Archive for April, 2009

Look on the Bright Side

Although times are tough, there are still ways to maintain grace under pressure. For some great advice from American Spa columnist Peggy Wynne Borgman, click here.

Spa-ing in the City of Lights

Checking into the celebrated George V (Paris, France), I could hardly believe my good fortune. The last time I was in Paris, my accommodations were a bit more modest. Although I remember fondly my friend and I sharing a non-descript room in a youth hostel with an Italian guy named Gino, I was thankful my circumstances had improved. There to check out the hotel’s lavish spa, I couldn’t wait to get to work. Conjuring up romantic notions of unadulterated pampering, the Four Seasons Hotel George V Spa does not disappoint. Despite being located in the legendary hotel’s lower level, the spa never comes off as an afterthought like many spas that have been relegated to the basement. Instead, the classic Louis XVI décor and indoor pool surrounded by hand-painted frescoes of the gardens of Versailles invite guests to step back in time and lose themselves in the decadence of a bygone era. The menu also echoes that sentiment and pays tribute to the country’s storied past with a host of treatments inspired by Marie Antoinette’s beauty rituals and her favorite scent, orange blossoms. To get a taste of the royal treatment, opt for the spa’s most popular package, A Stroll Through Versailles, which features a steamed orange blossom body scrub, a warm shea butter massage, and an orange blossom facial. Fortunately, the outcome is infinitely happier than that which Marie ultimately got. I experienced the spa’s 24 Karat Treatment, which involved a four-handed exfoliation, a massage, and a facial using the precious metal and followed with a moisturizing hair treatment, a blow-dry, and a makeup application. The package, as an indulgent treat, proved to be a topnotch pampering experience, which is precisely the draw of this decidedly luxe Parisian retreat.

Highlights: I was especially taken with the post-treatment green tea wrapped in 24-karat gold leaves from the French teahouse Mariage Frères and the decadent homemade macaroons topped with gold.

Product Lines: Beauté Directe, Carita, Décleor, Essie, Leonor Greyl, Sebastian, Sodashi

It’s a Digital World After All

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Get Some Expert Advice on Injectables at IECSC

Interested in learning more about facial injectables? You’re in luck. This Tuesday, April 28, George Lefkovits, M.D., from the Park Plaza Center for Plastic Surgery (New York City) and Joel B. Singer, M.D., from Imperial Plastic Surgery (Westport, CT) will be sharing their expertise on this topic during a panel discussion I will be moderating at this year’s International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference (IECSC) at The Javits Center in New York City. Beginning at 10:45 a.m., the session will include such valuable information as the history behind injectable therapy for rejuvenation and tissue correction, regulatory issues, marketing ideas of how to integrate injectables into your menu, and the latest products on the market. The doctors will also be on hand to answer any questions during a 30-minute Q & A portion. Can’t make it to the show? Then check out the May issue of American Spa’s Medical Spa Report, in which Gregory A. Buford, M.D., F.A.C.S. explores this hot topic. Hope to see you Tuesday!

Cornelia Puts Her Stamp on Red Door

Ever since her days at The Peninsula Spa in New York City, I’ve been following the career of Cornelia Zicu. Since she arrived in the city in the early ‘90s, she became known for her amazing skincare techniques, gained fame as a facialist, opened her own spa on Fifth Avenue, and created her own skincare line. Now, she’s working with Red Door Spas as its worldwide Chief Creative Officer. I recently met her for breakfast at Red Door’s New York City outpost and was excited to learn about her new role. Since she joined forces with Red Door in 2008, she’s revamped the spa menu, reworked the treatment protocols for many of the services, instituted a rigorous training program, and has been traveling throughout the company’s 30-plus spas to help incorporate her many changes. After our meeting, I sampled a heavenly Olive Oil Pedicure performed by Rodica Constantin, Red Door’s national training director for nails. Along with dishing out excellent relationship advice, Rodica shared her excitement about Red Door’s collaboration with Cornelia. She said that she and all of her colleagues are thrilled with Cornelia’s addition to the Red Door team and that she is looking forward to the future. So far, I think it’s looking pretty bright.

Ilike Launches Revolutionary Product

Bruce Conroy, Senses New York Salon & Spa co-owner; Szilvia Hickman, senior vice president at Szépélet, distributor of Ilike Organic Skin Care; and American Spa’s Nicole Palmieri

Bruce Conroy, Senses New York Salon & Spa co-owner; Szilvia Hickman, senior vice president at Szépélet, distributor of Ilike Organic Skin Care; and American Spa’s Nicole Palmieri

At an event held on Thursday, April 23rd at Senses New York Salon & Spa in the Flat Iron District in Manhattan, Ilike Organic Skin Care introduced its newest product—Magnetic Skin Therapy. Based on the idea that magnetic energy has regulating and beneficial effects on the skin, and that environmental effects depolarize the skin cells, this product works by magnetically stimulating iron-containing red blood cells. This stimulation helps gets tissue fluids flowing and brings more oxygen to the skin, which helps reduce inflammation, increase cell metabolism, and boost cell reproduction. Magnetic Skin Therapy also contains nutrient-rich herbs such as castor oil, which hydrates; elderflower, which softens and smoothes skin; lemongrass, which refreshes and tightens; locust flower, which heals; horsetail, lavender, and yarrow, which calm and soothe skin; and walnut leaf, which is an anti-inflammatory. For more information on Ilike Organic Skin Care, feel free to contact (800) 290-6238.

Dermalogica Takes Manhattan

The new Dermalogica concept store in Soho, New York City.

The new Dermalogica concept store in Soho, New York City.

Soho is one of my favorite New York City neighborhoods, so when I noticed a Dermalogica sign in the window of a store on Grand Street last fall during a weekend shopping trip, I hurried back to the office to get the scoop. I was thrilled to hear about the up-and-coming opening of a new Dermalogica concept store, and I recently attended a breakfast to celebrate its debut. The store is a perfect fit for the trendy neighborhood, and the cool first-floor space is a wonderful solution for on-the-go New Yorkers in need of a speedy skincare fix. Among the highlights are two Skin Bar stations where clients can sample products and receive a complimentary Face Mapping skin analysis, as well as two stations for MicroZone Treatments. Ideal for walk-in clients, a selection of 20-minute targeted sessions that address specific needs are performed there. The store also features Dermalogica’s iconic SkinPod treatment room for more in-depth treatments. During the breakfast, I got a Skin Mapping analysis and was invited back for a service in the SkinPod. It will be the perfect place to get glam before heading around the corner to my fave neighborhood restaurant, Antique Garage. For more on the new concept store, check out the June issue of American Spa.

It Takes A Village


The airy treatment pavillions at Spa Village Pangkor Laut.


The idyllic reception area at Spa Village Pangkor Laut.

On a privately owned island, Pangkor Laut Resort (Malaysia) encompasses four acres with an all-inclusive development that calls to mind a traditional Malay village. The resort is home to the first Spa Village, a growing brand conceptualized by American spa consultant Sylvia Sepielli. In true Sepielli fashion, the spa blends seamlessly with its lush surroundings. From over-water bungalows to Garden and Hill Villas, guests have their pick of accommodations. I stayed in one of the 22 overwater Spa Villas, which feature oversized tubs and spacious balconies overlooking the Straits of Malacca. Treatment junkies will appreciate the direct access they provide to all the spa action. I especially enjoyed the Bath House Ritual, which begins with a footbath and an invigorating foot pounding. Honoring various Asian bathing traditions, the ritual includes a Japanese-style cleansing, a soak in a heated Japanese pool, and a thorough exfoliation in a private scrub house. To conclude the treatment, I was dressed in a batik sarong of my choosing, which was then mine to keep. Don’t miss the chance to consult with an Ayurvedic, Chinese, or Malay specialist. My consultation with the spa’s Chinese doctor revealed I needed to eat more hydrating foods. Good advice considering I’m always dehydrated. Despite being an avid spa-goer, I was in uncharted territory when it came to many of the spa’s Chinese, Indian, and Malay offerings. Although I welcomed the opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and try something new, I drew the line at some of the Malay treatments, which can be considered a bit intimate outside of a doctor’s office. Yet plenty of other options exist for those who want to immerse themselves in the rituals of the region. My only lament is that solo spa-goers can feel a bit out of place amid the sea of couples.

The Healing Nature of Open Spaces

sacred-places-bookFew can deny the healing power of nature. From walking in the park on a sunny day to hiking up a mountain and reaching breathtaking views at the top, the simplicity and beauty of nature is undeniable. “Open Spaces Sacred Places” (TKF Foundation, 2008) by Tom Stoner and Carolyn Rapp provides readers with a look at how the TKF Foundation, which funds the creation of public sanctuaries, partnered with passionate people, referred to as Firesouls, to create more than 100 public greenspaces. From the unlikely drug-addled city neighborhood to the already serene park, these spaces offer visitors a few moments of peace and refreshment from the stresses of daily life when they enter them. The book contains inspirational stories told through the voices of the Firesouls about 12 of the spaces in the Chesapeake Bay area created to date—from the Mount Washington Arboretum (Baltimore) and the Meditation Garden at the Western Correctional Institution (Cumberland, MD) to the Therapeutic Healing Garden at Kernan Hospital (Baltimore). As part of the outreach, there is a TKF-designed bench and a waterproof journal at every location for visitors to share their experiences there in writing. “They are bearing witness to the power of nature to heal and to unify,” Stoner writes. Inspirational excerpts from journal entries and beautiful images of the sacred spaces leave readers with a sense of calm and a yearning to find their own such place to meditate and escape for a while.

When ‘Green’ Doesn’t Sell

Everyone is talking about the environment these days and for good reason. It’s impossible not to notice the signs of wear and tear on the planet. Unfortunately, we’re all guilty of contributing to global warming. Despite recycling every chance I get, taking mass transit, buying organic, and being relentless when it comes to conserving energy, I am probably one of the worst offenders on account of how often I fly. I’ve calculated my carbon footprint, and it’s not pretty. Even so, I can’t say I’m ready to give up air travel any time soon. If truth be told, I think my incessant globetrotting actually makes me a better environmentalist, not to mention a more conscientious citizen of the world. Nevertheless, I can’t say I was all that surprised by the results of “Does ‘Green’ Sell in Asia?” a recent study released by CatchOn & Co Ltd., a Hong Kong-based strategic marketing communications consultancy. A result of an online survey and one-on-one interviews in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the study revealed that eco-friendliness isn’t all that important when it comes to choosing a spa. In fact, only 16 percent indicated they would most likely choose an eco-friendly spa. Price and brand/product quality were deemed much more important to respondents. It’s one thing to want to protect the environment, yet another thing entirely when it requires any type of sacrifice, such as the parting of additional hard-earned dollars. It just goes to show that while most of us want to do our part to protect the planet, we also live in the here and now. It’s not always easy to prioritize the environment over other considerations that have more direct and measurable benefits. Fortunately, doing good is its own reward.

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