My journey to reawaken my spirit and rejuvenate my body at a Mexico spa paradise.
In Mexico, you’ll find indigenous treatments, exotic locales, and an abundance of sunshine what’s not to love?
I stepped off the plane in Cancun and took a deep breath of fresh air. So that’s how it feels to relax€¦
This trip was intended to settle my nerves and reawaken my senses. Work, relationships, and life in general had become a bit overwhelming, and in order to avoid being fazed by the daily drudgery, I settled into a satisfactory state of numb. Hey, you can’t feel the weight of the world on your shoulders if you can’t feel anything. Yes, I was in Cancun, which has become quite familiar for beer and booze-guzzling college kids, but, judging from the Lincoln Navigator that picked me up (it is one of Paraiso de la Bonita’s fleet and a complimentary service for guests), this was not going to be Cancun “spring break style.”
Fifteen miles from Cancun, you’ll find the Mexican Riviera, an enclave of pristine beach that’s perfect for romantic rendezvous and restorative retreats. Paraiso de la Bonita (which translates to “Paradise of the Beautiful”) is an off-the-beaten-path resort that is intimate in its environment but spatially luxurious. A member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World, the ninety ocean-view, 1,130-square-foot suites with private outdoor terraces (some have their own plunge pools), are named after geographic locations including Antigua, Jaipur, KwaZulu, and Marbella and individually decorated with Mediterranean, Indian, African, Balinese, Chinese, and Caribbean antiques, fabrics, and sculptures. After stepping foot into my room, it quickly became clear that prying myself away from this little piece of heaven was not going to be an easy task. The next afternoon, when I was introduced to the spa, I honestly pondered the possibility of closing up shop in Los Angeles and taking up permanent residence at the resort.
After one of the more relaxing night’s sleep that I had experienced in the last few years, I awoke to the sounds of gently rolling waves and a suite full of warm, salty air. I ventured out and explored the resort, a stunning art piece itself, tantalizing the eyes to dance from one visual masterpiece to the next, and offering an array of colors, textures, and shapes. The concrete walls are swathed with oxblood red and sand, vibrantly glowing against the bright blue pools and sea. Columns created by the trees interrupt river stone pathways.
I sat poolside for breakfast at the hotel’s Kaax restaurant. The LA Times was delivered to me; guests can choose from approximately thirty newspapers from around the globe. Talk about service! I ordered what my waiter recommended scrambled eggs with seasoned black beans, crumbled cheese, and a hot and fresh tortilla and settled in for my day of relaxation.
Because the list of activities available at the resort was, at least at that moment, much more interesting than the news in Los Angeles, I set my paper aside and let my mouth water as I read the options that lay ahead. A sunset dinner on “La Bonita,” the resort’s 48-foot luxury catamaran was tempting. Decorated in the same style as the suites in the hotel, the art-filled boat would be an ideal way to enjoy the Caribbean waters, cocktail in hand, as any residual stress melts off my skin and floats away. A jungle horseback ride along the mangroves and onto private beaches was, in my mind, quintessential Mexico. Or I could have the concierge arrange a car to pick me up and take me on a tour of either Chichen Itza, the ancient Mayan city and archeological site painted with temples and ruins, or the ancient walled city and port of Tulum that is perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean and scattered with ruins, pyramids, temples, and frescos. Or I could simply spa all day.
I gave my stomach an hour to go to work digesting my food, then, like a woman on a mission, headed to my 22,000-square-foot haven The Thalasso Center & Spa.
The spa at Paraiso de la Bonita is not your average ho-hum massage factory. It is a thalasso spa a concept more common in Europe than America. Combining ancient healing traditions with modern health technology in the creation of a therapeutic spa and temple of healing, Paraiso’s Thalasso Center & Spa is the first luxury European Thalasso spa in North America.
An ancient Greek practice, thalassotherapy (meaning ocean therapy) is based on the scientifically similar qualities of human blood plasma and seawater. The skin’s porous makeup allows for easy absorption of anything that it comes into contact with through osmosis. When exposed to mineral-rich thermal clay, plankton, and phytoplankton, the skin is essentially able to digest and benefit from the curative and rejuvenating elements.
At Paraiso’s Thalasso spa, fresh water is pumped from deep within the ocean, heated to match the body’s temperature, then used in an array of healing treatments boasting a bouquet of benefits, including stress reduction, weight loss, cellulite reduction, muscle and joint healing, and overall revitalization. (Little known fact: in Europe, many thalasso spa treatments are covered by medical insurance as a preventative measure.)
The threshold to the spa is a stunning, doorless, cut-out rectangular portico giving entrance to a courtyard check-in reception area where guests are met and ushered into the spa. I slipped into a comfy robe and slippers and headed out to the ocean-view pre-treatment room where I sipped fruity tea and waited for my therapist to retrieve me.
I lay down on a waterproof bed beneath low-hanging shower heads that mirrored the line of my body. Hand towels were strategically placed to avoid any uncomfortable exposure and another was placed on my eyes to shield them from the spray, then the jets were turned on, dousing my skin in warm salt water (at first I forgot to close my mouth and found out the hard way that, yes, it is very salty ocean water). My therapist treated my skin to the Marine Relaxing Under Afusion Exfoliation, a treatment designed to remove dead skin cells through a gentle, stimulating exfoliation under a downpour of ocean water the theory is similar to the idea of cutting a flower’s stem under running water and placing the freshly groomed stem directly into a water filled vase so as not to tempt the pores to close without getting their fill of water.
After the fifty-minute, skin-prepping, mineral deluge, I relaxed into the Seaweed Body Treatment. My therapist slathered my skin with micro-blasted marine algae to revitalize my body and purge any unwanted toxin-filled fluids lurking in my tissues. To complete my day of healing, I let my face get in on the ocean’s potent beautifying power with the Beauty Elixir a signature therapy at the spa. In the anti-aging treatment a rich extract of seaweed is applied to nourish the skin, stimulate facial elasticity, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. My once dull complexion looked instantly revitalized, plump, and smooth.
After several hours of soaking in the ocean’s healing vitamins and minerals, I slipped out to the pool and relaxed, fruity-drink in hand, under the Riviera Maya’s penetrating sun, pondering what therapies I would treat myself to tomorrow.
Healed? Who knows. But I felt like a new woman and that says something. Now if only we could convince American health insurance to cover the cost of thalassotherapy, these treatments would be incorporated into my regular wellness routine and that, I assure you, would result in a less-stressed lady both inside and out.
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