Little Creek Casino Resort and Seven Inlets Spa

Shannon Smyth

2800+ miles from the Poconos, owned and operated by the Squaxin Island Tribe, is Little Creek Casino Resort and the Seven Inlets Spa.

What I thought would be just another trip to review a spa in an area of the country I have never traveled, it turned out to be so much more.

I spent 3 days at this resort, and had the opportunity to spend time on the Squaxin Island Tribe's reservation, as well. I fell in love with Shelton, Washington and it's abundant tree-topped skyline, enjoyed my luxuriously appointed room at Little Creek Casino Resort, the delicious food at their restaurants and complete and utter relaxation at their spa, but my time spent learning about the tribe moved me enough to leave an impression on me.

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Here in the Poconos, hills, mountains and lush greenery go as far as the eye can see, but in Shelton, Washington, it felt the trees were so much taller as if their branches could touch the clouds. I found myself staring in awe of them quite a few times. It gave the feeling of an older landscape with a story to tell.

When I arrived at Little Creek Casino Resort it had just been renovated. As we pulled in, there was an entire parking lot dedicated just to RV's with an overflow lot of RV's waiting for a space to open. I was told that Little Creek was a popular place for RV travelers and because of that, for the most part, spaces in the lot are always sold out.

The sun was brightly shining on this August day, but there was a cool breeze and many travelers were sitting outside their RV's just taking in the view around them. I couldn't help but get caught up in it, too. It's a beautiful location among the Kamilche Valley.

(Photo credit: Kmb Architects)

When you walk into the lobby, it is grand. To the left are the counters to check in, directly across is a small coffee and pastry cafe (where I had one too many an indulgent treat), then in the center there is no immediate ceiling as you look up to each open balcony on its way to the top floor.

The entire wall to the right is made of glass and stone so that you have a floor to ceiling view of the outdoors. Detailed items of decor from the Squaxin Island Tribe (made by and donated) are spread throughout this expansive casino and resort. Every item, carefully crafted by hand, tells their story.

I stayed in a premium room with a ridiculously comfortable king sized bed, small coffee bar (with Starbucks, of course), mini-fridge, HD flat screen TV, plenty of storage space so that you can actually unpack your bags and a magnificient bathroom that can only be described as a suite in and of itself. I basically text my husband along with some photos and said, "I want this bathroom."

The room was sizable and was more like staying in a small suite. However, I actually had the opportunity to dine in a Family Suite, which was even larger. Both rooms made you feel like you were in your own space without giving you the feeling of being in a hotel. This made for a more comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.

On the main floor is where you feel like the hallway is never ending - from the indoor pool, to the restaurants, to meeting rooms, nightlife lounges, to the spa and the casinos (one smoking and one non-smoking) along with a space to sit down on leather chairs and admire the Squaxin Island Tribe's artifacts from the past. The hotel is also split into two "towers" with one side having spa suites and rooms and the other with standard and premium rooms.

Directly next to the main building is the Skookum Creek Event Center, and then a short golf cart ride across the way is the Salish Cliffs Golf Course. The golf course is a par-72 layout and houses a clubhouse with a restaurant to catch a bite either to start/end your day or in between playing the 9th and 18th hole.

Of course, of everything there, the Seven Inlets Spa was my favorite place to spend my time. All treatments incorporate Native American influences and healing elements. They have a small boutique to purchase items used during your spa treatments (I wanted to buy it all), there is a locker room that has a sauna and steam room just off it. I had an awful cold during the trip and the steam room was infused with eucalyptus and menthol, which helped immensely.

Down the hallway is the relaxation lounge with leather chaises, decor from the Squaxin Island Tribe and a water feature. The water feature put me to sleep on a few ocassions and everyone got to experience my snoring. Oops!

The spa treatments I had were the Cedar Wild Sage Clarifying Massage, which is a combination of cedar, sage and lavender. It had been a while since I had had a massage, so this was a welcomed treatment for me.

I also experienced the Pumpkin Detoxification Facial, which uses ilike organic skin care products. This is a great anti-aging facial, and you'll also be ready to devour a pumpkin pie when you are done because it smells so good.

On the other side of the boutique is their nail salon, where I had a gel mani and pedi. The staff was really friendly and there was an abundance of colors to choose from.

The Squaxin Island Tribe

Part of my trip included touring the Squaxin Island Tribe Museum Library and Research Center. It is located on the Squaxin Island Tribe reservation not too far from the resort. The museum is open to the public and we were guided through the tribe's history by Assistant Curator, Ruthie Whitener. There are so many items to see here and it will take your breath away.

First and foremost, was the tribute to the tribal members who were veterans of our military. As you leave the parking lot and enter the path to the museum doors, there are oars standing upright in the water feature and small creek alongside the building. It is magestic and became more striking to me after I heard the tribe's story.

What struck me most is how our ancestors took this land, forced a culture on them, tried to erase theirs and yet, here stood all of these oars representing marginalized men and women who still fought for our country.

Even now, this brings me to tears just thinking of this. I know this is the common story of so many Native Americans in our country, but I have never heard it told first hand. I highly recommend doing the same.

On the wall of the museum are large panels that explain their history in great detail. I learned a lot this day - more so than I could have just reading it online or in a book.

Ruthie knows the details intimately and points out photos of her grandfather and other elders of the tribe. She explains how her ancestors could not read English when they were given the treaty to sign that pushed them off their land, but how one ancestor went off to school, learned English and came back to read the treaty to her people for them to learn how they had signed their rights away for $25.

I grew up in Rhode Island where many Native Americans had called home prior to the Mayflower landing in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I made trips to Plimoth Plantation and heard the stories of the pilgrims many times (always with great fan fare as a child.) But knowing those stories and hearing face to face how our ancestors treated Native Americans across the country as they encountered them, made me feel so embarassed and sad.

When I asked Ruthie if any of the tribe still spoke the original language, she told me no. That, essentially since her ancestors had been forbidden to speak it, it was lost. My heart was broken.

If you plan to stay at Little Creek Casino Resort, I highly recommend visiting the museum. I hope you walk away having learned something, as I did.

Overall, this was a great experience at Little Creek Casino Resort.

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5 Sun-Kissed Summer Prep Tips For Glowing Skin

Shannon Smyth
6 Sun-kissed summer prep tips for glowing skin via @agirlsgottaspa If you're looking to get your skin Summer-ready, read on for tips from spas that give some skin advice you'll want to start using ASAP. Inflammation, Environmental Irritant Damage Tip: The wound healing herb, Calendula, is traditionally known to reduce inflammation and soothe irritation.  Create an at-home face mist, combine dried Calendula flowers and oats in a French press, letting it steep in boiled distilled water for 10 minutes.  Once cool, pour into spray bottle and spritz face liberally for soft and hydrated skin. – Barbara Close, Founder at Naturopathica Chelsea Healing Arts Center & Spa Treatment: Perfect for those ready to escape the urban city and head to the beach, the Bio-Energy Lift Facial treatment uses a combination of liquid microdermabrasion technology with advanced skincare formulas to re-energize and remineralize the skin by replenishing oxygen consumption while repairing and protecting the skin from free-radical damage and environmental irritants. Our favorite product to use at home: A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Body Wash (ingredients include calendula, aloe and other plants.) 6 Sun-kissed summer prep tips for glowing skin via @agirlsgottaspa Dull Complexion Expert Tip: “I love a good body scrub to eliminate the accumulation of dead skin cells and get that healthy glow in the summer. To maximize results, scrub with a body brush in circular movements then apply coco oil which provides deep hydration and promotes the removal of dead cells to brighten a dull complexion.” – Nicole Courrau, Spa Manager at Sibö Rainforest, Spa & Retreat – Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort Treatment: The Well-being Body Massage begins with a dry body brushing to remove dead skin, oxygenate outer layers of tissue and stimulate the lymphatic system. Native coconut oil is applied using flowing movements, soothing the body and renewing the skin with a relaxing massage. Our favorite product to use at home: A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub 6 Sun-kissed summer prep tips for glowing skin via @agirlsgottaspa Cellulite Tip: “Caffeine is to cellulite as Kryptonite is to Superman: its worst enemy. Recycle those coffee grounds and give yourself a daily scrub followed by a rich moisturizer to combat those lumps and bumps." Sharla Martin, Spa Director at The Windsor Court Hotel Treatment: Summer Regal Retreat - A detoxifying treatment that begins with dry brushing of the body to release toxins, followed by an invigorating full body coffee scrub and steam shower to slough all the unwanted dead skin from your body. The transformational effect finishes with a stimulating ginger oil massage and spine revitalizing mask. Our favorite product to use at home: Svelta Coffee Sugar Scrub  6 Sun-kissed summer prep tips for glowing skin via @agirlsgottaspa Premature aging, collagenases Tip: Banana- This powerful fruit isn’t just good for eating, but can also be used as a creamy face mask. Mash one banana up with a teaspoon of orange juice and a teaspoon of plain yogurt, and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. The vitamin A will help fade dark spots and blemishes, while vitamin B will prevent aging, and potassium will moisturize and hydrate skin cells. – Albert Cruz, Spa Manager at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino’s eforea spa Treatment: The Age Defyer Facial uses powerful skin-illuminating botanicals, a multi-acid peel, brightening facial serum, and unique cooling masque; leaving skin lighter, brighter, and more refined. Our favorite product to use at home: We also love this DIY banana facial mask Brittle hair, dry scalp Tip: Whip an egg white thoroughly along with two tablespoons of lukewarm water. Apply the mixture to your damp hair and scalp and massage with your fingertips in a circular motion for 15 minutes. Then shampoo your hair with cool water. Do this once or twice a week, depending on the condition of your hair. – Albert Cruz, Spa Manager at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino’s eforea spa Treatment: Discover true Caribbean relaxation with the spa’s 110-minute Relax & Reflect body treatment that includes a gentle skin cleanse, relaxing Salt Scrub, hour body massage, and scalp massage complete with a restorative aromatherapy oil blend of sweet orange, palmarosa, and rose geranium. The treatment utilizes ESPA’s all natural and silicone-free Pink Hair & Scalp Mud cream for a mineral-rich conditioning mud mask that leaves hair and scalp feeling soft, smooth, and reinvigorated. Our favorite product to use at home: Keune So Pure Exfoliating Shampoo Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Carlsbad Plaza Spa and Wellness Hotel

Shannon Smyth
The Carlsbad Plaza Hotel via @agirlsgottaspa The Carlsbad Plaza Hotel is a jewel in the center of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, one of the most famous spa cities in central Europe. In this well-known spa and wellness hotel, treatments in one of their many luxurious medical spa suites aim to heal gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic disorders, diabetes, obesity, locomotor system diseases, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and biliary tract diseases, neurological disorders and many more. The Carlsbad Plaza is a five star hotel and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. It offers all all you can desire under one roof. From the time of your arrival in a limousine of your choice to the luxurious well-appointed accomodations, you'll feel pampered and relaxed during your stay. Hungry? Try Sorrento with its international cuisine or La Bohème, which offers exclusive and delicious French dishes. If you only crave something small, you can enjoy a snack in one of the many different hotel bars. Looking for entertainment? Grab a seat at the hotel's Old Times bar where you can enjoy a glass of sparkle accompanied by the tunes of live music, or maybe enjoy a litte adrenaline rush at the Carlsbad Casino. Carlsbad Plaza Hotel Wellness Suite via @agirlsgottaspa Carlsbad Plaza Hotel Swimming Pool via @agirlsgottaspa But since your stay at the Carlsbad Plaza Hotel is geared towards relaxation, improving your health and getting pampered as never before, you might enjoy a day at the spa, which covers a massive 37,000+ square feet. The spa offers 7 different types of saunas, several pools, a relaxation room and much more. When it comes to health and spa treatments, The Carlsbad Plaza offers not only doctors in more than 14 medical specializations, but they provide classic spa treatments with modern equipment for the best results. You can enjoy full diagnostics and treatments like baths, massages, oxygen therapy, or maybe the cryotherapy with its -110 degrees celsius. Most of these treatments can be enjoyed alone or as a dual treatment with your partner or best friend. Carlsbad Plaza Hotel #Spa Suite via @agirlsgottaspa If you are in search of something a little more, you can visit the Carlsbad Clinic adjacent to the hotel. There you can undergo surgical procedures, visit the gastroentrological center, the beauty salon or maybe even enjoy a Thai massage. Before you leave don't forget to buy something for your loved ones at home from one of the many different boutiques at The Carlsbad Plaza. There really are so many different activities to enjoy during your stay, which are ready for you to explore! Have you visited the Carlsbad Plaza Hotel? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! a

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At-Home Spa Treatments from Lapis Spa at Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Shannon Smyth1 comment
spa facials at homeAs the summer season is finally upon us, Josie Feria, Director of Lapis Spa at Fontainebleau, shows you how to bring luscious Lapis Spa treatments home and get rid of dry, unseen skin just in time for the warmer weather! Pre-Summer Body Exfoliation Simulates Spalicious Body Scrub Skin softening natural all body exfoliating treatment
  • Ingredients:  ½ cup olive oil, ¾ cup fine sea salt and drops of your favorite aromatherapy oil. Keep in mind the oil selected should be specific to treatment goal – citrus is energizing – lavender relaxing – peppermint stimulating
  • Place all items in a bowl and blend together
  • Next, step into the shower and moisten the body – apply the blend by hand in circular motion or for increased exfoliation apply with loofah mitt or body brush
  • Rinse off thoroughly.  Skin will feel smooth and soft and supple. For further hydration apply body lotion directly to moist skin
Pre-Summer Facial for Extra Dry Skin Skin softening avocado mask for combination or dry skin
  • Ingredients:  ½ avocado, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
The avocado and coconut oils work as an instant skin softener as the baking soda works as a mild exfoliator
  • Place all items in bowl and blend well togetherat-home-pedicures
  • Apply the mixture to your face and leave on for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse off with warm water
Foot Scrub for Dry Feet and Heels Simulates Foot Rehab Pedicure
  • Begin by soaking feet in ¼ cup baking soda to reduce inflammation and cleanse feet thoroughly for 10 minutes
  • Using a wet pumice stone rub heels thoroughly yet gently to remove dry callous
  • Next, apply coconut oil to feet
  • Finally, wrap feet in plastic and cover with soft socks for 30 minutes. The plastic and warmth will help the oil to soften the skin.
Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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A Spa Cleanse at Home: Expert Tips from Mirbeau Inn & Spa

Shannon Smyth
A seasonal detox is an effective way to clear toxins out of one's system to speed up metabolism, and to enhance overall health. On the heels of its successful Fresh Start Cleanse Retreat this spring, the award-winning Mirbeau Inn & Spa offers up a do-it-yourself detox for those who seek to continue its health benefits at home. While I've never been to Mirbeau, I hear it is only about 3 hours from me and I've heard amazing things about it...I may just have to take a trip up there one weekend... Here are Spa Director Matt Dower's top tips for an at-home cleanse:
  • Start your morning with a tall glass of water with the juice of ½ of a lemon. Lemon helps re-hydrate the system and promotes digestion, which will help the flow of waste out of your body.
  • Decrease your sugar intake, including honey, molasses and artificial sweeteners. If you eat more sugar, you ask your body for more insulin, straining your pancreas and wearing yourself out. In the long term, this kind of habit can cause you to become chronically fatigued, diabetic, develop cancer, and pack on excess weight.
  • Eat more rice products and less wheat and processed grain. Eat more garbanzo and mung beans. Certain foods contain nutrition that enhances the liver's ability to clear toxins from the body.
  • Eat as much fresh organic fruits and vegetables as possible, especially leafy greens, carrots, beets, broccoli, cucumbers, garlic, onions, artichokes and peppers. Certain foods contain nutrition that enhances the liver's ability to clear toxins from the body.
  • Use unheated flax seed oil instead of other cooking oils.
  • Eat vitamin C-rich foods to help detoxify your liver and strengthen the immune system against toxic exposure.
  • Make sure you have adequate amounts of vitamins D, E and K in your diet. Many people are deficient in these vitamins that play a key role in antioxidant function.
  • Sweat. Sweating is a natural way for the body to get rid of toxins. Whether through aerobic exercise, heated yoga, a sauna or otherwise, sweat daily.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water during and after your workout to replace the water loss.
  • Eat more foods with amino acids such as grass-fed meat, wild fish, cage-free eggs, milk and legumes. Amino acids have a special ability to attach themselves to toxins and drag them out of the body.
  • Meditate. Creating a quiet, calm and focused mind helps eliminate toxins that build up in the mind.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise encourages circulation in the blood and lymph system, enhances digestion, reduces tension, lubricates the joints, and strengthens the body. People who exercise regularly have far fewer total toxins in their systems.
Spa-goers can complement their at-home cleansing rituals with a variety of detoxifying spa treatments at Mirbeau Inn & Spa. These include: Aromatherapy Ritual (lymphatic drainage massage): A personalized aromatherapy experience and fusion of eastern and western massage techniques promotes balance of mind, body and spirit. Pinot Noir - Body Polish & Wrap (Vinotherapy treatment): Pinot Noir Body mask is applied and exfoliated off to expose fresh nourished skin. The body is then wrapped with a Shiraz Firming Cream to tighten, nourish and hydrate. Nature's Most Pure Facial: Blue lotus symbolizes purity of mind and body. Restore balance, clarity and radiance to skin with this deep cleansing facial. A Spirulina Mask is used to draw out impurities and aid with extractions. (From what I hear, they use Amala skincare products for this facial...which I am very partial to. In full disclosure, I also work with Amala--which is why I know they have amazing skin treatments!) Have you ever been to Mirbeau Inn & Spa? Please leave a comment! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!  

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