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
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