During my short visit to the Cliffs Communities in South Carolina last weekend, six of us had the chance to go via helicopter to see all of their communities from the air. It was a beautiful sunny day so we were able to see all of their golf courses, the lakes, miles of the nature preserve, the home sites, the pools, etc.
One of the highlights for me was when we touched down alongside their organic gardens. I had asked if it was possible to see their gardens earlier in the day – not realizing it would necessitate a helicopter and a walk in high heels through dirt. But it was truly worth it. We had a tour with two of the gardeners one who was in charge of the flowers and the other who tends the fruits and vegetables. Flower arrangements and fresh produce are all used in the property’s club houses and restaurants. It was the first time I learned about vegan organic gardening. Later I looked it up on Wikipedia. Makes sense…if health is the goal, not using animal products in the fertilizer seems like another step in the right direction.
Apparently the organic gardens are fairly new to the communities and already they are producing more than can be used in the restaurants and club houses. So now they hold a “green market” periodically so homeowners can also buy fresh produce right from the garden. I have to say…this is another level of spa lifestyle living.
I had the privilege of flying down to Greenville, South Carolina on a private plane Friday with the guys from Cliffs Communities. They have been wanting Peter and me to see their wellness communities ever since we all first met.
I think it was about two years ago when I was in my office working late one evening when I received a call from someone who turned out to be a very nice southern gentleman asking me some questions about spa lifestyle real estate – an up and coming trend Spa Finder had just identified. He told me a bit about what the Cliffs Communities was doing and how his father, Jim Anthony, had this passion for health and wellness, and had begun a program called ZestQuest which assisted kids in area schools with becoming more fit. He went on to explain that although they were famous for their six golfing communities set among the Carolina Preserve, they were increasingly putting more and more emphasis on wellness facilities and activities for their communities.
I shared with him some of the research Spa Finder had conducted, showing how aging baby boomers were attracted to these spa-lifestyle living communities and how major areas of interest were outdoor hiking and biking trails, organized activities and healthy nutrition, all to be enjoyed with other like-minded people. It seemed like their research showed very much the same thing. I learned that the lots and homes in their communities were selling briskly and that the wellness aspect had become a major draw. It was the beginning of what has now become a great business partnership and a delightful friendship.
Sitting in the Citation, which they use routinely to fly interested clients to South Carolina, I was really looking forward to seeing the blue ridge mountains, the dense greenery and bountiful lakes which their gorgeous collateral material showcases. I had spent some time in this very area about 15 years ago and remember it fondly. I also knew that most people who the Cliffs’ fly down to South Carolina end up buying a home or lot, and was hoping that Peter wouldn’t get impulsive – which he is known to do at times – as I was not ready to have yet one more reason to travel.
I was in for a real adventure.
Flew directly from New York to Turks and Caicos on Friday – 3 1/2 hours. Nice to have this direct flight. Since I have lived most of my adult life on the West Coast, where we vacation in Hawaii, the Caribbean is still somewhat new to me. The chance to experience Parrot Cay while training eight Virtuoso Travel Specialists who want to become experts in selling spa vacations was a welcome opportunity.
I talked Peter into coming along, and we went a day early to experience Parrot Cay as a couple. I can see why so many honeymooners come here. I learned from my massage therapist yesterday that lots of babymooners come here as well, usually in their second trimester.
Yesterday we had some thalassotherapy in the ocean (no charge when you just soak and swim in the turquoise blue water on your own) and then enjoyed a Como Shambhala Massage in the late afternoon. Excellent therapist, nice setting, relaxing. More and more I see places offering a 75 or 90 minute massage as their “standard.” Good idea….the best way to relax quickly and totally.
It feels like Spa Finder Europe Day here in the office. Kevin Turnbull, the CEO of Spa Finder Europe, is visiting and having meetings with various staff members about transporting much of the Spa Finder website and gift voucher program “across the pond” (to the UK and throughout Europe) in the upcoming year. His wife, Cassandra, who is the director of Spa Finder Europe, is in London handling the day-to-day business with the rest of her staff. She sent me an email a few days ago about a spa she had visited. I thought I would share it with you as an example of the huge selection of wet treatment options enjoyed by European spa-goers. Here is her synopsis:
“Yesterday, I was lucky enough to join the celebration of the first birthday of The Day Spa at Whittlebury Hall in the UK (a hotel and spa located in the country but only 50 miles or so from London). This is a countryside hotel with one of the largest day spas in England – with 24 treatment rooms and an amazing bathing ritual room called “Heat and Ice.” I did my best to hit every “experience,” including the hammam steam chamber, aromatherapy crystal steam, hydrotherapy pool – which had amazing jets that you could stand under to pummel your shoulders and back – and, of course, the Ice Cave! Lots of heating up and cooling down – which set me up perfectly for all the mini treatments the Day Spa had set up for us to experience. My favourite by far was the Elemis deep tissue massage – it was one of those perfect massages that make you remember why massage is so, so important! Then I had a luxurious facial and scalp massage and fell asleep during a footbath ritual that was absolutely wonderful. Next, on to cake and champagne to celebrate the birthday! Driving home was a bit tough, but I slept wonderfully.”
Here is a list from the spa’s website of the available “experiences.” Wow.
• Aromatherapy Crystal Steam
• Experience Showers
• Foot Spas
• Hydrotherapy Pool
• Roman Salt Steam
• Traditional Sauna
• Hamman Chamber
• Soap Massage Room
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