Betting on Bliss
Located in southern Alabama on the property of the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore, Escape at Wind Creek is a 15,000-square-foot destination health retreat that features a culinary studio, meditation gardens, a fitness center, outdoor adventure excursions, a separate boutique hotel, and the Spa at Escape.
Owned and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) of Alabama, the only federally recognized tribe of Native Americans in the state, the Spa at Escape boasts 12,000 square feet of luxury, including eight treatment rooms, ladies’ and men’s relaxation lounges, whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas, ice baths, a co-ed lounge, and a current pool. A meditation deck and garden offer a tranquil place to relax pre- and post-treatment. Guests can also partake in yoga, Pilates, tai chi, Zumba, and meditation classes offered in the fitness studio.
The spa’s clientele consists mostly of locals and loyal casino and hotel patrons, but more out-of-towners are visiting the small city in the Deep South to experience the spa and other offerings at Escape at Wind Creek firsthand. “Ultimately, our guests are seeking an alternate state of being, and our unique pampering promotes a sense of relaxation and wellbeing,” says spa director Laura Satterfield.
According to Satterfield, the menu of services was developed to appeal to a wide range of clients, from teens to older adults. Massage, facials, body scrubs, and nail services are among the offerings, with the most popular treatment being the Relaxing Massage (starting at $85, 50 minutes; starting at $125, 80 minutes). This full-body massage calms and soothes tired, aching muscles with long strokes and gentle pressure to improve circulation. “Each massage begins and ends with a ritual in which a warm towel is applied to the feet,” says Satterfield. “The welcoming ritual is used to aid relaxation and calm the mind, whereas the closing ritual gently allows guests to wake from their treatment.”
Body wraps, like the Moor Mud Cocoon Wrap (starting at $145, 80 minutes), seem to be the hardest to sell, according to Satterfield, because this type of service brings many people out of their comfort zones. The Moor Mud Cocoon Wrap helps to stimulate circulation and draw out impurities with plant extracts and trace minerals. To encourage guests to try these more obscure treatments, the 24 full-time and six part-time employees inform guests about their many benefits, which include smoother and more radiant-looking skin. “Once guests become familiar with the actual process of the treatment, including the various benefits, they are more inclined to book the service,” says Satterfield.
Employees at the Spa at Escape are also trained to educate guests on the variety of at-home products available in the retail area from companies including Aromafloria, DeLaine by MichelleDouglas, and Dermalogica. According to Satterfield, retail makes up approximately 12 percent of the spa’s total sales. “The importance of spa retail cannot be understated, as it gives guests an opportunity to take part of the spa home with them,” she says. “Retail products often trigger a positive recollection of their spa experience, and this is likely to produce a return visit.”
In addition to continuing to encourage guests to slow down and enjoy more time at the spa by trying treatments that they might not be familiar with, Satterfield is also currently focused on incorporating wellness retreats into the spa’s business model. She says, “With the recent addition of dedicated hotel rooms, a culinary studio, a fitness center, and a meditation garden, our ability to inspire others to embrace a fun, healthy lifestyle is now a reality.”