After the 15-hour flight to Queenstown, New Zealand, I was groggy with jet lag, and the spa treatment Hilton proposed sounded enticing — but unnerving: The technician was planning to use electricity on my face. At first I balked but eventually relented. And thank heaven my defenses were down, for despite my dire forebodings, the Signature Correcting Facial turned out to be transforming.
eforea: spa at Hilton is the new brand Hilton developed for global travelers by streamlining aesthetics and designing the “calmer, more spiritual place” they feel business and leisure travelers are seeking. Sleek, simple, modern facilities are designed with rectangular pods and transitional and thermal lounges. In place of cold, clinical stalls, eforea’s Vichy shower rooms are curved to create an enveloping environment symbolized by the trademark icon — a blue butterfly freed from its cocoon. The name “eforea” was devised to transcend the languages of more than 80 countries Hilton serves worldwide.
At the Arrivals Lounge right off the main floor lobby, staff welcomed me and provided slippers and a velvety cotton robe lined in terrycloth. After changing, I waited in the Transition Lounge for therapist Carla Donohue, who led me to the Therapy Room, a maroon sanctum with a rustling deep gold curtain and black-and-white photos of magnified bamboo leaves and branches.
After the calming welcome ritual of gently cupping her hands over my nose so I could inhale the signature oil on her palms — a blend of sage, rosewood Peru and geranium rose — Carla removed my eye makeup and started with a deep cleansing. Next, she applied PRO 30 Multi-Acid Peel to smooth and tone my skin, followed by a neutralizing conditioner to balance the pH factor. These were familiar, relaxing procedures.
When she suggested the K-Lift red LED impulse microcurrent and transdermal delivery system, I was skeptical. Explaining that the neuromuscular stimulator was adjustable, she agreed to start with the lowest possible reading. After brushing treatment gel on my face, she gently placed the smooth electrodes on my cheeks, delicately moving them over my skin until she covered my entire facial area. Since I reported congestion in my skin, Carla chose a LED setting aimed at stimulating fibroblast activity, increasing collagen production and energizing the skin to accelerate repair and increase the level of lymphocyte activity for better detoxification. Though I’d been afraid of shocks or sparks, I didn’t feel a thing except pleasant coolness against my skin.
Next she applied a raspberry extract to improve surface hydration and set the device to enable the high-performance product to penetrate, protecting against free radicals and helping boost collagen. The slow, smooth, circular motion of the Phase 2 K-Fusion is said to help smooth wrinkles and provide needed circulation. When the K-Lift treatment was completed, Carla applied a peel-off alginate Chitosan mask for a quarter-hour. While it set, she gently massaged my head and feet. Finally, she rinsed my face with aromatherapy Neroli water and finished with applications of brightening eye cream and rehydrating moisturizer followed by SPF protection.
After I took a final deep breath of the oil on her cupped hands to awaken my senses, she led me back to the Transition Lounge. Looking out sheer curtains to Lake Wakatipu and the spectacular peaks of The Remarkables mountains looming behind, I snacked on sandwiches and soothing yula tea, an Australian concoction of organic lemon myrtle, wild lime and wild rosella. Before leaving, I received packets of Kerstin Florian at-home professional peel and hyaluronic serum and a jar of her Turkish body scrub.
My facial was a segment of the Essentials Journey, one of three customized spa experiences eforea: spa at Hilton devised to bring balance and wellness to the body. The Essentials Journey incorporates a selection of powerful, technologically advanced treatments meant to show instant results. Besides four facials, it offers a slimming detox body wrap, a jet lag body remedy and an after-sun rescue. The holistic Escape Journey integrates organic plant ingredients and traditional healing practices in a head-to-toe body wrap to revitalize, rest and restore; hand and foot repair; and three types of massage: meditation, nurturing and tandem. The Men’s Journey offers a de-stress face treatment, total body overhaul and realigning sports massage.
Queenstown’s eforea: spa at Hilton has 10 treatment rooms, including two couple’s suites and a presidential spa suite with its own bathroom, hot tub and private balcony. Speakers and aroma systems diffuse soothing music and signature scents throughout the rooms.
During my stay, I returned each morning to use the spa facilities situated on multiple levels connected by an internal staircase. Skipping the machines in the fully equipped gym, I opted for the luxurious 80-foot indoor pool with double height floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the hotel’s central courtyard. After swimming laps, I slipped into the hot tub before a final sweat in the sauna. Days later, I swore I still detected a new glow when I looked in the mirror, and I’ve been checking for eforea spas at other Hilton branches for a chance to repeat the treatment.
eforea: spa at Hilton
79 Peninsula Road
tel 64 3 450 9400
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
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