When imagining luxurious getaways and spa retreats, the state of New Jersey on America’s East Coast isn’t typically the first place that comes to mind. Many have grown used to the state’s reputation as a sort of lesser alternative to New York; it certainly isn’t thought of among many as a vacation destination unto itself. In this regard though, New Jersey is actually somewhat underrated, and when it comes specifically to Atlantic City, there’s a lot to love about it.
This may run counter to some narratives you might have seen about Atlantic City in recent years. The story has typically become one of a city in financial ruin, struggling to retain its status as a center for entertainment and recreation.
Not so long ago, this was an accurate depiction, but now the city is experiencing, if not a dramatic revival, at least a gradual recovery. People are recognizing the appeal of its beaches, most of the main resorts have weathered the worst of the city’s economic downturn, and some long-closed attractions are even opening back up. Just recently in fact, news broke of an Atlantic City skatepark reopening after two years of inactivity!
It’s unclear exactly what’s driven this slow revival, and in cases like that of the skatepark, it may be a one-off. However, it’s hard not to look to the city’s gaming industry as having played a role in numerous businesses getting back on track (even the skatepark got some help from some of the local casinos, in fact).
After the brick-and-mortar casino properties in town struggled, an online gaming industry emerged. Now, the whole of New Jersey has a vast, legal, and regulated gaming business that generates millions and millions of dollars in revenue. Some of this revenue, as well as the tourist activity and general attention it has brought about, has helped to revive Atlantic City itself, and with it some of those same brick-and-mortar resorts.
With these resorts welcoming a fair amount of attention once more, people seem to be realizing all over again that Atlantic City does indeed offer some of the same luxuries and perks you’ll find in other casino hot spots or even just big cities known as vacation destinations. And, getting to the point, that means there are some absolutely wonderful spas between the numerous resorts and the areas around them.
The Red Door Salon & Spa
The Red Door Salon & Spa at Harrah’s is one of the top-rated options in town and offers a sort of total care package, rather than just relaxation. The menu of services includes facials, body treatments (scrubs, wraps, and the like), massages, and waxing, which is to say nothing of the additional hair and skin treatments at the attached salon, nor the numerous products for sale. It is in some respects a practical spa, though there are also beautiful, luxurious offerings such as separate male and female “wet zones” where people can relax in steam rooms and fireside jacuzzis.
exhale Atlantic City
This spa is located within the beautiful Ocean Resort Casino, right on the city’s famed boardwalk. It’s somewhat more like what you might expect of a full-fledged casino resort spa, resembling in some areas a sort of modern take on the famed bathhouses of antiquity. The facilities include over 30,000 square feet of space, and aside from rooms offering every sort of treatment you might want, there are also heated pools and sauna areas that are more communal.
Spa Toccare is at the Borgata, which is arguably the most famous single resort in Atlantic City (and perhaps the best of them). With its own heated pool surrounded by lush indoor gardens, Spa Toccare, too, can evoke feelings that you’ve traveled back in time to a luxurious villa from an ancient era. The spa also offers a magnificent selection of treatments, though, including various couples services and specifically planned hydrotherapy sessions.
Immersion Spa, too, is located in the Borgata, and is every bit as interesting and appealing as Spa Toccare. More specifically, it’s located on the 32nd floor of The Water Club, a sort of subset of the Borgata. There’s a little bit less focus on communal space, but more focus on pure pampering, with whole treatment package designed to fully relax and refresh customers. Additionally, The Water Club is home to some wonderful public relaxation spaces that aren’t specifically attached to Immersion.
There are additional spas in the city, to be sure, and some are just about as impressive as the ones listed here. These are certainly among the best examples though of a resort culture coming back to life, and a destination well worth considering for a wellness retreat.