While I sincerely doubt this statement will elicit much sympathy, I must say it: It is often difficult to truly relax during treatments when I am covering a spa for an upcoming article. I’m constantly writing and rewriting the article in my head as the treatment is happening. I know — I do not feel bad for me, either. This sentiment was running through my head as my spa technician at The Peninsula Beverly Hills wrapped my body in Mylar. I thought, “What is the perfect way to detail what it feels like to crinkle like a happy birthday balloon?”
I should start at the beginning of my decadent afternoon. Scheduling my appointment at the end of my stay in Los Angeles offered me the opportunity to finish with the business side of the trip before indulging in the pleasurable side. It also allowed me to drift into a peaceful state and a settled mindset before my flight back East that evening.
I was staying at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, and I was pampered from beginning to end, both inside and outside of The Peninsula Spa. Located on the hotel’s upper level, The Spa is adjacent to the rooftop dining area, pool and fitness center. I quickly changed and poked around the locker room facilities, checking out the sauna, steam room and hot tub. When I was ready, the attendant led me to the serenity lounge, where water and light snacks are available. I caught up with the Kardashians in Marie Claire while relaxing on a white-cushioned wooden lounger until my therapist, Heather, found me and escorted me to one of the seven treatment rooms.
While I did not choose one of these select treatments, it is of note that The Peninsula Spa is the first hotel spa in North America to offer treatments using Shiffa precious gem oils. Believed to have luxurious healing powers, the gem-saturated oils are used in treatments including the Precious Sapphire, Precious Ruby, Precious Emerald and Precious Diamond massages; the Gemstone Revival 60-minute scrub and massage; and a Shiffa Gemstone Facial. The Peninsula Spa offers a wide range of services including massages, scrubs, hand and foot treatments, wraps and personal fitness sessions.
It was almost too much to choose from for this indecisive spa-goer, as each and every treatment sounded beyond appealing. After much hemming, hawing and mind changing, I opted for the Moroccan Espresso Mud Wrap. I’d never had the pleasure of indulging in a body wrap before, and I especially liked that the treatment included a scrub and concluded with a full-body massage.
My experience started with a spritz of Lavender Honey Balancing Mist by Naturopathica Holistic Health, which made all of the products used during my treatment. The spray is used to hydrate the skin and bring balance to the mind; its signature essence, lavender angustifolia flower water, is created by steam-distilling the flower’s essential oils.
Moving from the purple flower to a grungier ingredient, Heather performed a body scrub on me using Espresso Mud Body Scrub. I love the abrasive sensation of a scrub, and I find a beautiful harmony in the scrub’s harshness and the massage’s gentle touch. The Espresso Mud scent quickly filled my sinuses and was quite pleasant — surprising given a quick read of its ingredients, none of which evoke perfumy meadows or other sweet scents: coffee Arabica, black silt clay, volcanic pumice, Indian tobacco, Indian sarsaparilla and shea butter. The muskiness of the odor was offset slightly by the creamy bouquet of the shea butter.
Next up was the Mylar. I’m not sure what material I thought would be used, but I expected a softer, quieter cocoon. The Mylar was crunchy and loud as I settled in, which disturbed my reverie. With even the slightest twitch, I made noise. Heather tucked me in tightly and I lay there, unmoving and slightly sweaty from the balloon-like blanket. All that was missing was hot air and a string. Needless to say, I was distracted during this point in the process, mind wandering, wondering when I could break free. Perhaps I’m too claustrophobic to enjoy a wrap; I certainly felt an instant relief as Heather released me. I did, however, appreciate the effects. As I rinsed off in the treatment room’s shower, I marveled at the velvety feel of my skin.
My massage was magical. Heather applied just the right amount of pressure, spending extra time on the tense area between my shoulder blades. And, wonderfully, she paid attention to my hands and feet, areas I always wish spa therapists spent more time massaging.
Adding to the lingering smells wafting through the room was the Peppermint Foot & Body Cream utilized during the massage. Its biting aroma balanced the floral and musky scents already swirling. Key ingredients in the lotion were peppermint essential oil, for soothing aches and pains; arnica extract, to reduce any swelling; tea tree essential oil; and wheat germ oil, with lecithin and vitamins to relieve dry skin.
When the treatment ended and Heather left the room, I spent a few seconds relaxing on the massage table. I tend to hop right up and change, rushing out of the spa after treatments, but on that particular day, I felt the need to loiter longer, savoring the richness of the experience. While it wasn’t entirely peaceful or calming, I felt the benefits of the treatment, from the first mist to the last stroke. I floated on a cloud for the remainder of the day.
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