This month’s Spa of the Month:
Ameristar Casinos, Inc. is a company that stands out for its ability to blend fabulous service with great fun in easily accessible locations. Their company slogan, “More Casino, More Fun,” describes an atmosphere in which a spa just adds to an already spectacular fun factor!
When put to the task of creating a spa for the casino market in an area where there are fewer spa goers and a small selection of spas to choose from, the most important features need to be approachability, comfort and the ability to attract both seasoned and first-time spa goers. The spa industry adage of having a “treatment with a treatment” is also important. Guests are not just coming in to enjoy a one hour spa treatment; they are coming to have an entire relaxing day of fun and rejuvenation, with the expectation of impressive amenities and ample opportunity to lounge around!
Planning spas for Ameristar is a fun process, beginning with a fresh, lively and beautiful casino plan with activities for all demographics and energy levels. Ameristar’s company culture is innovative and unique, and their spa concepts deliver a sense of enthusiasm while providing a non-intimidating atmosphere in a happy and relaxing abode for hotel and day spa guests.
ARA Spas, the branded spas of Ameristar, are located in Black Hawk, CO, an hour’s drive from Denver, CO and St. Charles, MO. A third Ameristar Spa is under construction at the company’s newest casino resort site in Lake Charles, LA. That is due to open in 2014. All of Ameristar Spas have personalities and features as unique as their destinations.
ARA Spa destinations
Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk, CO is a hotel with 536 rooms. The full service day spa is centered around balance, harmony and relaxation. ARA’s design is transformative, inducing an atmosphere of calm to energize the body and soul. Layers of warm lighting create comfortable design with accent lighting. Various textured finishes are featured throughout the spa, breaking up the smooth, clean lines of the facility.
PGAV Architects and Wilson and Associates Interiors are the creative forces behind the design of ARA Spa in Black Hawk, a charming six treatment room facility. Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk opened in 2009 with special features, including views from the fitness room of the town of Black Hawk and the mountains, the whirlpools in the suites and the rooftop pool and spa deck. There are warming drawers in every treatment room for the robes that guests receive after every treatment. The lighting design was created by the inspirational team at Lighting Design Alliance, featuring a spectacular entrance, shining the ARA name in lights on the floor, adding a wonderful sense of intrigue and fun. The backlit ambient lighting in the reception area greets guests with a textured rain glass. The entire effect is stunning!
“The spa adds such a relaxing amenity to our already exciting mountain property,” says Sherri Summers, senior vice president and general manager of Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk. “After a day of meetings, gaming or hitting the slopes, nothing unwinds tired muscles like a dip in the whirlpool and the skilled hands of one of our massage therapists.”
Lighting Design Alliance created a unique and fun entrance at ARA Spa Black Hawk. The ARA name welcomes guests in lights on the entrance floor!
Black Hawk is one of Colorado’s oldest and most charming cities. This mining town is an easy drive from Denver, providing the greater metropolitan market with a fabulous gaming, spa-ing and overnight getaway close to home. The ARA Spa is also a popular destination in itself.
The rooftop pool features doors that slide open, revealing views of the Aspen mountainside, making it a beautiful place to relax during any season.
The second Ameristar ARA Spa is located in St. Charles, MO, a quaint town just a short drive over the Missouri River from St. Louis. This facility has 397 suites, and is within walking distance of the historic district, making it an ideal destination for a day or a weekend of leisure from neighboring St. Louis. The 200-year-old historic brick lined Main Street leads to one of a kind restaurants, specialty food stores and antique shops.
Designed with a sense of fun and simplicity by PGAV and WATG, ARA Spa in St. Charles is a 7,000 square foot spa with six treatment rooms. It opened in 2008.
“Convention goers and gamers alike tell us how much they love the ARA Spa,” said Jim Franke, senior vice president and general manager of Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles. “Convention goers love it when their company event planners choose Ameristar, as it gives them the opportunity to bring their families for a mini-vacation.”
Special features at ARA Spa St. Charles include a spacious outdoor pool deck with an indoor/outdoor pool ideal for events, small gatherings and spa relaxation. Spa and hotel guests may enjoy the custom designed pools in an area that features tranquil fountains, a beautiful fire pit, relaxing hot tubs and private cabanas, complete with televisions and comfortable outdoor lounge seating. A fabulous pool deck is suitable for spa relaxation, group functions and fun, while the connection to the indoor pool makes water activity and poolside relaxation suitable year round for hotel and day spa guests.
The most noteworthy attributes of ARA Spa St. Charles are the unique wet areas. Eucalyptus steam rooms, cedar saunas, luxurious Swiss showers and whirlpools with water walls for both genders make the wet areas a special attraction. These areas feel extremely spacious and luxurious because the clear glass, curved walls and tiled designs throughout add depth, distinctiveness, volume and comfort. Altogether these features create a true “wow” factor.
The clear walls on the steam rooms and saunas provide an extremely open wet area—one each for men and women. The curved walls, beautiful tile work and wonderful lighting make this space feel superior, yet open, comfortable and healing at the same time!
Services take place in tranquil treatment rooms, accessible to a comfortable relaxation lounge and hospitality station. A custom created nail bar with pedicure banquettes and complimentary beverage service make it possible for several guests to enjoy nail services at the same time. This gorgeous piece of art was especially created to fit the design scheme, offer a great manicure and provide a comfortable environment for both guests and nail technicians.
All the unique elements of ARA Spa St. Charles make it an ideal resort or day spa getaway.
Ameristar Spa in Lake Charles, LA:
“I couldn’t be more excited to be opening our brand’s signature spa Ara in Lake Charles,” said Jan Carpineto, Ameristar’s corporate vice president of hotel operations. “It will be a perfect blend of design aesthetics and Louisiana hospitality that will delight our guests with a memorable and relaxing spa experience.”
Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Lake Charles is currently under construction. The 700 room facility will be open in 2014. The spa will offer guests full relaxation areas with both indoor and outdoor whirlpools, steam rooms and saunas, as well as a full service fitness gym and workout studio. In addition, ice caves and treatment rooms with views will help make this spa unique, beautiful and welcoming.
The creative forces credited with making this new property a beautiful addition to the Lake Charles region are the architectural firm of Bergman Walls and Associates and the interior design talent of Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto, both based in Las Vegas. The spa offers a luxurious and unique design. There is ample opportunity for both hotel and day spa guests to indulge in relaxation and rejuvenation all day long!
Lake Charles is the fifth-largest incorporated city in Louisiana, located on Lake Charles, Prien Lake and the Calcasieu River. The city is a major cultural, industrial and educational center in this Southwest region; it is considered a major center of tourism and gaming. There are lakes and waterways throughout the city, and the area is often referred to as the “Lake Area.”
Simplicity + convenience = total enjoyment
At Ameristar’s ARA Spas, unpretentious menus and easy to understand spa treatment offerings lead to a more soothing environment. Altogether, the easy accessibility, mindful spa menu and inclusion of clever food and beverage options with familiar flair all work together to melt away guests’ stress.
The typical Ameristar guest is an individual visiting on a short vacation or weekend getaway. Group events at the properties tend to be social (weddings and celebrations). Corporate events, on the other hand, tend to encompass social activities. The gaming, fun activity, great food and beverages combined with the spa environment make Ameristar Resorts an ideal destination for all demographics.
Ameristar team members have excellent customer service skills, thanks to the company’s training culture and management’s knack for hiring the right people. Team members know their department and property inside out, and serve guests accordingly. The company puts great effort into designing the back of house areas with front of house quality design and detail.
With a fun logo, creatively designed food and beverage spa options and a list of enjoyable treatments with fun names, ARA Spas offer guests and locals a creative way to enjoy the day. Even guests who do not have time for a full spa treatment may participate in the “Splash” program, described below, which allows full use of the wet areas and pools.
The spa menu
The menus at ARA Spas are witty, easy to comprehend and don’t require time consuming decision making. The ARA spa experience begins with the Splash experience, a creative and wonderful way to explain a pre and post treatment at the spa, or as a stand-alone self-service. The Splash introduction is meant to help guests begin the relaxation process with a “shower, steam, shock, sweat, shiver and submerge” in order to rinse away stress, purify the mind and body, cool down in the shower, heat up in the dry sauna and relax in the whirlpool. After “splashing,” the scrub bar offers another self-service opportunity with an introduction that reminds guests to “grit ‘n bare it for smooth glowing skin!”
For those seeking even more of a fun factor, the wraps certainly have it, from the “Up All Night I Need To Detox” to “The Big Muddy” wrap, which are certainly self-explanatory! The tailored approach is another Ameristar trait ... personalized manicures and pedicures, a massage that can be chosen once on the table, and an array of fabulous retail products that allow guests the take home experience add to the fun.
Special food and beverage offerings set the Ameristar Spas apart from others with some classic and simple yet delicious snacks and lunch items. Handmade artisan truffles, miniature French pastries and tea sandwiches offer a diversion from the ordinary, and guests enjoy incorporating the food and beverage items into their day.
Ameristar’s casino and resort amenities are colorful, fresh and welcoming. The atmosphere of the casinos remove any sense of seriousness and replace it with relaxation throughout the property. The company’s television commercials, which can be viewed on their website, also provide a distinctive sense of fun.
Guests of Ameristar’s ARA Spa enjoy the spa, casino, magnificent restaurants and beautiful hotel rooms. Fabulous lighting, fresh colors, special water features, fireplaces and cheerful staff add to the Ameristar experience. The vibe is musing, enjoyable, witty, diverting and entertaining. More casino means more fun!
*Information about all of Ameristar’s properties and their complete spa menus can be found at www.ameristar.com.
Lynn Curry is a certified management consultant at Curry Spa Consulting LLC, specializing in feasibility, development and profit improvement programming for luxury spas. She opened Spa Grande at Grand Hyatt Wailea in Maui, then served as spa director at Hyatt Regency Pier 66. Curry was the senior vice president at Natural Resources Spa Consulting for 14 years, and has been the project manager for over 40 spas throughout her consulting career. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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