Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

. . . and Spa
by Mike Terrell

What's in a name? Plenty when you're a multi-million dollar resort like the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.

It's not the first time they've gone through a name change, but it may be the most important, according to public relations manager J. Michael DeAgostino.

"It's been a challenge," he said. "When we were purchased by KSL Recreation Corporation, we were suddenly marketing more on a national level instead of a regional level. That along with the name change has created a whole new set of challenges, but it's also been an enlightening experience. The addition of the Spa also took us to another level."

KSL, a southern California based corporation, also owns La Quinta Resort & Club and Claremont Resort and Spa in California, Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida, Lake Lanier Islands in Georgia and Grand Wailea Resort in Hawaii.

The Grand Traverse Resort first opened in 1980 and had at least a couple of name changes in that time. From the time it opened with a distinctive 17-story tower, 660 guestrooms, 49,000 square-feet of meeting space and two championship golf courses, GT Resort has been one of the major resort players in the Midwest.

When KSL took over, they immediately added a third signature course with the Gary Player designed Wolverine complementing existing golf courses The Bear and Spruce Run respectively designed by Jack Nicklaus and William Newcomb. They also brought in the Jim McLean Golf School, built a beautiful new wood and timber clubhouse, and dedicated 100,000 square feet to an indoor/outdoor Spa complex.

"The highlight of the Spa facility is a new two-floor, 11,000 square foot complex complete with 35 different treatment areas, relaxation area, hair saloons, saunas and locker rooms," DeAgostino explained as we walked around the facility complemented with dark wood furnishings, granite stonework and rich earth tones. "Our goal is to enhance the northwoods feel and make it the finest full-service resort experience in the region."

An experience they have indeed captured, according to local spa user Lu Ann Ford.

"I've traveled all over the country visiting spas, and this is one of the best," Ford enthused as she described the experience. "From the northwoods theme to sitting by the fire afterwards in the relaxation room, the ambiance is wonderful. I use it several times a week, and always manage to meet some interesting people from all over the world."

Sue Neithercut, new to the spa experience, also liked the ambiance, but the very private feeling with all the different treatment areas was what she enjoyed most.

"My favorite treatment is the honey-glow message. They whisk you away in robes to a room. It's just very relaxing, and I like the private atmosphere," she added. "I'm not a spa person, but I really enjoy my membership. The personnel are all helpful, friendly and very attentive. They always make me feel special."

The Spa also includes indoor/outdoor tennis courts, two indoor pools, four whirlpools, weight training facilities, a cardiovascular studio, a Nordic center for winter activities, video game room and a children's center.

Spa guests can experience a wide array of spa services from skilled professionals using cutting-edge products and services in a warm, relaxing environment. The pampering services include holistic health treatments to help rejuvenate and renew the body and spirit, according to Spa operations manager Dave McWhinney.

"We offer a unique array of spa treatments seasonally-inspired to employ the elements, flavors, textures and scents of the northwoods. It's a little different approach than other spas from around the country that don't have the wonderful change of seasons to draw from that we experience here."

The new slogan that appears under the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa's logo says it all: "Inspired by nature. Created by legends." Perched on highlands overlooking Grand Traverse Bay, the resort encompasses 1,400 acres of some of northern Michigan's most beautiful landscape.

For more information call 1-800-968-2327.

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