By Becca Hensley
Photography by Don Riddle (Apothecary Portal), Ken Kochey (Soaking Tub), and Six Senses Spa (Yoga)
Sometimes it’s not just about smoothing wrinkles, plumping lips, or removing cellulite. Beauty, it turns out, is more than skin deep. The quest for mindfulness and inner peace, once the province of ashrams and Buddhist temples, has now found its way into the wellness world. Partaking of therapies meant to bring enlightenment, introspection, and personal awareness, spagoers can benefit from results such as renewed focus, deeper sleep, stress reduction, and increased productivity.
1. Spa Botánico
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico
In the 1960s, Laurance Rockefeller created a glam Dorado Beach resort that became an instant hit with jet-setters, but he soon fell in love with the island and began the work of preserving its natural landscape and local culture. Ritz-Carlton’s recently opened 115-room remake of his original hideaway keeps Rockefeller’s vision at the forefront with its rainforest-ensconced Spa Botánico.
Tapping into the folklore and curative traditions of Puerto Rico’s village healers, known as manos santos, the spa offers a menu brimming with herbals and botanicals. An Apothecary Portal holds shelves lined with oils and balms made from village-grown herbs and plants, each providing specific mind, body, and spirit support. An authentic manos santos launches every treatment with a prayer and suggests ingredients based on the results desired. Try the Body Soak, Herbal Compress, and Massage ritual, which employs eucalyptus, lemongrass, and garden-grown ginger to infuse a sense of vitality. Or unwind to the rock-a-bye rhythms of a hammock massage, performed in one of two tree housestyle treatment rooms.
2. Six Senses Spa
Six Senses Samui, Thailand
Dotting a tranquil island headland overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, the 66 villas at Six Senses Samui artfully stir the senses. In the same vein, the resort’s graceful spa conjures relaxation, borrowing from regional traditions and exemplifying the laid-back Thai way of life. Help your prana (life energy) flow freely with the Thai Healing rite, which loosens blockages in the body’s energy lines, reducing anxiety. Virtuoso guests can ease into peace with a complimentary massage.
3. Spa Montage
Montage Deer Valley, Utah
Nestled amid northern Utah’s Wasatch Range, the 220-room Montage Deer Valley, built in the Craftsman style, melds into its mountainous landscape. With panoramic windows, Spa Montage brings the vista – and its meditative quietude – indoors. Aspen resin and propolis from Park City’s bees are among the local ingredients used in the spa’s house-made products. Choose a mindcalming (and complimentary) Art of Breath tutorial as a prelude or finale to holistic therapies, such as the 90-minute Earth & Water ritual.
“One trend I’ve noticed in spa resorts is a move toward holistic, integrative care. Some offer licensed physicians and other health professionals to provide personalized approaches to wellness. Life has become so fast paced and media driven, people are looking for ways to improve their lives while also getting away to a fabulous location.” – Ann Becker, Dayton, Ohio
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Originally appeared in Virtuoso Traveler magazine, August 2014.