International Standards of SpaExcellence(SM)2014
A Quality System Approach for Spa Businesses
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Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Julie Register experienced
this hotel spa in January 2010
It's not very often that I am totally surprised by a spa, but Toppers Spa at Dover
Downs Hotel and Casino did just that. There was a very nice surprise and a not-so-nice
First, the nice...
I was working
on the DiscoveriSpas.com spa directories one day and decided I would rather be
at a spa than list them, so I looked up the phone number of Toppers Spa in Dover,
wrote it down and hopped in the car. I called as I left my neighborhood. Fortunately,
they had an opening in two hours for a Remedy Facial (50 minutes, $123). The phone
operator suggested I arrive 15 minutes early. I asked if there was a steam room,
sauna or whirlpool at the spa (unfortunately, the Toppers website has virtually
no information about its five spas' facilities.), and she said the spa didn't
have them. However, the hotel did offer them for its overnight guests. No need
to arrive any earlier then. Two hours gave me plenty of time to do a few quick
errands before heading to Dover - about an hour away.
Spa opened in 2007 as a part of a $52 million expansion to the Dover Downs complex
which now includes a hotel, horse racing, slots gaming and a NASCAR speedway in
addition to the spa. The 6,000 square-foot spa has nine massage rooms, three of
which are adjoining suites for couples, four skin-care treatment rooms, private
bath areas for men and women and separate salons for hair and nail services.
meant to check out Toppers Spa shortly after it opened, but I rarely travel to
that part of Delaware, and it fell off my radar. It was time. The hotel was easy
to find, and I arrived a half hour early. I was impressed by how nice the hotel
lobby was. A large curving staircase led up to the spa.
Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware
to Toppers Spa at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware
The first thing I noticed about Toppers Spa was the massive,
beautifully carved doors I passed through as I entered. The reception desk was
faced by the same carved wood. The rest of the reception area was equally inviting.
The walls were a calming, deep rust color and the exotic wood floor was highlighted
with stripes of metallic rust, gold and silver stripes. Inviting seating was adjacent
to a small boutique.
wood on the reception desk at Toppers Spa at Dover Downs
Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware
in the Reception Area of Toppers Spa
in the Reception Area of Toppers Spa
Lisa, the very
friendly and pleasant receptionist greeted me, checked me in and led me to the
women's changing room. As we walked, she explained that the carved wood and other
decorations in the spa were authentic and had been made in Bali for the spa. We
passed a glass door to the lounge flanked by carved stone blocks. Interesting
statues sat at the end of the halls. The heavy doors to the changing rooms used
Balinese masks to identify men's and women's. I was beginning to feel transported.
Stone Blocks Flank the Door to the Lounge at Toppers Spa
Sit at the End of the Hallway at Toppers Spa
Inside the changing room, Lisa explained how the lockers
worked and instructed me to change into a robe and select a pair of flip flops.
She would wait outside to show me to the lounge when I was ready.
I finished changing, I met Lisa in the hallway. She escorted me to the co-ed lounge.
Lounge chairs, sofas and chairs were comfortably arranged under two authentic,
imported balés from Bali.
wall was covered in intricate stone carvings and massive carved wood doors.
wall was covered with a backlit photograph of a Balinese landscape.
about Bali were on every table. I loved it. I looked through the books and selected
two - one on the architecture of Bali and another on the performing arts of Bali.
slowly flipped through the books and gazed out on the landscape. I soon realized
I wanted to stay a while. I noticed a spa lunch menu next to the teapot and asked
Lisa to arrange for me to have the Salmon salad after my treatment.
Tea, Lemon Water and Cookies were offered in Toppers Spa Lounge
Room at Toppers Spa
esthetician, Amy, escorted me to the treatment room. I got settled on the table
while she waited outside. After a few minutes, Amy returned to the room and started
the facial by massaging my face with lavender oil to decongest the skin. The aroma
was lovely, and Amy's technique was light, smooth and unhurried. Already relaxed,
I went into a deeper relaxation immediately. Amy used Dermalogica products for
this facial. She applied each product in the same light, smooth and unhurried
way. A cleanser was followed by a course exfoliant and then a finer exfoliant.
Amy removed this with a heavenly, warm, lavender-infused towel. Somewhere along
the line, there were extractions, and an antibacterial serum was gently brushed
on with a small brush afterwards. Amy used a larger brush to apply a mask. While
it was working, she massaged my hands. Another warm towel removed the mask. Finally,
a toner and moisturizer were massaged in. I really enjoyed this facial. My skin
looked and felt great afterwards. But what I liked best was the way Amy gave the
Amy escorted me back to the Lounge and poured a glass of
lemon water for me. My lunch was brought to me, and I enjoyed it while I read
and slowly emerged from my super-relaxed state.
I thoroughly enjoyed my
experience at Toppers Spa. The decor is beautiful, the service level was very
good, and the facial was excellent. I didn't feel rushed. I didn't miss not having
a steam or sauna. I didn't miss the neck and scalp massage and foot massage that
almost always accompany a facial nowadays. Even though I think this spa's prices
stretch the top end of the scale (especially for this part of the state), I could
see myself coming back.
Other treatments available at Toppers
Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino at the time of my visit include:
Hot Stone Massage
Four Corners of
the World Four Handed Massage
Hot Stone Massage
Hot Stone Massage with Reflexology
Tour Guided Rendezvous
Deep Tissue Massage
Table Thai Massage
Traditional Swedish Massage
- Revival Facial with Vitamin C Peel
- Vitamin Renewal Facial
- So Soothing Facial
- European Facial
- Teen Facial
- Express Turn Back Time Facial
Express European Facial
- Facial Enhancements
- Revitalizing Foot Treatment
- Revitalizing Eye Rescue
- Hand Paraffin Rescue
Back Time Manicure
Hand Paraffin Rescue
Finish for Hands
Classic Day, The Grand Escape
First Class Trip
A World Away
The Quiet Retreat
I had such a nice time at Toppers Spa,
the next day I decided to browse through the menu on their web site to see what
service I might like to have next. That's when I saw a link to a page titled "Current
Promotions." When I clicked on it, I saw the following:
30% On any Massage
Save 30% on any Facial (excluding Express services)
15% On any Manicure and/or Pedicure
Save 10% on any Waxing
Save 20% On any
first time Haircut and/or Haircolor service (some stylists excluded) plus 25%
off on Brazilian Keratin Treatment
Hmmmm. Why didn't the person I talked
to on the phone when I made my reservation the day before offer this promotion
to me? I would have loved to have paid $86 for my facial instead of $123. In fact,
had I been offered this discount, I probably would have gotten a massage as well.
I felt cheated. Surely she just forgot to mention it...I could feel my blood pressure
rising. I called and asked. The young woman who answered asked me to hold for
a few minutes - to check with her supervisor, no doubt. She came back and said
I would have had to mention this to the person who took my reservation and specifically
ask for this promotion. The reservationists don't (proactively) tell customers
about it. Excuse me?? Is this a promotion or a secret?? I feel like I was penalized
because I was not in front of my computer when I made my reservation. Is that
any way to treat a new customer (or any customer for that matter)? Frankly, it
made me angry. I asked if I could get the discount now. She said "no,"
but I could next time. I told her I was a new customer, and even though I loved
my spa experience, I wasn't sure I would be coming back for a "next time"
because of this.
As I've said before, spas should NEVER do ANYTHING that
makes their customers feel bad. Having a "secret" promotion is bound
to make customers feel bad when they find out they didn't know the secret when
they needed to.
My annoyance may fade, and I may go back to this spa.
After all, it wasn't the actual spa that ticked me off, it was the corporate reservations
(that is part of the spa experience, however). And, of course, I'll know to check
for promotions before I call and ask if there are any other promotions I should
know about before making a reservation.
Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel &
North DuPont Highway Dover, DE 19901
at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Listing page on DiscoverSpas.com
Delaware Spa Directory
SpaFinder Gift Certificates are accepted at Toppers
Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
and over 5,000 spas worldwide.
is an affiliate of SpaFinder.com. Commissions from gift certificate sales support
the DiscoverSpas.com web site.
Early Arrival - To ensure a smooth and relaxing experience,
please arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of any spa appointment. Being late
is sometimes unavoidable; however, depending upon circumstances, it may be necessary
to shorten or reschedule your service.
About Your Visit - Guests who are scheduled for spa
services requirinig a robe will be provided with a locker. Please refrain from
brining or wearing jewelry to the spa. The spa is not respoinsible for personal
belongings. Prior to receiving any servides please inform the spa about any special
medical conditions - pregnancy, hypertension, allergies or prescription medications
that may be contraindicated for spa services.
• Children - To ensure a relaxing environment, spa
guests must be at least 13 years of age. Children receiving haricare services
are welcome in the salon.
Cell Phones - Please refrain from cell phone usage
and silence or turn off your phone when in the spa and lounge areas.
Gratuities - For those wishing to show appreciation,
tip envelopes are available at the gratuity counter located near the check-out
desk. Gratuities are not included in the price of any service or gift card.
Cancellation Policy - As a courtesy, please provide
24 hours notice prior to cancellation or a 20% fee of the scheduled service(s)
will be incurred.
copyright 2010 Julie Register
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