Insider's Guide to Spas
MGM National Harbor Spa & Salon


A Winning Treatment at MGM National Harbor Spa

Kitty Bean Yancey

I’m not one to place big bets at the blackjack table. But I did get lucky at MGM’s casino resort outside Washington, DC.

The Sensational Fusion Signature Massage at MGM National Harbor’s spa is probably the most inventive and transporting treatment I’ve experienced in three decades of spa-going.

Created by therapists at the resort, which opened in December 2016 in a glass tower overlooking the Potomac, it’s a flowing ritual that blends techniques from East and West and is customized for each client.

“This is the most inventive and transporting treatment I’ve experienced in three decades of spa-going.”

The 80-minute, $250 indulgence unfolds in one of 11 treatment rooms decorated in soft grays and ivories, with calming cloudlike collages on the ceiling. My pampering starts with a warm footbath, as Fusion massage co-creator Benita Coles determines I need to have my stress and Type-A edginess calmed.

“Each therapist works in his or her own style, keeping in mind the guest’s need for relaxation, healing, or energy,” says Rachel Knapp, executive director of the two-floor, 27,000-square-foot Spa & Salon.

Nestled under a silky sheet on a heated massage table while soft instrumentals play, I inhale soothing scents of chamomile and lavender. Coles unknots muscles with deep-tissue work and sinuous Swedish strokes, aided by Clarins Relax Body Treatment Oil, warm stones, and a cool metal-tipped Ayurvedic wand pressed into neck and shoulder areas where I’m holding tension. She tosses in Thai techniques to stretch leg muscles and Chinese reflexogy on feet pressure points.

If I had a sore knee or hip, she might use Reiki energy work, Coles says, before winding down by lightly tapping me with drumstick-like wooden implements.

Post-treatment, I retain a rag-doll feeling with downtime in the whirlpool, steam room, and sauna and contemplate a return visit when the spa launches a cutting-edge “sleep skills” treatment. When it comes to bliss, I’ve hit the jackpot.

Luxuriate in Other MGM National Harbor Experiences

•View five dozen valuable contemporary art pieces. Don’t miss Bob Dylan’s ironwork, arched over a casino door. Portal incorporates found objects including an anchor and vintage farm equipment welded into a metal frame.

•Play Sex and the City vamp in $695 velvet pumps embellished with a swath of Swarovski crystals at actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s SJP shoe boutique. Or feed your shoe fetish by nibbling a $40 chocolate stiletto stuffed with chocolate truffles at Bellagio Patisserie. It’s made in-house.





Kitty Bean Yancey

Kitty Bean Yancey

Kitty Bean Yancey is a former USA TODAY travel writer specializing in spas and exotic destinations.