- Walkway to Spa
On a recent visit to Spa at Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, an all-inclusive resort on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, I was able to get in tune with ancient spa traditions of the Mayan culture.
Not your average water park…
Visiting the Spa at Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort in Cancun was like stepping into a spa amusement park — 89,000 square feet of pure spa bliss. After checking in, the group I was traveling with quickly changed into our bathing suits and headed to the hydrotherapy area for an hour-long Water Journey. With so many steps to this aqua circuit, it can be confusing: “Wait, is the steam first? Or the sauna? And what do I do in the ice room?”
Well, the attendants at Spa Grand Velas had it all figured out, as they led me from sauna…to experience shower…to steam room…to shower…to ice room…to mud room…and shower in one fluid sequence. The best parts were the little extras: the Evian mist bottles and cucumbers given before I entered the sauna, or the fact that I never once worried where to hang my bathrobe (it was always ready and waiting for me when I stepped out of a treatment room.) At the end of the circuit, I was led to the larger pool area, where I traveled through alternative hot and cold water currents (Kneipp therapy), snoozed on a bed of bubbles, and started working out those shoulder kinks in a jet stream or two. After I emerged from the large “vitality” pool, I was ushered into a warm whirlpool and served an invigorating lemon tea and dried fruits. Did I mention that I was minutes away from a four-hand massage?
Spa at Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort
Four hands are better than two…
After having one of the best hydrotherapy experiences of my spa days, I settled into the waiting area to prep for my Yaxche Mayan Experience Massage, a four-hand massage inspired by ancient Mayan traditions. My therapists led me to a beautiful treatment room, accented with earthy tones and golden light, with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the jungle foliage of the outer spa area. I settled into a corner chair, and was given the customary foot ritual to begin my treatment. Following the footbath, one of the therapists asked me to choose from several oils indigenous to the Yucatan Peninsula… all earthy, lush aromas — I wanted to sample all three! As I stretched out onto the massage table, I was given a tiny chime to ring once I was ready for my treatment (a lovely touch). My therapists first blessed the room and asked for permission from the Mayan Gods to give this sacred treatment. As the Yaxche Mayan Experience Massage began, I noticed that the two therapists started from my feet and worked up my body; previous massages I’ve indulged in had always started from the neck down. The choreographed movements mimicked beings of the jungle: the serpent (long sweeping strokes), jaguar (a kneading motion), and eagle (light fluttering touches with fingertips). The use of special instruments, in tandem with the aromatherapy, filled my senses and enhanced my appreciation with this unique and historic tradition. The therapists’ hands moved in such synchronization, with such balanced pressure, that I wasn’t hyper aware as if there were two therapists working different sides of my body — all was in perfect harmony.
View from one of the suites