How much more “Southern California” can you get than a relaxed, elegant spa fronted by a king-size pool filled with sparkling turquoise water rimmed by swaying palm trees, the Pacific Ocean just feet away? The weather was perfect, sunny with balmy breezes, and I was off for an indulgent morning.
The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey is a glitzy Southern California waterfront property with a harbor view. Luxury sailboats and yachts bob in the breeze outside the lobby doors, and the renowned beach towns of Venice and Santa Monica are just minutes away. The $4 million spa opened in September 2007 and is the latest addition to the hotel’s 6,960 square feet of space dedicated to the physical well-being of its guests, which also includes a cardio/weight fitness center that opens out onto the pool area. The 3,200-square-foot heated outdoor waterfront pool is not only beautiful and big, but also environmentally friendly, with a saline purification system using only pure, natural salt from the ocean.
The spa offers a wide range of massage treatments from the traditional to the esoteric. If you’re not too ticklish, the reflexology massage amounts to having pressure applied to parts of the foot that correspond to specific regions, glands and organs of the body. Interesting herbs and spices are used in some of the treatments, such as Get the Skinny, which claims to reduce cellulite and stretch marks through sugar exfoliation, pure Vitamin C massage to hips and thighs, and a mixture of cayenne pepper and horse chestnut rubbed into the skin to minimize imperfections. Sounding like a specialty hot drink from a designer coffee emporium, the Chai Soy Mud Wrap includes a ground ginger scrub.
Mama Mio treatments are specially designed for the mother-to-be, and include The Yummy Tummy, 4th Trimester Healing Hour and Mellow Mama. And, of course, you can get a manicure, pedicure or bikini wax.
The spa is open to anyone, not just hotel guests, and, if you have the time, you can make a day out of a visit here. Work out on the equipment in the fitness center, indulge in a spa treatment or two, and then top off the day by chilling out on a padded teak lounge by the pool and ordering a light lunch off the spa menu, which will be served to you poolside.
Frankly I was never much for massages, but facials, now that’s another story. So, for my first visit to the Ritz-Carlton’s new spa, I signed up for something called Urban Rejuvenation, a 60-minute treatment that promised to “restore clarity, elasticity and firmness, creating a clear, brighter look.”
Sounded good to me.
I arrived at the spa’s front desk, as instructed, 30 minutes prior to my appointment. After a quick tour of the facility, I was led to the women’s changing room where I was assigned a locker and given a lavish white terry bathrobe, a fluffy towel and a pair of plastic slippers. The attendant told me to change at my leisure, then head to the comfortable lounge where I could relax until my therapist came to collect me.
Plopped on a couch in the lounge, I was lulled into serenity by soothing music as I watched ocean images displayed on the flat-screen TV. I was feeling pretty tranquil by the time a tiny woman with black hair, enviable eyelashes and porcelain skin arrived, introduced herself as Vanessa, and announced that she would be giving me my facial.
In the dimly lit treatment room I lay under a cool sheet and waited for Vanessa to work her magic while a humidifier surrounded me in moisturizing steam — I could almost feel my skin drinking it in.
Vanessa quickly analyzed my skin — dry and sun-damaged from way too many hours on Southern California tennis courts sans sunscreen — and proclaimed the Urban Rejuvenation treatment to be just the thing to make my skin glow.
For the next half-hour or so I relaxed while Vanessa slathered my face in creams and oils, wrapped it in hot towels, covered my eyes with soothing moist pads, and massaged my shoulders and face. She e ven massaged and moisturized my hands before encasing them in terrycloth gloves.
Luscious as all this was, I’ve had enough facials to know a pore cleansing was on the horizon. I winced through the squeezes and pinches, knowing the discomfort would pay off in the long run. Needless to say, I was pleased when Vanessa finished cleaning my pores and returned to massaging my face. Subtle aromas wafted from the lotions, including one that had me yearning for spice cookies or gingersnaps.
By the time the treatment ended, my skin tingled and felt moisturized and supple. Though I knew I hadn’t reclaimed the complexion I had at age 30, I was sure Vanessa’s magic had erased at least a couple of years. As I eased myself back into the real world, I tried to figure out how I could manage one of these indulgent treatments on a weekly basis.
Would that I had had time to luxuriate around the pool for an hour or so, indulge in a petite lobster club off the spa menu, spend a while in the sauna and finish the visit off with a pedicure. Maybe next time.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.