At the break of dawn on the first day of Spring 2012 Spa Week, we launched a fun little photo challenge dubbed #instaspaweek. From beautiful close ups to moments of solace, here are ours, + a handful of yours that we thought were pretty and pretty inspiring.
Fourteen stories above the vast, dry Arizona desert prevails the highest spa in the state, a contrasting 13,000 square foot oasis of hydration and relaxation: The Spa At Talking Stick in Scottsdale, AZ. Stunning red mountains and expansive flatland views add a soothing touch seen from the spa’s terraces, Jacuzzi, showers, changing rooms, relaxation rooms and from the nail/hair salon and fitness center. Yet with all the beauty surrounding it, the real beauty started where it always should – from within. The spa’s facilities were excellent, and I was truly blown away by the treatment I received: The Desert Lavender Massage.
But first, a few hours by the pool.
From way up in the spa, you’d never know that downstairs in the Talking Stick lobby is a swinging casino, and outside a lively pool filled with people playing pool football and drinking beer.
The “pool” situation upstairs looked more like this:
And the lounge chairs like this:
And the treatment room like this:
And then the bliss began. My massage therapist Marcia left me in this beautifully appointed room to remove my robe and slippers and lay face-up on the soft, warm massage table.
When she returned, the first part of the treatment began with a dry body brushing exfoliation. Gentle bristles “scratched” up and down the right side of my body, then the left, then I flipped and they made their way up and down my backside. My boyfriend Ray received the same massage as me (in a different room), and this was the part of the treatment he couldn’t stop raving about afterwards. The bristles were invigorating more than they were exfoliating, and certainly left you wanting more.
The body brushing ended (noooo!), and the massage began (okay, fine), using desert lavender and wild chaparral oil. A hot rolled-up towel cradled my neck. What I found particularly interesting about the style of massage was that rather than doing the traditional back first, then legs, arms, etc., this massage started on the right side, covering all body parts, and then shifting the towel and massaging the entire left side. First laying face down, and then I flipped and Marcia did the right-left switchoff as I laid face up. Ray’s massage was the same right-then-left style – it wasn’t just Marcia – it was the spa’s signature style for this particular massage. A hot towel cocooned my feet at the end too. And it was INCREDIBLE – so incredible that I paid Marcia the biggest complement a massage therapist could be paid: I fell asleep.
Lavender + amazing massages tend to have that effect on people.
In a haze of half-slumber spa ecstasy, I felt the third part of the treatment begin, my personal highlight. Using ever-so-soft tufts of raw Pima cotton, Marcia lightly brushed my body using feather-light strokes. Up and down the right, up and down the left. My memory jogged back to a post from a few months ago about that tickling spa in Spain, and solidified to me that tickling spas must be opened in the United States as well. And they must invest in very large quantities of raw Pima cotton.
And then the final touch: a spritz of Cucumber Hydrosol Mist on my face. I breathed in the misty veil as it awoke me with a refreshing dose of hydration, in my new beloved desert oasis.
I slowly levitated (got up) from the the table, took a sip of water, re-robed, and floated out to meet Marcia outside the treatment room. She recommended I spend some time in the steam room, because in addition to the massage she had also done some energy work on me and that the steam would help relax my joints and muscles, and I was supposed to let the energy work sink in. Unfortunately I had a rehearsal dinner to be at in 45 minutes, but I can imagine the relaxation would have been taken to even greater heights.
Speaking of heights, I snapped some photos from all the pretty viewpoints (shower, lockers, etc). There’s no place like Arizona to spa, especially when you can look out over it.
Even the hallways are luminous!
The Spa at Talking Stick’s Spa Week extension is over now, but they’re working on their holiday specials as we speak. Check out their spa menu for all their carefully crafted treatments to rebalance, restore and elevate your well-being.
The Spa at Talking Stick Resort
9800 E Indian Bend Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Disclosure: All treatments were comped for editorial consideration.
Spa Week is officially underway! Every season we salute the week of ultimate spa indulgences with a big shebang to highlight select $50 treatments, as well as our fantastic sponsors. This year we topped the charts with our best media celebration yet—or so we hear.
On April 6th, over 400 editors, TV personalities, bloggers and special guests swarmed the Prince George Ballroom in NYC for an evening of shmoozing and pampering. What went on inside the gold-trimmed Victorian walls? Let’s take the tour:
The CAREFREE Refresh Lounge
The CAREFREE Brand holds Title Sponsorship of Spa Week this year, and to celebrate their newest product, their highly absorbent Acti-Fresh liners, they created and presented a signature spa treatment that had every single guest feeling calm, breezy and supremely refreshed. The CAREFREE Misting Massage had guests reclining in lounge chairs while getting their head and hands massaged.
Matchmaking with YOUNGBLOOD Mineral Cosmetics
The hot eco-friendly makeup brand Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics brought all the glitz, glamour and allure of backstage at a fashion show right to the Spa Week Media Party. With their founder Pauline Youngblood at the helm, the team of makeup artists behind our Exclusive Cosmetics Sponsor did “matchmaking,” pairing each guest with their skincare soulmate makeup colors, such as honey, coffee and toffee.
DOLE Real Fruit Bites Flavored Oxygen Bar and Photo Booth
DOLE knows how to keep a party happening! Our Exclusive Food Sponsor took a unique approach to presenting the flavors of their mighty delicious and nutritious little snack with an Oxygen Bar. Choose Pineapple, Mango or Apple, then float downstream while finding a wave of newfound energy. Then stop in the the DOLE photo booth, put on some big funny glasses, and strike a pose 4 times with your friends.
clariSEA Make-Your-Own Salt Scrub Bar
The clariSEA booth was like being a kid in a sandbox all over again… a kid who has a mature interest silky smooth, blemish-free skin. And hand massages. Guests had the chance to interact with our Exclusive Skin Care Sponsor to create their own custom salt scrubs—they mixed some clarifying salt with straight up Dead Sea salt with pomegranate flavor in take-home tubs. The salts do wonders for you knees, elbows and body as a whole.
Vdara Hotel & Spa, Citycenter Las Vegas Lounge
Guests had the chance to relax in the Vdara lounge while learning about this unique Las Vegas destination—a non-smoking, non-gaming hotel and spa. As our Exclusive Destination Sponsor for 2011, Vdara knows a thing or two about pampering—they were giving all guests the chance to win a ridiculous penthouse getaway! (You can win it too.)
The Bar: GIVEN Liquor
Delicious cocktails by GIVEN Liqueur (pronounced Jee-Vahn) kept spirits high all night long, literally. If you have not yet tasted, you simply must! It is a unique blend of premium agave tequila and natural lime juice handcrafted in France—the ideal balance between a spirit and a liqueur, and goes down almost too easily. They served up four signature cocktails: The Cure (Chilled GIVEN on ice) The Freshening (with muddled cucumber and mint) The Immunity Booster (splash of cran) and The Stress Buster (fresh muddled berries).
Spa Chicks On The Go
Throwing a spa party in your office? Need a few masseuses for a runway show or your brand’s media event? Spa Chicks is a company that delivers customized spa and beauty experiences for private, corporate and media clients, and at our party they were shaping up eyebrows by threading.
Euphoria Spa relieved all the neck and back tension with chair massages.
Carol’s Daughter – The Back Room Hand & Foot Spa did hand exfoliation treatments.
Supple Spa had guests lay down on a bed for reflexology and massage.
The Goody Bags
We like to go all out each season by creating the goody bags of a lifetime to make sure each guests leaves with a pampering experience to take home with them. Each bag included gifts from each of the exclusive sponsors, as well as items ranging from slippers to nail polishes to teeth whitening kits to bikini adornment. Rather than listing everything here, stay tuned to the blog as we review each of the items in Little Luxury Reports. It’ll take a while, but we’ll get there!
Check out some more snaps from the party, here and on our Facebook page!
Silver screen siren, activist, fashion icon, lover and humanitarian are just a few of the many titles that come to mind when looking back at the vibrant life of Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Liz’s memory will forever be heralded by glamour, true talent, and her inescapable beauty. Take a look back at one of Hollywood’s golden girls through pictures.
”You can’t cry on a diamond’s shoulder, but they sure are fun when the sun shines.” -Dame Elizabeth Taylor