Immersion Spa at Water Club: The ACT Review 2012
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As we found ourselves at Borgata with an afternoon to kill before meeting a friend for dinner, I begun to entertain the idea of a swim or a visit to the spa.
Chuckmonster and I wandered over to Borgata's Spa Toccare to check out the services. They were able to slip in a massage that evening before dinner so at that point it was just a matter of selecting which one I wanted to test out.
After perusing the menu, I decided on getting a massage that was a little on the different side. The hot stone massage was a bit too pricy ($210 for 80 minutes )and Thai massages ($150 for 50 minutes) I can get on any corner in Los Angeles for $35. In the end, I decided on an Ayurvedic Experience, selecting the Shirodhara ($130 for 50 minutes)
The Shirodhara is described as:
An ancient therapy used for centuries to restore an inner calm and balance to the emotions and to rejuvenate hair and scalp. Your Shirodhara journey begins with invigorating massage techniques for your back and shoulders. Then, a gentle stream of warm oil balances your third eye to quiet the mind and soothe the senses. The oil is then massaged into the hair and scalp providing superior conditioning. The relaxation is deepened with a calming massage for your face."
I had heard of this foolishness from a friend who visited India and it had always sounded intriguing. I mean, hot oil dripped on your Third Eye? Please, who doesn't want that?
However, my Ayurvedic experience was to come to a halt as the spa reservationist advised me that they do not offer this treatment, but that I would have to go over to IMMERSION at the Water Club. This actually worked out better for me as it turned out that the boasted 'Lap Pool' was also at IMMERSION, not at Toccare. I packed goggles when we left, and hoped to use them at least once.
The one thing Tocarre could do for me was book my appointment at IMMERSION so after taking care of that, we wandered over the the Water Club to find the spa.
IMMERSION is located on an upper floor, which is accessed through a private entrance. While there was a desk, it was unmanned so CMonster and I headed up, unobserved.
The elevator opened up to the spa area, with an immediate view of the lap pool and monster jacuzzi tub. Both of these overlooked the marina in the immediate, and the beach off into the distance. It made sense to me why the spa was on a higher floor.
The Golden Nugget
Eyeball to Eyeball with the Borgata sign
Checking in for my massage, I was given a questionnaire specific to the Ayurvedic services. I had to answer various questions like is your "nose: crooked, narrow and Small or Pointed and Average or Rounded with Large open nostrils" or is your "elimination: constipation, loose-thick, or Oily Sluggish", to help them determine how to tailor the treatment. I admit I had some issues answering some of these. Once assessed, I was charged the price of the service plus a gratuity of 20% upfront, without being asked if I wished to add it, or even what percentage I preferred. Odd, as I generally like to be the one deciding what the gratuity will be based on the service, but I went with it. $156 lighter, I made my way into the ladies entrance where I was given a robe, slippers and a locker.
After a quick shower, using the provided non-branded toiletries, I took a lap or two in the pool. It was infinitely cleaner than most other resort pool, but that could be because it was reserved for the spa clientele. The pool was indeed a lap pool spanning 80 feet in length, tiring me out easily.
I made my way over to the hot tub, which was co-ed, and relaxed while watching the boats move in and out of the marina. The pool/hot tub area was clean, stocked with towels and lounge chairs facing the view.
Before I knew it, it was time for my service. I made my way to the waiting area, where several drinkable options were available: pineapple juice, bottled water, hot tea and iced tea. I sat in the waiting room, until my therapist arrived to guide me to the treatment rooms, which were a floor up. Once there, my Ayurvedic experience began.
The massage of the head, neck and feet was first. It was a standard Swedish type massage, with no deep kneading of any kind.
The meat of this deal was the dripping oil. My eyes were covered with a towel and a Shirodhara vessel, which would dispense the hot oil, was moved over my head. After the therapist selected the appropriate oils based on the shape of my nose and bowel movements, she opened the flood gates and let it flow.
As the oil poured onto my third eye, I began to ponder the purpose of this act. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that the ultimate goal was relaxation and a feeling of opening your mind (...Quaid). Indeed, I found myself in a trance-like state at one point, feeling like my mind was definitely being opened. However, that turned out to be the oil dripping down the sides of my forehead and pooling into the crevasses of my eyes.
Eventually, the oil stopped and it was massaged into my hair. Afterwards, I was cleaned up and given instructions on how to shampoo the oil out (no water at first, for those of you who are interested) and sent on my way.
Once cleaned up and relaxed, I decided to visit the private ladies wet room. This room, also with great views of the marina, contained a smaller hot tub, a cold dip and a steam room. There were buckets of iced bottles of water available near the tub to help hydrate. The wet room itself seemed a little aged, with some peeling paint on the ceiling and some grout that looks like it could be harboring some mildew, reminding me of why I don't like public bath houses.
I was advised to do the cold plunge after the steam room, which I did. It felt amazing and invigorating.
The locker room had private showers, plenty of towels, a vanity area stocked with combs, hair products and dryers, lotions, cotton balls and swabs, mouthwash and shower caps.
I met some lovely ladies from Jersey who had simply paid the $40 to have access to the facilities while having a day away from the husbands. They told me they generally spend about 3 hours in there, which is admirable as I could not see more than 1 hour's worth of stuff to do without a treatment.
In the end, I felt that I did get my money's worth, due to the view, the lap pool and the weirdo massage that relaxed me for the remainder of the day. Plus, my skin felt smooth as a baby's butt all night long.
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