Archive for the ‘Travelblog’ Category

These Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Having just returned from an amazing trip to County Clare, Ireland, last Thursday, I needed this past weekend to recover not only from jetlag but also from a week’s worth of non-stop fun. We spent our days touring the countryside, hiking, horseback riding, and golfing. We also had an opportunity to meet with some of the locals, who were more than happy to invite us into their homes for a pint of Guinness and a home-cooked meal. After all that exercise, I was thrilled to experience a treatment at White Horses Spa at Doonbeg Golf Resort, the incredible placed we stayed. After enjoying five days of Irish hospitality, I am very much looking forward to the next time I can return to my roots.

Keep your eyes out for more on White Horses Spa in an upcoming issue.

Mii amo Offers Transformational Healing
in Sedona’s Red Rock Country

This past weekend, I finally got the opportunity to visit a spa I’ve heard rave reviews about for years. Mii amo, a destination spa at Enchantment is situated in the midst of Sedona’s red rock country. While the idyllic setting and its plentiful hiking and biking opportunities were enough to make the experience worthwhile in my book, it wasn’t long before I discovered the spa’s many other charms. Not one to lounge around the pool, I made sure before I left that I had a jam-packed schedule that gave me a taste of all the spa has to offer. From skin-saving facials to relaxation-inducing rubdowns, the treatments were just the icing on the cake. Everywhere I went on property, I met spa-goers who were undergoing some sort of transformation. Many were Mii amo junkies, making annual pilgrimages to the spa with their spouses, girlfriends, and family members. One guest was on her eighth visit and had returned with her daughter who was celebrating her 30th birthday. Another woman came with her three daughters to celebrate her 60th birthday. Regardless of what brought them there, everyone I met was loathe to leave the equally restful and rejuvenating retreat. Look for more on Mii amo’s healthy cuisine and newly introduced Journey packages in an upcoming issue.

Ojai Valley Offers the Sweet Scent of Serenity

I just returned from a spectacular trip to Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, and one of my favorite activities took place at the Artist’s Cottage and Apothecary, where I was lucky enough to experience a Custom Blending ($120, 90 minutes). There, I sniffed nearly 40 essential oils, ranked my favorites, and worked with the master aromatherapist to create my own signature scent. It was a warm California day, and I was drawn to the refreshing smells of citrus, concocting a blend that combined mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit with jasmine and gardenia. My teacher told me that my selections indicated an affinity for great joy, and I most certainly felt happy when I was given a bottle of my own custom perfume, which I, of course, named Joy. She also mixed my fragrance in a bottle of massage oil, and I then headed to the spa for a signature Essence in Balance massage using my own blissful blend. Upon completion of the service, my therapist told me she felt happy and uplifted, and I felt downright fabulous. Turns out, it’s easy to spread Joy around. And that’s just one of the wonderful spa sessions I tried out during my visit to this charming, artistic town. Stay tuned for the August issue of American Spa to get the scoop on this exceptional relaxing retreat.

Ritz-Carlton Buckhead Marries Spa & Hotel

While The Ritz-Carlton has gained acclaim for its Club Level, a high-end option that includes luxe accommodations and amenities like daily complimentary food and beverage presentations, The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead has taken this option to spa-inspired heights with its Spa Level. Last weekend, while attending my cousin’s wedding with my mom, I got a chance to see it for myself. This option is ideal for spa-lovers. Each of the rooms, which are located on the spa floor and include in-room dining menus featuring options like salads, smoothies, and house-made sorbets. Additionally, the rooms include special amenities as:

  • Complimentary selection of fruit-infused waters and mixed nuts and dried fruit snacks
  • Tempur-Pedic® mattress and pillows
  • Eco-friendly, microfiber bed linens with extra-fine weave for maximum softness
  • Oversized 100-percent Turkish cotton bath towels
  • Spa bathrobes and Okabashi spa slippers
  • A dreamtime sleep mask
  • Yoga mats, an exercise ball, and bands
  • DVDs and books covering Pilates, yoga, and meditation themes
  • An air purifier and a sound machine
  • Kerstin Florian spa bath amenities packaged so guests may take them home

These rooms are also located in close proximity to the lovely three-treatment-room spa, where my mom and I enjoyed spa services, including the Muscle Ease Hot Stone Massage  ($149, 60 minutes) for her and the Lavender Dreams ($209, 90 minutes) for me, which includes a body scrub, a lotion application, a warm wrap, and a scalp and foot massage surrounded by fragrant, calming lavender.

Indeed, it was the perfect pre-wedding relaxation experience (Here, we are pictured on our way to the wedding). Stay tuned for more about the hotel’s Spa Level and the spa in an upcoming edition of American Spa.

A Spa Weekend in New England

It’s not often that I get to experience a true New England getaway. However, this past weekend I visited Saybrook Point Inn & Spa in Old Saybrook, CT, and discovered what I’ve been missing. Overlooking Long Island Sound, the charming inn serves as the perfect home base from which to explore the area’s stunning shoreline. Borrowing a bike from the inn, I set out to find Katherine Hepburn’s former residence. The legendary actress called Old Saybrook home for much of her life, and I thought it only fitting after experiencing the The Kate ($125, 75 minutes), a full-body ritual that embraces Hepburn’s love for the outdoors and zest for life, at The Spa at Saybrook Point Inn. Now that I’ve discovered the joys of a weekend in New England, I’ll certainly be doing everything I can to make it a more common occurrence.

Escape From the City with Hilton’s New Spa Merge

Although there is no shortage of spas in Manhattan, I always enjoy discovering new ones that add to the city’s variety. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience a treatment at Spa Merge, part of West 57th Street by Hilton Club, New York City’s first ground-up shared ownership property. Fortunately, for me and other locals, this urban oasis isn’t reserved strictly for owners. Instead, the ground-level spa invites those passing by on 57th St. to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and enjoy the spa’s soothing environment. It was certainly a welcome escape for me. Heading back to the office after experiencing the spa’s exclusive Fusion Massage ($120, 60 minutes; $180, 90 minutes) was a bit more challenging. Look for more on Spa Merge in an upcoming issue.

Mandarin Oriental’s New Vegas Spa Is a Sure Bet

I’m currently at the IECSC show in Las Vegas. Though I’ve been on the show floor for two days, this visit hasn’t been all about walking the aisles and checking out the new spa offerings on display at the show. When I arrived on Friday, I got a chance to experience the heavenly new Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. The 27,000 square foot, two-floor spa is, in a word, spectacular. It was designed to harken guests back to 1930s Shanghai, and I was immediately intrigued by the lovely artwork and accents that give the spa a decidedly Asian flair. I also loved the amenities offered in the women’s locker area. I arrived early for my appointment and was able to enjoy the steam room, experience shower, laconium, vitality booth, ice fountain, and rhassoul. Then, I stretched out in a comfy lounge chair and took in views of Las Vegas Boulevard while I waited for my therapist. Next, I enjoyed the signature Mahjong Balance treatment, which provided the perfect refreshing boost to help me battle my jet-lag and kick-start my Vegas visit. Inspired by the traditional Chinese game Mahjong, this signature journey begins with a uplifting welcoming foot ritual using ginger, jasmine, and green tea and is followed by skin smoothing body exfoliation and a deep therapeutic massage using warm jade stones. The experience concludes with the application of cool jade of the Mahjong tile to soothe and calm the body resulting in a rejuvenated sense of equilibrium. Post-treatment, I joined spa director Jennifer Lynn and Alyssa Bushey, director of communications, for a cocktail at the Mandarin Bar, a sky-high, glass-enclosed bar on the hotel’s 23rd floor where we toasted the opening of this wonderful new retreat. For more on this stunning new spa, check out the April issue of American Spa.

A Spa Odyssey in the Maldives

Island hopping in the Maldives is always an adventure. If it’s not the unpredictable weather (I visited at the end of the rainy season) or rough seas, then it’s the various modes of transportation you need (think boats and seaplanes) to reach your final destination. Fortunately, the Maldives is home to a host of tempting spas that are ideal for taking the edge off any travel-related angst. While there, I had the good fortune to visit The Spa at the Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa, The Spa Retreat, The Over-Water Spa, and The Ice Cream Spa at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, and Modun Spa at Beach House Maldives, The Waldorf Astoria Collection. Check out our May issue for more on these Maldivian gems.

Relaxation Seekers Can Say “Aloha” to Kohala Spa at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to visit Hawaii for the first time, and I have to say it far exceeded my expectations, which were already high to begin with. From the moment I got off the plane on the Big Island, I was blown away by the breath-taking views (something you can’t say about JFK airport). I spent the next five days at the lovely Hilton Waikoloa Village and had the chance to experience a lot of what Hawaii has to offer, such as whale watching, touring an active volcano, and ziplining in the rain forest.

After all that excitement, I was more than ready for a massage at Kohala Spa, but I will admit it was hard for me to tear myself away from my lounge chair where I was watching the palm trees sway slightly in the breeze while dolphins played in the crystal-blue water. So when I arrived at the spa, you can imagine my delight when my therapist told me my massage was being performed in the outdoor cabana, which is located on a cliff overlooking the ocean! The only thing better than getting a massage is getting one surrounded by the beauty of nature while listening to the waves. It was truly an unforgettable experience, and one that I hope to recreate in the future.

Keep your eyes peeled for more about this Hawaiian haven in an upcoming issue.

Divas Delight at Spa Villagio

My family and I toast my grandmother's 80th birthday at the Villagio Inn & Spa.

I just returned from an amazing girl’s weekend in Napa, CA, celebrating my grandmother’s 80th birthday. While we most definitely partook in wine tastings, delicious meals, and more, our favorite part of the trip was a morning spent in the divine Spa Villagio at the Villagio Inn & Spa (Yountville, CA). Each of the ladies in the group found something they loved at the spa—my grandmother enjoyed the seasonal Essence of the Valley Manicure and Pedicure that was infused with detoxifying mustard seeds; my mother received what she called “the best treatment of her life” courtesy of the Wellness Massage; my aunt soothed a sore knee that was recovering from a snowboarding fall with the Hot Stone Massage; and my dehydrated skin got a much-needed moisture fix with the heavenly Hydramemory Facial. Other members of the group enjoyed the steam, sauna, and Jacuzzi amenities and soaked up the sun in the outdoor relaxation area.

While we reluctantly left the spa after a blissful morning of relaxation due to a schedule that was jam-packed with activities in the area, we all took note of the fabulous Viva La Diva Girlfriends Getaway Package and wished we had time for the full-day escape. Available through December, the $285-per-person-package includes access to a private spa suite with a complimentary hour of relaxation time to enjoy amenities such as a fireplace, infinity soaking tubs, a steam shower, and a flat screen television with Bose surround sound system. Also included is either a Comfort Zone Facial or a 50-minute body treatment; an Essence of the Valley Manicure & Pedicure; a platter of scrumptious snacks; a glass of sparkling wine; and wine tasting passes to several neighboring wineries and tasting rooms.

While we may have missed out on this decadent option, no one was too upset—it gave us the perfect excuse to return to Spa Villagio and get the full diva treatment in the future. Cheers to the next Napa Valley girlfriends getaway!

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