Go beyond the average spa massage when you’re on vacation, and opt for the latest, and often personalized, treatments.
Apparently it’s no longer enough to simply book a spa massage when you’re on vacation. For a new wave of wellness-seeking travelers, only the latest, and often personalized, forms of treatments will do.
“Fifteen years ago, we used to do sugar scrubs and chocolate facials — it was only about indulgence,” says Kristi Dickinson, the director of spa and fitness at Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. “Today, people are looking to the spa as a lifestyle resource.”
That means that, along with a massage, a guest may sign up for the hotel’s “neuroplasty program,” which creates a specialized regimen (often a combination of meditation, exercise and yoga) to boost brain function.
And if you suspect it’s only millennials who are interested in the new and New Age, you would be wrong. Dickinson’s clients are often in the 40 to 60 age range. “Now their friend at the golf club is doing the latest meditation, too,” she says.
Below, a selection of New Age-y hotel spa services worth noting this season.
THE ARTS OF HEALING
A slick new hotel seems to sprout in Miami Beach every season, but the Faena Hotel aims to stand out.
Its spa, exotically named the Tierra Santa Healing House, isn’t content with meditation gurus. The wellness director, Vivianne Garcia-Tunon, enlisted a well-known Mexican shaman, Carlos Gomez, to headline its Shaman Purification Ritual.
Gomez has since trained the Tierra Santa staff (he is in residence at the hotel once a quarter if you want to book him in person) on the art of copaleada, which is about cleansing and purifying the body before healing.
“We use copal, which is a resin and is similar to an incense,” Garcia-Tunon says, “and the shaman salutes the earth, the heavens, the sun, north, south, east and west. And as the client journeys through this, the shaman is invoking all these different spirits from the heaven.”
The ritual can be paired with a “unique healing arts” treatment, like the spa’s sound bowl therapy, which is said to heal through vibrations. Be prepared to spend about two hours and $400.
“Everybody is extremely stressed,” Garcia-Tunon says. “Maybe vacationers don’t want to spend their time drinking by the pool every day. They’ll go home tired, and the vacation will defeat the purpose. They want to feel and look rejuvenated.”
ONE TREATMENT DOES NOT FIT ALL
Besides the neuroplasty regimens, Dickinson will be incorporating a somatotype program into the Rancho Valencia spa menu next month. Clients will be categorized as one of three body types (ecto, endo or meso, based on their body shape and other characteristics), according to rules laid down by the somatotype founder, William H. Sheldon (who died in 1977), with specific products recommended for each.
“The idea is to replenish the nutrients and minerals you need specifically for your body type,” Dickinson says. That means that plenty of algae and essential oils are deployed in treatments like the Vitality Ritual (90 minutes, $275), which begins with dry-skin brushing and is followed by a body cleanse, mineral-heavy body wrap, head massage and breathing meditation.
A SOOTHING RUSH
In need of a (holistic) bump? Coca leaves, the raw material from which cocaine comes, is the star ingredient in the signature Inkaterra Therapy treatment (three hours, $190) at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel’s Unu spa.
Along with a detox session in an Andean sauna, the service features a lymphatic drainage massage with coca oil followed by a body mask of coca leaf. Sandra Masias, the product and service manager of Inkaterra Hotels, says that coca leaf contains “alkaloids that activate skin cells, circulation and, in turn, the lymphatic system, helping the body eliminate waste.”
To complete the buzz-building experience, your limbs will be slathered with coca cream before you exit the treatment room.