December 22, 2008

Haven Spa, The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa, BC

Anchoring the coastal town of Sidney-by-the-Sea on Vancouver Island’s Saanich Peninsula, this boutique waterfront hotel is inspired by the beauty and serenity of its natural Pacific Northwest shoreline.

Opened in 2007, the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa offers guests an elegant and contemporary escape in 55 spacious guest rooms and suites. Guests seeking a quick coffee, fresh baked goods or picnic lunches can visit the Georgia Café & Deli. Meanwhile, Haro’s Waterfront Restaurant & Lounge serves fresh local seafood, slow-roasted rotisserie meats and house-made pasta. Activities range from cycling the Galloping Goose Trail to whale-watching, kayaking and sailing charters. Mingle with locals at the market and pier, tour a nearby winery, or explore over 100 boutique shops, specialty bookstores and artisans’ studios.

Haven Spa is a relaxing sanctuary inspired by the sea, providing guests with a holistic approach to beauty and wellness. Indigenous treatments are combined with modern advances in skin care and body therapies to create authentic local experiences for guests. The Haven Spa features a comprehensive array of services, including massage, facials, body treatments and aesthetics. Guests also have access to hair, makeup and nail services in the Haven Salon and 24-hour access to the hotel’s 1,200-square-foot fitness centre.

The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa

November 16, 2008

Win a Southern California Dream Spa Experience

Looking to getaway for a spa vacation? Spas of America and the Pala Casino Spa & Resort are giving away an exciting Southern California Dream Spa Prize Package. One lucky winner will receive three night's accommodation, a Pala Spa couple's treatment and dinner for two.

The Pala Casino Spa & Resort is a Southern California's AAA Four Diamond property located one hour north of San Diego, against the tranquil backdrop of the Palomar Mountains. Pala Spa offers 14 treatment rooms including two Couples Suites, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a full-service salon, and a retail boutique. The Pala Spa's signature treatment is the Lavender Bliss Treatment. This Thai-inspired experience begins with an awakening toning body scrub, followed by a relaxing lavender bath. Lastly, guests enjoy a warm bolus massage using marine salt crystals and French lavender.

The contest invites spa enthusiasts to enter for a chance to win three night's accommodation, a Pala Spa couple's package and dinner for two. The Grand Prize package is valued at over $1,000.00. Secondary prizes in the form of dinner and spa packages are also offered.

Entering is free and easy. Enter now.

October 23, 2008

My Lake Michigan ~ Spa Amira, The Homestead Resort

Often times, good things come in small packages. Rarer still, however, is when amazing, unexpected things come in small packages. Such is the case of Spa Amira, Northern Michigan’s newest spa retreat, planted bluffside and overlooking the grand, blue expanse of Lake Michigan.

The spa, recently opened as a part of The Homestead Resort, is an escape within an escape—lingering at the top of a modest climb, and presenting visitors, upon arrival, with what may be the best view on the 435–acre property.

Small in size, the actual spa building offers a mere three treatment rooms, but the space itself is comprised of a relaxation garden, stone labyrinth, soaking pool and chaise-laden overlook, all tucked neatly behind a wrought-iron gate. On the winding drive upward, guests pass through wooded hills while catching glimpses of the resort’s sprawling golf course. It is, in a single word, idyllic.

Once in the spa building and wrapped in a cotton robe, I padded softly out the door of a changing room sized for one and into a dimly lit treatment room, where soft music drowned out most everyday noises. There, my spa therapist met me, going through the rituals of situation and preparing for the spa’s exclusive treatment: The Amira Well-Being Massage.

Consisting of a full-body dry brushing and Swedish massage, the treatment is the perfect complement to a weekend getaway, allowing a blend of pure relaxation to accompany any adventures offered across the sprawling grounds. Lasting a leisurely 90 minutes, “The Amira” allows guests to slowly recuperate from any of the resort activities that drain the body: swimming, skiing, or hiking, while incorporating broad strokes with thorough kneading of each muscle—toes to scalp.

The treatment, which is priced at $125, is one of many offered at the spa, in addition to Ayurvedic body treatments, scrubs, Reiki hand rejuvenation, and soon, manicure and pedicure services.

In pure, post-treatment bliss, I ventured outdoors, where the true sense of spa living gently seeps into every one of my open pores. Guests who don’t take advantage of this stunning space will not gain the full Amira experience. It’s here, looking out over the stretch of sapphire blue waters that a treatment-induced relaxation grows even deeper.

This newly founded gem, granting views of The Homestead’s mile-long stretch of sandy beach, creates for visitors a perfectly rounded escape. Paired with a stay in Little Belle—one of the resort’s five elegant accommodation options—and bayside fine dining at Café Manitou, Spa Amira serves as what may have once been a missing ingredient at The Homestead.

Worry no more. Whether planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway or a weekend outdoors, The Homestead and Spa Amira promise a favorable freshwater destination, guaranteed to pamper and please the finest palate.

Spa Amira, The Homestead Resort

~ Jessica Howell, Spas of America
When not experiencing new spas, Jessica is an account executive with Eisbrenner PR.

October 22, 2008

Art of the Spa - Desert Style

As we slip into soft, fluffy robes and rubber sandals, one of my two spa companions whispers that this will be her first massage. Ever.

Oh my . . . what?!

We are at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, one of the top resort spas in Arizona, if not the United States. Given the location, she is probably about to have the best spa treatment of her life.

"OK, I need to know," she leans in. "Will they see me naked?"

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing - on the one hand, it will be a great "first time."

On the other hand, she is setting the bar pretty high.

She may leave here believing that all massages come with an optional sage "smudging" ceremony to purify the space for healing, complimentary fresh-squeezed juices, change rooms outfitted with everything from plush towels to high-end toiletries, and treatment rooms that could be on the cover of Architectural Digest - not to mention some of the best practitioners in the industry.

There is a reason so many people come to Arizona for spa treatments. There is a sense of wellness here, a sense of calm, that is worth seeking out.

And Scottsdale has honed the spa treatment to a fine art.

We make our way to the elegant waiting area, where three masseuses await. Two women, one man. His hands look like they could pound the knots out of a waterlogged rope. He steps forward for my friend.

Oh, this is going to be good.

We whisper hushed farewells as we are ushered into separate treatment rooms - my "virgin" friend for a Desert Aromatherapy massage, my experienced friend (who makes regular pilgrimages to Arizona and this spa, in particular) for a Jet-Lag Recovery massage, and myself for the Desert Purification body treatment.

I'm ready to relax and detoxify.

My masseuse has the skilled hands of a much larger person, and quickly sets to putting my body into a state of relaxation.

She applies a body mask of "native grains", a sticky mixture of cornmeal, oats, and clays (in keeping with the organic theme of these treatments, the mix is free of preservatives, artificial colourings or synthetic fragrances).

The mask sits on my skin like a poultice, soothing and warm.

The next step, having it exfoliated off with a natural-fibre cloth made from the Ayate cactus plant, feels wonderful. Almost as wonderful as the aromatherapy oil massage, featuring organic juniper, sage and rosemary essential oils, that follows.
As my treatment winds up, I'm given the gift of my very own cactus loofah for exfoliation at home. Somehow, I know the ritual just won't be the same.

Every element of this treatment is derived from the desert and Native American traditions.

It's the kind of thing you would, quite literally, only find in the southwest, and one of the reasons so many people continue to flock to the desert for treatment.

You could say that Scottsdale is known as something of a mecca for spa-goers.
It's not just the use of adobe clay, pure aloe vera, ground jojoba seeds, sage and juniper, or Sonoran desert honey, though that is what gives Arizona spas their desert flavour.

It's also the impeccable service and the spectacular settings - many of the best spas are destinations in themselves, from their desert oasis locations to their architecture and decor.

There is also the matter of sheer volume. Scottsdale has more spas per capita than any U.S. city. With roughly 130 spas here, and a population of 232,000, it's clear this is an industry geared toward servicing those who flock to the desert for both body and soul.

At the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, the setting is spectacular; a 44,000 square-foot luxury spa that occupies its own wing of the elegant Fairmont resort, with many of the rooms open to nature - the sunny rooftop pool flanked by elegant cabanas, the glass-walled restaurant, the waterfall that connects all three levels of the facility.

It's apparent from the many hushed, blissed-out patrons padding softly around, that the setting works to put you into a state of relaxation before desert-inspired treatments even begin.

But desert-inspired means more than just using a cactus loofah. You can take it one step further - there's a spiritual element to the spa treatments here in Arizona.

The Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician, for example, offers private sessions in astrology, hypnotherapy and guided meditation.

Eurasia Spa at Scottsdale Resort and Athletic Club starts every spa session with a Cosanti Bell ritual.

At the Boulders Resort, the Golden Door Spa offers an experience called equilibrium bottle interpretation, designed to give you a picture of your true self.
You can have your toes read at the Mandala Tea Room and Apothecary.

There's something to all this good-for-the-soul stuff. When I finally emerge from my treatment, scrubbed, massaged, exfoliated and little lightheaded, clutching my very own cactus loofah, I wander out to the spa plunge pools.

There lie my traveling companions, limp and smiling, one of them weeping quietly under a cool, cucumber-scented face cloth.

"I am having a moment," comes her muffled voice. "I am just so, so happy right now."

Now that's a spa experience.

For more information:

Desert Spas
Spas of Arizona

Pamela Fieber, Calgary Herald

October 16, 2008

Spas of California

With a size and economy that exceeds many countries, it's no wonder the Golden State can offer so much. California encompasses ocean, mountains and desert and plays home to celebrities, laid-back beach lovers and nearly everyone in-between. Come for the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign or even the weather. The Gold Rush may long be over, but California will always beckon you west. California is a spa lover's paradise, with more hotel and resort spas found here than in any other state.

California Spas

September 24, 2008

Spas of Africa

Enlist your inner adventurer and embark on a journey to Africa, the “cradle of civilization.” A continent brazenly diverse in its geography, from sophisticated, ancient cities such as Cairo, to dense forests of the central countries, undulating deserts of the North West and open savannahs populated by animals that still run wild, Africa continues to capture the world's imagination.

With Spas of Africa as your guide, discover a history of personal adornment and beauty reflected in a growing spa and hotel industry, one sophisticated by the richness of wellness offerings from haute hotspots Morocco, Egypt or South Africa, yet also carrying this spirit of luxury to jungle lodges in the heart of harsh, yet beautiful landscapes.

Spas of Africa

September 18, 2008

SpaFinder Announces 2008 World's Favorite Spas

SpaFinder, Inc., the global spa resource, today announced the winners of its prestigious 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, revealing spa-goers' favorite spas across the globe - by continent and country/region. In addition, new favorites in remote locations such as Kynsa, South Africa and Queensland, Australia demonstrate how a fresh generation of spas are enticing global travelers.

SpaFinder Crystal Award Winners for 2008, recognize the most extraordinary spa on each of six continents. This year's winners are:

Africa: Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Kynsa, South Africa
Asia: The Peninsula Hong Kong, China
Australia: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Queensland, Australia
Europe: Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
North America: Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico
South America: El Alvear Palace, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Notably, this year marks the first time that a non-US spa took home the North America award. And several of these Crystal Award winners have leapt to the forefront virtually overnight: Gwinganna has been open only two years, while Pezula has been open only three.

SpaFinder Country/Region Winners for 2008
Awards are given for the top spa in each of 27 countries and regions. Four new countries have been added this year, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, and Singapore, reflecting significant growth in these spa markets.

In the United States, Arizona retains its leadership as the favorite spa state with Canyon Ranch Tucson taking the top US spa spot this year. Elsewhere, repeat winners include the Peninsula Spa in Hong Kong, Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa of Germany, Rancho La Puerta of Mexico, Kurotel Longevity Center of Brazil, St. Anne's Country Inn of Canada, The BodyHoliday of St. Lucia, Ananda in the Himalayas of India, Four Seasons Resort Bali of Indonesia, and Chiva-Som of Thailand.

September 5, 2008

Spas of America Debuts Amerispa's Eight Quebec Spas

Montreal, Quebec -- September 5, 2008 -- Spas of America, the fastest-growing spa travel website, today announced new member spa listings for Amerispa and its eight Quebec resort/hotel spa locations. Montreal-based Amerispa, one of the leading spa brands in the industry, operates prestige spas in choice locations throughout "la belle province."

"We are pleased to showcase Amerispa to our targeted spa travel audience," says Spas of America president Craig Oliver. "Their presence on our website benefits our existing spa listings and provides our customers from around the world with eight fabulous Quebec options when seeking exciting and rewarding health and wellness travel experiences."

Louise Brossoit, vice-president of Amerispa, says: "Our spas illustrate a variety of resort and hotel experiences and are a perfect complement to the natural beauty and history of Quebec. We're excited about introducing our one-of-a-kind experiences to Spas of America's global audience."

Each Amerispa location on Spas of America has its own unique full-page listing complete with a 300-word description, 10 images, a detailed map and complete contact information. Spa aficionados will delight in the 'You Deserve' treatment at each location. At Le Château Bonne Entente, guests can experience Amerispa's Bamboo and Lotus massage. This treatment combines a relaxation massage with an aquatic-plant cocktail mask, with bamboo, water-lily and lotus extracts. This hydrating experience softens the skin for an exquisite moment of well-being. All Amerispa locations can be viewed at

Amerispa, a leader in the Canadian spa industry, operates eight prestige spas in Quebec: Auberge Godefroy, Fairmont Tremblant, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, Château Bonne Entente, Hilton Lac-Leamy, Omni Mont-Royal Hotel, Sheraton Laval, and Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant. Amerispa, focused on refreshing the body and spirit, offers guests the ability to relax in an enchanting, cozy and luxurious environment. Friendly health and beauty professionals serve guests in either English or French. Signature treatments include the Remineralizing Clay Massage, Warm Pebble Massage, Elixir Ice Cider Body Wrap and Exfoliation, and Enchanting Body Wrap. Various facials, manicures and pedicures are also on offer.

Spas of America is a global online media company focused on healthy living and travel. The Spas of America website showcases over 600 of the best day, resort, hotel and destination spas in the United States, Canada, Mexico Caribbean and South America to spa travelers around the world. Since the site launched in 2005, over a quarter million customers have visited Spas of America also operates the websites,, and

September 3, 2008

Taking the Waters in Uruguay’s Gaucho Corner

To many travelers, Uruguay is known — if at all — for Punta del Este, the Atlantic coastal beach resort called the South American Riviera by Argentine landlords who have gobbled up the peninsula’s seaside real estate.

In good times, that image guarantees steady business for the seafood restaurants and the boutiques that serve the luxury hotels and condominiums. But being tethered to Argentina’s tumultuous economy has its risks, and Uruguay has suffered from financial crises that originated in its larger neighbor.

Of the 1.8 million visitors to Uruguay in 2006, more than half were Argentine. But quietly, Uruguay is developing a second vacation spot that may help uncouple its tourism fortunes from Buenos Aires. It has found its best hope 3,000 feet underground, in the hot springs along the Uruguay River, a once-isolated region that even Uruguayans lump in with the rest of the “interior” — anywhere outside Punta del Este and the capital, Montevideo.

Since the discovery of the hot springs in the 1940s, by an oil exploration team wildcatting along the Argentine border, Uruguay has developed an impressively varied string of private resorts, public campgrounds, water parks and dude ranches. All tap the Guaraní Aquifer, the largest in the continent, funneling its toasty and mineral-rich water into indoor and outdoor baths.

That effort has sparked internal migrations during holiday weekends, when Montevideo, home to nearly half the country’s population of nearly 3.5 million, empties. It has also kept the border crossings busy at the Uruguay River across from northeastern Argentina, the route from both Buenos Aires and Asunción, Paraguay.

But word of the hot springs has not spread far. Americans who make it to Uruguay, mostly on cruise ships, are still almost certain to drop anchor in Montevideo and Punta del Este only.

There is reason to believe, however, that this might be changing. As American travelers trickle across the Río de la Plata, they are discovering in the hot springs an authentically Uruguayan experience that comes without sacrificing the comforts of the coastal resorts.

Arapey Thermal is at the top end of hot springs lodgings, and it is also the most remote, some 350 miles from Montevideo and with little access to an international airport. But the resort’s owners have settled a patch of civilization in gaucho country.

At check-in, members of the hotel staff slap a cerulean bracelet, the color of Uruguay’s flag, on the wrist of overnight guests, bestowing access to five thermal pools, a movie theater and tennis courts. It is also the key to the restaurant, where the culture of the hotel’s spa — an oasis of hot steam, hot tubs and hot-stone massages — gives way to Uruguayan excess. Sure, there are rice cakes and grapefruit with the café con leche at breakfast. But by lunch, all that wading in warm water has built up an appetite, so the buffet is piled high with grilled chicken in orange sauce, with the crispy skin left tantalizingly in place, and hunks of beef and sausage off the parrilla, the traditional grill.

Nor is there pressure to rise with the sun for yoga, not with dinner ending around midnight and guests partying to karaoke in the game room. But just because you can follow your facial with a filet mignon does not mean there is no relaxation. For that, the isolation helps, leaving few options for the afternoon but to float until your fingers prune. The indoor and outdoor pools connect beneath a glass divider, and swimmers, like seals at an aquarium, come and go without retreating to their towels. In the South American winter, the air outside is cool at night, but when a light rain sends up steam from the pool, clouding the planted palms and nearby pasture, the land feels almost tropical.

In Salto, the nearest city, Uruguay has converted former military housing into the Hotel Horacio Quiroga and burrowed into the hot springs. As at Arapey, the location seems unlikely for a tourist destination, evidence of the hot springs alchemy that has seen tilapia farms materialize in spring-fed ponds and artisanal queso thermal (thermal cheese) factories open in the countryside. There, as at many of the region’s hotels, the hot springs water — pumped from 2,300 feet to 6,500 feet below ground and emerging as hot as 108 degrees — rains down from wide showerheads. High in iron and calcium, believed to lower blood pressure and relax muscles, it is also poured from glass pitchers and frozen into ice cubes.

“When there’s an economic problem in the region, Argentines stop coming and that causes a major problem,” said Mónica Lozano, the hot springs specialist for the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism. “We’re looking for other places to promote these sites.”

Horacio Quiroga has not exorcized all traces of its institutional past. The outdoor pool overlooks the Salto Grande Dam, source of 70 percent of the country’s energy. Guests cannot hear the turbines, but the soundtrack of bubbling water and classical music is interrupted by the slapping of pool noodles against the water’s surface and the “uno, dos, tres” of a martial exercise instructor. There is less cosseting than at Arapey Thermal; the plastic lawn furniture shakes as guests carve their tenderloin, and the napkins housed in metal dispensers can hardly absorb a teardrop.

But there are advantages to the casual atmosphere. Barefoot guests roam the corridors robed in the white uniforms that hang in pairs in room closets. And there are no forms to fill out for borrowing a bicycle, so guests who sleep through the morning stroll tour the 540-acre property on a whim, pedaling past neat lines of planted pines and eucalyptus inhabited by a startling variety of brightly colored birds.

Horses are available for meandering off the pavement toward the woods and the orange grove that encircle the water park and its wave pool and towering slides. Hypnotizing digital displays announce the water temperature in three thermal baths.

Farther south, the regional government runs the Guaviyú hot springs, keeping prices low enough for backpackers looking to kick back by a dozen indoor and outdoor pools.

A day at the park costs about a dollar and visitors can rent a heated cabin for as little as $25 a night. The village that has grown around the pool includes a butcher shop that ensures that the grills behind every cabin are always smoldering and that the evening air is perfumed by Uruguay’s famous, grass-fed meat.

“In the area, there are other hot springs. But this is the safest country in the region,” Ms. Lozano said. “We have a reputation for being very calm.”


The Arapey Thermal Resort and Spa (Termas del Arapey, Salto; 598-76-82005; is an hour north of the city. A superior room on a weekend costs $125 a person, including three meals and the merienda — the traditional late-afternoon snack.

The Hotel Horacio Quiroga (Parque del Lago Salto Grande; 598-73-34411; is about 20 minutes outside downtown Salto. The hotel provides a free shuttle from the bus station. Except during holidays, the weekend rate for a double junior suite, with breakfast, is $172.

New York Times

August 25, 2008

Filadelfia Coffee Resort & Spa, Guatemala

Sitting on a working coffee plantation of over 130 years comprised of 750-acres of coffee, ecological reserve in a mountain of 8,000 feet high, Filadelfia Coffee Resort & Spa captures Old-World charm while providing modern-day comfort.

Filadelfia Coffee Resort & Spa offers a unique Guatemalan and Central American experience. The coffee plantation proudly produces some of the best coffee in the region, and the hotel would like to share the tradition of life on a coffee plantation with its guests.

Rooms are spacious and decorated in warm hues and creams evoking Guatemalan elegant simplicity and feature very comfortable beds prepared with Egyptian cotton sheets. Most rooms offer a panoramic view of the Agua Volcano and the pool side garden. Contemporary lifestyle luxuries include iPods with sound bases, large televisions and WiFi connection.

Pergaminos Restaurant serves international, beautifully presented gourmet dishes, and Cafetenango Restaurant offers delicious local dishes. The specialty, coffee-based drinks, are prepared with beans harvested from the hotel's own award winning coffee plantation.

While staying at Filadelfia, you can enjoy the Coffee Tour, Mountain Adventure, Canopy, Mule and Horseback riding, tennis courts, fitness center or just relax in the temperature controlled swimming pool and jacuzzi.

At Filadelfia Coffee Resort & Spa, guests can experience this tradition, while enjoying the comforts and services of a luxury boutique hotel with all amenities.

Filadelfia Coffee Resort & Spa, Guatemala

August 7, 2008

Discover Costa Rica’s Eco-luxe Spas - The Harmony Hotel

While the multi-hued tropical sunsets of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast will force you to slow down each night and take in the vibrant, natural beauty of this Latin country, expect to marvel at the variety of remote yet luxurious hotels and spas that dot its far reaches, forging an amenable partnership between nature and human architectural prowess.

From a quiet “green” haven in the hip surf outpost of Nosara, to a glorious enclave high in the lush Gaia reserve, here is the first of five unique eco-luxe spa-hotels that harmonize local, indigenous knowledge with state of the art amenities and treatments highlighting Costa Rica’s natural beauty in an ecologically sensitive manner, while offering the discriminating traveler a unique vacation experience.

The Harmony Hotel

Luxury meets laid back at Harmony Hotel, a low-key yet glamorous eco resort, cradled on the ocean’s edge in the sleepy Pacific Coast village of Nosara, where you may spot Susan Sarandon sipping a raw green smoothie beside you at the coconut palm-roofed raw-bar, just a few steps away from the chlorine-free, salt water pool.

Fit surfers as well as weekend wave warriors make up much of Harmony Hotel’s clientele and deep-tissue massage to ease those tired surfed-out muscles such as the intriguingly named “Octopus Massage,” where four hands work their expert magic on you, are bestsellers at the hotel’s Healing Centre and Spa.

Ostensibly, you cannot go wrong with anything on Harmony’s Spa menu, especially since ingredients such as the fresh papaya, avocado and bananas utilized in the whole body skin-fitness treatments such as “Banana Bliss” and “Papaya Delight” are grown right on the hotel property and laced with essential oils harvested from a Costa Rican perma-culture farm. And if you want to push your spa sustainability sensibilities, you can also harvest you very own scrub-loofah from the loofah plant in the spa’s herb garden, and après treatment, take it home.

Expect not just to connect to, but tango in tune with your natural rhythms at the Harmony Spa.

Harmony Hotel: Room Rates from $135/night
Massage rates from: $90 - 90 minutes, $75 - 60 minutes
Body Treatments: $75 - 90 minutes
All prices in $USD.

~Insiya Rasiwala, Spas of America
When not writing about the benefits of health and wellness, Insiya is a bliss promoter and practices and teaches yoga in Vancouver, Canada: YogueStyle. Article previously published in

July 31, 2008

Experience Rosehip Oil at Hills Health Ranch, Canada

Juanita Corbett could be Canada's answer to the Body Shop's Anita Roddick. Corbett, who owns the unique Hills Health Ranch in 108 Mile Ranch, B.C., has a touch of the eccentric, just like Roddick. She's a former Grand Ole Opry singer from Kentucky who found her calling as a homeopathic esthetician. The ranch is a weight-loss and de-stressing spa that's just like a good old-fashioned fat farm. Corpulent CEOs sometimes stay for months at a time.

It's also the place where Corbett manufactures her Canadian Natural Oils line of curative and beauty products, including her cult rosehip oil. When she and her husband bought the ranch in the B.C. Cariboo that so inspired artist Emily Carr, Corbett didn't know what to do with the 20,000 acres of prickly rosehips growing on the grounds. She thought the prolific plants an unwanted nuisance.

But you know the old saying, if God hands you rosehips, make rosehip oil. Corbett did some research into the weed and found it to be one of the Earth's most powerful healing herbs, with a high concentration of vitamin C. She began making rosehip oil using a cold press.

The rosehip-oil wrap and facial Corbett gave me is not a treatment I will soon forget. It started with a massage with a dry brush that looked a lot like a horse brush. (Very possible. Riding is one of the activities offered here.) Starting with my feet, Corbett dry-brushed her way up my body. She advised me to administer the same treatment to myself daily. (Invest in a natural bristle brush, she said. "It costs about 50¢, takes a few minutes a day and will not only increase blood circulation and remove dead layers of skin, but stimulate glandular hormones as well.") After I was sloughed soft, out came the rosehips. The oil was massaged into my body, then I was wrapped in a plastic sheet and heated blankets to warm me up. While I was slow-cooking, Corbett gave me a facial with more rosehip oil. Then she left the room for 15 relaxation minutes. The sweet aroma of the rose oil filled the small treatment room. I felt like Jeannie inside a perfume bottle.

Corbett and her staff are highly specialized and have a very Old World attitude to health. Beauty treatments are as much rehabilitation as indulgence. The facial included much examining of my skin with a magnifying glass and suggesting internal remedies for what ailed me. Liver and digestive problems, she guessed (correctly, as I do a lot of traveling), were giving me circles under my eyes, so she advised me to drink lots of water and eat yogurt with acidophilus, a friendly intestinal bacteria. After she unwrapped me, my skin was soft and fragrant and I felt so relaxed that I missed that afternoon's workout session.

Hills Health Ranch

Karen Burshtein, Weekend Post

July 27, 2008

Post Hotel and Spa, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Set amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the majestic wilderness of Banff National Park, Post Hotel & Spa is a model of understated elegance. Canada’s largest ski area is just minutes away and the abundance of snow is just one reason a growing number of skiers visit the area each winter. An award winning wine list and fresh market cuisine are featured in the renowned dining room.

Post Hotel & Spa features guestrooms with mountain views, overlook trees and cabins, and the hotel’s well-manicured lawns.

Post Hotel & Spa offers renowned fine dining and an award winning wine cellar featuring 30,500 bottles and more than 2000 selections. The Post Hotel is a Four Diamond award winner and Distinguished Restaurants of North America receipts. Among a setting of character rich Canadian pine and close to the warm glow of the grand fieldstone fireplace, you will savor the talents of the Post's international cooking team.

Unwind and indulge at Temple Mountain Spa. The spa is inspired by and nestled in nature, and designed to envelop you in comfort. The newly revitalized Roman-inspired pool is perfect for a peaceful float or a few energy reviving laps.

Post Hotel and Spa

July 18, 2008

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Set amid awe-inspiring fairytale gardens, this 250-year old palace is one of the most romantic hotels in the world. As a testimony to courtly love, the palace brims with princely details including marble pillars, ornate glasswork, intricate paintings and much more.

Visitors will feel like honored guests of the Maharana at this exquisite white marble palace that seems to float majestically on the still waters of Lake Pichola. Originally built as a summer palace, Taj Lake Palace has recently been transformed to its former glory whose sole purpose is the pursuit of leisure.

Opulent silks, richly colored murals, and ornate carved wood furniture are just a few of the design details that envelope the guests in royal mystique. Guests experience luxury in the 83 rooms including 17 suites. Most of the rooms offer a view of the lake along with the City Palace, Aravali mountain ranges and/or the Jagmandir Palace, the neighboring island palace. All rooms are equipped with amenities like international direct dial facility, private bars, color television with satellite programs, personal safe, hair dryer and data port facility. Wi-fi wireless internet access is available.

The Royal Spa offers the ultimate in lavish relaxation in richly appointed treatment rooms. Guests can look forward to a selection of relaxation treatments, beauty enhancement, and rejuvenation sessions that suit individual needs. The Royal Spa also offers an irresistible blend of holistic body and beauty treatments, accented with traditional rituals and ancient Indian healing practices. Guests can choose from an array of international beauty products and essential oils. For maximum privacy, guests can arrange for in-suite treatments as well as yoga and meditation classes.

Taj Lake Palace

July 14, 2008

Timeless Beauty – Aspira Spa at the Osthoff Resort

Before arriving at the elegant Osthoff Resort we had already been charmed by the beautiful rolling green hills surrounding the resort’s home village of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. My husband and I were making the journey to visit Aspira, the Osthoff’s new spa addition. From the images we’d seen of the spa we knew we would be impressed, but had not anticipated such a romantic setting.

Once checked in we made our way to Aspira where we were introduced to a new peak experience in luxury relaxation – the Spa SuiteTM. Our exquisitely decorated suite came complete with a whirlpool, fireplace, lounging sofa, large shower and bathroom facilities. From the moment we entered, the stress of a month filled with travel, deadlines and countless obligations gave way to a sense of peace and comfort. Although we’d had couple’s massages in the past, we had never experienced the contentment of enjoying simultaneous treatments in a room that we could call our own after treatments.

Once settled in to the suite we welcomed in our therapists to begin our treatments. As the massage began I looked over and saw my sweetheart beaming, a happy and contented smile on his face; one could practically see the tension leaving his body as his therapist was finishing up the Swedish Tonic Massage (though I only caught a glimpse as I was far too carried away with my own soothing Aromatic Relaxation Massage). As my therapist moved on to a beautifully executed Reflexology treatment, my happy hubby slipped into the suite’s whirlpool tub to begin a long soak in a soothing Element Bath. What a pleasure - to remain in the same tranquil space while moving into different phases of our shared spa experience.

Read the complete Review

July 1, 2008

Spas of Canada - 141 Years Young!

Celebrating 141 years young on July 1st, Canada is one of the world's favorite destinations for fresh air, health and wellness. The planet's 2nd largest nation offers a wide array of experiences for the spa traveler. From Quebec's Nordic spas, Ocean spas on the West Coast of British Columbia, award-winning Destination spas throughout the country, exciting Wine spas of Southern Ontario, or relaxing Mineral Springs, Canada offers something for everyone.

Spas of Canada

June 16, 2008

Pala Casino Spa & Resort, California

Just a short drive north of San Diego, overlooking the Palomar Mountain range lies the striking Pala Casino Spa & Resort. The spa's beautiful attention to detail including bamboo flooring, mosaic tiles, wood accents and several water features creates a serene sanctuary.

The Pala Casino Spa Resort offers guests over 500 luxurious rooms and suites appointed with large televisions and high-speed internet. The resort’s eight restaurants provide a wide-range of dining choices including The Oak Room specializing in steak and seafood. Guests looking to catch some sun can take in the outdoor swimming pool. For the more energetic, the resort offers a fully-equipped indoor fitness center.

Pala Casino Spa & Resort, California

June 4, 2008

Pampering in the City of Light, 5 Paris Spas


Stepping into this chic retreat housed in a former wine and spirit storehouse in the heart of Paris is like walking into a shoot for an interior decor magazine. Intimate candlelight and elegant drapes hung from 17th-century beams create an amorous ambience.

Two couples’ packages are available in a spacious two-bedded treatment room with its own whirlpool bath illuminated by precious mosaics. The Sweetheart Escape combines a frothy bath with an hour-long relaxing massage together, while the Tandem Escape involves a two-hour facial and massage using carefully selected French lotions and potions. Spa Nuxe 32


Take one 18th-century grande dame, whisk in some Philippe Starck contemporary flourishes, wrap it in elegant excess and you have a recipe for sumptuous decadence that has attracted kings, presidents, A-listers and artists for a 100 years or so And excess is the word.

In its delicious spa, femmes fatales have long given in to seductive treatments that promise to hold back the years. Intensive facials from Swiss skincare specialist Valmont, combined with the latest high-tech wizardry, aim to leave you wrinkle-free and radiant. Indulge yourself. You are worth it.

The 90-minute Meurice Vitamin C intensive brightening facial costs an eye-watering (£157, $307); the brave can try the cold cryogenic body wrap (£65, $127) to tone legs and improve circulation. Brrrrr. Le Meurice


Just around the corner from the Champs Elysees, in the Parisian version of Mayfair, the Hotel Le Bristol is seductive, sexy and intimate.

The Anne Sémonin Spa opened in July 2007 in a building next door to Le Bristol. It’s small with three treatment rooms and classically designed with modern, beige tones. There’s a waterfall in the reception area and each treatment bed is covered with a cashmere blanket. The mother-of-pearl accessory boxes are a nice touch.

A Haute-Couture 3-day getaway costs £960, $187 and includes a personal trainer and lots of pampering. Other massages on offer include: 100 per cent Active De-Crease Facial, Deep Release Massage with hot stones and the 3 hour Face and Body Detox Therapy. Hotel Le Bristol


An underground spa, not far from the Bastille with a small swimming pool and Jacuzzi illuminated by a special light which replicates the daylight outside – it rises in the east and sets in the west. The overall look is Palace of Versailles. Toile de jouy fabric covers every wall, carriage clocks are on every mantelpiece. In the relaxation room there are three four-poster day beds, swathed in muslin, covered in velvet bolsters and large scatter cushions.

Disappointingly the sauna and steam room are in the women’s changing rooms. This meant there was no sense of a spa "journey" where you can move from water to hot rooms to slowly unwind before your treatment. Instead it felt like a beautifully decorated health club, where the treatment rooms were very separate from the water areas.

The website doesn’t give any prices for the treatments, but my massage cost €140 (£105, $205). You can only use the pool and Jacuzzi if you are a guest at the hotel, but anyone can book a treatment. The cheapest "George V" massage is €125, $193 and the most expensive, the "four hands" massage is €200, $309. Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris


You can shop, sightsee then spa at this architectural landmark on the Champs Elysses, where the French dames finish off a session with a bespoke perfume.

The Institut de Beaute is essentially just that. There is no gym, sauna or whirlpool bath. Food: None to speak of, bar an array of delicious herbal teas.

A Transforming Day Experience of 8hr 15min costs €720 (about £500, $1113). Less expensive Day Experiences include the seven-hour Bridal Glow (€650, $1004), the three-hour Take A Break (€250, $386); a relaxing Imperiale Massage for 60min costs €90,$139 and a bikini wax €22, $34. Guerlain Institute de Beaute

Times Online

View Spas of France

May 22, 2008

Mirbeau Inn & Spa, New York

Situated in the storybook village of Skaneateles in central New York State’s Finger Lakes Wine Country, about 20 miles southwest of Syracuse, Mirbeau Inn & Spa blends gracious hospitality, award winning dining and a world class Spa into a relaxing vacation experience.

The French Countryside-inspired Mirbeau has earned Mobil’s Spa Four Star ranking for the first time and is now one of only two Spas in New York State to receive this award.

The spa encompasses 14,000 square feet of luxury, designed to offer a protected place of elegance and comfort. Drawing on the richness of the surrounding natural environment, Spa Mirbeau provides guests with a balanced program of classic massages, body wraps, and facial treatments.

Mirbeau Inn & Spa, New York

May 21, 2008

Skaná, The Spa at Turning Stone, New York

From the name Skaná, the Oneida word for "peace", Skaná, the Spa at Turning Stone is an unexpected oasis centrally located in the Empire State. Part of the Oneida Indian Nation's 1,200-acre Turning Stone Resort complex, Skaná follows Oneida traditions with a host of services featuring fresh herbs (such as sweetgrass, cedar and sage) and all-natural products from two of the world's leading skincare brands - Kerstin Florian and Naturapathica. Treatments focus on the use of herbal and mineral wraps, warm stone therapy, and reviving soaks to restore balance and harmony to the body, mind and spirit.

The spa's architecture is a tribute to the Oneida culture and includes a welcome area derived from a traditional arched Oneida longhouse. An American Indian sweat lodge offers guests an opportunity to experience what has been used for centuries to cleanse the body and purge the spirit of impurities. Other spa features include 12 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, co-ed mineral pool, soaking tubs, steam room, sauna, a luxurious VIP suite with plush amenities including a couple's treatment room, Boutique and the Skaná Spa Café, offering nutritious, delicious spa cuisine at breakfast and lunch.

Spa guests stay at Turning Stone's AAA 4-diamond award-winning Lodge at Turning Stone, selected by Condé Nast Johansens as its "Most Excellent Resort" in the USA and Canada. With two AAA 4-diamond hotels, a 4-diamond restaurant (Wildflowers at The Lodge at Turning Stone).

Skaná, The Spa at Turning Stone, New York

May 11, 2008

They Came to New York for the Waters

Pungently sulfurous waters burble up from the ground alongside a concrete 1970s hospital building in Clifton Springs, N.Y., southeast of Rochester, and I’m soaking in them. That is, waters from a mineral spring renowned in the 19th century for healing properties have been pumped from a stream running beneath the hospital lawn into a new spa wing, where I’ve gone more for relaxation than anything curative, and a nurse has prepared a hot bath for me.

In a serene pale-purple treatment room, I step gingerly into the tea-colored water. The vapors clear my head, and I soon feel tingly and light, yet strangely immobile. The sound of the spring outside, gurgling into tiers of concrete fountain pools, mingles with the indoor soundtrack of pan flutes. When a knock on the door comes for my scheduled massage, I’m sorry to let the water drain.

Upstate New York is hardly known as a center of mineral springs. But in the 19th century, the golden age of mineral-water spas, at least 50 New York towns, scattered from Long Island to Lake Ontario, had resorts or sanitariums drawing on water emerging from rocky places underground and laced with elements like magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and sulfur. “There were more mineral baths available in New York than in any other state,” said Charlotte Wytias, the program manager at the Clifton Springs Hospital’s spa.

All sorts of healing powers were claimed for the waters, which often carry a metallic or swampy taste and smell. But primarily, the resorts were places to go on vacation. “Life at the springs is a perpetual festival,” an 1850s guidebook said.

Read The New York Times Article

April 28, 2008

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Founded by Hungarian-native Eva Sztupka-Kerschbaumer in 2001, ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare has built a reputation as a nationally known Organic Day Spa in a most unlikely place - Pittsburgh, PA. Housed in a Historic, WWI era Mechanic's garage, Eva and husband Scott, renovated the long-vacant space using environmentally responsible building methods and materials.

ESSpa Kozmetika's business model incorporates stringent sustainability protocols authored by the Green Spa Network, which has recently invited the company to join as a Cultivator Spa Member.

ESSpa Kozmetika has been voted Pittsburgh's "Best Spa" in 2005, '06, '07 & '08 - and was awarded Gold Medals for Massage, Manicures & Pedicures, and Cosmetic Skincare. Specializing in individually customized Hungarian Facials using handmade, all-natural products, ESSpa Kozmetika is a unique spa that provides a responsibly relaxing escape where restoring and protecting healthy, great-looking skin, regardless of age or gender, is the primary goal.

ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare

April 21, 2008

Whistler's Spring Skiing and Spa

Beyond the hustle of the city life, past the crowded streets, escape to luxury on the doorstep of adventure at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Imagine skiing until June, impeccable service, outstanding cuisine, and relaxing accommodations at this world renowned resort.

The 550-room Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort is located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, British Columbia. Tastefully designed rooms with spectacular mountain or village views were created to blend with the natural alpine setting.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler presents a unique collection of dining options that capture the essence of Whistler's lifestyle. Exceptional fine dining balanced with casual, gourmet picnics to go and a variety of flavorful choices in between! A warm, inviting ambiance is signature of The Wildflower's casual setting. Open for breakfast and dinner, the hotel’s culinary team invites you to sample a tantalizing showcase of locally inspired dishes and innovative classics. Embraced by The Wine Room's signature stone fireplace and smooth cherry wood wine cabinets, classically rustic décor creates a refined atmosphere for exceptional British Columbia cuisine.

An escape from reality to natural elegance, Vida Wellness Spa, Fairmont Chateau Whistler is an innovative spa brand emphasizing healing and health. Energize your body and add a boost to your day with a cardio workout or relax in one of the mountainside outdoor whirlpools.

Vida Wellness Spa, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, British Columbia

April 11, 2008

Spas of America Launches #600.... A California Wine Spa (Cave) Experience

Spas of America, the fastest-growing spa travel website, showcasing North and South America’s best resort, hotel and destination spas, today announced their 600th spa listing and their first underground cave spa experience: Spa Terra within The Meritage Resort and Spa.

Forty feet below the iconic grape crusher statue that graces its southern end, Spa Terra is the first spa in the world to be developed entirely underground. Nestled nel cuore della terra (“in the heart of the earth”), the spa features steam grottos, soaking pools, water walls and lavishly appointed private treatment rooms for individuals and couples. Its sumptuous decor reflects the resort’s Mediterranean theme. The Meritage Resort is located only an hour from San Francisco, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.

“We are pleased to welcome Meritage’s Spa Terra as a premium member listing,” says Spas of America president and founder Craig Oliver. “Their presence on our website benefits our existing spa listings and provides our customers from around the world with another fabulous option when seeking exciting and rewarding health and wellness travel experiences."

Michael Palmer, General Manager of The Meritage Resort, says: “Our spa is a perfect complement to the natural beauty of Napa. We’re excited about introducing our one-of-a-kind experience to Spas of America’s targeted, spa travel audience.”

Spa Terra’s , signature treatment is Solo Vino. It combines an exfoliating grape seed scrub, an invigorating jet shower rinse, a hydrating body wrap with a wine cave mud mask and a Terra massage. A wine and cheese selection rounds out the two-hour treatment. Visitors can learn more about Spa Terra on the Spas of America website.

Spas of America is
a global online media company focused on healthy living and travel. The Spas of America website showcases over 600 of the best day, resort, hotel and destination spas in North and South America to spa travelers around the world. Since the site launched in 2005, over a quarter million customers have visited Spas of America is a member of the International Spa Association and Leading Spas of Canada. It also operates the websites,, and, a daily spa travel blog.

March 18, 2008

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, California

For over 80 years, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has been considered one of the best secrets among leisure and business travelers from California and around the world. Rated in the top 25 of all US resorts by Conde Nast Traveler’s magazine, the Inn is located in a magical, secluded valley just 35 miles south of Santa Barbara on the Gold Coast.

The resort, situated on 220 tree-shaded acres, features a relaxed, casual-elegant atmosphere, luxury accommodations, and a championship golf course which has been the host site of seven Senior PGA Tour events.

Spa Ojai is the crown jewel of the resort. A beautifully spacious and bright 31,000 square foot spa village, guests are encouraged to reach greater levels of fitness, balance and awareness. Innovative programs and treatments are individually tailored. Spa Ojai offers an extensive variety of facial, skin, and body treatments designed for men and women for pampering, relaxation and detoxification.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, California