The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa is one of six Florida gaming properties owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and one of two with the Hard Rock brand. (The tribe acquired Hard Rock International in 2007, which today has 171 venues in 52 countries, including 134 cafes and 15 hotels/casinos.)
With its bustling 178,000-square-foot gaming floor, eateries and Four Diamond hotel, this place appears to be anything but tranquil. But that all changes once you enter Body Rock, the property’s spa.
The 3,800-square-foot spa, which opened in 2004, provides treatments to some 8,500 patrons a year. The services menu boasts eight types of 25- to 80-minute massages and 12 varieties of 25- and 50-minute facials, featuring two different skincare lines: Dermalogica and SkinCeuticals. Full-body treatments are on the menu as well as an assortment of salon services, like waxing, manicures and pedicures. The most requested treatments, said chief concierge Angela Hayes, are the 50- and 80-minute Swedish massages and the 50-minute deep-tissue massage.
The fitness center sports state-of-the-art equipment such as treadmills, Lifecycles, recumbent bikes and weight machines, drawing some celebrity guests like Bret Michaels, Kim Kardashian and Michael Jordan.
But I didn’t go to Body Rock to work out. I went for a facial. So at about 10 a.m., Hayes ushered me through the spa’s entrance. As soon as the door shut behind me, the noise from the casino dissolved.
Before going in for my treatment, Hayes gave me a whirlwind tour of the facility—the hot tub, sauna and steam room, often the first stop for customers who come in for facials (steam opens the skin’s pores.) Hayes poured me a cup of fresh strawberry-infused water from a dispenser. I could get used to this.
Hayes dropped me off at one of the spa’s four treatment rooms, introducing me to Ashley Rodriguez, esthetician extraordinaire. She led me to a facial bed covered with white sheets.
I opted for the 25-minute Express Facial because I had never had a facial before. A friend warned me days before, “They are not for everyone.” Noted.
The recessed lights in the walls dimmed, and the music—calming piano melodies wand breaking waves—turned on, the treatment began with a facial steam machine puffing hot, moist air laced with the scent of orange at my face. Now it really smelled, and felt, like Florida air on a hot, humid summer’s day.
Then Rodriguez started the first cleansing, an exfoliation using a foaming gel by Dermalogica, the product line she selected for my normal-dry skin, and tiny, round, loofah-like sponges. A second cleaning, this time with a cream cleanser, came next, followed by an application of toner.
As she gently dabbed and wiped at my face, I wondered why I didn’t go for a 50-minute treatment, which would have included the same process plus an extraction and a neck-and-shoulder massage.
The next step: a face massage, Rodriguez rubbed a light massage cream into my skin. After wiping away all of the excess oil, she applied an intensive moisture mask with a fan brush. For the five minutes that the mask stayed on, she massaged my arms and hands with a fragrant cream. The finishing touch was a rehydrating eye cream for fine lines and wrinkles (yes, I have a few of those).
From beginning to end, the treatment lasted 27 minutes. Not only did I leave with a face the cleanest, smoothest and most hydrated that it has ever been. Facials are for me. For more information, visit SeminoleHardRockTampa.com.
Sage Spa at the Morongo Casino Resort, Cabazon, California - The Morongo Band of Mission Indians put together this beautiful spa which also boasts a fitness center, saloon and swimming pool. For more information, visit MorongoCasinoResort.com.
Green Reed Spa at the Sandia Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Pueblo of Sandia own and operate this oasis of relaxation, which offers microdermabrasion, peels, body polishes and a plunge room. For more information, visit SandiaCasino.com.
The Spa & Salon at the Silver Star Casino & Hotel, Choctaw, Mississippi - The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians runs this spa, which offers body wraps, facials, massage therapy and a salon. For more information, visit PearlRiverResort.com