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The retreat: Working out the kinks on the Strip

The Qua Spa in Las Vegas


The treatment

My masseuse seems almost giddy over how knotted up my shoulders are. "Girl, for the love of standing upright, you gotta throw that MacBook out the window," she insists. Easy for her to say. Julie Basile-Farris is the guru of Qua Spa's Signature Meditative Shiatsu. She begins by expertly connecting her fingertips to my acupoints, just under the skin along the meridians, to unblock circulation. Performing the Japanese technique through Qua's luxurious bed linens, she applies sustained pressure using her thumbs, though at one point climbs on top of my back and nests her knees into my backside in the agony-turned-estacy climax of the session. She concludes with cranial-sacral therapy along my neck, shoulders and scalp – a holistic healing practice that uses a precise, light touch – her gentle methodology melting away built up neuromuscular restrictions of the spine and sacrum.

The benefits

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This unique marriage of shiatsu and cranial-sacral therapy brings heightened levels of relaxation and promotes clarity. Shiatsu, which translates to finger pressure, has been described as needle-free acupuncture.

The spa

Think Vegas and a glorious spa and sun vacation doesn't typically come to mind. But with over-the-top spas opening every year on every corner, there's no shortage of pamper temples on and off the Strip.

Still, none is more divine than Qua Spa at Caesars Palace – arguably the palatial spa that inspired them all – offering signature Roman rituals, bringing the bathing culture of ancient Rome into a modern luxury context. Since opening in 2006, its mix of facial skincare, slimming treatments and hydrotherapy have generated rave reviews and a rabidly loyal clientele.

Sporty execs from Los Angeles and New York flock here for detox, weight loss and serious fitness, giving it a reputation as a social, energetic and body-positive spa. The main attraction is three therapeutic pools on both the women's and men's sides, so bathing suits are optional. The largest pool is the tepidarium of warm, mineral-enriched water beneficial to the skin. The second is the bubbling hot caldarium, while the frigidarium offers a cold plunge. Alternating between deep heat and a quick cold dip reboots the lungs and internal organs. Another unique feature here is the in-house tea sommelier, who creates healing brews and pairs them with your specific treatments. The top-notch staff, with their beatific smiles and relaxed aura, are living proof that Sin City's spas have matured into pleasurable, laid-back havens. Plus, for most Canadians, the destination offers near-guaranteed sunshine and is only a budget flight away.

The basics

Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace at 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 1-866-782-0655;; $210 for 75 minutes.

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