2016 is a new year, a time to try new things and push yourself outside your comfort zone. One of my resolutions is to be more adventurous, and I figure that can extend to the spa as well. Go beyond a standard Swedish or deep tissue massage next time you treat yourself at the spa and try something a little different. Here are a few of my recent favorites:
From Farm to Body at St. Regis Mexico City
Four delicious gourmet bites foreshadow the four elements of this blissful two-hour body treatment. Your therapist greets you with a shooter of sweet pea soup topped with shiitake and lemon zest. A few minutes later, lemon essential oil is used in an uplifting 60-minute massage. After the massage, enjoy bites of tuna sashimi marinated in ginger and watermelon topped with fresh goat cheese and olive oil, all washed down with a miniature glass of champagne. As you’re dining, your therapist blends the scrub, masque and body butter with a few drops of essential oils and anti-inflammatory, anti-aging or hydrating boosters all from Salt of the Earth. A white ginger body scrub, watermelon body wrap and blueberry whipped body butter will leave your skin sumptuously soft with a lingering sweet and fruity scent. I was particularly impressed with how well the new treatment flowed. Often, spa journeys with multiple components can seem disjointed but that’s not the case here. You’re always comfortable – warm and covered with blankets. Ask for Alma as your therapist and you’ll be floating on cloud nine.
Of the Orient: Ginger Renewal at Chuan Spa at the Langham Chicago
A Turkish body scrub sets an invigorating tone for this 80-minute treatment at what is hands-down the most impressive spa in Chicago. The Kerstin Florian ginger bath and body oil massaged over your entire body has a fresh scent that isn’t too sharp and melts into the skin with the assistance of warm stones. A touch of acupressure on the scalp, forehead and ears harmonizes the meridians, leaving you with an even deeper sense of calm. Before your treatment, cleanse yourself of outside stress with Chuan Spa’s signature bathing ritual, which includes herbal and Himalayan salt stone saunas, followed by an aromatherapy shower and steam room. After the ginger scrub and massage, prolong your relaxation time in the four senses dream room. There’s good reason this spa is the only one in Illinois to achieve Forbes’ five-star ranking.
Chocolate-Covered Feet at Jade Mountain
The chocolate mint sugar scrub and cocoa butter masque used in this luxuriously hydrating pedicure are custom-made for Jade Mountain’s spa with locally grown cacao by St Lucian-based Caribbean Blue Naturals. While the masque is soaking in, a thorough scalp and neck massage help you relax more deeply. My therapist, Olivet, was so detailed in her work, exfoliating my calluses and shaping my nails with precise care before giving me a couple coats of flashy OPI Conga-line Coral – a new favorite color for my toes. The treatment is not entirely calorie-free though. Halfway through, a plate of dark chocolate hearts are brought over as a sweet surprise. These chocolates are made right on property at the chocolate lab with cacao grown at Emerald Farm. If you get the chance, try cacao beans fresh from the pod. The tangy but sweet white pulp surrounding each seed has a fruity flavor with floral notes and an aftertaste that reminds me of mango. Islanders say it’s great for your skin too.
Biologique Recherche Seconde Peau at The Peninsula New York
This new regenerating facial from the French luxury skincare line debuted in December and truly gives you a second skin, thanks to an electrospun machine that took 10 years of research to develop. The machine works like a 3D printer, weaving pure hyaluronic acid nonfibers into patches that plump and immediately tighten the face. The patches feel like little stickers on your face and the serum is 40 times more concentrated than hyaluronic acid serums available to use at home. The electrode treatment, applied using light sponges, feels like tiny pinpricks and creates a subtle metallic taste in your mouth, but isn’t uncomfortable. Request Lumi – she’s a sweetheart and will make sure you’re perfectly comfortable at every moment. Afterward the facial, sip an aloe vera tea or coconut water as you drift off to sleep in private beds (even better than lounge chairs) nestled under a cocoon of blankets. The spa facilities – including a sauna, steam room and Olympic-sized pool – are the most extensive and well-maintained of any spa in New York.
Citrus Crushed Pearl Massage at George the Salon
Crushed freshwater pearls are blended with lime, mandarin, grapefruit and lemon oils, lotions and scrubs for a 90-minute full body treatment in an unlikely location that awakens the senses and calms the mind. There’s only one treatment room here and massage therapist Maggie Klasa is only available on Wednesdays, but her magical touch is worth seeking out. She’ll buff away your tired, dull skin with a lime blossom body scrub and apply hot towels and compressions to dilate the blood vessels and increase the absorption of the citrus essential oils used during the massage. Klasa customizes the massage for each guest – she helped me increase circulation and relax my tight upper back and hips. The finishing touch is massaging luxurious crushed pearl body cream into the back, hands and feet. I can’t imagine a more decadent way to hydrate my body in harsh Chicago weather. A scalp massage using essential oils is included, so make an appointment at the salon for a blowout afterwards to continue your zen mode and walk out ready for a night on the town in the Gold Coast.
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