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A Feast for the Senses

By: Naomi Serviss
Posted: January 30, 2013, from the February 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Remède Spa at Colorado’s St. Regis Aspen Resort has taken the trend one step further by offering the client a literal taste of nature’s bounty. “We’re taking the farm-to-treatment-table trend and adding another level of complexity to it,” explains spa director, Julie L. Oliff. “We take the spa menu and the spa food menu and treat the body like a palette. We actually structure the treatment like a five-course meal.” The food and body treatment choices include salt naturally harvested from a nearby lake, assorted aromatherapy oils and other ingredients that are then hand-mixed. Clients might then nibble on toast points with a really strong cheese and bitter marmalade.

“It’s about making the senses all engaged,” Oliff says. Treatments also include a customized massage followed by a warm eucalyptus compress. A whipped butter application with a scent chosen by the client is the next step, with a sampling of almond biscotti, amaretto and cookies to complement the treatment. A glass of champagne offers the final touch.

Corbu Spa at the Charles Hotel Cambridge, Massachusetts

Corbu Spa at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, touts fresh, local ingredients with an aim to please in a Boston accent. “We offer seasonal treatments that are New England-based because people are realizing more and more how important organic ingredients are,” says spa director Cara Hart. “For example, our lavender is grown right in the hotel garden, and lemon is, too, which is good for bug bites and sunburn,” she explains. “In the fall, we use cranberries and brown sugar. Clients love the treatments because it makes them feel good about putting these pure products onto their skin. Each season, we will do a customized body scrub and wrap, and use the same ingredients for manis and pedis.”

Fall brings cranberries grown in a bog, in addition to allspice, clove and pumpkin. Winter focuses on oatmeal, with an oatmeal body scrub and wrap. And if a client gets hungry for an oatmeal cookie? Not a problem, Hart says with a laugh. “People love the fact that we’re using organic products that have incredible scents,” she says. “Clients get nostalgic with the wonderful smells and feel good about using them on their bodies.”

Spa Montage Laguna Beach, California

Spa Montage in Laguna Beach, California, is about a sense of place. “We’re right on the ocean, so we have lots of ocean-centric therapies,” says assistant spa director Michael Conte. “We also have hydrotherapy baths where fresh herbs and essential oils are steeped.”