Dream•catch•er n. 1. A circular framed net decorated with feathers and beads, believed to catch good dreams.
It’s also the name of the signature treatment at the Arizona Biltmore Spa, a treatment I experienced during a recent stay at the historic property in Phoenix, Ariz. The 80-minute Dream Catcher Aromatherapy Massage, based loosely on Native American traditions, involves placing essential oils and warm stones at key energy points along the spine.
“We have a lot of Native American culture here in Arizona,” said Sandra Jolley, a longtime massage therapist at the Arizona Biltmore Spa. “Our signature treatment sticks to those roots, but it has evolved to be more relaxing and flowing.”
Energy centers, or chakras as they are known in some cultures, are the portals where life energy, or chi, flows into and out of our bodies. The basic seven chakras show up in one form or another across cultures and time. Commonality includes the belief that blocked or unbalanced chakras can lead to physical illness and emotional stress.
The seven basic chakras run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head encompassing the root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third-eye (or brow) chakra and crown chakra. Each chakra is associated with a color, starting at the root: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
The Dream Catcher Aromatherapy Massage at the Arizona Biltmore Spa involves opening and balancing chakras by systematically applying oil and warm stones at key points along the spine.
“We start with cedar wood at the root for stability,” said Jolley as she explained the root-to-crown application. “Patchouli is next for wealth and self-worth. Lemon [at the solar plexus] is for personal power and confidence. It’s very cleansing.
“Lavender [at the heart] is for unity of love and neroli is for communication, meaning to be able to verbally express what you think and mean,” Jolley continued. “Bergamot is for vision and imagination and sage [at the crown] is for bliss, enlightenment and knowledge.”
Designed by Albert Chase McArthur, an architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, the Arizona Biltmore opened to much fanfare in February 1929. While the property has undergone several expansions and renovations through the intervening decades — a 1973 fire nearly destroyed the iconic hotel — it has remained a favorite hideaway among Hollywood celebrities, hosting the likes of Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe, Gracie Allen, George Burns, Fred Astaire, Jack Benny, Marlon Brando, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Carson, George Clooney, Bill Cosby, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Hope, Jay Leno, Gregory Peck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Sinatra, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton, among others.
The 20,000-square-foot Arizona Biltmore Spa, opened in 1998, comprises 17 treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy tub, three spa pools plus steam rooms and saunas. During my stay, I set up residence at Ocatilla at Arizona Biltmore. Opened in 2009, Ocatilla is “a hotel within a hotel,” where guests enjoy the services of a dedicated concierge and a private lounge (including an outdoor patio) with food and beverages available throughout the day.
The Arizona Biltmore
2400 E. Missouri Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
tel 602 955 6600
West Palm Beach, Florida, recently welcomed AKA West Palm, a hotel residence offering long-stay accommodations. As AKA’s second South Florida property, AKA West Palm features 215 hotel residences comprised of studios, one- and two-bedroom spaces, and Penthouse suites. The five-story hotel blends modern luxuries with comfort and simplicity, with sleek kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces. Room furnishings contrast with a backdrop of stone, metal and wood to create simple, clean lines with minimal contrast.
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Birmingham, Alabama, was named for the city in the English Midlands that kept the fires burning, warmed the homes and made much of the steel for the United Kingdom’s industrial revolution. Decades later, the American city also made steel, so much of it, in fact, it became known as the “Magic City” for steel production, and the moniker stuck. But today’s Magic City makes more than steel, taking the raw product a few more steps to become a major center for automobile parts manufacturing and more, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and U.S. Steel. Thanks to local leadership and long-term planning, the magic still works for Birmingham, as evidenced by its role hosting The World Games 2022 last summer.
As New York City’s leading Latino cultural institution, El Museo del Barrio welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. El Museo’s wide-ranging collections and exhibitions represent these cultures’ richness, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations and educational programs. Ranging from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art, the permanent collection totals more than 8,000 objects.
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Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown recently reopened its Fairmont Gold, introducing amenities, a contemporary new style in the Fairmont Gold Lounge and dedicated concierges. The 48-room, three-suite Fairmont Gold, positioned as an urban oasis, takes over the entire ninth floor of the hotel and delivers exceptional service to meet guests’ needs.
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Originally a thriving Colonial seaport, Newport became the summer playground for the Gilded Age’s elite in the late 1880s. Today their mansions dot the coast of Aquidneck Island, and their favorite pastimes — sailing and tennis — still dominate the city’s recreational offerings. In fact, Newport hosted the first U.S. Open tennis championship in 1881 and golf tourna- ment in 1895 and hosted the America’s Cup from 1930 to 1983. You can experience most of Newport on your own, including the mansions, but don’t rule out a guided tour or two when you visit.