Tag Archives: baltimore

The Spa at the Ivy Hotel

It was a brisk November day, and I was grateful to have quick and easy access to the front door by pulling up to the hotel’s valet area.  My car keys were retrieved and I was escorted inside the building which looked more like a large residence than a hotel.  I took a seat at one of the chairs within the hall, as there was no traditional hotel lobby area from what I could see.   Only a room with a small sign indicating it was the “reservation” area, and tucked in a corner to my left, an elevator was visible before me.    The elevator car took flight to the 2nd floor, and with a return shortly thereafter, I was greeted by Leslie Doroba, Spa Manager at the The Spa at the Ivy Hotel.

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Leslie Doroba, Spa Manager at The Spa at The Ivy Hotel

After a ride on the elevator, I was transported to the real jewel that was hidden from first sight.  Leslie took me on a tour of the repurposed mansion, which was built as a private residence in 1889, but converted to The Ivy Hotel in 2015. The project was jointly developed by Martin Azola, CEO, Azola Cos., and Eddie Brown, founder and CEO of Brown Capital Management, the second oldest African American owned investment management firm in the United States.

Each uniquely designed sitting room felt like every detail mattered.  A mix of old-world charm, with hints of sophisticated modern upgrades. Though the common spaces were mainly unoccupied during my visit, I could almost envision the lively conversations that take place at the billiards table or self-serve bar;  or perhaps the secret whispers and side-eye chuckles that the quaint living room areas seem to invoke. I imagine the solo traveler tucked away in the firelit library with a good book and a cup a tea.  Though you can tell no expense was spared to create a luxe environment, the feeling was warm and inviting, as opposed to stuffy and standoffish.  I wanted to take a seat and stay for a while, and though I didn’t get a chance to that day, I hope to in the near future.

Though you can tell no expense was spared to create a luxe environment, the feeling was warm and inviting, as opposed to stuffy and standoffish.

I took one last look at the historic photos of residents past, discovered the empty antique birdcage set high atop a signature furniture piece, and touched the wallpaper that felt like custom made flooring material before we took to the curved stairs for a quick peep inside of Suite Seven.

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Suite Seven – Photo Credit:  The Ivy Hotel

Oh My…. Suite Seven!  What Leslie described as her favorite suite at the exclusive Relais & Chateaux member boutique hotel, which consists of only Eighteen guests rooms and suites, identified by number accordingly.  Suite Seven housed a separate living room with fireplace, wall mounted flat screen tv, breakfast nook, and a bathroom fit for a Spa Bunny with deep soaking tub, Natura Bisse bath products, heated limestone floors,and a shower the size of a walk-in closet. The wheels of my mind turned as I thought how perfect a future “time-out” retreat would be in this very space, perhaps a slumber party, with complimentary spirits from the inclusive in-room mini bar as me and my besties lounge on the chaise lounges and four-poster bed in spa robes while having crucial conversations about life and love.

What more could be in store at this hidden gem located in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, MD?  Well, the spa of course!   Located behind a secure door showcasing letters adorned with golden ivy vines spelling SPA, I inhaled the calming scent and entered the bright and airy petite retreat.  Day guests are escorted from valet directly to the spa, while hotel guests are picked up from their hotel room or suite prior to scheduled treatments.  Two well decorated treatments rooms can both accommodate doubles for simultaneous service with a loved one. The lounge area overlooks the hotel’s courtyard, and the Foot Sanctuary & Beauty Bar offers another space for customized pampering.

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I was treated to a mini service with massage therapist Ricquel, who started the session by allowing me to pick a custom scent from the Zents Aroma Journey options.  I opted for a blend of Ore (euphoric) and Oolong (energizing).   During a regular spa visit, I normally don’t book anything less than 75 minutes when it comes to massages, so I was honestly surprised at how relaxed and at peace I felt during the 30 minutes I spent in the treatment room.   Though short, it was more satisfying than anticipated, which simply confirms the skill level and natural rhythm of the therapist was impressive. In the words of the Terminator, “I’ll be back”.

Everything about The Spa at The Ivy Hotel was in line with what I expect from a luxury boutique spa experience.

In addition to a newly launched spa membership program, noteworthy treatments on the spa menu includes a 2-hour Ultimate Zen body ritual (includes an exfoliation, wrap, hot oil scalp treatment, and massage) or the Perfect Petite Retreat (includes a custom 90min massage and 60 min facial). Spa boutique products range from the pure and organic ingredients with Zents, results-driven facial care of Natura Bisse, all-natural homeopathic oral sprays from Sprayology, and Knesko Skin Nanogold repair masks.  Everything about The Spa at The Ivy Hotel was in line with what I expect from a luxury boutique spa experience.

Take a sneak peek inside The Spa at The Ivy Hotel with this short video compilation from my visit below:

At The Ivy Hotel, good things truly come in small packages.   I close my eyes, and dream of restful nights in Suite Seven, enjoying the simple things and life’s little luxuries, as the days go by.

 

 

For H.I.S Incorporated “Happiness is the Truth”

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I love creating experiences that make people feel good. By identifying the appropriate environment, applying fun themes, engaging laughter, and listening to happy music!! So when presented with the opportunity to host an event at Howl at the Moon in Baltimore, MD, I knew it was time to put on my thinking cap (literally)!

In a world surrounded by so many unhappy, unhealthy, unmotivated, and uninspired people, you have to find a way to shield yourself from the negativity that constantly tries to permeate your soul.   Gathering friends, meeting new people, taking care of yourself, and finding inner peace requires a conscious effort in such an unconscious world. Sometimes you just need a little help in providing that outlet of opportunity. My goal, was to shine the light of happiness down on the masses (whatever mass that may be).

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Considering the event was going to be during “happy hour”, which if you think about it, most people that go to happy hours don’t look very happy, at least when they first arrive. Whether drowning out their sorrows, de-stressing from a rough day at the office, or just trying to forget whatever unhappy thing is bothering them, it usually takes more than an hour to fix these problems.   That was NOT the type of happy hour I wanted to have!

Inspired by Pharrell’s “Because I’m Happy” music revolution, I envisioned singing happy people, wearing crazy happy hats, and having a happy good time!   Yeah, I know, a bit of happy overload…..but is it really? I didn’t thinks so, and hence the “I’m So Happy” Hour was born! Guests were invited to come happy, with hats, and to bring other happy people with them.   In the weeks leading up to the event, I posted inspirational quotes and pictures, as motivation for people to embark on their own quest for happiness.

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The scene was set, I put on my happy face and replica of Pharrell’s happy hat, and waited. So did it work? Were the people happy?

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Happiness isn’t tangible. It can’t be measured, quantified, or surveyed, BUT you can see it, feel it, want it, and choose it.   Each guests walked through the door embracing a “happiness is the truth” mindset, and because of that we all saw, felt, wanted, and chose to do just that…………HAPPY!

For more information on future H.I.S Incorporated events, be sure to LIKE the  H.I.S Incorporated Facebook  page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @hisincorporated.

Sex and the City – Ladies Day Out Volume III – Savory Selections: Wit & Wisdom

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In the words of Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. Each “Sex and the City: Ladies Day Out” (LDO) dining experience, whether breakfast, dinner, or brunch, is intended to stimulate and delight each of your five senses in an environment intriguing in sight, with socializing sounds, and scrumptous scents, which evoke a culinary temptation to touch and tantalize your tongue.

This LDO restaurant selection has a name most fitting for the diverse and multi-generational group of women attending.  For a group like ours, dining at a spot named “Wit & Wisdom” seems to perfectly blend in with the life experiences and personal stories of these lovely ladies. Called a tavern, though it looks nothing of the sort, this modern American restaurant exudes a uniquely elegant ambiance most fitting for the luxury hotel it resides in.

Named in Baltimore magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants” issue as a Gold Medal winner, this Four Seasons charmer boasts large windows overlooking the harbor, gorgeous waterfront views, and streams of natural light to the dining area.  The chic lobby, breathtaking bar, and classy décor provides the perfect backdrop for rounding out this LDO weekend. Created by award-winning chef Michael Mina, Wit & Wisdom serves “comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist”.

The weekend brunch menu is filled with both buffet and a la carte selections ranging from Brioche French Toast, Farmer’s Market Frittata, and a Smoked Salmon Bar.  The ladies are set to enjoy a picture-perfect Sunday cuisine before indulging in an afternoon of pampering and relaxation at the Four Seasons Spa, located only an elevator ride away!

With a visually stunning layout, intimate settings, and satisfying savory selections, Wit & Wisdom receives H.I.S Incorporated’s Grade A+ rating as a designated dining venue for the upcoming LDO event. For more information on this Harbor East Baltimore restaurant, visit the restaurants website at:  http://www.witandwisdombaltimore.com/