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Toppers 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 surprise.

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.

Toppers 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.

I 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.

Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware

Entrance to Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Entrance 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.

Carved wood on the reception desk at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Carved wood on the reception desk at Toppers Spa at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware

Seating in the Reception Area of Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Seating in the Reception Area of Toppers Spa

Boutique in the Reception Area of  Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Boutique 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.

Carved Stone Blocks Flank the Door to the Lounge at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Carved Stone Blocks Flank the Door to the Lounge at Toppers Spa

Statues Sit at the End of the Hallway at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Statues 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.

Flip flops in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Flip flops in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa

Lockers in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Lockers in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa

Shower in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Shower in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa
Vanity in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Vanity in the Women's Changing Room at Toppers Spa

When 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.

Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware

One wall was covered in intricate stone carvings and massive carved wood doors.

Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware

Another wall was covered with a backlit photograph of a Balinese landscape.

Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware

Books 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.

 

I 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.

Pomagranate Tea, Lemon Water and Cookies in the Lounge at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Pomegranate Tea, Lemon Water and Cookies were offered in Toppers Spa Lounge

Treatment Room at Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware
Treatment Room at Toppers Spa

My 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 facial.

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:

Massage Therapy

  • Ultimate Hot Stone Massage
  • Luxury Massage
  • Four Corners of the World Four Handed Massage
  • Classic Hot Stone Massage
  • Classic Hot Stone Massage with Reflexology
  • Bamboo-Fusion Massage
  • Raindrop Therapy Massage
  • Essential Massage
  • Rendezvous for Two
  • Tour Guided Rendezvous for Two
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Sporting Massage
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Mommy-To-Be Massage
  • Reiki, Reflexology
  • Table Shiatsu
  • Table Thai Massage
  • Traditional Swedish Massage

Skincare Treatments

  • Luxury Facial
  • Revival Facial with Vitamin C Peel
  • Hot Stone Facial
  • Vitamin Renewal Facial
  • Radiance Facial
  • So Soothing Facial
  • Remedy Facial
  • European Facial
  • Gentleman’s Facial
  • Teen Facial
  • Express Revival Facial
  • Express Turn Back Time Facial
  • Express European Facial
  • Facial Enhancements
    • Power Exfoliation
    • Revitalizing Foot Treatment
    • Scalp Treatment
    • Revitalizing Eye Rescue
    • Lip Line Smoother
    • Hand Paraffin Rescue
    • Facial Paraffin Masque

Waxing

Teeth Whitening

Body Treatments

  • Body Rehydrating Wrap with Mineral Scrub
  • Mineral Scrub with Body Bronzing
  • , Back Treatment
  • Mineral Seaweed Mud Wrap
  • Mineral Scrub

Nailcare

  • Turn Back Time Manicure
  • Hot Stone Manicure
  • Spa Manicure
  • Signature Manicure
  • Gentleman’s Manicure
  • Nailcare Enhancements
    • Hand Paraffin Rescue
    • French Finish for Hands
  • Remedy Pedicure
  • Hot Stone Pedicure
  • Spa Pedicure
  • Signature Pedicure
  • Gentleman’s Pedicure
  • Express Pedicure
  • Revival Foot Treatment
  • Nailcare Enhancements
    • Extended Feet and Lower Leg Massage
    • Foot Paraffin Rescue
    • French Finish for Feet

Makeup

  • Makeup Tutorial
  • Wedding/Special Event Makeup
  • Makeup Application

Haircare

Spa Experiences

  • The Classic Day, The Grand Escape
  • The First Class Trip
  • The Gentleman’s Excursion
  • A World Away … Body Rejuvenation
  • The Perfect Getaway
  • The Quiet Retreat
  • The Blissful Holiday

 

Now, the not-so-nice...

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:

Save 30% On any Massage
Save 30% on any Facial (excluding Express services)
Save 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.

Contact and Resources

Contact
Toppers Spa/Salon at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Address: 1131 North DuPont Highway Dover, DE 19901
Phone: 302-857-2020
Email: info@toppersspa.com
Web Site: www.toppersspa.com

More Delaware Spas
Toppers Spa/Salon 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.

DiscoverSpas.com is an affiliate of SpaFinder.com. Commissions from gift certificate sales support the DiscoverSpas.com web site.

 

FYI
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.

 

photos copyright 2010 Julie Register

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