03 February 2007

Can you spell SPA....................

Welcome back to midwestern winter! Temperatures will not reach above freezing for the next several days. Pinch me, somebody, so I can wake up back in Key Biscayne.

Last week I died and went to the Ritz Hotel on an island off the coast of Florida for four days. In addition to lounging by the waterfall at the pool, I enjoyed the spa amenities. The first thing I noticed is the scent of the entire spa and fitness area. A quick look in the gift shop and the nose found mango candles. Ah ha! The smell of the spa.

Entering through the spa doors, I walked down a long, softly lit, softly carpeted, well appointed hallway, through French doors surrounded by the hint of mango. The door to the women's spa opens into a warmly lit and cozy lounge where each guest is greeted by the hostess who gives you sandals and offers you a key to a locker. I thought the lounge was cool enough just to stay right there! An inviting couch, magazines, botanical prints, live orchids, healthy snacks, water or light cranberry refresher or hot herbal tea whisper, "relax, time has stopped, be here, be you , be now." Filled with an other worldly Zen-like transcendental peace I sipped my lemon water, slipped into the spa slippers, and floated through the next door to the locker area, which is nicer than most people's bedrooms. Much!

I changed into my silky robe with terry lining and ascended into the mango scented spa area. First, the steam room, then more water, then the jacuzzi, then more water and five minutes of sinking my body into the cushions of the wicker chair. Ready set go...into the sauna. Ah, but I brought with me a fluffy washcloth, folded and chilled in cucumber water to place on my eyes.

How can I recreate this in my own bathroom? I wondered. Well, the sauna and steam rooom will take a major rehab. But the mango scent and soft lighting, cucumber towels and robe are an easy addition to any home. Chilled lemon water with a splash of cranberry can be stored in the fridge for spa day.

The locker room [really far to harsh a description for the lovely environment] was complete with hair products, disposable razors for the shower, lotions, conditioners, body gel soap, and personal hygiene products. Silly me; I brought from home in my 1 quart zip locked baggy for the plane all those personl items! Who knew? The spa also offered the hair dryer and the flat iron and the curling iron and the hot rollers. And more fresh soft white towels than Macy's.

I found mango tea candles at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
First step to home spa accomplished!

For years I've kept potpourri in a Lenox bone china bowl that I bought for nothing at a flea market in Paducah or somewhere. It's filled with water, now, waiting for ice, cucumber slices, and water to soak the hand towels in. I noticed the hotel room bathroom had a lovely silver tray that held the shampoo and lotion. Finally, an everyday use for the wedding gifts of silver bowls, trays that have slept for years in the dining room hutch. And orchids! Don't forget the orchids. I've killed two in the last two years. Better to buy artificial ones in pots that last forever and look more real and never drop their leaves. Every bathroom needs an orchid.

The memory of the Ritz spa is etched in my mind. Each pore and cell of my body remembers the creature comforts of the otherwordly environment. May be a slight problem in creating the time I'll need to lock myself in the bathroom at home and light the tea candles.

Next post: I hope I'll have photos downloaded and ready to share.

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