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
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Plant Riverside District, also known as Savannah’s Entertainment District, is officially dedicating a park to Martin Luther King, Jr. Located on the Savannah riverfront, Plant Riverside District will hold a ceremony to unveil a commissioned bronze monument dedicated to the late Civil Rights leader.
Nayara Alto Atacama, in Chile’s Atacama Desert, recently launched private plane transfer service for guests, allowing up to eight people to depart Santiago and fly directly to San Pedro de Atacama aerodrome in one hour and 50 minutes. Previously, guests would have to fly two hours to Calama, followed by a one-hour, 20-minute drive to Nayara Alto Atacama. The new private jet option saves guests 90 minutes of transfer time each way.
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.
For guests wanting the ultimate VIP experience at this year’s Super Bowl, QuintEvents offers an exclusive opportunity. Guests can choose from a variety of QuintEvents’ offers to not only have a seat at the game but also to enjoy cocktails, chef-prepared dishes with legendary football hall of famers like Dan Marino, and a stay at a luxury premium hotel with a beachside option.
Introduced and managed by Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, Sonesta Select and Sonesta Simply Suites celebrated their first anniversary since launching in December 2020. Responsible for almost 2,500 new hires in the last year, Sonesta Simply Suites and Sonesta Select allowed Sonesta as a whole to become one of the fastest-growing hotel companies in the United States.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Cologne, Germany, with us.