One of my favourite things to do when travelling is to visit spas.
One of life’s greatest indulgences, spas offer an array of services and treatments, for both men and women, meant to relax the body and soothe the soul. Each location has its own ambience and distinctive attributes. Here are a few notable spas from the southwest that I was fortunate to encounter this past year.
BODYSpa in Santa Fe, N.M., gives retreat in the middle of the city for every body and every budget. I chose the Therapeutic Massage with Alpine Arnica Rub. It uses an anti-inflammatory minty-smelling herbal gel to treat sore muscles, and your aches are gone in no time.
Also at BODY is a yoga studio, fitness classes, and the BODYBoutique where you can purchase goods from companies with fair-trade, sustainable and organic practices. Then there’s BODYCafe, serving up juices, smoothies, and cuisine for raw, vegan and other special diets. At first I was skeptical, but after sampling several dishes from an impressive raw menu that includes "fried" onion rings, pizza, and enchiladas, I became a believer.
North of Santa Fe is Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-style hot springs health spa tucked away in the forest on the western slopes of Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
They have nine baths, with choices of indoor or outdoor, communal or private, regular or premium. Ours was in a fenced-in courtyard with a rock garden, waterfall, large concrete pool, cold plunge, and sauna. It was the ultimate in serenity, and a little piece of paradise.
Combine several offerings into a luxury spa package, and Ten Thousand Waves will transform your spirit, mind and body. They perform the gamut of wraps, scrubs, glows and rub-downs. They also feature unique treatments like the Four Hands Massage, with two therapists dancing in unison, moving two sets of hands simultaneously. For 50 minutes I totally forgot where I was, what I had to do next, and even which way was up. It was extraordinary, and I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Fuchsia is the most popular day spa in Mesa, Ariz., and a fun fresh alternative. They play ‘chick flicks’ on flat screen TVs, put out bowls of candy, and play music from your iPod. They’ve got plenty of express services to choose from including manicures, pedicures, facials, airbrush tanning, and a blow-dry bar. If you spend a lot of time in the area, it would be worth it to purchase their monthly membership and receive complimentary services, generous discounts, and special offers and events.
Nearby in Phoenix, the Royal Palms Resort boasts the rustic splendor of a Mediterranean villa, with the majestic backdrop of Camelback Mountain. Stone walkways, fragrant groves and exotic foliage embellish the property. Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms offers signature treatments to indulge the senses, like the 80-minute Citrus Ritual that involves exfoliating scrub and massage, outdoor waterfall shower in a private garden, lounge chairs, fireplace, and an herbal whirlpool bath. Divine is the only way to describe it.
RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.