Ehm is a Journeywoman who has called many places home including
a wonderful fifteen year stint in London England. She is now living
in Toronto, Canada where she toils as a Senior Copywriter at an
ad agency and loves every minute of it. Leslie writes...
phone rang. "Are you interested in checking out the Southampton
Princess Hotel's Willow Stream Spa in Bermuda?", asked the
editor of Journeywoman.com. Are you kidding?, I thought. That's
like asking a woman with a broken heart if she'd fancy a chocolate
balconies and comfy bathrobes...
Who wouldn't want
to spend a few days in Bermuda? I imagined crystal blue
water, pink sand beaches, balmy winds plus a great deal
of pampering. And according to my press notes, the
Fairmont Southampton Princess had just undergone
a $50 million facelift to make it not only Bermuda's largest
resort, but a true and wonderful spa destination. My mouth
watered as I continued
to read about the hotel-spa's exclusive location.... "perched
royally on the island's highest point, The Southampton
Princess overlooks lush
acres of land, beautiful beaches and bountiful gardens."
As I hoped it would
be, my room was decorated in soft, water-washed tones.
The pale yellow walls were edged in the purest white,
a muted floral spread covered the bed and (very female)
lace-like curtains framed the doors to my very own balcony.
The bathroom was immaculate and, in my mind, I awarded
extra JW points for the yummy soft robe and reflexology
slippers that talked me out of my travelling clothes.
I was beginning to succumb to my relaxing surroundings
and I hadn't even visited the spa yet.
here I come...
I approached the Willow Stream
Spa's antechamber, my senses were seduced by
the enticing scent of vanilla wafting
from candles in the palest shades of cream, beige and
buff. Ah-h-h-h, I thought; paradise here I come.
around the philosophy of energy emanating from the four
basic elements (earth, water, fire & air), the spa is
decorated in sunny yellow, sky blue, earth brown and
vivid aqua. Imagine marble floors, inhalation rooms
to clear the sinuses, wet and dry saunas, and a fitness
center with a grand, sea view. Add complimentary lemonade,
iced tea, bottled water, fruit, and a ladies lounge
decorated far better than most living rooms and you
start getting the picture. Scattered on tabletops were
books with warm and fuzzy titles like, "Emotional
Alchemy" and "Magic Words -- 101 Ways to Talk
Your Way Through Life's Challenges." I was definitely
in the chick zone.
saved my feet for last...
my clinician, settled me into one of the treatment rooms
and got me snuggled under a warm duvet. With a quiet voice
and strong hands, she proceeded with an hour-long Bermuda
Aromatherapy Facial that, to my happy surprise, began
with a lovely hand massage. Then my face was spritzed
with precious Neroli water (made from local orange blossoms).
Next, a Blitz face peel sloughed off dead skin cells and
was followed by aromatherapy oils and steam for deep penetration.
I'm diggin' this, I thought as my body slowly unwound.
But, Emma quickly brought me back to reality with the
next step in the process.
The sages say that
with every pleasure must come some pain. This facial was
no exception. While I definitely profited from the successful
annihilation of my blackheads, I can't say I enjoyed the
process. But what sane woman does? Wise Emma understood
and she saved a treat for last -- a fabulous foot massage!
Warm booties were slipped on to my happy tootsies while
she finished up with an accupressure face massage and
cream application. Needless to say, I lay in a happy stupor,
not wanting to move at all, my face positively glowing.
for a day...
The next day I was
up early -- I wanted to try everything! My morning began
with Beach Yoga, a gentle 45 minute stretching session
on the hotel's pink sand beach. I could have chosen one
of the other classes on offer (Toning, Step and Circuit
Training -- all complimentary for hotel guests), but that
would have been w-a-a-a-y too energetic for my liking.
that day, after lolling at the pool most of the afternoon,
I scheduled my Bermuda Aromatic Massage. The extra special
perk about this treatment is that the masseuse actually
came to my room. I felt part royalty, part Kennedy and
part movie star as I relaxed, relaxed, relaxed.
The next goodie in
store for me was a Salt of the Sea Scrub. I lay on a towelled
"wet bed" where I was treated to a Vichy shower
(a fancy term for being sprayed from head to toe with
warm water), firmly scrubbed with a combination of coarse
Turkish sea salt and aromatic oil, rinsed, rescrubbed,
oiled, rinsed and ohhhhh, I eventually lost count. All
that rubbing must have sloughed off about 36 years because
my skin felt as smooth as a baby's bottom. For a moment
I considered kidnapping my clinician Sabine and having
a full Vichy shower bed installed in my bathroom. In the
end, I settled for the pair of loofahs I was given to
is for spiritual...
get me wrong, I loved every minute of the spa's pampering,
but this girl needed more. A spiritual pick-me-up, perhaps?
Yes!! I found it by swimming with the dolphins. This experience
had always been a fantasy of mine and I discovered that
Bermuda's Dolphin Quest program
is considered to be one of the best in the world. For
$155, I bought myself an hour with playful dolphins in
the ocean pool. Donning my wetsuit alongside a small group
(who all happened to be kids which was half the fun),
I splashed around with the amazing mammals, learning hand
signals, feeding them, and stroking their warm and slippery
bodies. There are few things in the world that can still
fill me with a sense of absolute childlike wonder, but
this certainly did. By the time I got out of the water,
I felt blissfully serene and my face hurt from smiling.
is also for shopping...
spiritual out of the way, there was only one thing left
to do on this holiday -- some real good girlie shopping.
I was directed down Bermuda's Front Street and to my utter
joy, I discovered a Marks & Spencers! Having spent ten
years living in the U.K., I was very familiar with this
amazing emporium. Stocking everything from super-value,
cutting-edge fashion to fabulous foods, M&S is a shopaholics
paradise. For me, the best buy has always been their underwear.
I'm not kidding. Ask any British supermodel what kind
of thong she's sporting under her Gucci dress and I'll
bet you it's M&S. They make every style, every fabric
and they size up to about a 22. Needless to say I stocked
up and more. By the time I returned to my hotel, I was
considerably poorer but very, very happy.
who came to dinner...
trip definitely opened my eyes to the gorgeous wonders
that Bermuda has to offer. Whether you're primed for pampering
or just looking for an upscale beach holiday, you can
expect a fabulous getaway. My advice is, save your pennies
-- Bermuda and the Willow Stream Spa are not modestly
priced. The hotel does have what they call a "value
season" from March to November but don't count on
down-and-dirty pricing. Fairmont Southampton Princess
offers the good life, plus! Just ask Michael Douglas and
wife Catherine Zeta-Jones who sat next to us looking pleased
as punch in one of the hotel's four elegant restaurants.
For further information: on
packages and rates for the Fairmont Southampton Princess,
Willow Stream Spa and Bermuda in general, check out www.fairmont.com