Archives for posts with tag: spa experience

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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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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After being on a month long adventure where I went in knowing I was going to be able to be myself entirely, and then being accepted for that, I couldn’t agree with this article more. Because well, sometimes we wind up in situations where we have to tiptoe around people and, ew. That was and is the great thing about planning out your life, you can choose the situations you put yourself into, or take yourself out of. However, sometimes sacrifices have to be…that I understand. Any who, I put myself into homes and situations I knew I was going to be comfortable with – the comfort level I know and prefer.

Given, I chose not to backpack across the world without showers or a close-by laundry machine or a with a 50 pound bag on my back..I continued to live the way I do at home. Leisurely. I stayed with friends/family in Miami, New York and Cascais, Portugal, and then we shared our own apartment in Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Lisbon. The person I met up with to travel a few of those places with (Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona), fully understood how I like to live. As he says, he knew what he was getting himself into. Lucky for me, he’s great at reading people. He majored in journalism with a focus in digital media so understanding people is key to what he does for a living. We’ve known of each other through mutual friends for probably 6+ years now? So he’s been able to watch (social media), chat with me about, and comprehend how I carry myself. What I didn’t realize was how special and understood it made me feel to be with someone who let me take care of myself (and be taken care of) how I like to. I think I’ve always tried to come across as low-maintenance. The guys-girl. No more.

Let me just share a bit of my routines….

It’s true I don’t contour my face with makeup, just the tinted sunscreen moisturizer (no wrinkles or sun damage please!) on the face, with accentuated eyes (eyeshadow and mascara), a little blush for rosey high-lighted cheekbones, and maybe some lipstick and liner, or just chapstick. So I may come across as the girl who doesn’t look like I am wearing much makeup but trust that it is there and it takes time. You can also guarantee I am the girl who religiously washes my face, am picky about my products, and brush/flosses day and night, and maybe in between. (I’ve heard successful people floss their teeth. Sticking to it.)

But I also take long showers….so I spend quite a bit of time hanging out in the bathroom. It’s like my own daily spa experience, something I have been exposing myself to more and more lately. I have long hair that needs to be washed appropriately (cool water). I have legs, arms, armpits and a bikini line I have to shave sometimes. I moisturize every part of my body. I tweeze. I usually paint my own nails and toes. I like to give myself a blowout when I dry my hair; it’s so straight it needs that luscious and voluminous volumne you can’t get from air-drying. And hey, sometimes I like to feel girly and curl it. Then there are the days where I don’t wash my hair but I have to use that golden product, dry shampoo, to take away the days buildup of oil. And then comes the styling of that day (or two) old hair. Time.

I could easily (or maybe more like painfully, for me) run out of the house with just brushing my teeth and throwing my hair up, but that is not the essence of my soul or how I prefer to treat the one vessel I have been given. I am an artist by nature in the way I live and I choose to express that in how I look, dress and experience life.

I have adamantly worked out since I graduated high school. Another thing that takes time, and is damn worth it. Now at 28 I couldn’t be more comfortable in my sexuality and skin because I’ve worked hard to be where I am at physically, and nutritionally. If I don’t take care of my body, who will? Like this article says, you are treated how you treat yourself. And I refuse to subdue my maintenance levels any longer. I now know what it is like to be with someone who fully accepts and works around/into how I care for myself. And you know what? The level of how much he showed me he cared, was almost unbelievable. If like this article says, those two things correlate, well then I’m joining this #HighMaintenanceMovement.

Booking my next spa appointment very soon. Something this true gentleman I speak of also graciously accompanied me to in Barcelona…at the phenomenal, and surreal, Aire Ancient Baths. And what’s funny, he also just told me that because of our time spent together, he realized the “Princess type”, that he’s dated before, is what he prefers too. It just took him time to figure out and accept. It works for him. And it definitely worked for me. He likes a woman who is assertive, confident and knows how she likes to be treated and who wouldn’t put up with anything less. And she’s also fairly dolled up on the regular? What guy doesn’t like a pretty girl on his arm? None. Or he’s lying.

Click the article link below to hear where I found my inspiration and soundboard for this article.

Why Women Shouldn’t Feel Ashamed To Call Themselves High Maintenance.