Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spa Toccare at The Borgata: Simply Luxurious

Spa Toccare at The Borgata
One Borgata Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Visited: June 2005

In A Nutshell: Lovely & Luxurious, what more can I say?

Genre: Hotel Spa

The Scene: The Best Of The Borgata's Hip, Chic, And Luxurious Style Applied To A European

Spa Environment: Perfect For Releasing The Inner Diva (Or Don) In You

The Damage: Moderate But Affordable With A Little Advance Planning; I had the 50 minute Bilberry Facial for $85.00 and a combination 50 minute Deep Tissue-Sweedish aromatherapy massage for $120. The Borgata automatically includes a 20% gratuity up front, so my total experience cost $246.00.

The Experience: The Prelude —Hip, modern, chic, hot, trendy, sure, the Borgata Casino certainly lives up to its reputation as Atlantic City’s casino of choice for the younger at heart. The rooms are lovely, the games are state-of-the-art and as soon as you enter the Casino, it’s easy to see why they don’t hire just anyone to serve cocktails to the high rollers. But does the Borgata magic transcend to its spa? We (NJ Spa Girl and four of my spa-going buddies, including one new recruit!) recently visited Spa Tocarre to find out.

It was my birthday and I had longed to visit the Bortgata since it opened. So, a group of us hopped in the car and decided to make a mini-vacation out of our Borgata experience, the centerpiece of which would be our trip to its Spa Tocarre in between some serious outlet shopping (did I mention only one of us was a casino game player?).

I had signed up for a Complete Retreat aromatherapy massage and a Bilberry Facial. However, the day before our appointment I got a call from the spa manager to inform me that my massage therapist would be unavailable. The alternative would be to get the same treatment later in the day, or to keep my appointment time and instead choose from either a Deep Tissue or a Sweedish massage. (NOTE: A Deep Tissue Massage, while perfect for overworked and tense muscles, involves intense pressure and therefore is not for the faint at heart or for the beginning spa goer. Instead, try a Sweedish or an aromatherapy massage!)

Since I was going to the spa with a group of my girlfriends, I opted for the change in treatment. The next day, we took the elevator to the 2nd floor and arrived at Spa Tocarre’s reception area, opposite the Borgata Hotel’s magnificent indoor pool (complete with whirlpool, sunroof and palm trees). I was pleased to find that the change had been entered on their computer system and to accommodate me for the inconvenience, they arranged for me to receive a combination treatment featuring “the best of” the therapist’s Sweedish, deep tissue and aromatherapy techniques.

When we left the reception area and entered the spa itself, I knew we were in for a treat.

The Lounge -- A Spa Tocarre representative immediately welcomed us and provided a tour of the women’s spa (Fellas, don't worry, Spa Tocarre has a separate Men's spa just for you!), including the pristine locker room, showers, steam room, whirlpool, hot soak, sauna, spa shop, lounge and beauty salon area (fully stocked with hair scrunchies and everything else a girl needs while getting dressed after her spa experience).

As we changed into our spa robes and went to the lounge to wait for our appointments, we were immediately transported into a wonderfully relaxing world as modern and relaxing as it is luxurious.

I could have spent an hour enjoying the beautiful fireplace lit only with scented candles and reflective mirrors while lounging on the whimsical orange art deco chaise lounge. The soothing array of orange and brown earth tones that colored the comfortable armchairs and matching ottomans made for the perfect complement to the plasma TVs (a Borgata signature accoutrement)—turned on, but silent to create a perfect blend of modern luxury and relaxation!

Spa Toccare’s fully stocked juice bar included a wonderful selection of fresh fruit and an extensive selection of teas, bottled water, and juices made for a delightful finishing touch.
But alas, the time soon came when I had to leave the lounge to partake of my massage and facial!

The Massage -- The next stop on my journey was my Deep Tissue massage. My therapist Jose really hooked me up, treating me to a few extra minutes (I was with him for an hour) for my birthday and his own special Pina Colada aromatherapy technique using a blend of warm and wonderfully scented pineapple and coconut oils. He also combined therapies going deep on my neck, back and shoulders to work out the kinks and adjusting the pressure almost intuitively along the way. Gentler Sweedish techniques accompanied by a wonderful selection of mango, eucalyptus and other divinely scented oils rounded out my relaxing and highly therapeutic journey.

My girlfriends also gave their therapists high marks for their Complete Retreat massages, describing then as relaxing, refreshing, soothing.

But perhaps the most compelling testimony of the day came from the member of our entourage for whom the trip marked her maiden spa voyage. She received the spa’s signature treatment – a 50 minute Toccarre Touch massage. Initially a bit apprehensive and unsure of what to expect, she said her fears were quickly allayed by the treatment which left her saying “I would definitely do that again”. Enough said!

The Facial -- Next it was on to our facials. My therapist Suzanne delivered a wonderfully refreshing massage, complete with a refreshing minty eucalyptus mist in between each stage of the treatment. She took time to educate me about how the skin breathes, nutrition for the skin and tips on taking care of it.

My friends were similarly pleased by their Bilberry facials.

The only potentially sour note was hit when due to a scheduling mix up one of my buddy’s facials was cancelled at the last minute. The spa manager left a voice mail message for her in our hotel room but we missed it because we were already on our way to the spa. However, we were immediately notified of the cancellation upon our arrival and the spa manager personally came into the lounge and whirlpool areas to find my friend and provide her with a gift certificate for a complimentary facial for use at a future date—the perfect make good!

Without question, the Borgata understands the value of keeping its customers satisfied. In fact, we’re already planning our next trip back to the spa to get my friend her free facial and so I can see what other wonderful treatments the Tocarre Spa has in store!

The Extras -- Did I mention we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the wonderful eucalyptus mist steam room, state-of-the-art sauna, wonderful waterfall in the spacious whirlpool, soothing hot soak tub, whirlpool-side bottles of water, and catching a few zzzz's on the comfortable lounge chairs…everything the average working girl needs to be a diva for a day!

Insider Info.: Go early—before noon— and go often! Use your Borgata points if you can—they’re good at Spa Tocarre! Try the Epicurian coconut and mango body lotion at the spa's complimentary lotion bar and take home some scented aromatherapy beads for as little as $6 in the spa store!

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