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December 3, 2008

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The Spa at Trump
The Spa at Trump at the new Trump Hotel Las Vegas offers luxury and extravagance and is definitely worthy of the Trump name.
By Juliet Pennington

When the name Trump is attached to something, expectations are always high. Whether you're a fan of the man behind the name or not, you know his standard of luxury and extravagance is right up there with the best of them ... if not better.

The Spa at Trump at the new Trump Hotel Las Vegas, is definitely worthy of the Trump name. It is clear that no expense was spared in the construction of this opulent oasis, which provides just the right alternative to the pandemonium that is Las Vegas.

After a late night (or more like an early morning) of hitting the dance clubs on The Strip, I was looking forward to one of the spa's signature treatments, the Royal Lular Ritual, which had been recommended to me.

The experience was exceptional from start to finish. I was greeted by my own personal spa attaché who was intent on assuring that I had the most pleasurable experience possible. Not only did she preview the treatment I was to have, but she helped me pick out a robe, select a locker, review the beverage and snack choices in the lounge area, and guide me through the pre-treatment options (referred to as the "relaxation path of experiences") including a purifying steam bath, a healing hot sauna and a revitalizing deluge shower. My attaché also inquired about the type of music I would like played during my treatment and whether I needed any clothes pressed, shoes shined, etc.

I was feeling sufficiently pampered and my treatment hadn't even begun. The spa's theme focuses on Trump's Personal Intention: Calm, Balance, Purify, Heal or Revitalize. A guest's "intention" determines the choice of essential oils, colors and music. For example, a "calm" intention uses lavender, bergamot, clary sage, Roman Chamomile and vetiver infused in essential oils and elixirs intended to guide the guest toward a state of tranquility.

There are four signature 90-minute gemstone services that use oils imported from Dubai that are infused with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds or rubies. A friend who had the purifying diamond massage said that her skin had never felt so smooth and that she had never felt so pampered. The feeling doesn't come cheap: It costs $275 for the hour and a half treatment, but guests are given a gift bag with customized spa products so they can continue the spa experience at home.

My treatment, the Royal Lular Ritual, also costs $275, but it was more like three services in one (scrub, hydrotherapy bath and massage) and felt like an escape into total bliss. The basics of the two-hour treatment are said to have been created in 17th century Indonesia. My massage therapist, whose petite stature belied her strong hands, began my "balancing journey" by lightly massaging my skin with jasmine- and frangipani-scented oil. That was followed by a Javanese Lular scrub containing turmeric, rice and spices mixed with yogurt to exfoliate and refresh my skin. I felt like every pore in my body was open and soaking in the fragrant mix. After the scrub, I took a relaxing bubble bath in a hydrotherapy tub. With soft music playing and the lights dimmed, I felt so calm and soothed that I almost fell asleep. After about 30 minutes, my massage therapist gently tapped on the door before entering the room and stirring me from my peaceful state. An invigorating, yet relaxing, jasmine and frangipani moisturizing massage followed my bath. This is one treatment that I would highly recommend. It was the ultimate in pampering and left me feeling, well, balanced.

The 11,000-square-foot spa and salon, located on the seventh floor of the 64-story hotel, uses top-of-the-line products, including gem-infused organic body care products by Shiffa, pharmaceutical-grade skin care by Germine de Capuccini, exclusive men's grooming accessories by Hommage, Bali-based Jamu's organic herbal products, and Whiter Image tooth whitening system. I gave Whiter Image a try while at the spa and after just one 30-minute session, I saw a discernable difference in the whiteness of my teeth and felt very little sensitivity. Individual sessions begin at $99, but cost less when purchased in packages.

The spa also features products by esthetician-to-the-stars Kate Somerville, whose clients include Jessica Alba, Kate Beckinsale, Debra Messing and Nicole Ritchie. I had an "Ultimate Kate" facial, which was fabulous and left my skin feeling repaired and hydrated. A 90-minute treatment costs $300 and includes a sampling of products to use at home.

In addition to the spa and salon, the seventh floor is home to a 1,500-square-foot health club (the use of which is free to spa guests; otherwise it costs $22 a day), an outdoor heated pool -- where the scene is pretty mellow compared to that at some of the other Vegas hotspots -- and H2(eau), the poolside restaurant serving Mediterranean and neo-Japanese cuisine. For those seeking words of wisdom from Trump, the following message is etched across the restaurant's large mirror in big, capital letters: AS LONG AS YOU'RE GOING TO BE THINKING ANYWAY, THINK BIG.

The hotel's signature restaurant is called DJT (yes, Trump's initials) and was opened by the real estate mogul's personal chef, Joe Isidori. Located off the hotel's opulent lobby on the ground floor, the restaurant is open and inviting, with large, comfortable half moon-shaped banquettes (great for group dining), cascading chandeliers and a diverse menu that includes Mr. Trump's Whipped Potato Puree, which was yummy, and a delicious spinach, ricotta and artichoke tortellini dish. The restaurant also features a "soda bar" with dozens of different carbonated beverages including lemongrass, rhubarb and pink grapefruit.

DJT is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6:30am to 11am for breakfast and from 5pm to 10pm for dinner.

The Trump Hotel Las Vegas is located at the northern end of The Strip. It is right across the street from the high-end Fashion Show Mall (the entrance to Nordstrom's is directly across from the hotel lobby) and a short walking distance to other luxury properties, including The Wynn.

While some may dislike the fact that the hotel is not in the throes of the hustle and bustle of the Vegas Strip, it is close enough to partake of, but not be immersed in, all that Vegas has to offer. I found this hotel to be a nice, relaxing retreat and somewhat of an anomaly in Sin City.

The biggest difference between this nearly $1 billion condo-hotel (with 1,282 rooms and suites ranging from 515 square feet to 3,500 square feet) and its neighbors is that there is no casino and it is totally smoke-free. Since it is a non-gaming hotel, there is a different vibe in the lobby, almost like that of an elegant New York City hotel.

White-gloved doormen usher guests into the lavish lobby -- infused with a pleasing light floral fragrance -- where they are surrounded by shimmering crystal, marble floors and golden trim. Immediately upon arrival, guests are offered chilled water bottles and heated towels on mini silver trays.

Based on the reception, I was confident that I was going to be pleased with my room. This impression grew stronger when I encountered the double doors leading to the room. With a small foyer area between my room door and the lobby door, noise from the hallway was practically nonexistent.

The room was magnificent: floor-to-ceiling windows, a large marble bathroom with an oversize Jacuzzi tub and an in-mirror television screen (totally cool), and one of the most comfy beds imaginable -- the new Trump by Stearns & Foster brand, with pillow-top mattresses and 500-thread-count Bellino Italian sheets.

The rooms also have large flat-screen televisions and European-style kitchenettes equipped with a coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, stove top, dishes and other cooking essentials. You can access the Internet for $14.99 for a 24-hour period. Closet space is ample, with one caveat: The closets are divided by shelves so the tallest space wasn't long enough to hang my dresses without them gathering and getting wrinkled at the bottom.

My room, a studio, was modern and neat and the housekeeping staff did a good job keeping it clean. The nightly turndown service is great. After a late night on the town, it was nice to walk into my dimly lit room to the sounds of soft jazz playing on the radio and chocolate truffles on a tray waiting for me on the bed.

I didn't mind the 20-minute walk to the heart of the Strip, but for those who would prefer not to walk, a cab will cost about $12. The hotel has one house car, but it's available on a first-come, first-serve basis and the two times I asked to use it, it wasn't available. For those who drive to the hotel, there is no self-parking, only valet, which costs $14 a day.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the concierges, who, with each request, were eager to please. Whether it was getting reservations at a restaurant, tickets to a show, or my name on a guest list at a nightclub, they were more than helpful.Trump Hotel Las Vegas, Tel: 702-982-0000 (reservations) or 702-982-0000 (hotel).

Some of the shows that I've seen during my past couple of visits to Vegas include Bette Midler and Elton John at Caesar's Palace. Bette has more energy than most people half her age and still looks and sounds great. Elton was, as always, amazing. Drawing on his endless list of hit songs, he and his awesome band kept the arena hopping. If you're planning to get tickets to one of his upcoming shows at Caesar's, remember that guests in the first three rows are invited on stage during one of the encore numbers, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting. Barry Manilow's show at the Las Vegas Hilton is a fun trip down memory lane with one hit after another, and the Cirque du Soleil shows are simply amazing. I recently saw Love at the Mirage, which was a lot of fun. My being a Beatles fan made the experience even more enjoyable – but loving the Fab Four is not a prerequisite. Mystere at Treasure Island, had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next seemingly impossible exercise in movement and dexterity.

Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity at New York, New York, is not for the modest. Audience members sitting near the front of the stage may very likely become participants in some rather decadent endeavors. The adult-only show is definitely a blush-inducing experience, but also highly provocative and entertaining. And speaking of provocative ... I also saw Thunder Down Under at the Excalibur. The mostly-Australian, totally buff male dancers put on quite a show, as did the ladies – who spent much of their time topless – performing in Fantasy at the Luxor. The show's narrator, Sean E. Cooper, a comedian and impersonator extraordinaire, is hysterical. The only male in the cast, he does spot-on impersonations of everyone from Michael Jackson to Tina Turner.

There's definitely something for everyone in Vegas.

*Please tell us what you think of this story!

Juliet Pennington is a freelance journalist who lives in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. She can be reached at Juliet at (replace the "at" with an "@").

Pics From The Trip


Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!


Spa lounge


Snack bar in spa lounge


Massage table


Massage table and hydrotherapy tub


Hotel entrance


Hotel lobby


Hotel pool


My room






Salad at DJT


Spinach, ricotta and artichoke tortellini


Waiter serving flavored soda at DJT


Sampling of chocolate delights


Grilled cheese and chutney with yummy seasoned French fries


Fruit plate for breakfast (in-room dining)


Airport ad for shows at Caesar’s Palace


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