Bora Bora Four Seasons Spa

Where to begin – many whirlwind escapes this year; yet despite the accelerated pace, vivid memories remain from each unique resort.

One memorable location – Bora Bora in May, the month usually denotes the travelers are Honeymoon Couples. I am comfortable everywhere and I’m always working when I visit these glamorous settings, thus an over-water bungalow office is just peachy, even if lovebirds surround me!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will write soon at great length about the magnificent, in every detail, Four Seasons Bora Bora – honestly, it is heaven on earth and actually a very efficient jaunt from our coast.

My very last day of a delightful 9-day excursion to Tahiti, which included working every morning and evening skyping with Benjamin tweaking client itineraries, rendered me    weary.  Yes, Paradise can be exhausting! My new friend Arnaud Dieutegard, Four Seasons spa director, who had been at the divine lunch at Yrondi’s home – rang me and said you haven’t experienced a Polynesia massage yet, I am sending a buggy for you!

Arnaud is the warmest and most generous guy – he loves the hotel, he loves their products, he is truly imbued with the hospitality gene! You might be surprised that many in the travel industry lack the hospitality gene.

I had wandered the gorgeous spa a few times for photos and lingered on the to die for view relaxation decks, but hadn’t yet indulged in the services. Everything about the spa whispers rest and unwind – the cathedral like wooden building is sandwiched between a tranquil lagoon and the edge of the sea. Dappled sunlight and shadows play on the lacquered floor – the quiet is truly church like, people passing in robes and soft slippers, disappearing behind enormous dark doors. Sandlewood and frangipani perfumes the space. Arnaud encouraged me to try the traditional Polynesian massage using the hotels exclusive monoi oil that contains flecks of 24-carat gold –            E Mauruuru- (Ay mah-roo-roo) is Tahitian for yes, thank you.

Monoi oil is considered a holy oil, priests use it in worship ceremonies to anoint newborns and purify objects. Traditionally used the “sacred oil of the Polynesians,” is cultivated by soaking fragrant Tiare Tahiti blossoms (an exotic gardenia) in refined coconut oil, producing a light and aromatic oil with immeasurable soothing and moisturizing properties. Staff  tuck the sweet-smelling blossom behind their ear and leave a creamy white bud nestled on pillows at evening turn-down. I found the scent blissful and sleep inducing.bora-boraThe signature spa experiences reflect ancient traditions, therapeutic disciplines and Western practices – linked together to nurture and re-balance the body. Begin with the Maeva foot ritual to purify both mind and body while renewing the spirit. Your feet are thoroughly exfoliated and massaged with a detox oil to cleanse the body of impurities and prepare you for the transformative treatments to come.

Polynesian Massage: inspired by the culture of the French Polynesian Islands, this type of massage draws on rich therapeutic traditions and uses the graceful, soothing dance-like style of taurumi to achieve a deep state of physical and emotional relaxation.

Balinese Massage: a skill passed down through generations, features long strokes, gentle skin rolling, stretching and thumb pressure. It aims to relieve tension, improve blood flow, ease stress and calm the mind.

Arnaud insisted I try the Polynesian massage, I was a willing volunteer; my afternoon schedule included an early evening flight and late dinner in Papeete before the slog home via LAX and onward to SF. Why Not? My newfound phrase to everything lately – Why Not?

I’m not sure when I passed from groggy and wilted to comatose on the massage table – certainly a combination of travel fatigue and massage magic- my masseuse,  Moeana Moetaua, is an expert Polynesian practitioner; the gentle massage pressure rendered me motionless.  I know I was awakened and led down the hall to the relaxation room i.e. recovery room – with a view of the jungle like lagoon, calming music and a comfy warm chaise. Floating, really, barely cognizant of the soft music and muted whispers of other guests, but I could also see myself from above – an out of body experience – I heard soft murmurs but felt I was hovering above the lounge looking down at my resting body. I think an hour passed and I woke with a start, but quite rested!On my farewell  with GM Michel Volk and the lovely group of staff who gathered for my departure were not at all surprised when I uttered: I think I had an out of body experience in the spa! I mentioned Moeana’s name – everyone in unison: oh yes, Moeana… apparently a traditional miracle at Four Seasons Bora Bora Spa- I was rested and ready, fragrantly oiled with specks of 24 carat gold for the trip home.

Miracle Massage at Four Seasons Bora Bora, Mauruuuru Arnaud!








Sense Spa at CordeValle

As any spa aficionado will share, one is always pursuing the ultimate and flawless treatment – essentially seeking bliss, even if for a mere 90 minutes! The afterglow lingers for hours.

CordeValle’s spectacular Northern California setting is reflected in spa treatments that draw upon the natural healing properties of the region’s herbs, plants, minerals and fruits. With vineyards flourishing on the sunny hillsides, it’s only natural that grape seeds are a part of several signature and specialty spa treatments. Each treatment room has a private garden designed to bring in the wonder of the outdoors.

Managing a 24 hour escape to CordeValle in San Martin, on a rare rainy June day, Sense Spa summoned and satisfied!

Perusing a spa menu inspires and tantalizes: Raindrop Ritual, Bungalow Love, Cherry Bark Scrub, Rain Room Rejuvenation…depending on your mood, which prescription will deliver the ultimate delight?

Snuggle into a brown and white stripe seersucker robe and pad down the hall to the tearoom. Trickling water fountain and fine art, comfy wing back chairs welcome as you begin the path to oblivion. Attention to detail, including the robes!

Ocean Immersion: Immerse yourself in the healing powers of the ocean and experience a body treatment like no other. Begin with a rhythmic full body exfoliation with their Salt of the Earth scrub – a combination of five salts sourced from around the world. Next flow with the application of warm Undaria Algae Oil combined with White Algae mask to re-mineralize and rehydrate your skin. Float off to a state of complete relaxation as you rest in your nourishing cocoon while your massage therapist provides a nurturing Cranial Wave treatment in combination with a scalp massage. After your emerge from your cocoon, the healing products will be rinsed by the powerful Vichy shower, in preparation for an application of Marine Body Gel leaving your skin as soft as an ocean breeze.

They don’t describe or sell the rhythmic ocean music, which permeates the tiled room. I am certain I hovered above the water pillow table several times, buoyant in a cocoon of otherworldly music, as if curled up in a conch shell on the sandy beach, gently rolling with each soft wave.

Ask for Cynthia.

Pity they discourage bathrobes in the dining room, I would have been completely satisfied to pad in for a glass of Bordeaux and seared duck breast.

Fond memory of the Amanbagh Spa in Rajasthan where the general manager welcomed us to the dining room fireplace still in our robes and mussed hair.

Sense Spa, Sensational!