Think Idaho is only for potatoes? Think again. Worley, Idaho has a gem with its Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort and its luxury spa, Spa Ssakwa'q'n (pronounced sock-walk-in). Set on the massive Coeur d'Alene tribe's reservation, this amazing resort is all about utilizing it's natural resources, giving back to the local community (taking care of its own tribe as well as helping non-indians) and giving visitors a taste of what Idaho has to offer.
Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort:
The resort and casino have undergone many expansions since it first came into existence in 1993. When I first approached the resort, I was in awe of how large it was. On the one side is the original casino and lodge, then an expansion, then the new Spa Towers and spa (which were added about 2 years ago.) It is beautiful on the outside with a great view of snow covered mountaintops.
I stayed in the new Spa Towers, which has a gorgeous lobby with a long horizontal fireplace. As you head to the elevators, you pass a second seating area which has beautiful tribal pieces set behind glass to browse. Past the elevators is a smaller, non-smoking casino that leads into the newly renovated Chinook Steak House. Down the hallway to the right is the second Spa Tower, fitness center, and Spa Ssakwa'q'n.
I stayed in the first Spa Tower, which had a beautiful view of the courtyard area that includes a dock, water, bushes and in the warmer months, lively plants. One thing I noticed about this resort are the quiet details. For example, the elevator ceiling is a piece of metal artwork mirroring the night sky and its stars. Throughout the hallway leading to the rooms are large pieces of wood from the trees outside set as seating at each window. Incorporating the natural landscape and its elements are seen throughout the casino, resort and spa. It is so tastefully done and modern.
My room was the Spa Tower Deluxe room. It is a large space, with an equally as large bathroom. There are two floor to ceiling windows that looked out onto the courtyard and across to the spa. I liked that the windows offered a tinted see-through shade that could be lowered for privacy, yet I could still see through it to admire the outdoors. I was constantly on the lookout for a moose or elk, which have been known to eat from the trees and bushes near the spa.
Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort has eight restaurants and a coffee stand (which has the most delicious Salted Caramel Iced Latte ever) all overseen by Executive Chef Adam Hegsted. I had the opportunity to eat at Chinook Steak House, High Mountain Buffet and Red Tail Bar & Grill. Each restaurant has its own flavor, but all incorporate local game, wild fruits that are native to Idaho and local produce.
At Chinook, I was able to sample a majority of the menu. I decided that I was going to eat whatever was given to me, even if that meant eating something I wouldn't normally eat. I'm not a big fish eater, yet the Idaho Trout melted in my mouth and had no fishy taste at all. If my eyes were closed, I would've had no idea that I had just eaten a fish-it was THAT good! The Northeast Elk Stew was my idea of comfort food. I've never had elk before, but it tastes just like steak with a softer texture. My favorite dish sampling by far was the Mushroom Ravioli. However, it was a close competition for dessert, which included homemade (as in, right at your table) huckleberry ice cream, honey mousse and ganash.
High Mountain Buffet was great for breakfast and what you would expect from a buffet with its assortment of fruits, waffles, eggs, croissants, etc. The food was so good that I helped myself to two plates!
Red Tail Bar & Grill is a more "relaxed food" type of place. We feasted on Pork Tacos, Carne Asada, Beer Battered Alaskan Cod (holy smokes it was out of this world with their homemade tartar sauce--and again, I don't typically eat fish!) My favorites, however, were the Huckleberry Soda and Indian Fry Bread which comes with huckleberry jam, butter and local honey. Who knew that huckleberries were so delicious?! I was sad to learn that we can't get them here on the East Coast.
Although I do not gamble or drink for that matter, the casino was very large and the beer and wine are from local companies. Despite not gambling or drinking, the food was by far the best I have ever had, so if you are like me, don't hesitate for a second to stop by any of their restaurants.
What a beautiful space. Considering that Coeur d'Alene has a championship golf course, being guy-friendly was taken into account with the design. You'll find the use of stone, wood and water throughout the spa, making it very guy-friendly (in fact 40% of the spa goers here are men!)
The pedicure and manicure salon is located adjacent to the spa itself. Upon entering the spa there is a boutique that sells clothing, skin care, candles and bath and body products. There's a beautiful waterfall feature in the lounge area and an elongated fireplace. The chairs are oversized and I could've honestly slept in them!
There are two quiet rooms on each side of the spa looking out to each other with a hot tub in between. The hot tub is outdoors and I could only image how nice it is to relax in it as the snow falls. From these quiet rooms you can also see the heated and non-heated pools (which are indoors.) The quiet rooms contain bottled water, iced water with lemon and lime in a large container and an assortment of teas.
Seasons Spa Pedicure:
The pedicure and manicure salon has a very industrial feel with its exposed metal, wood and stone look. Yet, while sitting in the incredible massage chair as I had my pedicure, the tranquility of the floor to ceiling windows that were the entire wall looking out into the courtyard, made this a very relaxing place. Bernice made me feel at ease as she gave me the Seasons Spa Pedicure, which included a soak, exfoliation, marine mask and then the polish. My polish of choice was OPI's It's All Greek to Me, a beautiful hot-ish pink.
The facial beds here are amazing. You'll feel like you're laying on a cloud and the blankets that lie atop you are something you'll wish you could take home. Lori skillfully conducted my facial and was a pleasure. This particular facial includes 2 cleanses, exfoliation with the Clarisonic, facial massage, masque, an arm massage, eye creme application with the Opal and a moisturizer. Naturopathica was the brand of choice for this treatment. Lori used their Aloe Cleansing Gel, Glycolic Refining Peel (AMAZING), Neuroli Serum, Primrose Eye & Upper Lip Treatment Cream, and Lavender Protective Moisturizer with SPF 17. My skin was glowing when she was done.
Palouse Prairie Massage:
In all my years of spa going, I've never had a guy perform any of my spa treatments. So when Zach introduced himself, I was entirely nervous. However, Zach makes you feel at ease immediately, not to mention that the pressure he applied during my massage was perfect and targeted all of the knotted up muscles in my neck and upper back. During this massage, Zach used Aromatherapy Associates Support Breathe Oil, which is a mix of peppermint, tea tree and eucalyptus. I have a cold, so it not only was a soothing fragrance, but it did actually help me breathe a bit better.
Mountain Rain Shower Scrub and Wrap:
I've had a body scrub once before (at Dorit Baxter Day Spa), however I'm on the fence about this type of treatment, since you are, of course, naked (more so than a massage.) After having 4 kids, I can say that I'm not comfortable with my body, so this makes me tense at the idea of having so much of myself exposed. Throw in that a guy was doing this treatment, and I wondered how I would survive the hour without being embarrassed. Thankfully, Zach is a pro. I was happy to learn that I could have a towel draped over me and that he would only do the scrub and wrap on my arms, legs and back. He does offer to scrub your stomach, but I told him that there was no need to see my stretch marks on that particular day. He laughed, but I'm sure he was more relieved that I said no. (ha!) The scrub used was Naturopathica's Espresso Mud Body Scrub, which contains coffee grounds, Indian Sarsaparilla with volcanic Pumice and Black Silt Clay. It smelled great, although the pumice was a bit abrasive. When it comes time to flip over, Zach holds the towel in a way that he cannot see you and you don't have to worry about what you look like. After the scrub is applied to your back, you are then covered with a heated covering to help flush out the toxins while under a vichy shower.
Of all of the spa treatments I had on this day, this is the one I almost fell asleep in. Go figure! The sound of the water dripping and flowing, the heat from the covering, the soothing music and the relaxing fragrance all contributed to the ultimate in relaxation. At one point during the vichy shower, Zach massaged my head and I literally thought I would wake up snoring. Once the shower was complete and the scrub was rinsed off, Zach applied shea butter to my skin. My skin looked amazing and was incredibly soft.
Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort and Spa Ssakwa'q'n have an amazing team of people that make you feel at home. In fact, their tagline is "Welcome Home." While I don't endorse gambling or drinking, I think it is amazing how the Coeur d'Alene tribe gives back to its community of Indian and non-Indian people from their net profits. In fact, they built a medical center, give 5% to education and use as many local companies as their vendors as possible. This trip also made me realize that I know little, if anything, about Native Americans. In fact, I sadly say that all I know about their culture is that they were here when the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. However, I can say that I also realized that Idaho is beautiful and I had the best time visiting this resort and meeting new people along the way.
Be sure to visit Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort's website to learn more about them.
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*Disclosure: The majority of this trip was comped, however, it did not effect my experience and honest opinion.