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At this point, Chicagoans are so over winter (and we still have 40 days to go.) Local spas are rising to the occasion with new treatments that do more than just pamper. If you're not down for swimming laps, check out these three services that combine plush bathrobes and tranquil settings with serums, gels, and rituals meant to clear bad energy. Let the healing begin.
CHUAN SPA AT LANGHAM CHICAGO can give you a fresh start to the year, if you have three hours—and $525—to spare. Available through February 28, The Chinese New Year Rejuvenation Package includes a bamboo-and-seasame body buff, a ginger-wasabi detox body wrap, and a massage that incorporates an orchid-and-pearl cream. Afterwards, try fresh fruits pair fresh fruits paried with soothing teas during the Chuan Signature Elemental Tea Service. Guests leave with a personalized Chinese New Year Fortune.
Already slacking on your New Year's resolutions? You could see a nutritionist, a trainer, or—heck—even an acupuncturist. But if you really want to show your mind and body who's boss, you're going to need a personal Wellness Warrior. Or, so goes the logic at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa.
The Lake Geneva, Wisconsin property recently launched three-night Wellness Retreats designed for private groups of four to eight; single travelers can join one of the preset programs (the next one's March 20 to 23.) The program is designed to help guests: "eat well, move well, and be well," said the spa's director of operations John A. Morris. Let's break that down, shall we? "be well" means spa treatments such as lava stone massages and facials; while "eat well" means noshing on items such as golden gazpacho and baked chicken with slow-roasted strawberries from chef Earl Anthony Morse.
As for the "move well," that's when those Wellness Warriors step in. Between the two of them, Sindy Leibbrand and Laura Timmers (pictured, left to right) have about 40 different fitness certifications. If your group wants to do a little stand-up paddle boarding, these ladies can lead the way; ditto for yoga and frisky "divalicious" dance moves (no, really. The class is called Divalicious.) The warriors can also offer personal training and devise a workout for you to keep up with at home.
Who says you have to travel to far-flung exotic islands just to get a killer view from your hotel room? Ok, maybe we did last year. But thanks to Ben Bethel, the hotelier behind The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz., we only need to head to the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa for a zen mountain view. More specifically, we need to check into room 33 at the hotel.
The Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa describes itself as a luxury hotel with a distinctive Mediterranean design and plenty of simple yet luxe touches like pillow top mattresses, rain showers in the bathrooms, lambs-wool throw blankets and private balconies. Not to be missed is the Sedona Rouge Spa which has extensive menu of relaxing treatments and wellness programs.
But we really like how this resort's rates are truly affordable, starting at around $142 during the week and about $188 on the weekends.
[Photo: Ben Bethel]
Okay, it won't be too much of a secret now but we just need to spread the word that Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay has released some perfect new spa treatments geared toward men. That's right, us guys finally get to experience the good stuff when it comes to a little pampering and rejuvenation while on vacation.
Nestled on the cliffs overlooking pristine Barbaros Bay, the hotel helps you forget all the dramas at home, regardless of gender. An idyllic spot for the utmost R&R can only be made better with a trip (or two) to the spa that sports the same views of the sun-bleached beaches and sparkling Mediterranean waters.
Men can choose from a three-hour, 40 minute series of treatments that are male-friendly and just "fussy ' enough. First things first, a typical Turkish treatment known as a Hammam cleansing with Kese scrub that is considered the heritage of the Ottoman Empire to open pores and exfoliate the body. From there, the boys will head off into a deep tissue massage, then facial, finishing off with a mani and pedi. (sans polish, of course)
TheWit is the first hotel in the Midwest to partner up with SPE Certified, a restaurant certification program that was founded in 2011. Quick crash course: SPE is an acronym for the Latin phrase Sanitas Per Escam, which means “health through food.” The program pairs chefs with nutritionists to create create meals that are low in salt, saturated fats, and processed ingredients. What’s left? Lots of tasty stuff— and much of it comes from local farms.
SPE dishes can be found through room service as well as at the hotel's first-floor restaurant State and Lake. Chef Evan Percoco’s menu now has 12 SPE-certified dishes (we’ve tasted some and they’re delish.) Options include a butter-and-cream free soup made with squash from a Michigan farm and deviled eggs with duck bacon from a Wisconsin poultry farm. There's seared salmon with chive yogurt, and Amish chicken with a mustard-maple glaze. For dessert, pastry chef Toni Roberts whips up inventive treats such as avocado brownies.
Or, you can skip dessert and head to the massage table instead.
A visit to the spa can really bring a sense of rectitude to the body and mind -- especially in these tough early January weeks. What we really like about the Hyatt Regency Aruba's ZoiA Spa, though, is that this virtuous feeling extends to the surroundings.
Open since 2012, ZoiA Spa’s architecture and design incorporates sustainable products and materials throughout the entire space. Fabrics are made from recycled materials and decorations make use of cork, recycled glass tiles, and qurt -- a granite-like stone made from seashells. The hotel itself has continued the sustainable ethos by recently becoming the first high-rise on island to install solar panels to heat water.
Situated on the slopes of the still-active volcano Mount Hengill, on the edge of Thingvellir National Park and less than an hour outside Reykjavik, Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel is seriously in harmony with its environment. Energy and hot water is provided by the nearby Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station and surrounding hot springs; locally sourced wood is utilized throughout the hotel's interiors, all furniture is made from from recycled materials, and images of Icelandic wildlife are displayed throughout.
The hotel also makes use of natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows in bedrooms and in its onsite Northern Lights bar, which juts out and overhangs the lava fields and from where, on dark, clear nights, you can watch the Aurora Borealis light up the sky.
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Omni Bedford Springs
While hotel holiday decorations are pretty to look at, they don't do much to relax you during the holiday season, which let's be honest--can be crazy stressful with all the parties, the shopping, the relatives. So if you need a breather, we’ve put together a list (and we’re checking it twice) of hotel spas across the US who have put together some holiday-themed treatments that you can give to yourself because, contrary to popular belief, sometimes it is better to receive than to give.
The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego normally uses seasonal ingredients and this winter is no exception. From December through January you can indulge in the Chocolate Candied Orange Treatment, and indulge you will! This treatment starts with a hazelnut and orange scrub; then comes a chocolate comfrey wrap and cinnamon scalp treatment; an Acai butter massage follows, as does a mulled cider drink. The spa then sends you on your way with a take home recipe for hazelnut and sea salt shortbread cookies. The cost for this extravagance is $175.
At Lake Arrowhead Resort’s Spa of the Pines (an Autograph Collection hotel) there is a new holiday-themed menu of treatments. The resort is offering a hot stone Holiday Pedicure, a Holiday Swedish Massage using their own special holiday-scented oil (cloves and cinnamon), and a Holiday-Scented Body Scrub using an organic vanilla and brown sugar scrub followed by a rich body cream. For the most bang for your buck go for the Holiday Duo: the body scrub followed by the massage for $165.
L'Auberge de Sedona is offering guests a Warming Gingerbread Sugar Body Scrub and Gingerbread Wrap that are good enough to eat. Using organic sugar and warming ginger oil there are also notes of cinnamon and orange. To tempt you further, we’ll just tell you that after the scrub, the body butter is applied to your skin, you’re wrapped in warm blankets and receive either a scalp and neck massage or a foot massage. You can just lie back and hear the heavenly choir. The scrub and wrap are $145 for both treatments.
Since New Zealand is really, really, really far away, one of the best ways to beat jet-lag is to head to the spa to work out your sore and fatigued muscles. Not surprisingly, this Sofitel's SoSpa has developed a massage specifically for weary travelers.
Before we get into the serenity of the treatment, we should let you know that the Sofitel's spas are re-branding to SoSpa as an extension of the luxurious and trendy brand, Sofitel So. (Coincidentally, Auckland will get its own Sofitel So hotel next year.) But in the meantime, the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour is still Auckland's first SoSpa and better yet, it still has the new-spa smell since it opened its doors just a few months back.
Tucked away in a back corner of the hotel and utilizing two floors, the spa is a the center of all things rejuvenation with cool blue colors, dark woods and Kiwi design elements. Upon check-in guests are greeted and allowed to change in separate change-rooms then treated to some fruit-infused mineral water. After a few sips, we also got to choose the scented essential oil that we would tickle our olfactory glands during the massage.
Next time you find yourself looking up at the flashing neon signs of London’s busy Piccadilly Circus, or wading your way through the shopping crowds on Regent Street, know that there is a completely different world right underneath your feet. No, we’re not talking about the equally frantic tube station down below, but the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre at Café Royal Hotel.
Akasha is one of the last pieces of the Café Royal puzzle, which include the rooftop Dome Suite (where we had this view), the upcoming changes to the Ten Room restaurant, and the opening of the classic Domino Room. The contrast with what happens above ground couldn’t be bigger, in a vast subterranean space that aims to bring together the four basic elements of nature: earth, water, fire, and air. Read on to find out what lies beyond that staircase.
Having scoped out where both W Hotels and Mandarin Oriental will be landing in Milan, we turned down the city’s Via Montenapoleone to make our way to the Four Seasons, and check in on some of the work that has been going on to keep the hotel fresh and ready for whatever competition will show up in the next few years.
For the 15th-century former convent that houses the hotel, that means renovation of its 68 guestrooms has started, and the addition of a brand new spa. Resident Four Seasons designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has put his name on the new look of the rooms, and Patricia Urquiola is responsible for the spa. No matter what happens within the hotel's walls, one of its loveliest features is actually outside: its pretty courtyard, a space so quiet in the middle of Milan that you can reportedly sleep with the windows open, something we can easily believe based on the silence we experienced here.
We're currently in Philadelphia, getting the scoop on the city's hotel scene and checking out the new Radisson Blu near Rittenhouse Square, which we will give you a look at next week.
But in the spirit of a good old-fashioned spoiler, we learned that the Rad Blu will offer in-room massages since they don't have a spa on-site.
While we doubt many would agree that in-room massages are an equal substitute for a spa facility, we do appreciate the gesture from hotels, the extra "room service," if you will. That said, we're curious as to what travelers think of this concept that has almost become common at mid-to-luxury city hotels without spas.