Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SPA DESTINATIONS - From 60 Minutes - To Multi-Day Vacations

The International Spa Association Media Event, NYC

words/event images Judith Ecochard

After a weather filled ten days of a tornado, earthquake, and hurricane...the idea of a respite to a healing, relaxing spa has even more appeal...a healthful way to unwind and disconnect, worry free.

Though held prior to Mother Nature's angry side making an east coast appearance, the ISPA media event introduced us to some calming hands-on body and facial treatments-that had us yearning for actual visits.

The most far flung destination present at this Big Apple event was Australia's GWINGANNA LIFESTYLE RETREAT- located in the scuba lovers' haven of the aptly named Gold Coast of Queensland.

Open year round --- guests can enjoy more than the magnificent views of the lush valleys and the blue waters of the ocean from this destination spa-spending a weekend or several days at the "closed" retreat...  choosing from a full compliment of experiences at the new 33 room Spa Sanctuary-including the blissful 80 minute Rockpuncture™a Japanese style acupuncture and hot stone massage-  hands on relaxer- for the ultimate de-stress...

PLUS: activities including mindful exercise classes that 'balance' the body and mind...and a healthy (not insanely strict) style of cuisine conjured up using locally grown certified organic produce...that feeds the souls, literally.  Packages available ...from two night weekends to multi-day respites.

Two Midwestern locales --- easily reached from both coasts-appeal to locals lucky enough to live nearby too... an easy drive from cities uch as Chicago and Milwaukee...and those wanting a multi-day vacation that doesn't involve hours of travel and passports.

The lakeside Wisconsin located, Aspira Spa is an AAA Four Diamond Resort (too)...seems to us to encapsulate-architecturally and service-wise- a mindful fusion of healing wisdoms' from several cultures. Spa treatments include a full menu of salon services as well as body and facial treatments for men and women like the chromatherapy ("using the vibration from pure colored lights") based Chakra Garden Massage ($190-80 minutes)...that calmly balances out one's personal energy flow via light hands on bodywork.

The Kohler Waters Spa, a top rated spa by the discerning Condé Nast Travel readers- is also in Wisconsin. It's a  full fledged, multi-facility resort - located next to the acclaimed The American Club-with its rather famous golf facilities that attracts (long) day trippers, vacationers and events style types--- like wedding goers.

The services and packages take advantage of the naturally blessed healing properties of minerals found in, yup-water-  and include salon and spa services... aimed at the sportier types (i.e. the Golfer's Massage $145-50 minutes) ) as well as those wanting pure relaxation with the new 80 minute, Complete Harmony treatment-a multi step hydrotherapy based experience that includes  a full body cleansing/exfoliation under a transporting Kohler Custom Vichy Shower-followed by a relaxing, therapeutic deep soak and moisturizing application. Nice.

Miami Beach has always attracted an international crowd needing sunshine---and the recently renovated oceanfront, Art Deco classic Eden Roc (now under Marriott's umbrella) --- includes a top of the line 22,000 sq. ft.  ELLE SPA with extensive 24 hour facilities including 18 treatment rooms- for services that can last an hour long (plus), or up to a half day, and full day via custom packages -of treatments, private fitness and/or salon services.

Using the premier skincare line of AHAVA Active Dead Sea mineral products, Eden Roc's Dead Sea Detoxifier ($200)-an 80 minute exfoliating, detoxifying and deep hydrating multi-step treatment- is on our list of want it body treatments---and is one way to get swimsuit ready-as is a private beach boot camp extreme trainer (50 minutes $125).

Cute-there is even a gently priced menu of haircut/mani/pedi services for the younger set (10 and under).

Attracting hikers, swimmers/boaters (Lake Mohonk) and rock climbers (the "Gunks") from all over the world, the bucolic New Paltz based Mohonk Mountain House, is a spectacular 266 room Victorian castle mega-activities resort, surrounded by 2200 acres of woodlands- that has earned a spot on the National Historic Landmark list. New to us, as we have a place not too far from this Hudson Valley locale---is the plush 30,000 sq ft Spa wing--- with re-invigorating/healing treatments aimed at both women and rugged guys who normally wouldn't step a toenail inside a Spa.

With a focus on on treatments that "address solutions for modern lifestyles" versus some of the more esoteric sounding spa menus out there--body services like the "Texting Tension Tamer -a Massage for Multi-Taskers" - - and "Man-On-The-Go: Real Relief for Hands and Feet,"-take the guesswork out of the whole experience.

Based in Manhattan's SOHO...The Spa at Trump Hotel boasts a luxurious full service spa menu and a plush environment that includes a revitalizing Turkish and Moroccan Hammam experiences---  for men and women--- a centuries' old tradition, starting with guests comfortably lying on wonderfully heated marble stones...with various soothing cleansing/massaging treatments to follow.

Massage Envy Spa-had us just that---envious of the hundreds of cities and towns that host a facility of this chain. What a great concept. The accessibly priced ($49 one hour intro for first timers!!!) clinics offer a full menu of massages---including deep tissue, sports, trigger point, reflexology---and skin specific facials using the high end MURAD line of skincare products. WOW. We think that this type of business invites weekly and monthly regular customers via an affordable membership plan. FYI: The company is hosting a Healing Hands For Arthritis on October 12th, 2011-where $10 from every massage and facial will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation.

HydroPeptide® was actually as this ISPA event---and as it was the second time that day we had heard about the regenerative powers of apple (as in the fruit) stem cells---we spent quite a bit of time chatting with the company.

Based on botanical formulations and paraben free, (yes!) the collection was created by a Dr. Louise Peck, Ph.D. ---a woman with nutritional science as a background. Partnering with skincare experts, we were told years of research served up the Simply Ageless Skin Key™---that "identifies six fundamental elements for achieving and maintaining truly youthful, vibrant skin."

It's not that complicated-the cleanly packaged cleansers, serums, at-home peels, eye treatments, toners, moisturizers etc-focus in-on repair and to prevent wrinkles, firming the skin, evening out tones (i.e. age spots)...and providing meaningful suncare.

The formulations are chockful of proven skin healers-like Aloe, Niacin, Vitamins C, A and E, Green and Black Teas, plus Peptides, Neuropeptides, Polypeptides, the potent Edelweiss (a flower from the Alps that we wrote about in NIANCE products) ---and also the aforementioned nano-encapsulated Growth factors of apple stem cells ...that apparently have real science to back its claim of firming up sagging skin.

Premium priced but not ridiculous----the percentage of effective ingredients is very high, we were told---unlike a lot of mass marketed brands at any price range.