Taking it slow and enjoying simple tranquility aren’t what most think of when it comes to Las Vegas, but some of the most fun to be had in the desert metropolis has nothing to do with blackjack, buffets or Cirque du Soleil. No, Vegas isn’t just for the slots anymore. Luxury spa-ing is making a name for itself in the city where indulgence and decadence reign supreme.
The new all-natural facial was introduced at the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental a couple of months ago and uses products from the Germany-based Amala skincare line, which contains the maximum possible concentration of certified organic and wildcrafted whole plant ingredients. Its formulas are 100% natural and free of synthetics, chemical preservatives and ingredients tested on animals, and the company works with its fair trade partners to custom distill and extract botanical essences.
Just less than an hour north of Milan lies a stunning, historically rich, brand-new luxury resort and spa that played host to my recent whirlwind weekend adventure in early June. CastaDiva Resort is named for the famous opera soprano Giuditta Pasta (who was composer Bellini’s muse) and is located in Lake Como, Italy, a magical summer playground for great artists, celebrities, international soccer stars, and often lovingly nicknamed “Lake Clooney” for being home to debonair every-ladies man actor George Clooney. (Yes, I snuck a peek at his villa during a lake tour!)
In the ever-advancing world of skincare I’m always fascinated by treatments that remain rooted in natural ingredients that you might be able to find in your refrigerator or pantry. While I don’t stockpile caviar in my fridge, when I hear “caviar facial,” I immediately imagine hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars of delicious fish eggs spread across my forehead and cheeks – and who wouldn’t be turned on by that?
Remember the episode of Sex and the City when Samantha was so desperate to get into the Soho House that she stole a Brit’s pass to gain access to the ever-exclusive roof-deck pool? Well Samantha didn’t know that the real draw in the summer is the Soho House’s spa, Cowshed!
Remember when the word luxury was the only term you heard in the spa world? It wasn’t too long ago. But in the last year or so, the meaning of luxury has changed for all of us. What is luxury? In today’s economic climate, luxury no longer just means “opulence” and unnecessary frills have become silly. Smart spas are focusing on giving spa goers two operative words: quality and value.
I recently had a massage at a luxury hotel spa and knew beforehand that a 20% gratuity would be added to the bill. When settling my bill, I was asked if I would like to adjust the gratuity percentage. I felt that the 20% was a good tip and left it, however, I got the impression that they were disappointed that I didn’t increase the amount. Do high-end, luxury spas expect more than 20% tip?