FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Chicago, Ill., The Peninsula, The Peninsula Spa

Apr 1, 2010
2010 / April 2010

“Sparkly.” That was my answer to the spa therapist’s question, “How do you want to feel at the end of this treatment?”

I was at The Peninsula Spa by ESPA in Chicago for a two-hour indulgence dubbed the “Uplifting Mint Experience.” I discovered the treatment a few days earlier while perusing the spa menu in anticipation of my visit. Its description caught my eye amid a veritable feast of “ceremonies” and “journeys’’ and “rituals,” many boasting an Ayurvedic or holistic influence.

“This uplifting ceremony begins with a refreshing tea and ceremonial foot ritual using mint grown in the Midwest. Mint is prized for its many health benefits as both a tea and when applied to the skin. A skin-softening mint-and-apricot-kernel body scrub prepares the skin. Advanced massage techniques are combined with refreshing oil containing wild mint, believed to improve headaches, enhance mood and provide relief from stress. The experience concludes with a relaxing head massage to dispel any remaining tension leaving the inner self, mind and body restored.”

The therapist, whose energy was a bit more rah-rah-cheerleader-chatty than I would have expected in such a hushed atmosphere, asked the question as she served tea and began the soothing foot bath. I learned later that ESPA training teaches therapists to use this pre-treatment time to get to know spa guests, to get a feel for where they are emotionally and physically in order to customize the treatment to address their specific needs. Standard questions might include, “Do you like spicy foods?” or “Where do you feel emotionally on a scale of one to 10?”

In fact, a visit to ESPA is perhaps a bit more controlled than most spa experiences. That’s because ESPA is a brand with more than 100 spas — most located in 5-star hotels and resorts — in two dozen countries around the world. Founded in 1993 by Susan Harmsworth, ESPA touts a philosophy that combines ancient tradition with modern research. While I have known of the brand for quite some time, I had always been confused by the “E” in ESPA, assuming that, like so many “E” things these days, it had something to do with electronic technology: Not that my assumption made any sense, of course. I just never gave it much thought.

As it turns out, the “E” is for education, a key component in the rigorous training therapists must complete before they gain entry into the ESPA family. But don’t make the mistake of assuming education and brand standards lead to a cookie-cutter spa experience. Ceremonies and rituals are designed to complement the location of the spa. A Peninsula-specific line of products comprises therapeutic essential oils and botanical extracts regarded in Asia for their calming, restorative and energizing properties. The Uplifting Mint Experience I enjoyed is unique to The Peninsula Chicago.

Following the foot bath, my therapist offered me a choice of scented oils, the theory being that I would be drawn to the scent that would most benefit my physical and emotional well-being on this particular day. The oil was then incorporated into the treatment which included a body scrub and massage. The body scrub was fabulous, leaving my skin smooth and soft, but the massage was out of this world. Forget the long, sweeping strokes used in Swedish massage, the tension-popping pressure of a deep-tissue massage and the push-me-pull-you stretching of Thai massage: The simple-yet-elegant pressure-point technique applied during my session was almost celestial in its ability to ease tension-based pain, resulting in a release that left me feeling as if I was floating on a cloud above the table.

Following the treatment, I drifted in a pleasant stupor to the relaxation room, where I sipped tea while reclining in the privacy of a curtain-draped chaise longue. I usually find it difficult to lounge for long following a spa treatment. By the time I finish my tea or citrus-infused mineral water, my mind is racing again, ticking through all the items still on my “to-do” list at home or at the office. Not this time. I gazed without focus at the city skyline softly illuminated on an unusually warm autumn afternoon for quite a while before wandering to the ladies’ locker room, in no hurry to don my street clothes and return to the real world.

But the real world did beckon eventually. I had places to go and things to do. And I felt “sparkly.”

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Feb 24, 2020

Qatar Airways Set for Expansion to 8 Destinations This Year

Qatar Airways is expanding this year, adding eight new destinations to its network. The list includes:

Adventure of a Lifetime with Volvo

Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.

Feature
Feb 24, 2020

JetBlue Will Offset Domestic Flight Emissions

JetBlue joins a growing cast of airlines offsetting the carbon emissions from flights.

News
Feb 24, 2020

Hotel Indigo Gives Travelers a New Way to Experience Neighborhoods

Hotel Indigo recently launched its Clues to the Neighborhood initiative, a fun way for travelers to discover experiences in property neighborhoods. Clues to the Neighborhood uses curated artifacts to artfully present travelers with a new look at a locale, with the hope of leading them to local museums, shops, music venues, restaurants and bars.

A Lighter Footprint

United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.

Daily
Feb 24, 2020

Wynn Las Vegas Unveils New Social Dining Concept, Elio

Travelers in Las Vegas can enjoy a new dining concept at Wynn Las Vegas starting March 19. A new restaurant, Elio, will debut, offering an energetic environment and thoughtful menu items reflecting Mexico’s rich culinary traditions. Small plates focus on seafood and produce, while entrees are shareable. A lounge offers agave-based spirits.

Feature
Feb 22, 2020

ForwardKeys.com Study Finds International Air Travel Grew 4.5 Percent Last Year

ForwardKeys.com found an increase of 4.5 percent in 2019 was significantly slower than the 6 percent growth in 2018 and the average over the last decade of 6.8 percent per year. The increase last year was less than expected, but projections for quarter one of 2020 is more optimistic. Bookings are expected to grow 8.3 percent when compared to the same period in 2019.

Goway Offers Travelers Journey of a Lifetime

Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Daily
Feb 22, 2020

Château Elan Winery & Resort Opens in Braselton, North Georgia Foothills

Château Élan Winery & Resort reopened in Braselton, Georgia, following a $25 million comprehensive renovation. The first major refurbishment since the resort’s inception in the mid-1980s pays homage to the estate's 16th-century charm, while taking the property into the future. Now, the resort offers 251 brand-new guestrooms and 24 suites, four new food and beverage venues, an immersive spa, pool terrace and new lobby. The winery likewise received a facelift.