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Q&A With Kelleye Heydon - Spa Director at Spa Ssakwa'q'n

Q&A With Kelleye Heydon - Spa Director at Spa Ssakwa'q'n

By Sarah Janz

Last May, the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel unveiled a massive expansion, the seventh such project since the resort opened as a 30,000 square-foot bingo hall in 1993. The resort now features nearly 100 newly appointed rooms, a gourmet steakhouse, center bar area, fitness center and 10-acre front yard area.

In addition, a 15,000 square-foot full-service spa called Spa Ssakwa'q'n opened as part of the expansion. Kelleye Heydon is the Spa Director at the new venue and took some time to talk about her background in the industry, what makes Spa Ssakwa'q'n so unique and what her dream spa itinerary would look like.

What is your background? How long have you been involved in the spa industry?
I have a degree in Recreation Management from Eastern Washington University. Fresh out of college, I went to work for a Tribal Casino/Resort in Oregon, as the Activities Manager and Pool Manager. I was there a couple of years and then took over their failing spa. I received a crash course in the spa industry that first season and was able to turn the spa around to making a profit. I was hooked! I have been learning this industry ever since. 15 years later, I have worked for Resort Spas, Day Spas, Private Club Spas and as a Skin Care Representative. I love this industry because it is always changing and evolving. It is rewarding to work in an industry where people leave your building relaxed and refreshed.

What brought you to the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort's new spa?
Natural Resources Spa Consulting contacted me about this amazing opportunity. I have always loved this area and when this presented itself, I couldn't turn it down. It is every Spa Director's dream to open a spa from the ground up, especially a 15,000 square foot spa!

What has it been like opening a brand new spa?
Truly a dream come true! It has been a lot of work, especially the four months prior to opening, but it has been so rewarding. Since I was on property four months before opening, I was able to really be a part of everything about the spa, from choosing the linens, to the careful selection of our professional lines, working out the treatment menu, to hand picking our wonderful, hard-working Spa Team.

What has it been like working with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe?
The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is so welcoming. From my first day here, I have really felt like I was part of the team and part of something big. It is nice to work for an organization that really cares about their employees like family.

Tell us about the unique name.
Spa Ssakwa'q'n.
Sitkwe, water, provides Ssakwa'q'n (SOCK-wah-kin) with its root meaning. Ssakwa'q'n conjures images of the alpine lakes throughout our region, refreshing water that invite sanctuary for personal contemplation.

What differentiates Spa Ssakwa'q'n from other spas you've worked at?
There are so many things that set Spa Ssakwa'q'n apart from other spas. We have an abundance of natural light throughout the spa. We offer a unique seated check in experience, which helps guests select one of our five intents for their journey while at the spa. We also feature a co-ed indoor/outdoor whirlpool courtyard; it has three soaking tubs of varying temperatures and 2 saunas of different temperatures. We have private changing rooms for our guests instead of a traditional locker room setting.

One of the biggest things that sets us apart is our 5 Intents. We invite guests to create a very customized spa journey by having them select their intent; a very carefully blended essential oil designed to ease your mind and relax your body.

Our professional staff will guide your experience to one of our 5 intents; Relax, De-stress, Revive, Support or Renew. Our Intents and meanings:

* Relax - Slow down and unwind. Let soothing essential oil-blends ease you into a calm state. Properties of: Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Vetivert, Sandalwood and Myrrh.
* De-Stress - Ease your muscles and clear your mind. Release your mind and body from daily stress and strain. Properties of: Rosemary, Ginger, Lavender, Black Pepper, and Frankincense.
* Revive - Detox and wake-up. Reinvigorate your day with a blend of detoxifying, uplifting and exotic essential oils. Properties of: Juniper, Geranium, Patchouli, Ylang-ylang, Lemongrass, Bergamot, and Pink Grapefruit.
* Support - Overcome obstacles. Gain the strength to counter life's challenges. Properties of: Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint and Geranium.
* Enrich/Renew - Nourish the body and brighten the skin. Transform out of condition skin into a soft, smooth glow. Properties of: Ylang-ylang, Rose, Sandalwood and Neroli.

What have been the most popular treatments since the spa opened in May?
Our two most popular treatments have been our Signature Spa Ssakwa'q'n Massage and our Mountain Rain Shower Scrub and Wrap.

Ssakwa'q'n Massage:
This choreographed massage begins with the simple question of 'how are you feeling today?' We invite guests to create a very customized spa journey by having them select their intent; a very carefully blended essential oil designed to ease their mind and relax their body. Our professional staff will guide their experience to one of our 5 intents; Relax, De-stress, Revive,

Support or Renew.
Once the intent is selected, you're a given a stone that represents that intent. Stones can then be taken home to represent your journey at the spa. During the massage the custom essential oil selected is used to help extend the intended journey. Our Massage Therapist carefully applies pressure to promote deep relaxation and enhance a sense of well-being. This treatment relives stress and tension throughout the entire body. Following the massage, the journey continues with a carefully selected hot tea that also compliments your intent.

Mountain Rain Shower Scrub and Wrap:
A rich mud scrub combines sweet, earthy notes of finely ground coffee beans and sarsaparilla with volcanic pumice and black silt clay to gently exfoliate the skin and remove impurities. This luxury treatment then features a 'rain shower' to melt away stress and stimulate circulation. We follow this with a silky Shea butter, leaving skin smooth and radiant.

The 'rain shower' featured is a Vichy Shower. Originating in France, this seven-head, fully adjustable shower is suspended above a wet treatment table, allowing guests to enjoy lying down to experience falling rain massaging them from above.

Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort is also home to the highly acclaimed Circling Raven Golf Club. Do you have any treatments tailored toward golfers?
When developing our treatment menu, we knew we would see lots of golfers after a long day on the links and also knew that we wanted to cater to their specific needs. With the golfer in mind we developed:

* Circling Raven De-Stress Muscle Massage. This massage uses a combination of massage techniques and stretching, utilizing a blend of essential oils of Rosemary, Black Pepper and Ginger to help loosen tight, stressed muscles and help with circulation.
* men's skin and care for 'weather' skin.

* Sacred Forest Body Treatment. This treatment uses warmed arnica oil to help with muscle and joint paint that a golfer may be affected with.

* Circling Raven Golf Pedicure. Golfer's feet get tired too! This pedicure is designed to hydrate and sooth tired feet and ends with a relaxing foot massage.

If you were able to be a Spa Ssakwa'q'n customer for the day, what would you consider to be the "perfect" itinerary?
My perfect day would start with a cup of tea in one of our quiet lounges. Next I would spend some lounging time in the outdoor whirlpool, then off for my favorite treatment, the Mountain Rain Shower Scrub and Wrap, followed by a relaxing hour massage. I would then have a little spa lunch in the Tea Lounge, next I would indulge in a custom facial and then a season's pedicure with a glass of bubbly. I would then end my day lazily making my way to my hotel room in the new Spa Towers.

More Information:
Spa Ssakwa'q'n
37914 South Nukwalqw
Worley, Idaho 83876

Revised: 01/08/2023 - Article Viewed 566 Times

About: Sarah Janz

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