Friday, February 20, 2009

Destination Spa Getaway - Riviera Maya, Mexico

Continuing on from my earlier post Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Hotspot - Riviera Maya, Mexico, I'm back today to share the scoop on my favorite spas.

As the Globetrotting Groom points out, even manly men need a little pampering so be sure to put a couples spa getaway on your to-do list.

On our recent Mexico getaway, we tested out the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Mayakoba and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya. Both left us feeling nurtured and relaxed. Plus, they both featured top-notch technicians and local-inspired treatments that incorporated Mayan traditions and local herbs, oils and even Cacao for chocolate lovers.

Here's the scoop:

The Willow Stream Spa is in a super tranquil building that has a fitness center, comfortable treatment rooms, an upstairs relaxation lounge and a sun-filled outdoor area with a vitality pool, sea-mineral soaking pool and lounge chairs (yes, this was my choice pre- and post-treatment spot - see below). The locker rooms are spacious and feature luxe toiletries, sauna and steam room, showers and a tranquil waiting area with refreshments.

We tested a bunch of treatments including Customized Deep Cleansing facials (so soothing I almost fell asleep), Sports Massage (the GTG loves his massages) and a Body Quench (perfect for hydrating my dry winter skin and hair). We splurged on a two-hour Yucatan Healing Retreat (for couples) that took place in our own spa suite with private balcony and soaking tub. This started with a foot bath followed by a choice of sea and sand body scrubs, body mask, bath in the soaking tub and side-by-side massages.

If there was more time, I would have tried the Cha Chac Rain Ritual, Papaya Body Illumination and Hip Honeymooners (couples treatment featuring rose petals, rose oil and rosehip oil).

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya serves up pampering in chic yet earthy surrounds (think bamboo, stone, and mosaic tilework) as Mayan philosophy meets Asian-rooted healing rituals. The outdoor garden patio and Zen relaxation room are a great choice for pre- or post-treatment relaxation. The his and hers locker rooms feature "walk through" experience areas with a bubbling vitality pool with underwater recliners (my kind of relaxation - see them at the far end below), experience showers, artfully displayed crushed ice and an amazing mosaic tiled steam room (one of the largest I've been in with a really cool domed ceiling, dramatic lighting and steam coming out of a "fountain" - even the GTG remarked on its coolness).

(I promise, this is not me)

There are treatment rooms, VIP couples suites and waterfront spa palapas depending on your treatment. We tried the two-hour Mayan Tzolkin Couples Ritual, one of their signature experiences. It began in the medicinal garden where we hand-picked our herbs, which were later ground up and used in our body treatments. From there we entered an enormous treatment room where we were welcomed by a foot bath. Following a full body scrub and outdoor shower, it concluded with a relaxing massage. The whole treatment was very private and luxurious and we loved it!

Next time, I'd like to try one of the Aqua Experiences - one where you let the mud sink in as you relax in a warm throne-style chair or the other where you float in the Watsu Pool.

Too bad all the relaxation seems to vanish by the time you're back at JFK...

Have a great weekend!!!


Jenn said...

Cool description! Didn't make it to the Mayakoba, but had a great experience at the Mandarin Oriental Spa when I was there. Even getting just one treatment, we were able to make almost a day of it- a quick pre-spa workout in the gym, using the "heat experiences" that come along with a spa treatment (steam, pools, etc) and lounging by the outdoor spa pool. I also found the service to be great- delivered my husband and I delicious smoothies, that our waiter customized for us by our explanations of what we were in the mood for (very sweet, types of fruit, etc). Lunch food was light and good.

jane in the waiting line said...

I need a good spa day after reading this. Sounds amazing.

Grumpy Groom said...

Both of these places sound amazing. I'm sharing this post with my Bride to Be. She's already planning Spa treatments for our wedding and honeymoon next December.