Spa Escapes

February 1, 2006 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Willow Stream: The Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Scottsdale, Ariz.
The desert has many secrets, and the serene desert attitude at The Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is the perfect locale for a romantic getaway with your sweetheart. Not sure your man will entertain the notion of going to a spa? He will now. Willow Stream is catering to couples. According to the friendly staff, men visiting spas is the next big thing. From the MVP sports-themed room (with plasma TVs, headphones and today’s newspaper) to private changing areas, there are many reasons your man will love Willow Stream. “Even the paint on the wall is called ‘pump iron gray,'” says Spa Director Jill Eisenhut of the lengths to which the Fairmont has gone to make men feel at home. Your man still not convinced? Here at Willow Stream, you’ll notice many treatments on the menu are geared explicitly for men. One of the facials offered is a super sport facial, specifically created for the man who is in the sun a lot. (Tennis or golf anyone?)

The Spanish colonial architecture and terra cotta color of the resort are the perfect compliment to the McDowell Mountains in the rugged Sonoran Desert. Willow Stream is a wonderful place to continue your self-directed journey toward a healthy and balanced life. The name means “relaxation,” with the wood of the willow representing strength and the water that pours through the stream representing the journey through life. The unique design was inspired by a place called Havasupai (pronounced Hah-vah-su-pie), a hidden waterfall oasis in the Grand Canyon.

The spa is three levels, all linked by a streaming waterfall. The first relaxation begins just by hearing the flowing water. The waterfall descends from the third level to the first into a waterfall Jacuzzi for both sexes. What a great way to loosen up your shoulders as the pouring water hits your back! This area is co-ed and a great place to spend time together before heading in for treatments. (Some of the spa treatments even begin in the waterfall!)

The women’s relaxation area is unique in many ways. The lockers don’t have keys (which are so easy to lose); there is a four-number lock to program. The wet area is also unique. A completely new experience is the inhalation room you visit before your treatments. It seems more like an upscale lounge with large red pillows, but you sit and inhale 100 percent eucalyptus. The steam room is person activated: It knows when you are in there! The treatment rooms are first class with recessed lighting, a back-lit bath tub and spa shower (two sets of jets overhead and along the side), and beveled lighting.

You can’t leave without experiencing the Arizona Aloe Body Wrap, given by skilled body worker Mark, which focuses on relaxation and re-hydration. You start with a light bath of chamomile and, then, step into a hot shower to completely rinse off. Aloe is applied, and then you are wrapped up in a cocoon. Sometimes wraps can be claustrophobic, but Mark keeps you at ease with a scalp massage, deep massage on your upper neck and then a foot massage. You’ll stay wrapped for at least 20 minutes, allowing your skin to soak up the aloe vera. Once the wrap is removed, relaxation is complete, as your body is doused in chamomile body lotion.

Moonlight dinner
In the moonlight atrium, you can each enjoy a bento box (spa lifestyle cuisine) meal before your treatment, which is served by candlelight. You pre-order your protein, veggie, grains and rice, dairy and sweets. It’s great because the portions are small and include a lot of different flavors, all light and refreshing. This is the type of meal that you can enjoy before a treatment and not feel too full and sluggish. Also, the feeling in this spa at night is very serene and personal; like you and your lover are the only patrons.

Barton Creek Resort &Spa Austin, Texas One of the best things about Barton Creek is its proximity to Houston. In just a little more than two hours, you are delivered to the rolling hills of Austin – definitely worlds away from Houston. Once you reach the grounds of Barton Creek, relaxation sets in almost immediately.

Barton Creek Resort &Spa has 300 well appointed rooms and 72 holes of championship golf. The courses are first rate here, as the ladies tees actually serve the purpose of equalizing the game; and with the streams flowing through the courses, you’re almost sure to see many forms of wildlife. A deer might even be on the green when you arrive! As good as the golf gets, the spa seemed to always play second fiddle at this otherwise lavish resort.

Not any longer. Thankfully, the full-service spa has just undergone a much-needed renovation. This expansive renewal has doubled the spa’s space and created new treatment options. If you’ve been to this resort before, hardly any of the spa is familiar – you have to really focus to see the resemblance of its former self. For example, the Jacuzzi is in the same place, but the old-lady pink-flamingo tiles have been replaced by earth tones.

The re-design had function in mind, as well as luxury. More of the treatment rooms are geared for famous body treatments like the Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit scrub. The final series of renovations included a redesigned women’s wrap room and a second scrub room; and a redesigned Vichy shower room to provide a setting for the Rainforest Body Rinse treatments.

To go along with their new digs, the spa treatment menu has been greatly expanded. One of the new focuses for the spa is the lymphatic treatments. The primary job of the lymph system is to identify toxins; it’s the second line of defense to our immune system. So, working specifically on the lymphatic system can help clear up a lot of issues.

Centre for Well Being at The Phoenician Scottsdale, Ariz. Entering the grounds of the Phoenician is an otherworldly experience. Like the mythical phoenix that rose from the ashes of its past to be reborn, this visual masterpiece resort, engulfed by Camelback Mountain, is the perfect setting for escape and relaxation. With a picturesque 18th hole on your right and an $8 million sculpture garden throughout, there are many reasons you may never leave the grounds until you head back to the airport.

You will be blown away by the nine tempting swimming pools. As soon as you sit down in a lounge chair, a pitcher of ice water is delivered to quench your desert thirst.

The big trend here is fitness. Guests are no longer happy with a small workout room and a facial. (We want more!) To this end, the spa is rounding out its offerings and elevating to the level of a destination spa with new classes, such as acupuncture, Chakra clearing and workshops led by lifestyle coaches. One of the new revolutionary programs resembles a boot camp and uses the 250 acres as an actual gym. Participants use rocks instead of weights, do yoga in the cactus garden and hike up Camelback Mountain. Included with the world-class gym are fitness classes like pilates and new additions like ballroom dancing.

Checking into the spa, your shoe size is input into the computer. This lets the attendant know which locker to assign, as they are differentiated by shoe size. You wait for your treatment in the Meditation atrium on the lower quieter level – a peaceful sanctuary where guided meditation classes and one-on-one meditation sessions are held.

You simply must try the decadent facial from the Pevonia line, the ultra-indulgent Myoxy caviar facial with granite stone massage. If you are concerned with lines and wrinkles, stress or environmental pollutants, this facial defends against the signs of time. Caviar is historically recognized as a key anti-aging ingredient, counteracting the trials of time and contains replenishing amino acids. The caviar is freeze-dried and “activated” while you are in the room. A thin film is laid over your face, and then the caviar is applied. It feels like a light mud; and as it dries, you receive a stone neck massage. It can be a little awkward trying to put the stones under your neck with out moving. But, the alternative, which would be just waiting patiently for the substance to dry, sounds way too boring. The coolest part of this treatment is the removal of the caviar. The mask is removed in its entirety – it stays in the form of your face, channeling “Phantom of the Opera.” The opulence of the Centre for Well Being extends to the casitas and rooms with the eucalyptus and grapefruit products that come in very generous portions. And for guests in search of enlightenment, these products are perfect for soaking in the Italian marble bath.

Afternoon tea
One of the true treats at this upscale resort is the opportunity to celebrate afternoon tea. From children with their grandparents to ladies celebrating a birthday, there is always a great reason to attend afternoon tea at The Phoenician.

The deluxe offering is the Grand Royal Tea, which includes sparkling wine, full tea and a three-course tasting menu. It starts with finger sandwiches, including smoked salmon, chicken salad and egg salad. The attendants come by many times to refill your plate if you are interested. The tea concluded with baked scones, fresh strawberry preserves and pastries. H

Essentials:
Willow Stream: The Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
?(480) 585-4848, www.fairmont.com
Barton Creek Resort &Spa
(800) 336-6158, www.bartoncreek.com
Centre for Well Being at The Phoenician
(800) 843-2392, www.centreforwellbeing.com

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