I hadn’t been to Las Vegas in years, before the construction of Vdara Hotel & Spa, located on the Strip between ARIA Resort & Casino and Bellagio. Vdara brings a different vibe to the Strip, offering an all-suite, non-gaming, smoke-free and eco-friendly retreat. It was only fitting, then, that here I would find some rest and relaxation on a whirlwind, three-day jaunt to the city for a conference.
After three days of press conferences, meetings and other events — all on the heels of a busy few months of travel — I was longing for a bit of quiet and reflection, and the two-story ESPA at Vdara proved the perfect remedy. The first ESPA in Las Vegas, the world-renowned treatments and natural products help spa-goers find a holistic escape amid the bright lights of the city.
ESPA spas, found on five continents, are dedicated to producing natural skincare that delivers results for both men and women. The ESPA product line is 99 percent natural and sourced from the finest quality ingredients while remaining free from synthetic color, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, silicone, DEA, TEA, mineral oil, propylene glycol and petrolatum. Additionally, the meticulous training of ESPA’s handpicked therapists ensures an experience second to none.
I booked my treatment on the last-minute side, and the busy spa only had an opening at 8 a.m. My flight home was scheduled for that afternoon, so the early-morning option actually fit my schedule perfectly, allowing me to start the day on a mellow note but still attend a few meetings and make my way to the airport without rushing. Given the timing, I opted for the 50-minute personalized massage, even though both of the signature 110-minute therapies looked tempting.
On the Rocks begins with body brushing and a spearmint body polish, followed by an indulgent massage using essential oils and hot stones, finished off with a scalp massage using ESPA’s Hair & Scalp Mud. The Desert Rose includes a salt scrub for gentle exfoliation, a personalized massage, a scalp massage and an application of Smooth and Firming Body Butter. Other therapies include body treatments, facials, 25-minute treatments for those short on time and male-specific options.
I arrived at the spa about 30 minutes before my scheduled appointment. Guests enter the spa into the store and juice bar area, offering a number of options both to purchase or sip. I checked in quickly and was escorted up one flight of stairs, where a small sitting area with magazines, snacks and beverages fronts the expansive locker room and bathroom area.
I immediately noticed this was one of the most well-stocked spas I’d ever visited. While all offer amenities to shower or freshen up post-treatment, the ESPA at Vdara goes above and beyond, providing a number of products and beauty tools, including hair straighteners and curling irons. There’s also a toothbrush and toothpaste in every locker. Clearly, the spa is prepared to cater to varying levels of clientele — both those who want to spend the day luxuriating and those on the go seeking a quicker spa experience.
As I changed into my robe, I read about the spa’s suggested “digital detox” on a placard in the locker. While I doubt many spa-goers carry their mobile devices into the treatment rooms and onto the massage tables, I’m sure some do. ESPA at Vdara gently reminds guests this is time to unwind a bit and escape, noting that leaving behind cellphones and other devices only serves to enhance the experience. My phone remained in my bag in my locker, as it always does while at a spa. Those 50 minutes to recharge can be just as crucial as any emails or phone calls that may come through.
While you wait for your therapist, you may relax on warmed loungers near the sauna, steam room and hot tub or in a quieter meditation room. The spa attendant found me on one of the warmed stone loungers with an open ELLE across my chest, lightly starting to doze off. I couldn’t help myself, as the heat from the chair lulled me into a state of semi-consciousness.
From there, I waited for my therapist in a large lounge area with couches and tables done in warm, muted colors. Given the early hour, the spa was practically empty, and I felt I had it all to myself, lending an air of exclusivity to the experience. In a few minutes, my therapist found me and escorted me to the treatment room.
The highlight of the personalized massage treatment is it is fully tailored to your individual needs and the demands of your body and muscles, using a fusion of advanced massage techniques. I spoke extensively with my therapist about my job, my traveling, my workout routine and other issues that might put stress on my body to determine my problem areas and my preferred pressure. We also chatted about Philadelphia, as both of us originally hailed from suburbs surrounding the City of Brotherly Love.
Before lying down on the heated massage table, I chose my preferred body oil by scent from a selection of six; I opted for the Fitness oil, designed to ease, relax and ward off aches and pains. The warming, therapeutic oil draws nourishing moisture into softened skin.
My therapist immediately identified which shoulder I carried my many bags on, which arm I pulled my suitcase with and where in my body I held my stress and anxiety before setting to work with medium pressure and a combination of Swedish and hot stone massage techniques on those specific points, also working all the pressure points in my body. As the massage came to an end, she wished she had more time to work on a few of the tighter spots in my back and gave me some simple suggestions on ways to help loosen these areas on my own.
The massage could not have been more perfectly suited to my needs, and I left ESPA at Vdara feeling lighter, less stressed and with decidedly more spring in my step.
ESPA at Vdara
Vdara Hotel & Spa
2600 W. Harmon Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89158
tel 702 590 2474
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
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