A couple discovers bliss at the Larchmont Sanctuary Spa

DSCN0014DSCN0027An little orange bungalow filled with serenity where Patti had one of the best facials ever and Richard blissed out royall with a massage. Larchmont Sanctuary Spa at 331 Larchmont Bvld., Los Angeles, 323-466-1028, try it you will thank me for it. No joke. Read moere at http://www.examiner.com/article/for-the-best-massage-ever-book-nicole-at-larchmont-sanctuary-spaDSCN0016DSCN0007

Spa-ing in Shanghai

05de6a13f90456fb138acf7ebf83602aAttention globe-trotting spa-seekers, Asia’s leading spa operator, Banyan Tree Spa, just announced  the launch of the Banyan Tree Spa Shanghai On The Bund, located in Shanghai’s first all river view hotel. The three-story facility is located on Shanghai’s iconic Bund district close to both historic landmarks and the new cultural and commercial centers of the cosmopolitan city. It has 11 exquisitely appointed treatment rooms including two Imperial Rooms with a Rainmist facility or Thai Massage area along with a beauty salon, nail bar and Banyan Tree Gallery.

Embracing the local culture and traditional Chinese healing philosophy, Banyan Tree Spa Shanghai On the Bund’s colorful design concept is inspired by the Five Elements – Gold, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. The Spa’s contemporary design showcases a combination of sleek lines with traditional materials to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. An elegant reception area features a clear glass panel embedded with grey textured patterns while a beige sofa and silk floral-motif throw cushions are just a few of the comforting touches.

Signature Spa Treatments

The destination-inspired Banyan Indulgences feature holistic signature treatments for total renewal. The 150-minute signature package, Banyan Hot Stones, is a harmonizing treatment where heated stones are soothingly massaged over the body along with the use of warm Clarity Oil to exert warmth and pressure on energy points for smoother flow of “qi” and the discharge of toxins. The treatment concludes with a Rose Body Scrub, Chrysanthemum Body Conditioner and Rose Bath to leave the skin nourished and soft.

Blissful experiences include a selection of popular therapies reflecting the Five Elements – Gold for Purifying, Wood for Renewal, Water for Relaxing, Fire for Revitalizer and Earth for Balance. Five Elements oils are created for each specific treatment. Guests may discover the healing powers of Chinese herbs and indigenous ingredients in body scrubs which harness the benefits of Pu’er tea leaves, Pearl, Chrysanthemum and Ginseng.

A day at the spa is the perfect panacea for aching feet after a day of roaming the sites of sizzling Shanghai. You can relax with a massage, body scrub, facial, hand and foot treatment, and just chill out.  The Spa is open to both hotel guests and visitors daily from 10am to 11pm. For more information or reservations, please contact +86 21 2509 1188, email spa-shanghaionthebund@banyantree.com or visit banyantreespa.com.

About Banyan Tree Spa

The leading Asian spa operator and pioneer of the tropical garden spa, Banyan Tree Spa first opened in 1994 in Phuket, Thailand. As the first luxury oriental spa in Asia, it re-introduced an exotic blend of time-honored Asian healing therapies and beauty remedies.

Like the tropical and sacred tree that inspired its name, Banyan Tree Spa offers guests a Sanctuary for the Senses – a haven for physical, mental and spiritual renewal. Its spa philosophy focuses on a non-clinical and holistic ‘high-touch, low-tech’ approach that celebrates the human touch and the use of natural herbs and spices. Sensing the moment, Angsana Spa complements Banyan Tree Spa with its contemporary chic and vivacious treatments. Inspiring guests to live life spontaneously and savor time, its refreshing blend of treatments emphasizes on the use of native flowers and fruits. Banyan Tree Spa owns and manages a total of approximately 70 Spas in close to 30 countries under the Banyan Tree Spa, Angsana Spa and Elements Spa By Banyan Tree brands.

Diva’s favorite spa takes Shape honors

 

Golden Door Spa,  where the Diva and her husband Richard go to shape up, tone and atone and up our body awareness, was fittingly named one of the Top 10 A-List Bikini Boot Camps by Shape Magazine.Whiel I wouldn’t call it a “boot camp”, hey magazines like to play with words, as do I, I would whole heartedly agree it’s the best in the world. I have gone through the all-inclusive week-long with women of all walks of life, from Hollywood starlets to Greek heiresses, and regular career girls.

The Door is open as a woman only facility for most of the year with the exception of four or five coed and men’s weeks (depends).  For the last four years the Diva has  been doing coed week with her man and loves it.

The  zen-like Japanese style facility is so spiritual and beautiful that you unwind the minute you walk across a little foot bridge from the parking lot to the lobby. From there it’s euphoria albeit mixed with rigorous mountain hikes, aerobics, spinning, Pilates, Yoga, assorted dance classes including Zumba and several other ways to get your heart pumping  and your fat down. Of course you don’t have do anything either, you can simply lounge around enjoy the primordial pampering which is generously proffered every day and including in the $7000 tab (which is sometimes on sale for $6600).

Golden Door Spa (866) 420-6414 book online: www.goldendoor.com.

The Diva’s Days of Pampering and Pumping at the Golden Door

Day 6 of the Diva’s Week at the Golden Door

Monday April 20 at home…
Slowly making my re-entry into the real world. It’s not easy. I did get up and hiked, but not as early, more like 8AM, and I exercised and swam–so the Door’s still with me.  But I had lots of catch up on email, snail mail, work, husband etc.
 I still keep the Golden Door Glow, I feel rejuvenated, lighter, tighter, toned and wonderful. It’s just an incomparable week, and did I tell you the tab is all inclusive unless you want tennis lessons or after hours treatments. They even provide a full wardrobe of workout wear as well as kimonos that you can wear to dinner, robes, slippers, toiletries and hats, jackets, windbreakers and gloves for cold mornings. Transportation from San Diego airport’s also included. And of course they feed you three spa meals daily, snacks, beverages, and extra portions or snacks on request.
 
Saturday April 18 All Good Things Come to an End and so I leave the Golden Door via Amtrak’s Surfliner from Oceanside to Los Angeles.
Do come back for a complete wrap-up of my week and what I got out of it.
Friday April 17
  Pretty much repeat of yesterday with hike, b’fast (waffles and chicken sausage), stretch, Gentle Yoga, personal training session with Brett, makeup (pic posted soon) and now off to lunch by the pool, it warmed up here…come back later for updates. Lunch was great as usual, fresh salmon salad and a cookie for dessert. Rest of day exhausting: makeup, scalp treatment, herbal wrap, massage, dinner (fresh salmon again, but I had a choice and chose it, really delicious finished with a flaky, yummy banana, apple strudel.
Thursday April 16 over the hump day at the Golden Door
Day 5
(you really need to follow my journal daily, which begins at the bottom, hey makes you think)
Okay spa brain really set in. Relaxed, unwound, loose, light, toned and pampered. That’s what the Golden Door’s all about.
Did the 5 mile mountain hike followed by a session in the steam bath and hot tub. Then back to room for breakfast in bed: Mexican-style scrambled eggs in a whole wheat tortilla, fruit (melon, that alas wasn’t ripe enough, unusual for here), coffee. Then off to see Brett, my main fitness squeeze who sets me straight with weights and then stretches me out real good…
Brett sets gym up for cardio-boxing class….

 

Okay left Brett and came to PC to update you on my progress. Feeling good today, having a friend join me for lunch today. Marta, the maitre d’ of the kitchen whose been here forever and is fantastic at her job–which entails sometimes putting up with primo-divas (I’m not one of those). Anyhow Marta’s setting Glenn and I up by the Koi pond with today’s special: Bento boxes. Okay here’s Glenn obviously enjoying his Bento Box lunch. Glenn said his friends were concerned he wouldn’t get enough to eat and should eat before coming. Chef Dean showed them, Glenn didn’t even finish, nor did I. But we did have room for the Door’s delicious cookies–yep you get cookies.That’s the Koi pond. I hated to see Glenn leave but hey I had a body scrub scheduled and I don’t miss treatments even for best friends. And glad I didn’t. Carolyn, a striking, blonde-haired Irish export was fantastic as she massaged/scrubbed and oiled my weary body.

 

After the scrub it was time for my pedicure with ace manicurist Teresa, a Viet Namese export who ends her treatment with a fabulous foot reflexology massage. And then it was off to my room for my 5 PM rub by CJ, alas it would be my last from this cool dude as he gets Friday and Saturday off and is replaced by Eric, whom I’ve never had the pleasure of being massaged from. That’s grammatically incorrect, but geez this is a blog.

Dinner followed: salad and fresh fish (forgot what variety, but it was delicious)and corn meal cake that was quite tasty. After the ritual walk to the gate there was a woman who gave hand writing analysis, I skipped it. Not because of lack of interest but I wanted to write this journal which I hope you’re enjoying.

Day 4 At the Golden Door in Escondido, California
Wednesday, Tax Day and I’m plotzed, in spa speak it’s called ‘hump’ day. Actually slept in and skipped the hike, which although I love this activity, my body said “no.” But this is the Golden Door and you are on your own to go with your personal flow, which I’m doing. See below for full account….
Diane Allan and Suzie Fernandez teach classes at the Golden Door


I’m back at the Golden Door in Escondido, California. It’s been a year since my last visit and I was jonesing for some chic r and r and I’m getting it.

Arrived the afternoon of Easter Sunday via Amtrak Surfliner from Los Angeles. I sat in a cushy seat in Business Class, made cell phone calls, read, listened to my Mp3 Player, chatted with the hostess, a lovely Afro-American women with great wit and style. She served pax complimentary wine, water, soda and there was also coffee, tea and snacks, but I didn’t bend to temptation as I was en route to a salubrious week.

The Door’s driver picked me in Oceanside for the short ride to the beautiful bronze gates that enter me into a transcendental world far from reality.

I checked into my Japanese-honjin Inn style room, slipped into a kimono and met the other 17 female guests for dinner–gourmet spa cuisine of salad, fish and yummy guilt-free Key Lime dessert. The Door usually takes 40 people weekly but this being a holiday and a recession (it’s pricey)….

Day 2 (Monday)

up at 5:30 for 6:45 mountain hike (5 miles), back to room for breakfast in bed (aah), but not for long, up and at ’em for back and stretch class, Aerobics, Pilates, lunch, hike (1 1/2 miles), facial, steam, herbal wrap, massage and dinner–a spa cuisine masterpiece by chef Dean. We started with a perfectly seasoned salad with ingredients from the Door’s organic garden and moved on to chicken roulade which was so good it was hard to believe it was low-cal, low-salt, and finally a cannoli, yes they serve dessert and it was divine. After dinner we walk to the gates that open to the real world, but we keep it closed, reality doesn’t exist here. Then a lecture on
how to get the most out of your workout and nutrition but sorry to say opted to go to the steam bath and then read my Robert Parker Spenser Novel in bed.

Day 3 (Tuesday)
Another glorious day at the Golden Door. Slept well and off to the 5 mile mountain, followed by a session in the hot tub , quick steam and breakfast in bed. Yummy cheese toast this morning with fresh strawberries from the Door’s organic garden. Then off to Stretch class, ooooh, felt good and a wild and wacky Boomer’s Aerobics taught by Diane (seen above) to the music of the 60s – 80s. Cool. Then did my own thing (dyot) which including lots of Facebooking and Twittering.

Meet my personal trainer at Noon, Brett, he’s the best, had him last year, or he had me, does great stretch out, which I need after all the exercise I’m doing here.
My wonderful workout with Bret was followed by a fab facial from Ashton. You have choices here and I opted for full cleansing treatment. Divine.

I followed with a session in the Steam to prepare my muscles for a massage from CJ, a cool surfer/biker dude who gives a mean, deep rub that turns me into rubber. Feeling lazy, I decided to have dinner served in my room–another great Golden Door amenity.
Read in bed until sleep came, which actually wasn’t realized soon enough which is why on
Day 4

I slept in and missed the hike. After my oatmeal breakfast in bed I took the Stretch class, it helped. Then I went to the Samurai gym for short sessions on the treadmill and elliptical before meeting up with my PT Brett. My bad, body wouldn’t respond, so he had no alternative but to stretch me out real good.
This was followed by more steam, herbal wrap, more steam, relaxing. I figure it being Wednesday and Tax Day I’d really let myself go into a transcendental state of bliss. It works well here. It is such a beautiful, bucolic setting set in a little valley surrounded by mountains, with lots of lush foliage, orange and avocado trees and of course that organic garden.
Well it’s nearly lunch time. It’s cold out today so no dining by the pool, decided to feast in my room. Wish you were here.

For rates and info go to http://www.goldendoor.com/, there are special weeks and min-weeks offered throughout the year, keep in mind it’s an all-inclusive rate.