e get invited to a bevy of spas throughout the year, and those invitations are not taken for granted. Some spas are smaller than others, some offer treatments using local techniques and ingredients, others go for the sensory experience and even others touch on the spiritual aspects of massage and wellness. They all have warm places in our hearts. What seems to leave us a bit cold on some versus that warm fuzzy feeling we get with others is comfort. Stay with me here. I don’t mean the plush robes, rubbery slippers and dim lighting. I mean the level of comfort felt once checked-in to the spa, disrobed, re-robed and are free to enjoy the amenities prior to treatment.
Has anyone else felt that almost paralytic feeling of having multiple thermal pools, shower options, jade loungers, steam rooms, saunas, hammams and relaxation areas, yet feeling totally unaware of exactly in which order to use each and for how long? You are not alone in this struggle. It can be the most anxiety-inducing time pre or post treatment and that’s not why any of us goes to the spa. Sure, we can dabble and hit the steam for ten minutes, try the salt room for a few, dip in the ice-cold plunge pool until we simply can’t stand it anymore (15 seconds is a personal best), or maybe sit glued to the lounger hoping that the jade will work its magic before our therapist comes to take us to the promised haven of the treatment room. In there we are safe not to wander and get into any situations that we don’t know the actual benefits of. In the treatment room, we feel taken care of and fully at ease, as opposed to being left to our own devices.
Those pre-treatment alone-time jitters were so randomly brought to the forefront of the thinking process the other day; because, let’s face it…these thoughts don’t walk around with us, they are situationally recalled. There it was, a 40,000-square foot spa with all the bells and whistles. Arrival time was a little more than an hour prior to treatment time. Escorted to the changing area, disrobed and slipped snuggly into the soft Gem Spa robe, a tinge of anxiety crept in as the spa attendant guided me through to a dimly lit space where I could hear the bubbling of water, the pressurized release of seam, dripping of showers having been freshly turned off, and the squeaking wheels in my head turning away, on high-speed, as I knew I was meant to use some, if not all, of these wellness offerings. Before I could close my eyes firmly and take a deep breath as if diving into something unpleasant, I was handed a towel and two pastes to choose from. The attendant took my robe and sent me into the first of what would be five rooms. Steam opened my pores and let in just enough of the magical clay she handed me on the way in. Before having a moment to think about length of time spent in the steam room, my attendant opened the room and guided me, along with a fresh towel, to a shower. This cool shower was to be brief. She gave gentle guidance from the shower then in to the salt room. This went on and on. The spa’s stunning 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual offers a beautiful retreat for the body and soul, and I don’t want to give all the details away but feeling compelled to share this experience, I will give away enough to get you here. This is a journey through the healing qualities of water in all of its forms. These healing effects are achieved through a guided “circuit” including: aromatherapy steam room, multi-jet shower, clay steam room, ice room, sauna, rain shower, whirlpool, lagoon pool, a “pool of sensation” filled with bubble and floor geysers, water cascades and neck jets. This is an experience where you immediately feel relaxed and nurtured and have gained valuable knowledge for the next time you may be left alone with access to these wellness goodies. Through contrasts of warm and cool temperatures, combined with high and low water pressures, skin is soothed, cleansed, invigorated, and refreshed by the experience which ends in the relaxation lounge where fresh juices, water and fruits await. The ritual is complimentary with any spa booking and is recommended prior to treatments.
Where am I? Deliberately didn’t mention until now because I wanted to bring you in to the place I just was, this wellspring of wellbeing. Located on Cancun’s most secluded stretch of white sand beach, I visited the spa at the all-suite Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun. The hotel itself, where I wasn’t staying, invites guests to indulge themselves completely with the Grand Club Unlimited Experience, a new all-inclusive option. In addition to limitless meals and beverages at any of the resort’s restaurants and bars, this new option offers a host of enriching experiences. Guests can choose from a wide range of activities including sunrise yoga, unlimited hydrotherapy spa treatments, shuttles to luxury shopping tours and complimentary non-motorized water sports rentals, as well as a ferry ride to nearby Isla Mujeres. Even a dreamy evening in a private beach cabana with sparkling wine and canapes is included for couples looking to ignite romance. I’ll have to pop back over to Mexico and check out the Grand Club Experience soon. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it once I do.
This time, the focus is on the spa and what a perfect name for it…Gem Spa. This name checks all the boxes because it is quite a find. The way in which the magnitude of space has been designed to make each guest feel free yet nurtured is part of the experiences magic. Upon entering the spa space, your cell phone will not work. Try as you may, there is no service, so let the tranquility experience begin at that very moment. Something else that’s new to this spa are the new revitalizing, indigenous treatments that fill the pages of the updated spa menu. Reflecting the destination’s heritage, location and Spa Director’s expertise (she hails from Thailand so many of those traditional treatments are intertwined into the spa services), several new treatments inspired by ancient healing practices are newly available for the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation.
Guests can choose from relaxing massages, invigorating facials, and soothing body wraps that all tap into the centuries’ old wellness secrets. The new indigenous options complement the spa’s other robust offerings which utilize the world–renowned skin care line, Forlle’d, the unique healing energies of chakra-balancing gems and, of course, our favorite…hydrotherapy.
Water plays an integral role at Gem Spa, not only did my treatment begin with the 10-step Hydrotherapy Ritual, detoxifying the skin and grounding the soul through its genius contrasts of warm and cool temperatures combined with high and low water pressures…all treatments begin this way. Can we rinse and repeat? #SpaUncommon
Check out these five new treatments on their menu:
This treatment fit for royalty softens and revitalizes skin, and incorporates vanilla which the Mayans used as an offering to the gods. It starts with a gentle exfoliation, followed by a tangerine and vanilla mask applied by the therapist healing hands using massage techniques.
The Maya used Chaya, a native healing plant from the Yucatan Peninsula, as a medicinal herb for centuries. It is known for its soothing and repairing properties and is an excellent remedy for sunburned or stressed skin. A gentle body exfoliation is paired with an invigorating massage using a Chaya based mud.
Also called the “Yoga Massage,” this healing therapy has been taught, practiced and handed down through generations in Thailand for over 2,500 years. The Thai therapists combine acupressure and stretching techniques, allowing the body’s internal energy to flow more freely.
This unique advanced facial treatment using Mesotherapy is designed for men and women with individual skin concerns and offers excellent lifting action and a pronounced rejuvenating effect on the skin. Visible results in the form of plumped up, firmer and tighter skin are achieved.
Relax and unwind with the sound of the Caribbean waves, being lulled into a deep relaxation, rejuvenating the mind and body. The treatment begins with a Caribbean shell massage to ease tension muscle away. Following the massage, guests have a choice of the Amber and Gold Facial for ladies or the Mayan Emperor Facial for gentlemen.
Tell them I sent you and do arrive early, you’ll walk away feeling fabulous and have a few new tricks to take to the next spa. Remember, size doesn’t matter, service does, but in case you are left up to your own devices on your next trip to another spa…you now know how to treat yourself!