Archives for category: spa

Sevilla is something else. Being a California girl, I love me some sunshine, and especially cities that are close to large bodies of water (read: oceans or seas). Sevilla, (‘Sah-vee-yah’ – if you know anything about Spanish – and Seville ‘Sah-vill’ if your native tongue is English), on the other hand is not an oceanfront city. It has the Guadalquivir river running through it and due to where it is located in proximity to the equator it has plenty of sunshine at a time of year that most European countries are lacking the vital vitamin D. So you can imagine after enduring 5 very long winter months in the Czech Republic how one could be more than anxious to absorb some sun and see beautiful spring blossoms come April in Sevilla.

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My boyfriend, being Spanish, and knowing my wanderlusting and fashionista heart planned a trip to Sevilla for us both. It must be mentioned though that he is just the absolute funnest – is that a word? He kept the destination of our trip a secret until I could guess; only giving hints every other day beforehand and allowing me one question every day until I could guess the place correctly. After narrowing down that it was 1) in Spain and 2) during a very special week in this mystery city, I started my research. 

I came upon La Féria de Abril – a week long beautiful Spanish culture festival. Here is Wikipedia’s definition which is quite accurate (after having attended): 

“For the duration of the fair, the fairgrounds and a vast area on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River are totally covered in rows of casetas (individual decorated marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground). These casetas usually belong to prominent families of Seville, groups of friends, clubs, trade associations and political parties. From around nine at night until six or seven the following morning, at first in the streets and later only within each caseta, there are crowds partying and dancing sevillanas, drinking Sherry, manzanilla or rebujito, and eating tapas. This fair also has an amusement park that comes with it and has lots of games to play along with roller coasters to ride.”

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Now, enough about La Feria de Abril and a little more about what I’m actually here to talk about: my spa day at AIRE – even though, I’ll be sharing a lot of photos from the fair at the bottom of this post!

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I have visited two of this company’s other locations: New York (once) & Barcelona (twice). So for me to be checking out another location was quite exciting, especially because each of the locations has its own unique layout due to always being built in a historic building and in the city’s best neighborhood. The one thing that isn’t different, the incredibly surreal feeling this spa brand/concept invokes.

This time at AIRE I was accompanied by “my couple” – as my boyfriend calls me. Spanish to English term? European term? Still haven’t figured that out but I like it nonetheless! I think he means “partner”.

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Upon entering, after a photo-op outside the spa in the famous alleyways of Sevilla, we were greeted by the front desk and management who gave us a warm welcome. We were then led through the sunny and quaint interior courtyard to a stairwell with a beautifully carved wood ceiling where we ascended to the second level where the entrance to the men and women’s locker room was and where we changed into our swim attire. Side note: I was distraught because I forgot my bikini. This visit, with the view and photo-op you’re about to see, was the reason I purchased it, but thank heavens AIRE has a black one piece swimsuit you can use if something like this happens. Distraught I tell you. One job, and I mess up; nobody’s perfect I guess. Anyway! 

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After changing, my “couple” and I met at the entrance of the locker room where an attendant was waiting to escort us down into the bathing facilities which would be enjoyed prior to our individual 30 minute massages and wine bath. Yes, I said a bath in wine. 

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The baths layout was bit tighter in some walkways than in the other AIRE locations I have been in; AIRE makes up for this with the vaulted ceiling in the transparent blue and glowing warm pool whose walls are a deep burgundy red and where you can find a giant Moroccan style chandelier hanging just heads-height over the water giving an otherworldly dimension to the space.

We alternated between pools, plunges and the jacuzzi before being escorted to a private glass-doored vault-like room that contained a wall entirely for the storage of wine bottles and, best of all, the large stone basin where we would be enjoying our wine bath. Unfortunately I was not able to get photos in the premises of the baths this time around.

A few steps up into the stone basin allowed us to descend into the deep washtub where the faucet was on and gushing red wine into the tub; pouring onto our feet and quickly around our bodies – just amazing. I felt like a goddess. The wine bath experience is paired with a shoulder, neck and head massage and then topped off with a glass of wine and healthy snack and a few extra private minutes to enjoy the wine waters.

If the current state of euphoria wasn’t at it’s precipice, it was heightened when after the wine bath we were ushered to our own room where we would then enjoy a private 30 minute massage in dark aromatic room on one of the upper levels of the building. The thing I love about an AIRE massage is the, quite literally, finishing touches. When they remove your bikini strap from off your shoulder it is a delicate and sensual removal. When they remove the towel, they slowly and intimately let the last fiber of the towel touch your skin. When they are done massaging a section of your body they almost tickle your skin with the last bit of their fingers. Dare I say it’s a bit erotic? In any case it’s gentle and is a smooth transition to the preceding action, leaving you to continue feeling relaxed.

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After being awoken back into reality, I was met in the hallway by my couple where we were then taken to the picturesque terrace that included a rooftop pool, awaiting us in privacy, with the Cathedral and Giralda Tower just off in the viewable blue-sky distance. A pair of sunglasses might have been nice at this moment though. After being in darkness for over an hour and a half and the re-immerging into a sunny atmosphere with reflective water and white architecture surrounding us, my sensitive blue eyes could hardly take in all that there was to see!

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One of the staff members brought us not only our choice of wine with grapes, cheese and bread bites but also two flutes of champagne. Needless to say, the state of euphoria I was in 45 minutes ago was brought to a state of ecstasy. AIRE does it again – bringing otherworldly bliss to earth. We snapped a few photos and video, shared some sweet moments together and then gathered ourself to prepare for the rest of our short stay in Sevilla.

All in all, Sevilla is incredible. I love the people all across Spain. The sunshine, the spring air was much needed. La Feria de Abril was incredible; having my partner’s friends there to experience the fair with made it all the merrier. We stayed at the Mercer Hotel which was impeccably designed (minus the squeaky bed and frames that randomly fell off the wall). I cannot wait to enjoy more time in this part of Andalusia and explore all it has to offer!

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What a dream London is. Truly, a star!

My first time in Lodnon may have well been a once in a lifetime kind of trip (let’s hope not). I have to give credit where credit is due so I don’t have to dance around the fact that this whole weekend was an early birthday present from my beau (who lives in Barcelona, Spain, and I in Prague) and a gift for us to spend more time together. I am positive I would have gone to London this year had I not met mi amore (as we call each other) but I would most certainly not have seen and experienced London in such a sophisticated way. #grateful

To skip the mushy gushy details of the weekend I will jump into the spa treatment and amenities I experienced there.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetWe flew in on Friday afternoon checked into the Mondrian London – on the Thames river(!) – …went for a walk along said river in the rain … oh yea, no mushy gushy details! 😉 We planned to have our joint spa day in the hotel’s “Agua Spa” Saturday morning. So after an incredible dinner at Sketch London (highly recommend) Friday night, we awoke Saturday, went down for breakfast in the beautiful water-front restaurant and then made our way through the hotel, down to the second level where the direct elevator dropped us off at the reception desk of the spa. We were quickly attended to and asked to sit down in the bright and white lobby and fill out a questionnaire on an iPad.

Might I mention how much I am loving these “tucked” sofas as I have been seeing them called. This had more of a banquette style than an actual sofa but the tailored and tight look of it was great.

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Anyway, shortly after we finished with the iPad we were taken back into the glowing white sinuously walled premises of the spa. Mi amore chose to have an 80 minute manicure and pedicure while I opted for an 80 minute facial. The nail salon was at the entrance to the facilities so he and I parted ways here and the attendant guided me into the women’s locker room where she showed me how to use the lock on the locker and then where to wait for my esthetician.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetI undressed, knowing my facial was going to also include my décolletage, slipped into my robe and slippers and made my way to the relaxation room.

Let’s pause here and talk about the relaxation room (first photo). Can you say on point? Literally! What a unique way to make a (what could be meek) space into something so sensual and artistic by way of color, sculpture, elements, textures and space planning. They brought the sinuous lines of the walls into the room by creating a stair-like and pillowed seating area in one corner of the room. And with help of angled white curtains, terry-clothed lounge chairs were segregated into their own area that viewed onto the water sculpture. And of course no relaxation room is complete without the tea and snacks console. A gorgeous use of space. It’s incredible how shapes, colors and elements can transform four walls.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMoving on. I went into this relaxation room where my esthetician promptly came to retrieve me. She was a sweet young woman who smiled, and walked me to the room where she asked me to de-robe and lie on the facial bed face-up under the towels while she exited the room. One thing I want to mention that I appreciated was that I asked for her to grab some chapstick (as I forgot mine beforehand and did not want to sit through a facial appointment with chapped lips) and sure enough when she came in and began her techniques it was the first thing she applied. I also asked her if she could tell me what she was doing as she began a new cleaning technique or nourishment product to my face – and that she did!, in a very non-intrusive way.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThe facial I selected was the Signature Treatment defined as “Lifting. Firming. Draining. Take that, ageing and stress.” I cannot recall the exact order of procedures or products throughout the facial but what I do know is everything was organic and natural. And I felt cleannn afterward. Two of the products I do recall was the honey mask application she used to exfoliate my skin and the toner that was full of herbs and essentials, and of course, rose water. It smelt heavenly. The honey exfoliation, which I mention because I want to try at home, was and is basically a great black head remover. Apply it like you would any other masque but throughout the time it sits on your face, you are using your [clean] fingers to dab at your face and lift the dirt out with the stickiness of the honey. Sounds yummy right? A must try for sure!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetOne, or should I say a few, of my favorite parts about a facial is when they 1) include the décolletage area 2) they massage your shoulders and neck 3) they give you a scalp massage & 4) give your face a good pressurized massage. I received all 4 favorite parts, however I would have liked her to apply a bit more pressure to those key areas of the face: temples, nostrils, sides nose ridge / eye sockets, jaw etc.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMy facial came to an end, which mind you didn’t feel too long or too short – it was perfect timing. She stepped out of the room and told me to take my time getting up. After relishing in the moment and feeling grateful for her, this weekend, mi amore, life, my health and more…I put my robe back on and stepped out of the room where she greeted me with a glass of water. She walked me over to the relaxation room and offered me tea or coffee. I opted for the tea, of course. White tea that is. She wrapped me up into one of the lounge chairs and the sleeping bag-like blanket where I got real comfy and began my hour long lounge of editing photos, and sipping tea in peace…right in front of the beautiful water sculpture.

She had asked at the end of my facial if I would like any recommendations, which of course I always appreciate. I mean, how often does someone who studies and manages skin on the daily, study my skin for 80 minutes? Hardly ever. I’ll for sure take feedback! I do believe you can only get better (or maintain in this case) by receiving feedback.

I was extremely happy to hear her report that my skin is very “flexible and healthy.” She proceeded to ask me if I get regular facials. Um, wow – talk about a compliment! Sadly, I had to report, no. Her opinions were a relief though because I had actually been dealing with an allergic reaction exactly a week prior. And leading up to London was nursing skin that basically felt like it had been burned, which resulted in an acne flare-up (small whiteheads and red spots), and left me with dry alligator-feeling skin and spotting for a week – all a female’s worst nightmare. I have had acne, bad acne in my mid 20’s (also a nightmare), but never have I had an allergic reaction on my face to any thing. So needless to say I was minor-ly freaking out. I live in a foreign country (Czech Republic) with no health insurance quite yet, so I don’t have access to a doctor who could tell me how to help my skin. Therefore I turned to Dr. Google, friend recommendations and maintaining faith in my good regenerative health and keeping any and everything off of my skin. A week later I was doing much better. And after this facial and her comments much much better. So!, you can see why her comments made me feel quite hopeful.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAfter lounging with my new glow for some time, I went into the locker room, changed back into my clothes and made my way out to get that afternoon pick-me-up cappuccino so we could head out and explore the beautiful city of London – traditional English weather and all!

What I loved about this spa is that it really hit home with it’s concept of being “Agua” Spa – agua: meaning water in Spanish. The mere walk into this facility invoked the feeling of the restorative power that nature’s most crucial element offers us homo sapiens, to be clean, to be nourished, and capable of thriving. Nowadays many spas call themselves something related to rejuvenation and we get it: it’s the spa thing to do. But when a spa drives home the conceptual idea from business name to the spa itself’s paradigm then to it’s interior experience, it’s something else. It’s exceptional.

Some may know and relate to this: facials come at a price…yes, the actual price but I am talking about the aftermath of a facial. Due to your face being cleaned and extracted, sometimes in the coming days you will receive the lovely gift of a pimple here and there. This is caused by the dirt in your skin having been urged to the surface by the facial and eventually showing face, quite literally. So needless to say, I had a few blemishes show up, but nothing too crazy. Thankfully!

Overall I highly recommend a visit to this spa – and hotel. They have everything you need. The location is incredible for going and doing the sights and sounds London has to offer. Service was always on point and the design was killer: modern, sexy, yet cozy.

Till next time London, cheerio!

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2 and a half years ago I visited the surreal, and worldwide, spa brand AIRE Ancient Baths in Barcelona, Spain.

Six months ago, right before I set out on this journey of living abroad, I met someone in San Diego who connected me to some new friends in Barcelona who actually work for the incredible AIRE Ancient Baths. What were the odds I meet someone who knew people that are involved with the company whose concept I couldn’t be more obsessed with?! Truly lucky – or blessed as I like to believe.

After setting foot in Barcelona and introducing myself I was graciously welcomed back to the spa for a second visit as an “influencer” – which meant a VIP day of treatment. Forever grateful for the serendipity in my life!

So! Now for the VIP experience, given to me (and my German girl friend/guest, Johanna, who lives in BCN) by my new friend(s).

On this beautiful February Barcelona Sabado (Saturday) morning my friend and I made our way to AIRE Ancient Baths, around the corner from where Johanna, and I once, lived at 11am. (This was Johanna’s first time experiencing AIRE.) Due to our VIP access we were asked to arrive at a time that would allow us to enjoy privacy upon entering the locker rooms and undressing. After changing into our bathing suits and robe we made our way to the underground lair of the spa and bathing experience. After descending a glass-railed candle-lit stairwell we were greeted by a sweet employee who informed us we would be sought after while bathing when our massage appointment was to begin, and directed us to where we could take off and hang our robes.

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Johanna and I began by making ourselves a cup of tea that is supplied throughout the facility on a low and wide Moroccan style, candle-lit (of course), table, along with water in the marble lined relaxation room. Shortly after a few photo ops we made our way to the Tepidarium (Warm Bath 36ºC) where we waded for quite some time. Nearby were two “Frigidarium’s” (or cold plunge pools 16ºC) (my absolute favorite), so we worked up the nerve – literally – and dipped our body’s in, neck deep for about 5 seconds (should be longer!) and then moved to the Caldarium (or hot pool 40ºC) pool to warm back up.

After this we made our way to the sauna/steam room for a good 10 minutes, followed by a few minutes in the Balneum pool (Bath of a Thousand Jets), then to the pinnacle of the experience: the ever-so-cool Flotarium (or salt bath/pool) #floating(!). We seized another photo-op here, of course. It’s actually very very faux pas to take photos during a spa experience, however, our access granted the permission to do so – so long as I did not capture any of the other guests in the shot.

We continued to bathe in the amenities, and drink tea for a total of about 2 luxurious hours while we awaited notice of our massage. Once we were retrieved for our massage appointment we were guided into our own private room of two massage beds where Johanna and I could stay and enjoy this experience next to each other.

I had reported to my new friends of AIRE that last time I was at AIRE Barcelona (see blog post here) my massage felt much more like a tickle than a deep tissue massaging; frustrating to one who is need of a very physical massage. So, this time, my dear friend of the spa requested the strongest masseuse for my second massage with AIRE. & I am happy to report the massage was incredible. It was only 30 minutes, due to the short notice of being in BCN, in combination with peak season beginning, but it felt like hours of bliss. Every touch was so thought out and sensual. From the delicate taking off of my bikini strap to the swift and delicate placement of the towel to the unabashed massaging of the hip regions, it was like a beautiful dance the masseuse performed in order to allow you to reach a level of relaxation ecstasy. True rejuvenation.

After our massage was complete our bikinis and robes were put back on us and and we were guided into the lounge area where we we were offered a selection of beverages. I chose the fresh green juice and we made our way back down into the relaxation area of the spa lair.

We sat in the relaxation area upon the marble and enjoyed the benefits of our massage and lighter feeling bodies for a bit, and then decided to call it a day. What a special spa day it was. I am so happy I was able to enjoy it with a friend, being that it was her birthday weekend and all, and also grateful to have been given such special access and treatment. I truly felt like una reina (a queen)!

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Again, I highly recommend a visit to one of AIRE’s 10, and growing, locations. Chicago just recently opened, and London is scheduled to open in April of 2019. And there’s one more on the horizon that is top secret for now! You will not be disappointed in a visit to AIRE – as there is not as sophisticated of a modern ancient bathing experience that can compete with what AIRE creates for your sensations and rejuvenation.

Gracias, AIRE! ❤

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I’ve landed in this absolutely beautiful city of Barcelona and couldn’t be more in love with this place, and chapter in my life. I’ve been here for 3 weeks and 2 days now and I couldn’t have chosen a better time to be here given the state of affairs with Catalonia’s declaration of independence from Spain…and the gorgeous change in season I am witnessing. There are no words for Autumn in this Mediterranean climate.

For those who don’t know, I am pursuing an entirely remote career. And trust, it is not easy. I have some work right now but not enough to sustain myself, so I’m actively looking and I have a huge amount of faith in these kind of things (especially when you’re putting in the work) and I have a ton of backup plans thanks to all the amazing people in my life. The goal really is to live in Europe for at least a year, learn Spanish and gain a remote career(s). I am currently a freelance copywriter and doing some creative directing for a startup coffee brand. It’s definitely a switch of gears from my prior interior design career, but there’s no doubt I will circle back to it if not be able to incorporate my experience within that field into a future project. I’m really excited to see where my skills, talents and interests land me in the next year.

I knew coming here I wanted to get in the best shape of my life. All the walking here helps! & As long as things go as planned (or as close to the plan as possible) I will be training for a marathon in an undetermined destination sometime in the Spring of next year. Till then, my first priority here was finding a nice gym to pump some iron at. Checked that box and loving Anytime Fitness. However, I’m headed to Prague for a month and when I come back to Barcelona I may try other gyms, because well…that’s my thing!

So! Back to the Aqua Studio:

The other day I received a direct message on Instagram from Aqua Bike Studio asking if I was an athlete (flattered!) and if I wanted to attend a complimentary class at their studio (yes!). First off, I was flattered. Secondly, after checking out what aqua biking was I was thrilled to try this new type of fitness class! I’m not sure if it’s in the US but I know a few Europeans who said they’ve heard of it.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

So I signed up for a Friday morning 9am class. I put my bikini on under some joggers and hoodie and made the 15 minute walk from my flat to the studio.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

Now it must be mentioned that being in Spain, they speak Spanish, naturally; and Catalan here in the state of Catalonia. It surprises me though that “tourists” expect the locales to speak English. I most definitely give my best effort to bridge the gap with the usual “Sé solamente un poco español” (“I know only a little Spanish”) and then they ask if I’d like them to speak in English, and thankfully I say yes. The thing is, they appreciate the effort, go figure. I know during my time as a waitress in the transient city of San Diego I really appreciated people trying to speak a little English because otherwise there was no way I’d understand them besides with pointing, nods, and noises.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

So I came with a few pre-prepared google translated sentences (helps in the learning process!) that I could use when checking in with the receptionist at the studio. Luckily Judith spoke pretty good English. Judith checked me in, gave me the short and quick tour of the facility and got me hooked up to their wifi (always a plus at any facility!). They offer massages, physical therapy, private training and the aqua bike class. I took off my sweats, grabbed my towel, locked the locker and headed into the pool.

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

First, it’s mandatory to shower off before getting in the water.  On the sides of the pool were the aqua bikes. So I made myself over to a corner and pulled it into the circle that the others had created. And this is where the fun began – our class teacher, of course, spoke in Spanish the whole time. And actually, it could have been Catalan…I can’t quite tell the difference. Except there is a lisp in the Catalan accent, and I didn’t hear a lisp. Luckily, group classes mean you can just copy what the others are doing … you’re just a few seconds behind, ha ha!

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Photo courtesy of Aqua Bike Studio

The pedals of the bike were like rubber slide shoes, you know like those adidas or nike sport slides. That was probably my only frustration with this “sport”…my tiny feet did not fit in these huge shoes, which made the class a little difficult because when the instructor wanted us to come off of the seat but kind of squat and pedal, my feet would wind up sliding forward henceforth making me fall forward and not able to do that particular exercise for too long without sliding/loosing balance. My suggestion would be to have some sort of shoe us tiny feet people could slip on and make the bike riding more fluid… ha, get it? Fluid.

The 50 minute class began by warming up our arms and shoulders while pedaling. Then we moved into pedaling faster and faster, like a normal spin class. And from there it was a mixture of exercise varying from off-seat pedaling, no arms on handles pedaling, using foam “weights” to push against the water for a little arm workout, and then toward the end of the class we hopped off the bike and did a variety of exercises including wading, jumping, and abdominal exercises. There was a cool down at the end where we stretched out the quads, hamstrings and arms. And that was it!

I headed into the locker room, showered off, changed into some dry clothes, blew dry my hair a little, checked out with Judith, asked for pricing and that was that!

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Overall it was a very nice, modern, clean facility. There was a guy there cleaning outside the pool room as we were in our spin class so that’s always nice to see that the business cares and keeps the house clean around the clock. I love the location in proximity to where I’m living. Aqua Body Studio is on a main street here in Barcelona so that’s good for them. I’m not sure it’s a sport I would find myself doing that often because I truly enjoy lifting weights and running outdoors and my yoga but it’s definitely something I would enjoy doing at least once a month! Which is how I also feel about a regular spin class. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you locate your nearest aqua biking studio and check it out!

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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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Finally – I made the hour and a half drive out to Corona, California.

My little babe roommate was in town this particular weekend so that wound up being a big push to visiting this specific spa grounds. I say that because had I been walking these “19 pools” by myself, well it would have been a bit lonelier. Everyone was with someone or a group. I usually go to spas on solo missions, but thankfully not this time.

I heard of a special this spa resort was having via their instagram. The grounds had been opened after 5pm for the first time ever this very summer: 4pm to 9pm for $35 with access to all pools, mineral baths, cold and hot plunge, mud slathering, saunas, steam rooms, showers and such.

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Upon entering I was informed the place was under new ownership as of the first of the year. I cannot wait to see what will change about this place in due time. I sure have my own innovative ideas after my visit – ones which I’m sure (or hope to goodness) are in the works – for the sake of this places longevity and success.

We waited in the 5:30pm rush line, and were directed over to the place where we purchase entry. Becca at the check in (I especially remember her because it was my girlfriend Bekah’s birthday this day) was super informative and positive. I felt for her, I can’t imagine having to explain the same map and expirence day in day out to half naked people. There is seriously something to say about how people hold themselves when they’re half naked. Sure is telling of something in one way or another for starters.

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Anyway, the experience – Our first mission was to get to the locker rooms and get situated into bikinis with towels. I located the towels near the steam room, brought one to my spa partner and we headed toward the mineral bath. But first we allowed ourselves to step into some of the prettier garden spaces on the grounds. There is a beautiful fountain, a giant set of umbrellas, an arch of vines covering some lounge chairs (although the plant was mostly deceased) and other cute spaces. Once we found the mineral bath and became relaxed we meandered over to the bar to grab a mimosa. Then we headed to the vista pool and relaxed in the bath like water. After a good 10 minutes there we headed toward the hot and cold plunge (my favorite), where I tried to get many others there to love it too (bunch of scaredy cats). Something about that shocking cold water felt amazing to my stomach organ (I hold a lot of my stress there…not necessarily fat wise but anxiety wise) and then you are supposed to quickly dip into the hot pool. But today we dipped quickly because it was so warm out already. And then we went back into the cold pool (not plunge).

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From there we went and slathered mud all over our bodies, which you can find sitting atop a little community pedestal like a little mountain of mud. Once coated the idea was to go harden the mud in the arid room adjacent to the showers. We hung out in there for a few minutes and then began the showering process which was the longest part of the “mud bathing”.

At this point we wandered the property a bit more, went into the Grotto Room (not a part of our ticket) where I just wanted to learn a little about this experience by seeing the check in process and watching the intro video they had going in the lobby of the Grotto’s entrance.

We perused the cafeteria’s options and decided they weren’t all that healthy, or appetizing to our wallet’s, and decided to get showered up and stop off somewhere more worthy on the way home.

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All in all it was a lovely Saturday afternoon hanging out with a girlfriend getting out of the heat and splashing around in some water and going on a little road trip. I could imagine I’ll be back. It’ll be interesting to see if they’ve made any changes if I go next summer.

Owning my own spa and wellness center has always been on my radar, so it’s no coincidence when I stumble upon centers of the like. There are so many routes and niches that you can create when entering into the holistic and pampering industry. So when I discovered The Springs LA on Instagram I was intrigued. It encompasses a few things that I find myself seeking out in separate places – but all under one roof. Yoga, juicing, smoothies, massage, hot stones, and colon hydrotherapy to name a few.

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My roommate and I decided to go on a little weekend getaway to LA for Memorial Day weekend to celebrate her new found freedom as a recent graduate from USD. As the awesome crony she is, she was down for whatever, so I lined us up an adventure filled weekend. And since I had my eye on The Springs LA we were definitely stopping in.

We got into LA on Friday morning, went to the LACMA for the afternoon, then had lunch at The Line Hotel’s Commissary restaurant (a must!) and went out Friday evening to Toca Madera and Ysabel’s. We called it an early night so that we could wake up Saturday morning in time to catch our 9:00am yoga class at The Springs LA. The Springs is located in the arts district of Los Angeles. Perhaps it was because everyone went out of town for the holiday weekend but we found the city to be quite mellow compared to the hustle and bustle we were expecting – it was nice.

Once parked, the gate to the center was rolled open and we walked in and was greeted by an open and sunny space with a Palm Springs meets warehouse feel. Simple and cheerful. We were directed by the juice bar attendant to walk to the back to check into our class. We tucked our items into the cubby holes in the yoga room and began our morning yoga session.

An hour and 15 minutes later we awoke feeling more limber and relaxed. We pursued the items for sale – lots of cute little items such as oils, candles, jewelry and fitness gear. After we walked back toward the front where we purchased a fresh made green juice (Northstar was our choice) and headed out.

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The Springs LA is a really neat concept. With it’s open casual space I can only imagine all of the events that take place within this center, and to add to it, they have a restaurant in the works too. I highly recommend a yoga class and juice if you’re in town. Your first class is free! After that drop ins are only $15. Juices are pricey (about $10), but you can’t put a price on healthy liquid gold like that. 🙂

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Every year, and every so often, I like to treat myself to some type of spa experience on the day of my birthday. This year I wanted to finally get around to visiting this place called Cocoon Float. It basically is what it sounds like. You float in a white bubble tank for 60 minutes. It’s technically called a “Sensory Deprivation Tank”. A tank filled with Epsom Salt, a mineral made of magnesium and sulfate. Have you ever heard how good it is for you to take a salt bath to relax muscles? Because Epsom Salt creates the absence of gravity for a human body when combined with water, the stress and tensions that are released when enjoyed for 60 minutes is incredible; incredible in nutrients for the body to absorb, and incredible in experience. Sensory Deprivation is knocking out one Western ailment after another. Interesting.

Allow me to explain my experience.

The business is located in Hillcrest of San Diego, California. It’s three stories up on a corner building. No signage that I could visibly see unfortunately. I found my way and walked into this serene and quaint white lobby environment where I am politely greeted. Within checking in you are handed an iPad and headphones to watch a 5 minute video on how you will navigate your experience and what to expect. It was a cute cartoon, informative and flew by. Basically, the goal is to try and 100% relax…and see how that feels. Queue spooky transcendental vibe music. Not going to lie, I may or may not have felt a bit of a sexual vibe in how free this felt at one point.

I was walked to one of the back rooms (there are only 2 cocoons), and was explained the more hands on procedures of how to operate the tank and how the lights will be turned down. I was told to put my earplugs in before I touch anything wet. This is pretty much where the experience began. My plugs were in, all went quiet. I turned on the shower to warm it up. I slid out of my clothes. Stepped in to the shower, and used the body wash in my palm to clean and then rinse. Turned the shower off. Stepped down, and walked thethree steps to the cocoon, put one leg in (water went up to right under my knee), grabbed the hood of the cocoon, stepped my other leg in, and kneeled as I pulled down the hood over me, enveloping me into this surreal experience.

So I plant my butt down, or tried. But since there is an absence of gravity I gently leaned back and allowed my body to be lifted to the surface of the water. The tank was filled with a glowing blue light that bounced off the white lacquered bulbous tank walls and water. There were two buttons I had control over. The light and the music. I wanted both on. And I wanted to close my eyes.

The whole reason this is worth writing about is: if you can possibly get to the zone where you are 100% relaxed, it’s otherworldly. You’re awake but your somewhere else – thinking. About entirely subconscious things. I felt very happy and lifted after my time spent in the tank. (And slept great the next few days) I was amazed that I was able to get to that place – because trust me, it took focus. And within that focus I relaxed a bit more every other minute. Once my mind finally let go, as in I was in another realm not thinking about how I’m thinking, it was probably a good 20 minutes I was there. However, it was one of those moments where you feel like you literally just went to sleep two minutes ago – but I was really just relaxed because I was floating. It was a really cool feeling. A lot happened in my mind in this 20 minutes while at the same time nothing happened. It was the sensation of floating that brought this all home. A sensation more people should try… and I hope more find worthy of experiencing for oneself.
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While we’re on water and relaxation, my boss told me about this form of water therapy called ‘Watsu‘. That’s the definition link and here’s an actual experience. Check those links out! That’s what I’m on the hunt to experience now.

Sidenote: About blue light: …Findings confirm that blue light at night stimulates alertness and diminishes the feeling of being drowsy (i.e. awake), interfering with sleep. Exposure to blue light during the day, however, results in a similar, more welcome boost to alertness and reduction to fatigue, which stand to benefit both daytime function and nighttime rest¹. So this paradox to how I felt in the tank is beyond me. Like I said, I was awake, but so relaxed some may call it sleep because we don’t know anything else other than sleep. Or do I now? Re-queue spooky vibes.