I love my birthday. Always have. So it comes as no surprise to friends and family — the people who love me enough to grin and bear it when I begin the annual countdown about 90 days out — that I always have a plan for “my” day.
This year’s celebration took place in Bermuda at the elegant Fairmont Southampton, where my husband, Kevin, and I holed up for a fabulously relaxing long weekend. Set amid 100 landscaped acres overlooking its own private pink-sand beach, the hotel is a haven where it’s easy to imagine any birthday wish will be granted — especially for guests, like us, ensconced on the Fairmont Gold Floor, a “hotel within a hotel” with a dedicated concierge who can seemingly wave her wand like a fairy godmother to make dreams come true.
My birthday wishes included a lazy day at the Willow Stream Spa. Located on the hotel’s mezzanine level, the spa’s modest entrance belies what lies beyond. At 31,000 square feet, the spa comprises 15 treatment rooms, a steam inhalation room, several relaxation lounges and an indoor swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows and massaging waterfall spouts.
I was intrigued by the spa menu, a roster of treatments designed to balance nature’s elements — air, earth, fire and water — but three specific experiences caught my eye: Willow Stream Elements (a medicinal moor mud wrap, therapeutic bath and massage), Balance Body (a footbath and exfoliation followed by a hydrating oatmeal and honey body scrub and finished with a full-body massage) and Total Adjustment (an Ayurveda-inspired treatment including a footbath and scrub, a botanical body mask, an herbal exfoliation with dry brushing, a massage, a hot towel wrap and mini-facial.)
I decided to shoot for the moon and booked Total Adjustment. I changed into a robe and slippers and settled into a comfortable chaise longue, citrus-infused water in hand, where I relaxed until a therapist beckoned.
First stop, a delightful footbath ritual. While the therapist pampered my toes, I completed a comprehensive questionnaire designed to reveal the proper course of treatment in tune with my physical and emotional well-being on that particular day. The questions, based on the principles of Ayurveda, lead to a diagnosis of Vata, Pitta or Kapha, the three doshas, or forms of energy, believed to circulate in the body. My answers suggested a leaning toward Pitta, the dosha associated with fire and water. It’s also the dosha usually linked to transformation: an apt connection on my birthday.
The footbath complete and the course of action clear, I meandered to a treatment room, where I indulged in a dry-brush herbal exfoliation followed by the application of a botanical body mask. Swathed in warm blankets, I closed my eyes and let the mask work its magic.
I must have dozed because it seemed as if no time passed before the therapist was back in the treatment room unwrapping the blankets and pointing me toward a warm shower where I could rinse off while she changed the linens. Back in my cocoon, I allowed myself to drift again as I felt any remaining knots and kinks unlock during the massage that followed.
After an hour and a half of complete indulgence, I nearly floated back to the lounge to sip a cup of herbal tea before returning to my guestroom to change for dinner: a birthday treat Kevin and I enjoyed at Waterlot Inn, the hotel’s romantically atmospheric steak house, in operation for three centuries.
For dessert? Strawberries Foster prepared tableside. Who could ask for anything more?
Willow Stream Spa
101 South Shore Road
Southampton, Bermuda SN02
tel 441 238 8000
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Southwest Airlines is adding new flights to, from and within Hawai’i, beginning mid-January 2020. The airline will add a new daily service between Sacramento International Airport and Honolulu (HON), plus new non-stop flights between Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) and both Kauai (LIH) and the Island of Hawai’i (KOA).
The Luxury Collection welcomes its eighth property in China with the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. The property is situated in the capital of the Guangxi Province, in a high-rise landmark building in the business district.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.