
A few blocks up the Strip, the new Fontainebleau Hotel & Casino (scheduled to open in fall 2009), will open a 60,000-square-foot Lapis Spa, reportedly one of the most expensive ever built.
In keeping with the over-the-top luxury of the original in Miami Beach, Lapis will have spectacular water features, including an experiential "rain tunnel" with steam mist and penetrating water jets, mineral baths and gender-specific spa areas for men and women.
Some casino operators, such as the Northern Quest Resort in Washington and Ameristar Resorts in Missouri, are designing spas for the lower end, more approachable customers, including the Generation X and Y crowd. These spas are more playful and less intimidating for first-time spa-goers, all the while offering the latest in energy medicine, chakra balancing, acupuncture and magnetic, light and sound therapy.