Restful Resolution

By Sandra Ramani / November 6, 2011

In a season that’s all about giving, family and festivities, it can be hard to catch your breath. This year, make it a resolution to set aside some “me time” – possibly on a relaxing trip. To help inspire a getaway, we’ve picked four spots where it’s easy to unwind, recharge and get inspired.

natural beauty
Even in a country  brimming with emerald green beauty, County Clare is something special. Set on Ireland’s stunning west coast, this diverse region has sites both famous (like the stunning Cliffs of Moher) and historic, as well as a thriving  music scene and creative cuisine.  It is also home to Burren, a geologically unique  area noted for its limestone landscapes and unusual plant life.

With all this natural bounty, it’s only right that spas here celebrate local ingredients, and two of our favorite spots do that with products by Voya, an Irish brand centered on the powerful benefits of organic seaweed.

Overlooking the rugged dunes of the Atlantic coast, Doonbeg Lodge’s White Horse Spa offers treatments like the Voya Anti-Aging Reviver Facial, featuring a blend of organic antioxidants and collagen boosters, as well as the Burren Wilderness Massage, which relaxes muscles with heated towels and homegrown County Clare wild- flowers.

At historic Dromoland Castle, where the main house dates back to the 5th century, guests can unwind with a Voya Muslin Bag Massage—in which the body is kneaded with warm bags filled with nourishing herbs and seaweed oil—then enjoy the vast property with a woodland walk, horse ride or falconry experience.

southern charm

Gourmet food, country-chic accommodations and lots of relaxed charm are the hall- marks of this Relais & Chateaux property set about eight miles south of Chapel Hill, N.C. The Inn’s 35 quaint rooms are dotted throughout the village setting, which also includes several eateries (from fine dining to an outdoor beer garden), a lovely book- store, shops, European-style gardens and a cushy two-story spa. After an Elemis Visible Brilliance Facial or herbal oil Well-Being Massage, guests can borrow a bike to explore the surrounding trails or enjoy a workout  at the nearby Duke Center for Living. Just be sure to  get back in time for afternoon tea and home baked treats (included with every room rate) at the gardenside main restaurant.


city escape
Though it’s just steps from Central Park, the intimate Surrey Hotel feels miles away from the city, thanks to elements such as a peaceful rooftop terrace and a warm, residential feel in its comfy guestrooms. Now, its jewel-box spa is taking the “urban retreat” theme to another level with the introduction of a three-day Organic Avenue Cleanse package available to both local residents and hotel guests. Starting at $574 per night (which includes accommodation in a Salon or Suite room), the package features three days of organic juices based on one of Organic Avenue’s detox/cleanse programs; a choice of one private yoga or Pilates session; and two one-hour body, facial or massage treatments chosen to help facilitate the detox process. For the latter, we’d go with one of the Li’Tya services, like the rhythmic Kodo body massage or salt-and-oil scrub, that are based on traditional Australian Aboriginal healing rituals and natural remedies. Ingredients like Tasmanian soils and Australian berries, kelp, moss and herbs help accentuate that juice-induced glow.


beach getaway
Boasting an unbeatable powder-soft beach and lush, tropical grounds—home to a variety of birds, butterflies and the occasional guinea pig-like Yucatan tzereques—the Maroma Resort & Spa is a Riviera Maya hotel that feels at one with its environment. Though the service and amenities are undoubtedly deluxe, the vibe here remains familial and authentic, with excellent cuisine that highlights local products and recipes, and an understated décor featuring traditional materials and handicrafts. Also authentic is the Mayan-influenced Kinan Spa, a peaceful, open-air sanctuary where everything from the waterfalls to the massage tables have been carefully placed to ensure positive energy flow. (A natural fit, since the resort is not far from the ancient ruins at Tulum.) Treatments include body scrubs with avocado, papaya seeds or muscovado sugar, and the traditional Temezcal steam-lodge ceremony guided by a local healer. Our hands-down favorite is the Kinan Ritual, in which two therapists gently wrap your body in a cocoon of herb-infused cotton sheets, scrub you with a mix of local honey and sea salt, then perform a muscle-melting four-hand massage us- ing choreographed sequence of moves. “Thanks for dancing with us,” one of my therapists said after the transportive treatment—but really, the pleasure was all mine.


Sandra Ramani is the contributing editor of Rest & Relaxation at Organic Spa Magazine.

Sandra Ramani

Sandra Ramani

Senior Contributing Editor at Organic Spa Magazine
In addition to serving as OSM’s Senior Contributing Editor, writer/editor Sandra Ramani covers travel, wellness, and lifestyle topics for such publications as Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, Premier Traveler, AFAR, Bridal Guide, Elite Traveler, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also the author of “Day Trips from Dallas / Fort Worth,” now in its second edition. Recent assignments have found her sleeping in the Sahara, hopping helicopters in New Zealand, and making this new friend in Bali.
Sandra Ramani

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