Monday, November 26, 2012

Spa Girl Celebrates the Holidays Spa Hopping

I am off to sunny California in a week to visit as many spas as my VISA can handle.  I am looking forward to visiting those I have researched and discover those who have alluded my spa girl eye!  I am also looking forward to trying out some of the best spa cuisines.
Wellness, and looking great, is a serious business in sunny California, so it will come as no surprise that the state is home to the highest number of exceptional health, beauty and wellness centers in the United States.

If I get the opportunity between this spa extravaganza I will post some stories, if not, Spa Girls blog will overflow in the new year. 

Here is my wish list, in no particular order...

The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa
One of San Francisco's most beloved hotels, The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa beautifully captures the flair of this city. The discreet Huntington has drawn heads of state, celebs and world travelers to its prestigious address on Nob Hill since 1924. Unwind in the antique-strewn and Feng Shui arranged Nob Hill Spa for dreamy treatments such as an Alchemy Transformation Massage, Vitamin C Facial and the Seaweed Leaf Body Ritual. Eighteen-foot high windows with spectacular views of the city skyline surround the infinity indoor pool.

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

This historic and celebrated resort, surrounded by scenic hills and mountains, features a full health spa and a championship golf course. Five restaurants feature dishes made from locally grown ingredients. Spa Ojai welcomes guests with warm, exotic rooms featuring a variety of massages and treatments. A long list of mind and body fitness classes is also available.

Montage Laguna Beach and Spa Montage

Set on an oceanfront bluff with sweeping panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and striking Craftsman-style architecture, this luxury beach resort commands 30 lushly landscaped acres in the heart of the picturesque arts community of Laguna Beach making it the ideal choice for a seaside getaway or vacation. Here in our vibrant artists' colony of Laguna Beach where mountains and sea converge, we draw inspiration from nature to bring all aspects of your life into artful balance.We combine our therapists' extensive knowledge with the ocean's many beneficial properties and a wealth of soothing indigenous botanicals to renew, refresh and boost the immune system.
Let us re-connect your body and mind with treatments that detoxify, replenish and balance, then enhance body and spirit with your choice of a personal fitness program or wellness class as ocean breezes caress your skin.

Big Sur`s Esalen Institute

The list of visitors who have passed through the doors of Big Sur’s Esalen Institute reads like a who’s who of intriguing--and talented--individuals: Bob Dylan, Ansel Adams, Aldous Huxley, Susan Sontag, Deepak Chopra—each searching for knowledge, personal improvement, and perhaps something else within. Perched on a Pacific bluff, the grounds alone are enough to stir your soul: 120 acres of craggily glorious Big Sur land and seascape. Add to that Esalen’s diverse intellectual and spiritual offerings—500 workshops a year for just about anyone who wants to stretch and learn--spiritually, mentally, and even physically in yoga classes. Looking for a little less self-reflection and a little more pampering? Esalen massage is its own brand of nirvana, and you can also take a soak in cliff-hugging hot springs.

Rancho La Puerta

High in the desert an hour from San Diego, is Rancho La Puerta. Considered the original destination spa, Rancho La Puerta features romantic architecture, an organic farm, lush gardens, and even a cooking school. Rancho La Puerta boasts hiking trails, swimming pools, whirlpools, saunas, and various sport courts. It's no wonder that this spa has been dubbed a “summer camp for adults.”

Kenwood Inn and Spa Hotel

A small hotel engulfed by ivy, roses, herbs and thick fig and olive trees. All rooms and suites have feather beds, Italian linens, fireplaces, full bathrooms and private entrances. The inn's spa was the first Vinotherapie center to open in the United States, and offers a full menu of exclusive treatments that rely on the anti-aging properties of grape-derived extracts. Among the spa's signature treatments are the Kenwood Wine Bath and the Kenwood Wine Wrap.

Milliken Creek Inn Hotel

This hotel sits on the banks of the meandering Napa River --- a peaceful and elegant setting for a serene and sophisticated escape. Fireplaces, French bath salts and fine Frette linens are just some of the delights of this Inn.  The beautiful Milliken Creek Spa, situated riverside, caters solely to hotel guests, ensuring that each client benefits from the most private and pampering experience possible.

Solage Calistoga Hotel

It boasts the usual: a luxurious spa, gourmet restaurant and expansive pool. But it has the unusual, as well: a commitment to ecological practices, Pilates and yoga classes and free cruiser bikes for guests to use at their leisure. Spa Solage features volcanic mud treatments, as well as facials and products from Kate Somerville, one of Hollywood's favorite skin care gurus. Foodies will be glad to hear that on-site SolBar restaurant serves some of the best fare in the area.

Auberge du Soleil Hotel

This Napa Valley resort, whose French name translates to "Inn of the Sun," has a reputation as one of the world's finest hotels. Adobe-style buildings nestled throughout the wooded property contain a total of 50 guest rooms, most of which offer breathtaking views of vineyards, olive trees and hills. Guests can soak up some sun at the recently redesigned outdoor living area called La Plage; its centerpiece, the pool, glows with a pebble-sheen floor inlaid with Italian mosaic tiles and mother-of-pearl. 

Parker Palm Springs

Consistently named one of the country’s top ten spas by Condé Nast Traveler, the spa at Parker Palm Springs is an oasis of health and beauty at an elegant, country club–style resort. After hitting the tennis courts or renting a mountain bike to explore nearby trails, unwind with a “rubdown”—whether it be Thai, hot stone, or create-your-own. Then get glowing with a sugar body scrub or beautify with The Matriarch, an anti-aging facial that features an elaborate facial massage.

Best Spas in California by Anitra Brown, Guide

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spa Girl says HEAT it up...

I took a much needed hiatus from Spa Girl during an exceptional busy time at work, but I'm back with a post on HEAT!

I enjoyed a fabulous massage yesterday.  It was the first day the weather turned ugly.  It was cold and snowy and the roads were a mess.  As I literally skidded my way to my appointment I wondered if it was worth it, an hour and a half later, I can honestly say it was!

I have not been practicing what I preach, so this week I'm having back to back massages, the first being a relaxing massage, the second with my RMT at home, which I love.

My relaxing massage therapist is just amazing and she definitely has intuitive skills that make her an exception.  Her meticulous and temperate touch often put me fast asleep!  Yesterday I was so tense and overdue for a massage she added some additional modalities to her traditional body work, some hand and forearm stretches (much to much computer work), hot stones and warming blankets.  Oh yes, and a new aromatherapy oil blend that infused the room with the exotic scent of tropical flowers.

Our bodies love heat and during a massage this can be a great advantage to a successful outcome, especially if you haven't been paying attention to your sore muscles.  

As Leslie Bruder writes, "Heat opens the muscles and relaxes the joints, which helps to penetrate the tissue more easily and leaves clients less sore from deep work. Meanwhile, by providing warmth in your massage sessions, your clients will feel more nurtured and leave your care with a lasting glow to shield them from the cold outside."

So when the weather outside is frightful, remember to ask for some HEAT! 

Heat Techniques Nurture Clients, by Leslie Bruder

Leslie Bruder, a massage therapist for more than 25 years, holds a master’s degree in psychology and a certificate in integrated body psychology. She has taught in numerous massage schools and spas, and holds workshops in the art of touch throughout the United States and Mexico.

What Is Hot Stone Massage? Don't Get Burned With This Warming Treatment, by Anitra Brown, Guide

How to Get-Rid of Sore Muscles

There are 64 ways to massage - which is right for you?