THE SIGNATURE PERFECT MASSAGE — that name really does say it all. It epitomizes most spa experiences, but it also perfectly sums up my experience at The Spa at Sandpearl Resort, where I had the so-named 80-minute massage.
I was in Clearwater Beach to celebrate friends’ nuptials and, on the morning of the wedding and after a few days of enjoying all the beach’s block of bars, restaurants and pools had to offer, was eager for a few hours of solitude to unwind a bit before the happy celebration.
The AAA Four-Diamond Sandpearl Resort stands proud along the beachfront. I arrived late morning on a Sunday and, on my brief walk past the stunning pool area into the spa, could feel the buzz of guests looking to savor the last few moments of a weekend away.
Aside from my final destination, the spa, the resort also offers coastal-inspired guestrooms and suites; the only Four-Diamond restaurant on Clearwater Beach, Caretta on the Gulf; two other culinary outlets; a number of enrichment programs; 25,000 square feet of high-tech function space; and an art collection. Additionally, the resort boasts an impressive record for its efforts in environmental conservation as the first Silver LEED-certified resort in Florida. A number of innovative programs improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and water and natural resource conservation. Clean the World recycles guests’ leftover soap and shampoo to reduce waste and provide essentials to impoverished communities.
It’s obvious Sandpearl Resort is designed to meet the needs of many types of travelers. That balmy Sunday morning, it certainly met my expectations.
The Spa at Sandpearl offers a soothing atmosphere from the moment you enter. Reception, painted a warm beige, is small and personal rather than overwhelming and full of people. The tiled desk, in a similar shade to the walls, boasts a pop of color provided by an orchid on the desk. Inside, darkened rooms with muted beiges, browns and whites evoke the same sense of tranquility, and a large therapeutic whirlpool with cool showers beckons visitors before or after their treatment into either the soothing water or to a few minutes on the loungers surrounding it. Spa-goers can also enjoy private relaxation rooms or steam rooms. In addition to the seven treatment rooms, deluxe couple’s treatment suites include Swiss showers. A range of treatment options is accented by the fitness center, yoga, tai chi classes, bridal make-up and hairstyling services and waxing.
The spa’s philosophy, from its menu of choices to the serene accommodations, concentrates on reconnecting spa-goers with their inner soul and the outside world. Many treatments focus on a personalized approach, like my Signature Perfect Massage. My spa artisan, as they are referred to at The Spa at Sandpearl Resort, crafted the perfect massage for me based on my personal physical needs and wants. A myriad of modalities were used.
Other Signature-branded treatments include the 80-minute Body Ritual, with a dry brushing, exfoliation and a full-body massage; the Facial Radiance, using anti-aging technologies for firmness, elasticity and hydration; an indulgent manicure and pedicure with skin-softening materials and a paraffin mask; and the Ritual, approximately six hours of pampering, including the Body Renewal, Facial and nail services.
My preferences for any massage typically includes my shoulders, calves, feet and scalp. I’m sure I’ve said it many times before, but I cannot say no to having my scalp massaged. I find it to be the ultimate indulgence. And I’m usually seeking total bliss and relaxation from my treatments, so unless something is particularly bothering me, I opt for light pressure. As a result of this checklist, my therapist used a combination of Swedish and Lomi Lomi massage techniques. Both aim at relaxation and employ long and continuous strokes, working gently yet deeply into the muscles.
During a Swedish massage, the strokes focus in the direction of blood flow to help blood return to the heart, and the Lomi Lomi massage is known as a “loving hands” massage — both seemed quite fitting for a day I would be a guest at my friends’ wedding.
As I prepared to depart, I grabbed a copy of the spa brochure. The introduction contained a nugget of wisdom I’ve kept with me since my visit and will also remember as I depart any future spa and head back into the often chaotic world. Sometimes you need a reminder to step back and breathe. After finding your radiant center during your treatment, you are encouraged to “embrace this. It is yours to keep with you wherever your travels take you.”
The Spa at Sandpearl Resort
500 Mandalay Ave.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
tel 727 441 2425
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.
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