Drift Away

Although it is located off the Strip, Palms Casino Resort has been a popular destination for fun-loving Vegas visitors since it opened its doors in 2001. The following year, MTV's "The Real World: Las Vegas" was filmed in one of the suites, raising the resort's popularity level even higher. And to keep the momentum going, a second tower was added in 2005 at a cost of $600 million, which is home to The Playboy Club. Following the notion that bigger is better, a third tower, named Palms Place Hotel & Spa, opened in February 2008. The multi-milliondollar, 47-story hotel and condo complex features 599 units ranging from studios to penthouses, a restaurant by celebrity chef Kerry Simon, and direct access to the Palms Casino Resort via the SkyTube, an elevated moving walkway. But perhaps the most impressive element of Palms Place Hotel & Spa is the 50,000-square-foot Drift Spa, which boasts Las Vegas's first and, so far, only hammam, a co-ed sanctuary that uses the curative powers of heated stone slabs, aromatic inhalation, and steam to help clients feel both cleansed and invigorated. "We evaluated the competing spas and the concepts we had planned within the spa, and the owner, George Maloof, believed a key concept attractor needed to be something that was social, co-ed, and memorable," says Cary Collier, owner of Blu Spas and Collier & Collier, who was brought on board as a spa consultant. "But the hammam is not just a 'wow' concept. It serves a spa purpose and categorically fits the hotel by design and function."

The spa's wet area allows guests to enjoy hydrotherapy in a sleek, sexy atmosphere.
The spa's wet area allows guests to enjoy hydrotherapy in a sleek, sexy atmosphere.

While the hammam may be the initial attraction for many guests, myriad other amenities are offered at the two-story, 20-treatment-room spa. For example, clients can soak in the spa's hot pool, take a dip in the cool pool featuring a waterfall and light features, or enjoy relaxing alfresco in one of the outdoor garden rinse showers or in the open-air cabanas before or after receiving a treatment from the extensive menu. Among the favorites, according to spa director Jennifer Noble, is the Drift Massage ($135, 50 minutes; $185, 80 minutes), which utilizes a combination of long, rhythmic strokes and kneading techniques to increase circulation and relieve tension. "People are most familiar with basic massage, so that is what they will first ask about," says Noble. "However, our staff will consult with the guest and guide them to what they are looking at getting out of their experience." Among the harder sells are treatments that many guests are unfamiliar with, such as Ashiatsu ($160, 50 minutes; $250, 80 minutes), a massage in which the therapists use their lightly oiled feet to deliver deep penetrating strokes to sore muscles. "Naturally, there are guests who are less familiar with certain treatments," explains Noble. "But the exceptional staff helps guests make informed decisions and customize their visits."

Another unique aspect at Drift Spa is its partnership with Sunset Tan, a branch of the famous Los Angeles upscale tanning salon, which can be seen on E! network's reality series of the same name. Located within the spa, Sunset Tan features five rooms with tanning beds, two sunless spray rooms, and a custom-bronzing airbrush room. Mobile airbrush machines are also on hand for custom bronzing within the privacy of the guest's own suite.

The spa features Vegas's first co-ed hammam.
The spa features Vegas's first co-ed hammam.

Like the rest of the hotel, Drift Spa's decor has a sexy, intimate feel. From the strategic curves, mood lighting, and mosaic tiles in the hammam to the elegant interior design and furnishings by the renowned interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg, guests are surrounded by earthy tones with accents of gold and burgundy and rich wood furnishings. "Drift Spa is meant to feel cozy and intimate," says Noble. "With its warm color palette and natural elements throughout, guests feel like they have arrived at their home away from home."

According to Noble, the spa's clientele ranges from the Who's Who of Hollywood to the Who's Who of Vegas looking for some solace from the hectic pace of Sin City. "Our typical guest is looking to escape," says Noble. "Whether for an hour or for the day, we can make it happen."

Earth tones and wooden accents invoke a relaxed feeling in the treatment rooms.
Earth tones and wooden accents invoke a relaxed feeling in the treatment rooms.

At maximum capacity, 250 treatments can be performed a day. To ensure this number can be accommodated, more than 30 full-time employees are on hand, all of whom are trained to help clients take the Drift Spa experience home with them. "Our service providers put together a prescription of products that they suggest for guests to continue to reap the benefits after they leave us," says Noble.

Unlike many spa directors, Noble says she doesn't face any issues in finding good staff or selling retail items. Instead, her biggest issue stems from the fact that the spa has such an array of options to offer clients. "Maximizing our guest experience can be a challenge," she says. "There is just so much to enjoy that it is sometimes hard to help clients fit everything into a single visit."

DRIFT SPA
DRIFT SPA

Suggested Articles

It's imperative to ensure your therapists are feeling their best at work. Here are a few ways you can support them.

Management agreements are tricky, so both sides need to be prepared to negotiate.

Love animals? Then Sunrise Springs Resort is perfect for you.