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The Axis of Relaxation

By: Bryan Durocher
Posted: July 23, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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According to La Prairie, its Cellular Radiance Pure Gold Serum contains quartz liquid crystals, reflective pigments and La Prairie’s signature Cellular Complex to super-charge skin’s ability to de-age. After the treatment, my skin indeed looked refreshed and revitalized, likely attributable to the combination of the therapist’s training and expertise and the luxury ingredients in the high-class La Prairie products.

The Art of Beauty Spa is incredibly dedicated to providing guests with a deluxe spa experience, and visitors definitely get their money’s worth. But it’s also about more than just pampering here—the treatments are relaxing, but also highly results-driven and delivered with a no-nonsense approach. I felt fabulous when I left, and my skin was truly radiant.

Knowledge, wellness and health

Continuing on in my spa-scouring journey, the next stop was Absolute Spa at the Holmes Place Health Club in Berlin. Holmes Place operates 16 health clubs in three European countries—Germany, Austria and Switzerland—employing more than 1,000 staffers and attending to in excess of 60,000 members. It bills itself as a provider of health, fitness and wellness and offers fitness training and classes, nutrition counseling, and massage and spa treatments.

Holmes Place Berlin is located in the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt sector, and the Gendarmenmarkt square is considered by many to be one of Berlin’s most beautiful. Flanked by the twin churches Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom, it’s crowned by Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s neoclassical masterpiece, the Konzerthaus.

Fitness clubs are relatively new to Europe, and Holmes Place and the Absolute Spa are clean, sleek and modern. The spa itself is an Aveda Concept Spa, the first I had visited in Europe, and it lived up to its well-publicized commitment to eco-sustainability. The menu offered a full complement of facials and spa treatments, as well as an array of massages, including sports, stone, lymphatic drainage, cranial sacral, shiatsu, Reiki and reflexology. Under the circumstances, I opted for a sports massage, reasoning that in this fitness-oriented setting, the therapists would likely have an advanced mastery of anatomy and physiology, making their massages technically superlative.