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A Body of Work
By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
By combining the functionality of cold and the fantasy that is Vegas, Qua Baths & Spa's Arctic Ice Room delights guests.
- Arctic Ice Room at Qua Baths & Spa in Caesers Palace
- Treatment Room at The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg
- Treatment at The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg
- The Aqua Tonic Treatment at Kohler Waters Spa
- The Cold Plunge at Kohler Waters Spa
- The Vitamin Z Treatment at Spa Radiance
- The Spa at Esperanza Exterior
- The Pala'au Journey at Spa Grande
- Exterior of Yelo
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As a modern-day interpretation of this, the treatment begins with a detoxifying wrap using a cool aromatherapy towel to bring down the body temperature, like the cold plunge, and it finishes with a hot stone massage. “It’s one of my favorite services. It’s relaxing and uses a lot of local herbs that were used during that time period, as well,” says Mearns.
Another spa that brings a cultural focus to clients is Spa Grande at the luxurious Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii. Catering to the idea of an escape to nature, the spa works to keep its cultural offerings both unique and true to the island. “Especially in exotic locations, people have high expectations of finding something unique and linked to the culture,” says Cecilia Hercik, director of spa and sales operations for the spa. “They are a little more adventurous and want to learn and experience a little bit of the traditions. Hawaii is amazing because the culture is so alive.”
This living culture is depicted in one of the spas newest—and most authentic—treatments, the Pala’ua Journey, which follows ancient Hawaiian healing practices and incorporates native herbs that are infused with stone and the moon. The company, Pala’ua, puts the herbs in stone containers and waits for the full moon, then performs blessings over them.
The treatment is equally unique. It features traditional lomi lomi massage techniques. “It’s almost like a hula dance with the movements, flow and pressure,” says Hercik. Three different oils are available: one for women with hormonal concerns; one for body, mind and soul; and one that is herb-based and balancing. The massage lasts 50 minutes and is followed by an herbal infusion cream on the scalp with coconut, kukui oil and rosemary. A hot towel is placed to trap the heat, and then the esthetician moves to the feet and massages them with a cream and hot lava stones.
“The treatment is trained here, and the products are made in Hawaii and made with an intent,” says Hercik. “It was created to allow guests to experience a whole journey.” It is this focus of authenticity that makes one culture-based spa stand out from another.