Confessions of a Spafinder: Banyan Tree Mayakoba
By Sallie Fraenkel
Last week my husband and I took a long-overdue little vacation. It was time to decompress, so we decided to go to the Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico. I must confess that it’s hard not to go to a spa anytime, let alone when I’m on vacation, so I talked my husband into doing a couple’s treatment. We selected the Thai Classic massage. Our experience began in the tranquil spa reception area with a delicious drink of what I think was hibiscus (or some other flower) juice. Our therapists, Aida and Jaye, greeted us and then brought us to our spa villa. Since Banyan Tree is an Asian-owned company (this is its very first property in North America), all of the therapists come from Thailand.
Once we were seated on the banquette in our architecturally magnificent spa villa we were given many choices: first, our incense (I chose rose since it has romantic properties!), second, our music (Michael choose it, and it was lovely). The treatment began with an arm massage, followed by the traditional Asian foot-cleansing ritual. We then put on sarongs in our changing room, jumped on the massage tables, and began our 90-minute massage.
If you’ve never had a Thai massage, you are in for a treat. This one began with Aida’s standing up on the table so she could apply downward pressure with the palms of her hands on my hamstrings, glutes, etc. It never ceases to amaze me how strong a small woman can be, and Aida was exceptional. Next, she used a long stoke method with oil, followed by hot towels, a steaming hot neck compress, and probably several other things I cannot remember, since I was in a relaxed dream state (Michael was, too).
After the massage we returned to our banquette to enjoy cool lemongrass-scented towels, hot ginger tea, and beautifully cut cantaloupe and carrots. I wondered if there was some significance to eating orange food or if it was just meant to be aesthetically pleasing. Whatever the significance, it was a great ending to a great treatment.
Everything else about Banyan Tree Mayakoba was outstanding. I give it two thumbs up!!