Tag Archives: spa review

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.

20171110_134115
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.

IVYSuiteSeven
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.

20171113_212459

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Confessions from Argentta Spa Grand Opening Party at The Watergate Hotel

I confess, it wasn’t my first time at Argentta Spa, it was my fourth to be exact, with previous visits during my November birthday, over New Year’s, while hosting a Confessions of a Spa Bunny “Spa Scandalous” Time-out event, and now, for their official “grand opening” party.  Compared to the other relatively quiet visits (you know, what you normally expect at a spa), this visit was not for solitude, but more for celebration.  Celebrating the iconic Watergate Hotel‘s past, while diving into its revamped future, or for starters into the beautiful historic pool.

When the dress to impress, invitation-only crowd descended to level B3 and exited the elevators, the vibrant scene which awaited was not to be expected.  I could try to describe it, with creative words to help you visualize being there, though you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you there were models that looked like mannequins, body painted in silver (Argentta is derived from the word Argento, the Italian word for Silver, if you didn’t know), a magician doing card tricks, signature drinks at an open “juice” bar, poolside DJ and hookah, synchronized swimmers, personalized caricature drawings, hand treatments, and more!  Sounds pretty amazing right?

It was… so I thought putting together this short video, giving you an insider’s look, would be even better.

When you visit Argentta Spa, and you should, try the Argentta Seven Elements Ritual, which drapes and soothes your body in the natural awesomeness that is red flower.  Arrive at least 90 min prior to your treatment so that you have enough time to enjoy the hydrotherapy areas, sauna, and steam room.  Ask for champagne, and see if they have those oh so delectable macaroons, while you lounge post-treatment in the relaxation area wrapped in a luxe La Bottega robe.

 

14445377_10207331685359114_2053424237_n

India K. Robinson, President & CEO
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, The H.I.S Agency, LLC
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 Creator and Founder of “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance.  She is also a contributing author for Insider’s Guide to Spas.  

Confessions from The Setai Spa & Robert D. Henry Architects

In the middle of a bustling financial district, I looked for the branded flag that identified the entrance to the Wall Street sanctuary known as The Setai.  Hidden within a residential building, The Setai Club & Spa resides on the 3rd floor, and welcomes you with warm hues of red and tan, dark woods, tiled walls, and an air of seduction.

With a welcome as warm as the decor, I was escorted to the locker room to change into my robe and slippers.  I wandered the softly lit corridor to the heat experience area, which was dark and mysterious as if you were far removed from any city and hidden within your own private lair.

My therapist Erica soon came to retrieve me for my “suite experience” with a Polynesian Spa Ritual.  I entered a gorgeous room, which included an oversized marble soaking tub,  rain shower, plush treatment table, and gorgeous Italian glass tile work.  The ritual commenced with a yummy drink called the Yumberry Elixir (no seriously, that’s the name), which I was told is packed with Vitamin A, C, and E, is anti -inflammatory, and lowers bad cholesterol.  I then enjoyed a sand, salt, and coconut shell scrub enriched with Tahitian vanilla extracts and Monoi oil, a rinse in the shower, a White Lilly Lagoon bath soak, and ended with a restful full body massage with Bora Bora sand pouches (of which I was able to take home with me).

The scents transported me to an exotic island, and the spa music made me feel like I was the star of my own Broadway show.  Somewhere in between the island and broadway, my own snort awoke me from my slumber.  My skin felt radiant and smelled amazing, as I floated in a daze to my next destination.

The Setai is unique in the fact that not only is it an exclusive amenity within a residential building, but they also open their doors to non-residents as a day spa.  See video highlights of my visit to The Setai Spa below:

Confessions from Robert D. Henry Architects at the Setai Spa Wall Street

Following my treatment, I had the pleasure of chatting in the Setai Tea Lounge with the architect behind The Setai, Robert D. Henry.   Mr. Henry’s love affair with spas started 18 years ago, with his first project being the Mar-a-Lago Spa in Palm Beach for Donald Trump and Marla Maples.  I wanted to learn more, and asked Mr. Henry to share more of his confessions:

What do you enjoy the most about designing spas over other types of architectural projects (i.e commercial, residential) ?

Spa’s allow us to create an experiential journey for Guests integrating all the senses, it is our speciality and focus and influences all our other projects.  We are doing a number of homes with wellness as a focus, enhancing the quality of life for the Owners.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

Wellness research and practitioners; I’ve had more than 300 spa treatments all over the world.

What do you feel is the most unique design feature about The Setai as compared to other spas you’ve designed?

The East meets West fusion associated with the Setai brand. Mysterious, sensuous and exotic, an escape from the everyday…other-worldly.

Spa’s allow us to create an experiential journey for Guests integrating all the senses, it is our speciality and focus and influences all our other projects.  We are doing a number of homes w/ wellness as a focus, enhancing the quality of life for the Owners.

Were there any design considerations that had to be accounted for with the spa being primarily in a residential setting as opposed to say a hotel spa?

The aesthetic was brought thru from the Lobby to the Amenities and Residences.

What will the spa of the future look like?  

Our next generation of Spa projects will establish new experiences w/our projects for the Mandarin Oriental -NY and the new signature Spa for Ivanka Trump’s Washington Hotel.

Mysterious, sensuous and exotic, an escape from the everyday…other-worldly.

Robert D. Henry recently debuted a new line of signature spa furniture at the 2016 International Spa Association Conference in partnership with SALT Chamber and Touch America.

Learn more about Robert D. Henry Architects HERE