“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.”
Navajo Nation is an area of land in the southwestern United States. Covering about 27,000 square miles, the region in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah currently makes up the largest area of land retained by a tribe within the United States. Home to the Navajo people, the area boasts monuments, parks, markets, trails and historic sites.
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.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Los Angeles Office announced a new initiative for would-be travelers waiting for the green light. The Buy Now, Stay Later: Thailand launch comes on the heels of Thailand’s foreign travel restrictions extending until further notice.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
IMAGINE SETTING SAIL IN AN EXOTIC, far-flung destination, just you and your family or group of friends aboard a private yacht. The sun warms the deck, a soft breeze dances off the water, and an über-attentive crew caters to your every whim while the personal chef whips up the finest of the local cuisine with all of your culinary preferences top of mind. All the while, the captain navigates the yacht into secluded coves; to pristine, seemingly undiscovered beaches; or even to the hottest spots along the coast for a night out on the town.
A number of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants reopened their doors around the United States. The properties have been hard at work building upon the brand’s already high cleanliness standards, while still retaining the beloved perks that enhance the uniquely Kimpton experience, including coffee hour, yoga mats and more.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.