Taking The Waters
Like taking the plunge into a beautiful spring of an old European spa town, the bathing experience at the Boca Raton Resort’s Waldorf Astoria Spa is like no other in the U.S. For one thing, the 54,000-square-foot spa is the second largest in the world (the largest is in China), and the colorfully tiled water treatment areas are drop-dead gorgeous. But more to the point, the Ritual Bath is a series of out-of-this world thermal and water therapies in a large dark blue and aqua tiled interior space inspired by Moroccan baths and Spain’s Alhambra Palace. The multifaceted experience is relaxing yet stimulating, and a fascinating means of improving our day-to-day health and ability to solve problems.
Amid grand arches, beautiful mosaics, candlelight, soft music and doting attendants, I was transported (without my phone) to a bubbling, rectangular shaped, marble edged bath. Completely nude—or, if you are modest, buy a chic Michelle Farmer bathing suit in her namesake boutique located near the spa in the hotel lobby—I descended three steps and landed in the steamy hot water of my personal soaking tub. Covered in locally sourced honey mango bubbles, I scrubbed my body of impurities with matching gel, and splashed Vitamin C on my face while sipping a delicious passion fruit sorbet.
This 15 minutes of bliss detoxifies the body, rejuvenates and hydrates the skin, boosts the immune system, enhances the respiratory system, relieves stress, relaxes the muscles, cleanses the body and increases circulation. From there, the attendant led me across the room to the Swiss Shower, a super stimulating experience with 100 powerful shower heads rushing, gushing atop me in a cascade of water. Try both hot and cold temperatures for a memorable torrential water soaking experience.
Next is the deluge, a warm water massage in a plunge pool with strong jets loosening the muscles, stimulating the body to release natural stress, reducing endorphins and increasing blood circulation. After five to seven minutes, I ended the Ritual Bath experience with a soak in the large communal whirlpool bath located in the center of the room under a pagoda surrounded by marble columns.
Candles glowed while I indulged the feeling of lightness during one last moment of aquatic tranquility. Then I was led away for a massage and rehydrating session with fruit infused cups of water in front of a massive stone fireplace and 10,000 feet of colorful gardens filled with waterfall pools. Eureka! I learned that a hot bath and European-inspired design can cure most anything! bocaresort.com
Stunning blue salt stone walls, a view of the sea like experienced on a cruise ship, and a heavenly water treatment atop a shiny table… Sound too good to be true? Well, this experience is brand new and offered by Hyde Hollywood’s tranquil oceanfront emena (which means me) spa.
The Okeanos (ocean) Massage with soothing background music takes place inside of a large shower with a panorama of the ocean that is hard to resist. My imaginative and erudite therapist concocted the treatment to take advantage of the ocean view and her knowledge of the human body and its need for professional movements amid torrents of pulsating water. She was eager to be sure all of my senses were tapped to the max: emotions, scents, the sight of sky blue waves, hydrating body comfort and spiritual joy.
While face down on the table with my head turned toward the sea, she started an oil massage to relax my muscles. She used a mix and match of lavender, ylang-ylang (from the tropical ananda odorata tree in India) and orange blossom. The manipulations were made to order for my tight neck, lower back pain from dancing while holding my dog, and, of course, the usual issues with my former broken foot. Then came the green tea scrub with avocado oil and Vitamins B and C to exfoliate my skin in preparation for the hurricane of water. This aquatic massage was the most exciting part of the treatment because shower heads popped out from above and below, on the sides, and seemingly from every nook and cranny in this gigantic stone shower space.
While covered with towels, I was drenched in oceanic splendor as the therapist performed her water tricks in an artistic rhythmic motion in tandem with the movement of the shower heads. This segment enriches the skin and offers a full-blown dose of well-being. It ends with a hydrating coconut body lotion that smells like the Caribbean. I exited the shower space through an adjoining room filled with candles, lanterns, copper urns and tranquil island-esque music to cap one of the finest spa experiences I have indulged. hydehollywoodbeach.com
My Starship Enterprise landed without Spock, yet the excitement of my own personalized star trek began anyway! I may not be a mixed human Vulcan, but the I was the star of the Libra Table in the Ame Spa & Wellness Collective at JW Marriott’s Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa.
The Libra table by Gharieni is so high-tech I didn’t realize that I was being lifted atop its warm and relaxing air-filled mattress until I was actually plunked down. The exclusive table/machine incorporates chromatherapy (changing colored lights) and space-age sound therapy with its well-choreographed water pulsations. Totally immersed in soothing yet energetic sounds and warm cascading waters, I was transported to my own Milky Way for an invigorating Bamboo Scrub by Natura Bisse.
With water gushing all around, the able therapist performed a bamboo micro-fibers exfoliation removing toxins and impurities from my skin’s surface. But what made this water-skin treatment so exhilarating was a simultaneous use of these water sounds and color. For example, orange is used to enhance moods, positive thinking and the desire for physical and mental exploration; yellow liberates and awakens personal power and awareness, plus it stimulates healing; green is for harmony and regeneration, hope and creating balance and the rhythm of life; purple is for relaxation, renewal and reawakening meditative time, place and spirituality; and blue is celestial, peaceful, cooling, cleansing, calming and quieting.
I picked blue to tame my Type A personality and it worked instantly, as I felt like I was rolling along a whooshing wave on an uninhabited island. After the exfoliation, the therapist donned hand held jets of water to increase the water explosion above. This was completed with a relaxing polish of orange blossom oxygenated oil. After arising from a complete state of bliss, I headed for the aroma-, chroma- and music therapy steam room, then the Himalayan salt suite, and finally the Swiss shower where more water jets drenched me in happiness. marriott.com/hotels/travel/miajit-jw-marriott-miami-turnberry-resort-and-spa
Who knew a red light could help the digestive system? After being hoisted horizontally atop the Aemotio Spa bed by Lemi, the Italian wellness brand, I realized it was warm and waterproof with a cushion top. Soon, I heard soothing sounds of water. Before I knew it, I was undergoing the mineral rich Detox & Renew treatment that takes place as part of the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort’s high-tech Aemotio Spa process.
My therapist prepped me for a mud bath by conducting a strong body exfoliation with sweet-smelling fibers. Above the adjustable bed was the innovative red light therapy that aids stomach issues as it detoxes the body and puts the mind at ease. Once the Italian clay was massaged into my body, I felt very relaxed and surprised at its lovely, otherworldly scent. This clay treatment is good for aches and pains, joint issues, fatigue, firming of the skin, improved circulation and other maladies that strike busy people of all ages. While the clay dried, the therapist wrapped me in a special cover that captured the aromatherapy steam coming from this amazing multifaceted machine that looked like a cross between a snazzy yacht stateroom and a futuristic robot. Simultaneously, he gave me a scalp massage experience that was both tranquil and exhilarating.
After about 15 minutes, six Vichy water jets sprayed me in a wonderful vibromassage as the red light continued to perform its magic from above. Once cleansed of the clay, I was transported to an adjoining flat table where the therapist massaged me with citrus oil to firm and tone, and of course, further relax my mind. This treatment left nothing undone, and when it ended, I was so calm and collected, it was hard to leave. carillonhotel.com
Washing away our sins was originally associated with Eleusis, a city in ancient Greece where secret ceremonies began with a jaunty purge in the sea. Today, the new Spa at Auberge in Fort Lauderdale focuses its anthology treatments on the healing properties of the sea, along with salt, sand and sound. So it makes sense that I was greeted by the peaceful sights and sounds of water.
In the oceanfront lobby, the sound of water splashing from three giant tubes aimed at a shapely stone tub with a marble surround set the tone as I made my way to a seductive white treatment room for the soothing, water drenched Beach Body Tone. This tabletop water treatment is designed to shape and rejuvenate the body with plant stem cells, orange mimosa extracts and shaping massage treatments coupled with micro-currents to deliver a full body treatment while listening to the tranquil background sounds of falling water coming from highly technical showers.
I chose Zen music which didn’t interfere with the gush of the water while the talented therapist exfoliated my dead skin with a scrub consisting of lemon verbena, which is a South American shrub that the therapist artfully mixed with sugar. This segment was followed by a bubbling mud wrap of volcanic clay infused with ginger which remained on my body (I was wrapped like a mummy) during an intense neck and shoulder massage. This tones and resurfaces the skin and shapes the areas that need it. Such a unique collaboration of products and toning movements amid the sound of water ends with a gushing 10-minute steam shower in the stylized shower arena. Here, I was virtually drenched with exploding waters coming upon me from high, rinsing, cleansing and creating a sense of well being.
The treatment continued while I was supine on a table during the application of micro-currents from a novel body machine manipulated by the therapist. This process further firmed my skin tone and was followed by a coat of hydrochloric gel that hydrates the skin. Since clay takes a great deal of water out of the body, I drank a few glasses after the treatment ended. Besides feeling energized yet relaxed, I was purged of daily toxins and ready to conquer my next challenge. aubergeresorts.com