As consumers tighten spending and cut vacations, casino operators are betting on spas to help them attract customers.

"There's a new clientele of young, affluent people who come to Atlantic City and Las Vegas not to gamble, but to go to the spas," says Eugene Christiansen, chief executive officer of Christiansen Capital Advisors, a Maine-based consulting firm for the leisure industry.

Companies such as Wynn Resorts ( WYNN), MGM Mirage ( MGM) and Las Vegas Sands ( LVS) have spent millions to create state-of-the-art spas that offer infinity pools, massage treatments and Pilates studios. The casino operators are offering spa packages that include hotel stays to lure more customers now that gamblers are booking fewer trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"Spas are a better draw than restaurants, because most major cities have good dining," Christiansen says.

Here are a few upscale spas to check out:

Immersion Spa, Atlantic City: Last year, MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming Corp. (ticker: BYD) opened Immersion (http://www.thewaterclubhotel.com/spa/), a full-service spa spanning two floors in The Water Club, the companies' new $400 million hotel. For $348, you can sign up for the Serenity Immersion Spa package, which includes one night of lodging, an 80-minute massage or facial and access to the hotel's 80-foot lap pool and fitness center.

If you have $200 to spare, try the 105-minute "Slimming Detox Ritual," one of the spa's specialties, which includes a massage the spa says will help customers look more slender.

Qua Baths & Spa, Atlantic City and Las Vegas: Qua Baths & Spa at the Caesars resorts in Atlantic City and Las Vegas offers Roman-style baths, saunas and tearooms. Guests at Qua Baths & Spa can choose from a selection of treatments, which range from a 50-minute "Classic Massage" for $140 to the $5,000 "Dieci Mani" treatment that includes a 180-minute Roman bath, facial and massage.

Wynn Las Vegas Spa & Salon: This hotel spa offers a warm oil and basalt stone massage and a sake and rice body treatment. Massage and body treatments start at $145 and are available to non-hotel guests Monday through Thursday. Men can get an old fashion shave at the Truefitt & Hill barbershop; women can have their nails and hair done at the Wynn Las Vegas Salon.

Spa Toccare, Atlantic City: The Borgata Hotel and Casino spent $1.1 billion to build Spa Toccare in 2003. Available treatments include a Thai massage, which the spa Web site describes as an "assisted yoga massage," and the "Compete Retreat," where warm towels and aromatherapy massage is used to stimulate the circulatory system and relax the body. Treatments range from $100 to $280.
Harper Willis graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at New York University with a concentration in ancient theater and jazz guitar. He is a musician and writer, and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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