The Ultimate Spa: Encore vs. Qua Baths

Gentlemen, Start Your Steam Rooms

Posted by MikeE

Design is extremely important to the enjoyment of a spa and it is here that Qua falls far short to Encore. Their Tea room, a small, rather cramped lounge, was not a comfortable place to catch a catnap after melting away in the sauna. Remember ladies, dudes don't get comfy with one another at the spa - having a fully nekkid, 250 pound guy within arms reach of me = not cool. The Roman baths and hell-on-earth hot Lanconium room are separated from the rest of the facilities by what looked like treatment areas. What genius decided on putting the hottest room in the facility a good 100 feet from the steam and sauna? Maximum detox and exfoliation occurs when exposing the body to the hottest temperatures and gradually decreasing from one heated room to the next. This effect is lost somewhat because of the trek required between Qua's rooms.

While Encore's spa is over 60,000 square feet, it certainly doesn't feel like it. Amenities are within comfortable - and effective - distances from one another. Nevertheless, lounging and changing space in their main lounge, Tranquility room, and locker areas are more than ample.

But perhaps most important are the actual facilities each spa offers. In this case, Qua and Encore take different approaches. Expected amenities such as sauna and steam at Qua are wonderful though I would have liked the jets in the hot tub turned up several notches and overall larger rooms; on more than one occasion, I seeked through the mist of the steam room only to find it completely occupied. Awkward.

Qua is the leading champion in cool shit you've never heard of. In fact, it's so cool, it's curious what the hell these things even do. I sat for nearly half an hour in the Inhalation room pondering how this was any different than regular eucalyptus steam as annoying droplets of water splashed across my face. Kudos to them, however, for putting a sink with razors and shaving cream in there for those of us who need extra stream to soften the facial fur.

The Arctic Ice room is said to actually snow. By "snow," they mean condensed bubble bath gently blown on you by an overhead fan. Despite the stupidity of this novelty, the low temperatures of the room immediately aided in boosting my energy after letting my stresses melt away from the high heat options.

Encore has a few novelties of its own which are equally worthless. There are two types of showers lining the wall of the wet areas, "Experience" and deluge. The deluges are simply high-pressured waterfalls, but don't focus on only an area of a few square inches like the ones at Wynn. They offer no truly relaxing benefit. The Experience showers, which offer programmable lighting, varying temperatures, water pressures, and even music, are an incredible concept more frustrating to operate than a Windows Vista machine with a corrupt registry. Don't even bother with these.

On the other hand, Encore's spa pulls off the expected amenities extremely well. Ample sized steam and saunas, two temperatures of whirlpool tubs, and two temperatures of cold plunges are present. The whirlpools are worth the price of admission alone. Rather than have a single jet aimed directly at your lower spine where there are no muscles, Encore's tubs have little crevices to lean into with a jet on each side providing ample pressure to the back areas that tend to spaz on us the most.

As for snack and drink selections, both spas are about equal keeping all the good juices behind the counter. Qua's exotic selection of teas is far better than Encore's, but a serving requires assistance from spa personnel. Boo.

The facility fee for Qua is $45. Encore's fee has varied in the past, but was $30 last I tried or $70 for a three day pass. For the money, Encore wins hands down. We'll know by December if Aria's 80,000 square feet and infinity plunge pools can compete.

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Comments & Discussion

Thanks for that quick review. I got 2 free QUA passes when I called and booked our Caesar's room on Saturday. The reservationist threw the passes in since I was paying for the entire stay right then instead of just putting down the deposit.

Nice article Mike, I know we've discussed the merits of Wynn/Encore vs Qua before. I definitely agree with your critiques of Qua. Matter of fact I don't even think the Laconium room is available unless you have a treatment (a shame, as that room is nice). The Artic room as a dry cold plunge is a great perk in my opinion. And as I've mentioned before the isolation and the heated loungers in the roman pool room, with the waterfall to the pools is very relaxing. I agree it's too far from the main areas, but that maybe beneficial as less go there based on that distance.

The tea room is badly laid out and I have no doubt Wynn/Encore is better, although nothing is worse then TI, where the locker/dressing area is directly behind the couches for the TV, talk about a bad mix.

Day price on Qua is high, but even as a value customer I find it worth it for just services, couple it with a 50 min. massage which is at the same or lower prices then the other high end places and it's value increases (not to mention the M-Thurs $99 special they run).

Both Qua and Encore were designed for the high-end in brand new buildings so there really shouldn't be any excuses. Some of the layout issues may be due to poor design, but also because the women's facilities are designed first (as they are the primary customer - at least in the eyes of the casino) and then just jiggsaw in the the men's facilities. Keeping the beverages behind the counter is just being cheap. I have never gotten an "Experience" shower to work (and there are several spas that have them). Encore has automatic sinks which are nearly impossible to shave at (This was simply a poor design choice).

The spas have definitely changed over the years and I think we can now envision a perfect spa. One where bath and hydrotherapy services are also open to men (I don't think any spa currently offers this), a separate men's salon (Qua has an old-school single chair barber room and needs attractive female staff), snacks as well as beverages (MB used to offer muffins, fruit and cookies), plain and eucalyptis steam rooms, an assortment of jacuzzis and cold plunges (Encore), only full length lockers (why do they want to wrinkle my clothing?), a lounge where you can watch sports/news/etc..., get some downtime away from the family and isn't just a massage waiting room.

Ugh, automatic faucets for sinks at a spa. Doesn't Qua have those too, except for the steam room. Absolutely horrible design decision. Flamingo used to have them and finally pulled them out, thankfully.

I spent a good 15 minutes fiddling with the controls of the "experience" shower at Encore, and even after getting it to work, I did not really see the point. On my last trip back in May, I don't think I saw more than 4 or 5 other people in the 2 hours I was there, and this was a Friday afternoon. I have never stayed at Caesars, but compared to the Wynn, Encore is by far the better of the two.

I haven't experienced the Encore Spa but QUA was very nice. Canyon Ranch is wayyyy over rated IMO. The wet facilities sucked. The whirlpool is an afterthought.

One you left out was the Spa at Mandalay Bay. The Roman Bath at MB is huge and has a good sized seating room to watch tv and relax. When you pay what you pay just to use a spa I like having the different rooms to chill out at, enjoy the different iced teas, hot tub, nap, and then use the razors and toiletries they provide free of charge. Mandalay Bay Spa does all of that well. The one thing I didn't dig about QUA was the size of the seating tv room. Tiny and cramped.

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