Tuesday, July 5, 2011



In the heart of the Windy City, just a strong wind’s howl from the tony Mag Mile, stands the majestic eponymous Trump International Hotel & Tower embracing the city and its iconic river. It’s grand real estate fit for the mogul king of real estate, Mr. Donald Trump.

Trump has always resolved himself to move forward with passionate diligence while pursuing success, despite financial and economic setbacks, the type that would otherwise devastate a less-hardy soul, but certainly not Mr. Trump. While bumps occurred to him in the past, a major one was looming in the road, which caught everyone off guard, except, perhaps, Mr. Trump.

It was the fall of 2007 and while the sky didn’t fall, the bottom of the economy certainly fell. In the midst of construction and too far into the Chicago project for it to be abandoned, instead of Mr. Trump pulling out his hair, he moved forward with the project, and continued to build his eponymous and spectacularly grand hotel with residences. The worm wasn’t going turn on Mr. Trump’s watch.

Part of the “grandness” of the multi-location Trump International Hotel & Tower
story includes business travelers and the jet set that parks it regularly in premium landscaped destinations. The enviable portfolio includes Trump New York, Trump Las Vegas, Trump SoHo New York, Trump Chicago, Trump Waikiki, Trump Toronto, and soon to open, Trump Panama. And, while the hotel and residences are all well and good, the word “spa” has always been an integral part of the Trump success. If it’s a Spa at a Trump, then it’s been elevated to be synonymous with all-things Trump-executed; it's grand, glorious, purposeful, restorative, luxurious, and trendy. And, for the guest’s “whatever”, regardless of time and place, or how they define it, this, too, is all part of the execution.

My first The Spa at Trump Chicago experience was shortly after the Spa and Hotel opened in the spring of 2008. I’ve been reviewing luxury properties with spas since the mid-1990s, so I wasn’t any stranger to luxury surroundings or even staff that did their best not to acknowledge why I was there in the first place, despite my being inconspicuous and nonchalant. I’ve done this enough times to also know when I’m getting a snow-job by staff who make me uncomfortable because they’re uncomfortable with my presence. No, setting foot into The Spa At Trump Chicago was totally different, I felt at home, relaxed, comfortable. I was treated just as special any other guest I observed being treated. We were all special; individually, we were treated as though we were the only guests there. This was definitely exemplary of an experience that was Trump-executed. I was Trump-ed.

Items of Interest ~

Spa and Fitness Center are co-located on the hotel’s fourteenth floor. The Spa is 23,000 square-feet and has eleven spacious treatment rooms. A signature amenity for every guest is the Spa Attaché that meets and greets, gives a thorough tour of the complete environs, while explaining every aspect of each individual treatment. They will also assist in making recommendations on certain treatments that will maximize the guest’s intended results from their experience. The Attaché is available throughout the guest’s entire spa experience, up until checkout. This is truly exemplary service!

Fitness Center has a separate room, with additional equipment set out on the floor, overlooking some of Chicago’s impressive architectural scape, Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Also within the enclosed area are two Studios, where classes are held each day of the week; these include Spinning, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Hula Hoop and others. During warmer months, guests can workout on exercise bicycles on the Terrace. There are currently sixteen group classes held in the Studios and Pool. Hotel guests and local area residents can purchase memberships to the Fitness Center. Also available is a Personal Trainer.

Guests also have access to a magnificent Pool. Unfortunately, there isn’t any whirlpool.

Spa Suites are also available for the discriminating hotel guest that’s fully focused and desires to immerse themselves in total sensory activated spa experience, stress-free and restorative. The fifty-three Suites are conveniently located on the fourteenth floor, opposite the Spa and Fitness Center; one of the elevator banks is even programmed only for registered guest’s to access their floor from the lobby. The Suites are spacious, between 600 and 900 square feet. The rooms offer glorious panoramic views of the city, healthy waters and snacks, exquisite bedding and fabulous bathrooms. Every aspect of the rooms elevates the guest’s well-being and sensory experience, enabling them to achieve optimum levels of relaxation and restoration. This is spa-luxe to the max!

The main entry is the Reception Area and Retail Boutique. Guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in the Relaxation Path of Experience ~ Heal, Purify, Revitalize in the generously sized gender-specific locker areas. The circuit includes the Hot Sauna (Heal), the Steam Room (Purify), and the Deluge Shower Experience (Revitalize).

In the locker room areas, guests also have bathroom access to a unique specialty product bar that includes essential oils geared towards an Intention such as Calm, Balance, Purify, or Revitalize; each oil blend is unique to the guest's desired "intention" .In addition to the custom blended oils, there’s also an aloe vera face mask, an exfoliating body scrub, and a shea body butter. The guests can blend their preferred oil with one of the other products to add an element of aromatherapy to one’s Intention, or can be used alone as a moisturizer. Many guests enjoy the ability to customize their own products before going into either the steam or sauna for an expanded spa treatment experience; the body butter adds a wonderful layer of hydration to skin that has been exposed to rigorous exercise, swimming, steam, sauna, or used after the personal shower or Deluge Shower.

There are individual Relaxation Lounges within the locker areas, and also one enormous co-ed Relaxation Area where healthy snacks, fresh fruit, flavored waters, and hot beverages are available; guests can also request chilled bottled water. The Spa also accommodates guests who wish to dine in the Spa and offers a special menu of healthy selections to choose from, including selections made with certified organic produce and other locally sourced ingredients; a nutritionist has also assisted in the development of the menu.

The approach to the treatment experience for each guest is to focus on the Trump Inspired Personal Intentions. These are the cornerstones of the Spa's guest spa experience, and include treatment options that Purify, Balance, Revitalize, Calm, or Heal. Signature treatment experiences include the Trump Signature Gemstone Spa Treatments. These signature treatments include Balancing Diamonds Massage (Balancing), Purifying Emeralds Massage (Purify), Revitalizing Rubies Massage (Revitalize) and Calming Sapphires Massage (Calm, Heal).

For each unique massage intention, there is a corresponding superior quality essential oil formulation geared towards the energy of each unique massage intention, including actual gemstone particles that emanate their specific form of energy. The use of gemstones (minerals or crystals) has been utilized for many years by many cultures to cleanse, balance, heal, purify and revitalize. These gemstones (minerals or crystals) are also believed to correspond to one’s energy points, or Chakras. The Spa At Trump uses Shiffa Dubai custom infused oils, which also includes minute particles of the corresponding gemstone; the gemstone infuses its own type of gem energy within the formulation.

For my treatment experience, I chose the Balancing Diamonds Massage. My massage therapist was Tameka, and one of the better therapists I’ve had work on me in quite some time. The intention of the ninety-minute signature treatment was to balance my Crown Chakra; the Crown Chakra is the seventh one and located at the top of the head. Additional balancing aspects included providing clarity, inspiring and enlightening me, while massaging me into a state of restorative balance.

Although my exceptional massage therapist, Tameka asked me about my problem areas she should focus on throughout the treatment, my experience has taught me that whenever a highly skilled and experienced massage therapist is involved, they can tell where those areas are just by their skillful touch. I left her skilled touch to find all of my areas that needed massaging, restoration and balance.

Tameka methodically massaged my meridians with a strong and firm, yet painless, amount of pressure; she knew when to ramp it up and when to pull back; experience and skill will do that. Her long fluid strokes, short strokes, deep and light pressure throughout the ninety-minute treatment was gladly received. I was amazed at how pliable my limbs, toes, digits, back, front, neck and head became after this labor-intensive restorative treatment. The massage was intense and every bit of me got a thorough working over. I came into the room stiff and in various stages of discomfort. I left totally renewed and without any of these negative elements. It was one of the better massages I had received in a number of years.

Throughout the treatment, Shiffa Dubai Diamond Body Oil was used. This formulation of pure essential oils contains almond, sunflower, macadamia, sesame, evening primrose, orange, damask rose, chamomile and neroli, were not only effective with their hydration properties, but was deeply aromatherapeutic as well. Based on my experiences, superior quality oils have a pure and intense aroma, such as this product. Inferior grades are irritating in their aromatic properties because of the use of synthetics, fillers, inferior quality oils, etc.

The massage technique naturally warmed the oils as it was applied to the body; it also provided a continuous glide throughout the treatment where my therapist didn’t have to keep stopping to reapply; this is another example of skill and experience on the part of the therapist. In addition to this wonderful product, there were also tiny particles of diamonds, which also infused its own gem energy into the blend; I never felt any of the actual particles, however. In doing a bit of research, I would learn that over the centuries, diamonds have been valued as a symbol of wealth, and in the realm of healing, balance and harmony, diamonds have been revered for their properties of purity, stimulating the Crown Chakra, cleansing, reducing fear, stimulating innate creativity and imagination. In gem therapy, diamonds are also valued as a vehicle towards attaining higher spiritual enlightenment, while removing negativity and any perceived blockages for mental clarity and acuity.

Final Item ~ If you’d like to read my initial review article on this gorgeous spa facility, please refer to my September 6, 2009 article post; and if your curious about me querying Mr. Trump about the treatment trends at the Spa, please refer to my October 9, 2009 article post.

The Spa At Trump, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago offers an extraordinary spa experience. Here’s where luxury, urban chic, and exemplary service underscores each guest’s uniqueness and spa intentions. As a guest, I definitely left in better condition than when I arrived. Highly recommended.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa, and is Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at terry_h60559@yahoo.com.


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

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