Florida's Safety Harbor Spa has real attitude -- helping attitude,
healing attitude and, best of all, pampering attitude.
"How you doin'
today?" smiled Claxton as he took my bag and held the door open
"What can I
get for you darlin?" coaxed Jo Ann, my dining room waitress.
"Ready to be
spoiled silly?" asked Vicki, the esthetician in charge of my facial.
I was on a
heavenly, four day sabbatical from a hectic big city routine,
and I was loving every minute of it
on Tampa Bay, Safety Harbor is one of America's oldest spas. Their
curative mineral springs have been a draw for the last fifty years.
Even today, a long therapeutic soak in their "waters" is still
the perfect rejuvenation for a gal's sore body and tired mind.
And drinking eight glasses a day really isn't difficult because
this water tastes terrific, too.
Rooms at the
spa are newly renovated, very big and as female-friendly as they
come. Expect a hair dryer in every bathroom as well as an ironing
board and iron tucked away in your hall cupboard. There's fluffy
terry robes, towels galore and the most flattering lighting I've
ever experienced. I was fascinated with a mirror that made me
look terrific even before I started to eat healthy.
And eat healthy,
I did. Menu items are cooked to gourmet perfection. Taste level--
high. Calorie count-- low. Lunch on the first day began with a
wild field salad topped with toasted sunflower seeds and blackberry
vinaigrette. Then came the main course - herb crusted red snapper
served on a bed of calypso beans and summer squash stew. Dessert
was frozen yogurt topped with luscious, seasonal berries. Mmmm
good! Guess how many calories in total? Three hundred and fifty!
A bit of dieting
feels real easy here. In fact, Veronica, the spa's food educator
checks with each guest to see whether they have any particular
food needs. She sent me home with an easy low-cal recipe for "stir-fry
sesame chicken and veggies."
Safety Harbor, there are no complicated exercise schedules and
no drill sergeants to see that you are keeping busy. In fact,
once guests have registered and settled in, they are left entirely
on their own. There's a state-of-the-art fitness center offering
35 exercise classes daily, but you can choose to simply loll in
a hammock by the water, if you like. One woman I met over lunch
told me she'd tried everything from boxercise classes to step
sessions and heart-thumping aquaerobics. I chose only the early
outdoor yoga classes given by Ann Hodges, a former June Taylor
dancer. She was lovely and told me I was doing beautifully. She
lied! Being a novice, I found myself giggling as I invented new
positions to help me keep up with the class. Yet, it was so good
to be out in the fresh air, stretching and "saluting the sun"
as it rose over the bay.
I just loved
the pampering. Every day a selection of five different massages,
from Swedish to shiatsu, were available to guests. My first choice
was aromatherapy, done with heavenly serenity oil. My masseuse,
Roseanne, came through with flying colors! Need I say more?
Then, for a
very special European facial, I put myself into Vicki's healing
hands. Against a background of soothing new age music, my face
was steamed, cleansed, exfoliated and toned till it glistened.
Next, the ultimate treat --a massage that mercilessly destroyed
any tension that dared to hide in my neck, shoulders or upper
During my 4-day
stay, I had mud baths, herbal wraps, saunas, a pedicure, and a
Turkish bath. Each treatment, in its own way, soothed and comforted
In my "free"
time, I sat by the bay reading or watching the spindly-legged
snowy egrets nonchalantly picking their way along the shore. My
batteries were definitely recharging!
On my final
day at the spa, I woke up at 6:00 am to do a solitary work-out
on the treadmill. As I walked back to my room, the sun was rising
and the sky was bright pink silouetting the palms that line the
property. In the lounge, a guest in sweats was at the piano tinkling
a meditative tune. He smiled as I walked by. I felt good. I felt
strong. All was well with the world.
Want to be Spoiled
Safety Harbor Resort
and Spa is located on the shores of Tampa Bay. It's about
twenty minutes from two major international airports:
Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater
For special summer
rates, brochures or any other info call 888-BEST SPA (237-8772)
Pay a visit to the
spa's informative website at http://www.safetyharborspa.com/.
You'll find everything from Florida tourist info to delicious
Expect lovely surroundings
and an informal atmosphere at Safety Harbor. Clothing
and service is casual. It's not unusual to see people
lunch dressed in their spa robes.
From hydrating cleansing
milk to spa massage body moisturizer, the skincare product
of choice at the spa is Terme di Saturnia . JW especially
enjoyed their Thermal Plankton Rejuvenation Mask . Contains
lots of good natural ingredients. Ask about it!