Photo courtesy of Eden Roc Miami Beach Credits: Photo courtesy of Eden Roc Miami Beach
How to find the perfect spa
Planning a spa retreat can be overwhelming. There are so many locations and treatments available. How do you choose?
To take the stress out of planning your spa getaway, we talked to Deborah Berlingeri, spa director at Eden Roc Miami Beach’s Elle Spa, for her expert advice.
Start your spa planning by figuring out how many days your getaway will be. Berlingeri recommends three to four days, so that you have enough time to relax and detach from the everyday hustle and bustle of your life.
Do you want to spend those three or four days having massages while you gaze at the beach, or would you prefer a secluded spa in the country? Deciding what kind of experience you want will help narrow down your search.
Berlingeri says the key to finding the perfect spa is looking for one that appeals to your five senses. Is there delicious food at the spa? Are there aromatherapy experiences? Can you hear the waves rolling in or the birds chirping?
Consider whether the spa offers more than just spa treatments. “When entering a spa, you should feel as though you are departing from reality and reuniting with all that is health, wellness and beauty,” says Berlingeri.
Look for a spa that offers fitness experiences like yoga classes or hikes. And after you’re done sweating it out, you’ll need a beauty treatment, like a haircut that leaves you feeling like a whole new woman.
What to do on your spa getaway
A spa getaway with your girlfriends should provide you with lots of bonding time. Manicures and pedicures allow you to chat and sip mimosas as you get pampered.
But what’s the ultimate spa bonding treatment? Berlingeri says you should book an oceanfront relaxation room where you can enjoy champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. Can you say heaven?
For individual treatments, Berlingeri recommends a facial and describes the Elle Spa Signature Facial as “a truly spiritual experience.”
If you have a new mom in the group, look for a treatment like the Elle Spa Total Relaxation treatment. “This is a tailored experience that nurtures the body with organic oils, which hydrate the skin, along with color light therapy, [which] aligns the body and emotions, bringing balance back to new moms,” explains Berlingeri.
Finally, if you’ve been stressed, you need a hot rock massage followed by a soak to help detoxify your body, she says.
You should also plan some non-spa activities, like sunrise and sunset yoga or Reiki circles on the beach, suggests Berlingeri.
And no vacation is complete without some delicious food. Many spas offer quality organic food from local vendors. But also venture outside the spa to visit local restaurants. Ask the spa staff if they have any recommendations of what places to try.
What to pack for your spa getaway
When deciding what to bring on your spa getaway, your main goal should be comfort. “You should leave all material that will interfere with you disconnecting from your busy and hectic lifestyle behind,” Berlingeri says. “Leave your heels at home, bring the sandals.”
Pack loose, flowing clothing like maxi dresses or T-shirt dresses, which are easy to slip on after a treatment but dressy enough for a nice dinner. If you’re heading somewhere hot, don’t forget a swimsuit, floppy hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
If you plan on exercising, bring along workout gear and running shoes. And in case it gets chilly, pack a couple of lightweight sweaters and a pair of comfy yoga pants.
A common worry for women is what to wear during spa treatments.
“Wearing nothing at all for your body treatments is most common,” says Berlingeri, who notes that the spa therapist will make sure you’re covered throughout the treatment. If you’re not comfortable naked, ask the spa what you should wear.
“Asking questions in advance will eliminate any intimidation,” says Berlingeri. “Your comfort is most important.”
Another key aspect of spa etiquette is tipping. Berlingeri says the industry standard is tipping 20 percent. So make sure you bring enough money to cover the tip for all your treatments.
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