Three Degress of Re­lax­ation

Lux­ury spas take hos­pi­tal­ity to another level with care­fully de­signed treat­ments to im­prove guests’ well-be­ing

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Cur­tis Forsythe

Lux­ury spas take hos­pi­tal­ity to another level with care­fully de­signed treat­ments to im­prove guests’ well-be­ing

In to­day’s en­vi­ron­ment, there are very few things about busi­ness travel that would qual­ify as “care­fully de­signed to im­prove guests’ well be­ing.” How­ever, am happy to re­port that this is not al­ways true in ev­ery case. Specif­i­cally within the lux­ury spa cat­e­gory, some treat­ments are new or have un­der­gone re­fine­ment, and there are over­all spa fea­tures that are worth con­sid­er­ing dur­ing your next hia­tus, whether it’s planned or spur of the mo­ment.

Per­son­al­ized Treat­ments

In the most pre­mium spas in lux­ury ho­tels, the prac­tice of sim­ply se­lect­ing from a menu of two or three of­fer­ings within each of the ba­sic cat­e­gories of mas­sage, fa­cial, nail ser­vices, etc. are long gone. To­day’s lux­ury spa ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins with a con­sul­ta­tion by one of the ex­pe­ri­enced staff mem­bers to set the ex­pec­ta­tions or goals for the ser­vices. The re­sult is a tai­lored ses­sion us­ing spe­cialty prod­ucts, ei­ther cus­tom made or blended, for the ul­ti­mate spa ex­pe­ri­ence.

The NoMI | SPA at the Park Hy­att in Chicago is a per­fect ex­am­ple of al­low­ing each treat­ment (or“jour­ney”as they like to la­bel them) to be di­rected to­ward the very in­stance of your visit, mak­ing the essence of how you wish to spend time com­pletely your own. With treat­ments based on what’s hap­pen­ing in their gar­den and what’s hap­pen­ing in your world, NoMI | SPA in­spires the es­sen­tial qual­i­ties of re­lax­ation, re­sults and ex­pe­ri­ence. Each spa treat­ment in­cludes an art­fully se­lected in­dul­gent bite and a unique bev­er­age to en­hance and com­ple­ment your cho­sen spa course.

My jour­neys over a three day stay in­cluded a sixty-minute mas­sage for the pur­pose of de-stress­ing the mind. This treat­ment in­cluded the fo­cus­ing and clar­i­fy­ing pow­ers of frank­in­cense, pe­tit­grain, wild camomile and rose­mary to or­ga­nize thoughts. I have to con­fess that af­ter this mas­sage, my mind was much calmer and my busi­ness day went un­usu­ally smoothly. My other ses­sion was the Hy­dro Fa­cial which was ex­plained to me as a skin care treat­ment that of­fers med­i­cal grade re­sults with­out the down time. It uses ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy to ex­fo­li­ate, re­hy­drate, and nour­ish the skin. At first glance, I thought the de­vice seemed a bit like a minia­ture car­pet cleaner/ ex­trac­tor. How­ever, the re­sults were stellar!

Aro­mather­apy

While treat­ments typ­i­cally in­clude prod­ucts that are gen­er­ally pleas­ing to most peo­ple’s ol­fac­tory senses, a new

gen­er­a­tion of spe­cial­ized ex­pe­ri­ences re­ally take your nose to the next level, with the added ben­e­fit of al­low­ing you to take the in­gre­di­ents along on your next trip.

The ther­a­pists at the Heavenly Spa by Westin at the Westin Diplo­mat Re­sort & Spa, Hol­ly­wood, FL, know cer­tain scents may have re­mark­able heal­ing pow­ers. That’s why the spa fea­tures a va­ri­ety of mas­sages, body treat­ments, fa­cials, an­ti­ag­ing en­hance­ments, wax­ing, man­i­cures and pedi­cures that in­te­grate spe­cial cus­tom­ized aro­mather­apy com­po­nents.

My Heavenly Spa Sig­na­ture mas­sage ex­pe­ri­ence be­gan some­what un­con­ven­tion­ally when I was given the choice of stones marked ‘hope,’ ‘grat­i­tude’ or ‘love;’ this to en­cour­age pos­i­tive thoughts dur­ing the treat­ment. Af­ter I picked a stone, the ther­a­pist who was trained in aro­mather­apy then con­sulted with me to cre­ate the per­fect aro­matic blend for my body and for my in­di­vid­ual needs. Us­ing the spa’s sig­na­ture es­sen­tial oils and plant ex­tracts from Aro­mather­apy As­so­ci­ates, as well as non-tra­di­tional blends, the ther­a­pist gave an ex­cep­tional head-to-toe mas­sage. She in­cor­po­rated scents de­signed to help im­prove cir­cu­la­tion and ease stress, and the whole ex­pe­ri­ence left me feel­ing quite re­laxed and re­freshed.

The brand new 14,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity has been re­lo­cated from the golf club, and of­fers 10 treat­ment rooms, a Halother­apy salt steam room, Vichy shower, as well as a two-story, 24-hour fit­ness stu­dio and spa cafe. The spa’s ocean­front de­sign is bathed in a pal­ette of soft blues, greens and golds in­spired by the sea. Each treat­ment room is marked with a one-of-a-kind nau­ti­cal shell, while the re­lax­ation room is ac­cented with a green wall, Ital­ian art­work, dis­tinc­tive spheres cre­ated from oys­ter shells and an eye­catch­ing sculp­ture re­sem­bling a wall of cas­cad­ing rain.

Pre-Treat­ment Ex­pe­ri­ences

Mean­while at the Lang­ham Chicago, the Chuan Spa is one of the new­est lux­ury spas that takes the pre-treat­ment ex­pe­ri­ence to a whole new level. The Chuan is an oa­sis of tran­quil­ity in the heart of Chicago. From the mo­ment you en­ter the spa, a soothing set­ting in­spires con­tem­pla­tion and in­tro­spec­tion as the spa hosts in­vite you to em­bark upon a jour­ney de­signed to bal­ance the mind, body and soul. It was ex­plained to me that in Chi­nese, Chuan means flow­ing wa­ter. As the source of life, wa­ter rep­re­sents the re-birth and re-bal­anc­ing of our whole be­ing. Thus, be­fore each treat­ment they make a point of guid­ing you to em­bark on a nat­u­ral wa­ter jour­ney – the Chuan Bathing Rit­ual.

This “rit­ual,” lo­cated within each chang­ing room, is a se­ries of cham­bers de­signed to rein­vig­o­rate the body’s re­ac­tion to hot and cold stim­uli to cre­ate deeper di­men­sions of re­lax­ation, health and well

be­ing. This rit­ual be­gins with an aro­matic sen­sory and mod­er­ate heat ex­pe­ri­ence in the Herbal Sauna al­low­ing the heat to loosen and soothe tight­ened, con­gested mus­cles and the herbs to open the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem. For more in­tense heat, you are in­vited to re­lax in the Salt Stone Sauna which re­leases neg­a­tive ions to cre­ate a fresh, clean, bac­te­ria-free en­vi­ron­ment. Blocks of pure Hi­malayan salt stone line the wall cre­at­ing a calm­ing en­vi­ron­ment and as­sist­ing in re­duc­ing stress, res­pi­ra­tory and skin ail­ments.

The next tran­si­tion is to one of the Ex­pe­ri­ence Show­ers to awaken your spirit with in­vig­o­rat­ing aro­mather­a­pies. You then en­ter the Ori­en­tal Steam Room where you are greeted by the soothing scent of Chamomile. The at­mos­phere makes it quite invit­ing and com­fort­able to linger longer on one of the er­gonom­i­cally-de­signed re­lax­ation re­clin­ers ra­di­at­ing soft warmth di­rectly on your body to cre­ate a sense of har­mony. With your mind and body now in equi­lib­rium, you are a step closer to re­dis­cov­er­ing your source. BT

Left to right: The NoMI | SPA at the Park Hy­att in Chicago, Heavenly Spa by Westin at the Westin Diplo­mat Re­sort & Spa, Hol­ly­wood, FL, Chuan Spa at Lang­ham Chicago

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