Before I even get to the spa, I must explain that this particular experience was the cornerstone of a girls’ getaway weekend done right. My husband and I don’t have children of our own, but we’re blessed with a niece and nephew my sister and her husband have generously shared with us. Or maybe they just realized the value of having a set of quasi-parents in the wings to watch, drive and otherwise entertain their kids. Either way, we made out. We get all the fun of parenting without any of the responsibilities. We’re cheaters, for sure. And I love it.
So, in mid-April when the advent of spring was struggling (without much success) to put a dent in a New England winter, my 15-year-old niece, Meaghan, and I jetted south to Miami where we checked into the Conrad Miami for a few days of decadent pampering.
Located in the heart of downtown Miami’s financial district, Conrad Miami may not be the first hotel that comes to mind when you’re thinking girls’ getaway. But don’t be fooled by its location. While it’s the epitome of a high-end business hotel, Conrad Miami has plenty of nooks and crannies that make it equally appealing to leisure travelers — friendly and attentive service, fine-dining venues, a bar with a 25th-floor balcony (vertigo sufferers beware!) offering stunning views (especially at night) and a rooftop pool that feels more like a retreat in a private villa than a city swimming hole. And, of course, Spa Chakra.
We had scheduled our appointments over two days. After all, we were in Miami, so we had to be sure to make time for shopping, sunning and looking sensational driving around in our rented Chrysler Sebring Convertible. (The convertible even spawned a new word we decided to apply to our weekend. “Convertibling con•`vert•i•bling n: 1. The act of living life without a lid on it.”)
Opened in November 2007, Spa Chakra occupies a portion of Conrad Miami’s 24th floor. Its entrance is deceiving, leaving first-time guests with the impression that it’s a small facility. In fact, the lounge waiting area consists of a couple of chairs set up in the elevator lobby, perpendicular to the front desk reception area. Turns out, the well-appointed spa features 10 spacious (by spa standards) treatment rooms equipped with the latest technologies for facials, massages and body therapies. There’s also a hydrotherapy room and a Vichy shower facility.
Our therapists arrived to greet us in the outer lobby. After a quick stop at the front desk where we were asked to select one of four scents that would follow us through our treatments, we were escorted to our individual treatment rooms and told to shed our street clothes and don the plush robe and slippers ready and waiting in the en suite closet. I was a little bit confused by the lack of a full-service locker room, but my confusion gave way to delight when the therapists returned to escort us to a pleasant lounge area furnished with a row of spa chairs. Although it wasn’t part of our spa schedule, guests at Spa Chakra indulge in a pre-spa treatment designed to help them relax, let go of the day and live in the moment — even if it’s just one hour out of an otherwise hectic schedule. (Note to business travelers: A quick between-meeting getaway to Spa Chakra is a great way to relax and recharge.)
Pre-spa relaxation involves a soothing foot bath and neck massage during which we were asked to fill out a guest questionnaire calling attention to any problems we’d like to address during our treatments. Then we were escorted back to our assigned rooms. The pre-spa relaxation had done its magic. I was already feeling warm and fuzzy.
On this particular day, I indulged in the signature Orchidée Impériale facial, a two-hour anti-aging treatment that incorporates products by Guerlain Paris. The process involves two masks and a detoxifyi ng facial massage. I’m always a bit suspicious of anything that dubs itself “antiaging” — if Ponce de Leon couldn’t find the Fountain of Youth, I’m not convinced anyone else will either. Still, I did feel refreshed and, okay I’ll say it, glowing, following the facial.
Meg, who was in the adjacent room, indulged in a Spa Facial that included cleansing and exfoliation. Her favorite aspects of the treatment, though, involved the paraffin hand and foot treatments.
he following day, feeling like a couple of spa “regulars,” we returned to do it all over again — this time the focus was on massage therapy. The treatments were equally indulgent and I was duly impressed with my therapist who, with just a little bit of feedback from me, zoned right in on a problem spot that affects my leg and hip. She managed to loosen up some of the tightness I’ve come to accept as part of my daily existence. The difference was so noticeable that I felt as though I was walking on air as I left the spa. Believe me, if I lived closer, I’d return at least once a week!
1395 Brickell Ave.
Miami, FL 33131
tel 305 503 6500
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.