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More Cool Hotel Jobs: Temazcalera at Maroma Riviera Maya

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  Site Where: Highway 307 Tulum Cancun, Solidaridad, Yucatan, Mexico, 77710
January 19, 2011 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

All this week, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen will be telling us about some of the coolest hotel jobs out there. He reached out across the globe to talk to the dynamic folks who do everything from wrangling elephants (and guests!) to designing the latest high-tech gadgetry for your next guest room. So check back every day to see who he’s talking to next.

The next subject of our Cool Hotel Jobs Series, has to do with what usually turns out to be one of our favorite places in the hotel, the spa. This one is at the Orient-Express-branded Maroma Resort and Spa on the Riviera Maya in Mexico, and it is performed by Nancy Aguilar, who is a trained Temazcalera.

No, we’re not talking about the tequila-like liquor (that's mezcal!). Instead, we’re talking about a sweat lodge-like spa experience meant to heighten the senses in a distraction-free meditation setting. That’s what happens when guests at the resort come to its Kinan Spa and discover a small, brick-colored pyramid at the south end of the resort’s beach, its entrance facing to the east. This is the Temazcal.

It was designed by Nancy so that its four sides face the four cardinal points of a compass, and its entrance faces east, representing spring, childhood, and the start of a new day: in essence, rebirth. It is decorated with images of the sun and baby lizards. Each of the other sides represents different states of being as well, along with complementary adornments.

What Happens in the Temazcal Stays in the Temazcal

Inside the Temazcal, which traces its origins back to the Maya culture, super-heated lava rocks are doused with herb-infused water to effuse healing and aromatic steam that removes toxins from the body, and balances a person’s energy flow. It is meant to be a dark, womb-like sanctuary. “We are asleep in the world,” says Nancy. “In the darkness of the Temazcal, you have no distraction, it is an opportunity to be fully present and to truly see yourself.”

It Does a Body Good

But this is just one part of the ritual, which is performed at dusk, and includes ancient traditions, chants and meditation, as well as covering oneself in healing fruit essences and enriched mud for nourishing the body. When the mud dries and the sun sets, guests are led to the sea to take a cooling plunge to establish a calm, inner peace, and symbolize rebirth. Any visions that guests report from their meditation are then interpreted by Nancy. Guests are also given a special tea made with ginger, hibiscus and melaza to eliminate the toxins in the body and reenergize.

It Runs In The Family

A native of the Yucatan, Nancy was taught the ways of the Temazcal by her Maya grandfather, and then studied further with other Temazaleras in the Yucatan. She also visited native tribes in North America to learn more about the ritual, and the healing muds and herbs she uses, such as rosemary, basil, eucalyptus and bougainvillea petals, many of which are grown right on the property and picked fresh for the treatment. She has been a practicing Temazcalera for over 14 years, and leads the ceremony almost every single day.

If her own stunning health is a testament to its healing powers, we’re convinced, and the next time we head down to the resort, we’re definitely booking a session. The 90-minute treatment costs $120.

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