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The Beauty of Bermuda

April 11th, 2012

 

Elbow Beach Resort- where the tropics meet Zen.

imageMy family and I had the pleasure of visiting Bermuda a few weeks ago. We were excited to spend time on this most talked about island that is only under an hour and half flying time from New York.

imageOur destination was the luxury resort- Elbow Beach. Perched high up on a hill with property that cascades down to the ocean, Elbow Beach reflects old world charm coupled with a tropical resort appeal. The Bermudians at this resort were so welcoming and eager to help us in any way possible. Lucky for us, we were situated down by the beach in a deluxe villa, which wasn't more than 100-steps from the beautiful pink sands and crystal turquoise water, a skip to all the eateries at the resort and a short walk to the tennis courts. When we weren't reading, playing tennis or simply relaxing in the newly renovated rooms (the boys escaped here often after their daily ocean plunge) we were riding the bus, visiting and discovering Bermuda.

imageMy journey truly began when I went to visit The Spa at Elbow Beach (a Mandarin Oriental establishment). I always have high expectations and hope for that true sense of 'take me away' moment, but I was a little hesitant, since the spa is located in part of the hotel that is currently undergoing renovation. Upon entering, I realized how wrong I was as I walked down a swerving staircase all lit with votive candles. The receptionist greeted me with tea and a warm cloth. I later learned this is part of the welcome ritual, to help wash away the outside world before you begin your spa journey. I immediately felt the welcoming take charge and my mind, body and soul took on new meaning--- a journey entering complete indulgence and connection with my inner self.

imageMy two hour session began with a foot ritual that is a sign of respect and still part of the welcoming introduction. During this time, the esthetician learns a little bit about you and discusses with you how she will tailor the treatments best around your needs. I was very lucky to get Malee who I later learned is a veteran at the spa. My feet were bathed and wrapped in a warm towel, which was a very unique passage of my treatment session. A tray containing a selection of the following items were also used each holding a symbolic meaning.

imageTibetan chimes: Used to clear the mind and focus your energy to the present. Also, the ringing of the chimes signifies the beginning and completion of the treatment.
Mineral salt: To help re-mineralize the water and help improve the skin by rehydrating and toning.
Cinnamon and mixed clove: Boosts the activity of the brain acts like a brain tonic that help to remove nervous tension and memory loss (a wish I could bottle this home and use it everyday!)
Stones in the ritual bowl: It helps one become balanced and grounded.
Quintessence bath oil: the warming ginger, uplifting ylang ylang filled my senses with a sense of healing and regenerating.

imageThe treatment began first with a massage that was unlike any I had--- it was definitely a learned technique that offered a motion that sedated you to total rest if not sleep. Next was my facial. The spa uses ESPA products, which were all very gentle and moisturizing. I felt myself becoming completely "Ohm" immersing my outer and inner spirit and focusing on the moment- I guess the stones used in my foot wash had strong zen- appeal. The spas mantra is based around Chinese Medicine and Western Civilization allowing each journey to provide a peaceful passage calling upon the ancient traditions and techniques of Chinese, Ayurvedic, European and Thai cultures. The chimes let off a tranquil ring to signal the end, but the invitation of relaxation continued as I was invited to sit outside on the terrace where a bed awaited piled with relaxing pillows and a service tray of fresh fruit and tea--- and need I say straight ahead was a view of Bermuda's stunning blue water. No rushing, Malee said, just unwind. Well that invitation was enough to make me want to say I am staying the night, right here on this terrace looking out at the ocean's outstanding beauty. But all good things must come to an end, so after snapping some photos I got myself together to enter the real world filled with sounds of the sea crashing, my kids laughing and my husband being as loving as ever. How lucky am I... to have shared both worlds in one trip.

imageThe Spa at Elbow Beach- owned by the Mandarin Oriental- is a time I will always cherish. The beauty of both the outside world is met in the sanctuary of the spa where Western Civilization ignites treatment traditions your body will appreciate as you unravel from daily stresses and bad energy left inside you from week's gone by.

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To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong.

—Buddha