Archives for the month of: April, 2017

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I received quite the sentimental birthday gift(s) from a gentleman I’d recently met. One of those being a little envelope that said on it: “another one for the blog”. Enclosed was a gift card to the revered and beautiful Coronado Hotel Del Spa. I can’t begin to express how touched I was that this man took the time to not only read my blog, where so many of my personal beliefs can be found, but went out of his way to support my passion by gifting me an experience to reflect upon here. SO thoughtful.

So it began. I booked my service for a Sunday. A Sunday after a very heavy week that needed a little, no, a lot of relaxation and reflecting. I chose to receive the Del Signature Body Scrub, “a skin softening body exfoliation that combines sea salts with a light application of aromatic essential oils that leave your skin nourished, smooth and supple.”

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Seeing as I live in the city this spa is in,  I took the 25 minute drive over to the Coronado Island, parked in the adjacent parking lot, walked around the hotel to the left of the main entrance (I called prior to arriving to ask what the simplest route to the spa was), walked past the souvenir shop, the restaurants, the pool, and that beautiful expanse of ocean, and there tucked away at the end of this walkway was the Salon & Spa.

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I arrived promptly at 3pm where I was greeted by the receptionist who checked me in, then another woman greeted me and showed me to the fairly tight locker/changing room where I slipped into my bikini and put on my robe. I was asked to meet her outside the locker room where she then walked me over to a common area to meet my exfoliator Abe. Abe said hello and walked me to my room where this little experience was to take place.
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While it had stone floors and the walls were also clad in stone, the room still had a warm and zenful feeling to it, aided by the ambient music. I believe this is because scrubs can be somewhat messy so the room needs to be easily cleanable. Before exiting the room, Abe asked that I slip out of my bikini and lie face down first. He came back in and the treatment began. He first put a few dollops of the sea salt scrub along my arms and back, then he lightly rubbed it all over that area, and followed it up with another, more vigorous, scrub. The back of my thighs, calves and feet were the next area he treated. After my backside was done he professionally, and fluidly, had me turn over (he kneeled behind a towel he held up, which he would then lay over me as he rose) and then proceeded to help cover my breasts with another towel so to be able to exfoliate my neck, chest, and stomach. After he treated those areas he proceeded with my thighs, calves and feet. At this point I was in that zen-like trance that just happens during these treatments – and I’m pretty sure he forgot to scrub my left leg, but before I could say something he was asking me to wake out of my daze and head to the Swiss Shower to rinse off. The only way I could tell my leg hadn’t been scrubbed was by touching it, and nope, no sea salt on that left thigh. Oh well.

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Abe walked me to the Swiss Shower that he turned on for me, asked me to rinse off and told me he’d be waiting in the hall with a cup of water. The Swiss Shower has 3 stacked shower heads on 3 different walls along with a handheld showerhead; quite fun if I do say so myself. So I enjoyed this for a little bit, dried off and met Abe in the hall where he walked me back to my room and proceeded to moisturizer my entire body in the same manner he exfoliated. This time he remembered my left leg. 🙂 The treatment concluded with an essential oils neck and shoulder massage that felt delightful. Abe asked if the lighting was okay and told me to take my time leaving the room. After coming back to reality, I walked into the hall where Abe was waiting with water for me again. He showed me to the locker room and mentioned all of the amenities I could take advantage of. And that I did.
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The steam room and jacuzzi were tucked back in some corner of the facility that felt like quite the little gem due to the beautiful and bright ambiance this area had about it, along with a beautiful wall of mosaic tiles. (I’m a sucker for mosaics – and stained glass.) I decided to enjoy some time in the steam room first and then I relaxed And took some time to hang out in the jacuzzi. After drying off I headed into the Relaxation Room across the way; it also being a beautifully bright room where there were my favorite flavored teas, and little bites to eat like almonds, dried berries and even apples. I made some tea and cozied up in one of the chairs where I spent quite a bit of time taking it all in.

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After I was done in the Relaxation Room I walked out to the private infinity pool area to check out how the day was progressing weather wise and then made my way back to the locker room to get back into my clothes and check out.

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All in all it was such a lovely experience. The staff was nice and professional, the facility was clean, I enjoyed the service and amenities and it was everything a spa day should be – relaxing. I really don’t have much feedback for The Hotel Del Spa besides interior design comments like maybe updating some of the light fixtures, changing burnt-out lightbulbs, upgrading artwork and maybe more chic pillows. I tend to have an eye for amelioration. 😉

I feel so grateful to have been able to experience a spa day at such an iconic (and local!) Hotel & Spa. It was much needed and the fact that there was such a considerate gesture behind my ability to be in this moment, made it all the sweeter. If you’re reading this Cowboy, thank you.

Till the next spa experience!

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I’m in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, for my 30th birthday. I’ve always felt that if you don’t celebrate yourself who will at the end of the day? – And I’m not one to put things like that into the hands of others. I booked in mid February and so here I am. Other destination options were Cuba, Costa Rica and the Bahamas but I waited too long on flights, and Puerto was somewhat close – and new to me – for a 4 day trip. Some r&r under 80 degrees sun sounded like just what I needed. 

I’d done a little, very little, research on spas that I could visit prior to my trip, however I wasn’t finding anything appealing. (…Something that made much more sense once I got here – “spas” are EVERYWHERE – even on the beach at your feet if you want. Or the street corner. Or the hole in the wall.) So I acquiesced to just scouting a spa whilst here. And I’m really glad I did. I took to using Yelp the morning of my birthday while eating desayuno (breakfast) because I had nothing else to rely on other than tourists reviews and walking by basic kind of run-down spa setups. I really didn’t want to wind up somewhere unworthy of my birthday treat. I thought of making my way to one of the corporate hotels but felt that might be a cop-out and not supportive of local life. I found a 5 star review for a place called Metamorfosis in the neighborhood (The Romantic Zone) I was staying in and right up the street from where I was having desayuno. So afterward I walked the dos quadras (two blocks) and found the small store front where a beautiful and lively woman greeted me, Angie.  

It too was quite small but looked very cared for and not only was Angie extremely welcoming but allowed me to ask for a special service that wasn’t on their menu: a 30 minute facial (quickly becoming obsessed with these) combined with a 30 minute deep tissue massage. I booked an appointment for 3:00pm so that I could head back to my room and get into my bikini and go layout for a few hours before my appointment. Angie was a love and asked what I was doing for the day which is when I mentioned it was mi cumpleanos (my birthday) and that I was hoping to find myself at a nice relaxing beach where I could grab a drink and a bite. She suggested I check out a place called Swell, so that’s exactly what I did. Thank you Angie! I’ve now stopped in here everyday where the manager, Octavio, and other employees have been ever so gracious to me …seeing as I’m like the ONLY person traveling alone. Ha.

After turning my snow-white Irish and Swedish skin into my first layer of Mexican and Cherokee red-brown tan of the season, and consuming a margarita and a delicious watermelon salad, while turning down a thousand local beach vendors who walk by and ask you to buy things, I headed up the street for my spa day. 

Angie again greeted me with water and took me straight back to my own private room (where there were two beds 🙄…still not letting myself feel alone 😌) and I was given time to get nakey and under the sheet for my masseuse. Nancy began my massage by doing one side of my body at a time. It felt so good to be touched by such a strong hand after all the intense workouts I’d been putting myself through, and sleepless night (sooo much noise at my hotel!) and not so comfortable bed. After each side of my back was done she had me turn over in order to begin my refreshing and delicious facial. They use a Japanese product called Rejuvi. Smelt like oatmeal to me! There’s something about having certain spots on your face/head having pressure applied to that relieves a lot of stress. Nancy let the masque do its magic while she began massaging each half of the front side of my body. There was more massaging?! Heaven. After, Nancy removed the masque, pulled some blackheads (ow), moisturized my face, thanked me and left the room. Turns out they let my service become an hour and a half! How sweet was that!!? I felt so appreciated. 

I got dressed, and exited the room in a daze. I grabbed more water and checked out with the delightful Angie for only $50USD! I tipped 20% (customary here just like in the US). 

Overall it wasn’t exactly a “designed” space that I like to find myself experiencing but after seeing what my options were in this city i became grateful enough just for the services that were given with exemplary customer appreciation.

A little about my time here in Puerto…not sure I’ll be back with all the other places in the world there are left to visit. I’m simply happy I got to get out of town for a few days, have some down time, self-reflect and see new sights and practice my Spanish. I have zero complaints about service, I think it’s just a very touristy, alcohol drinking town, with a lot of junk for sale and it probably wasn’t the best idea to go it alone seeing as if I was with someone I could have gone on a lot more adventures. 

A few quotes I’ve found about traveling alone that I really like:

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae C. Jemison

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you are always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts (One of my mantras – “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” & “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”) 

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn – which is what life is all about.” – Oprah Winfrey

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou

“If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” – Angelina Jolie