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A Bermuda Spa -- the Girlie Good Life

 

Leslie 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...


The 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 I.V. drip!

Beaches, 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.


Pampering paradise here I come...

As 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.

Built 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.


She saved my feet for last...

Emma, 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.


Queen 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.

Later 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 take home.


S is for spiritual...

Don't 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.


S is also for shopping...

With 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.


Guess who came to dinner...

This 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 and www.bermudatourism.com.

 


 

 

 

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