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Travel Writing by Chelle

Hot Story Ideas
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This month's Hot Ideas:
New Spas & Spa News (below)


Waldorf Salad Gommage is one of the signature treatments at the new Plus One Spa, which opened June 15 at New York's prestigious Waldorf-Astoria. Based on the trademark dish invented there in 1896, the treatment consists of full-body exfoliation and massage using ground black walnuts blended with apple extract.

Award-winning Cap Juluca on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, which has always been on the cutting edge of luxury, is now leading the way with its one-week expanded wellness program. The Mind, Body and Spirit program, highlighted by Diana Bourel's "Coming Home" transpersonal work, was initiated in 2002. It has now grown to include three other practitioners and a unique menu of signature treatments that include spiritual astrology, shamanic work, psychospiritual work, yoga, intuitive healing and energetics.
Program dates are Nov. 15-22 and Dec. 6-13, 2003; Jan. 24-31, Feb. 5-12, March 6-13, April 17-24, July 17-24, Aug. 14-21, Nov. 13-20 and Dec. 4-11, 2004. Private and group yoga will be offered at the hotel year-round.

The spacious new Pleiades Massage and Spa recently opened in Canada's Radium Hot Springs heritage classified pool facility. Pleiades features a restoration of historic spa services as well as an introduction of the most modern ways to rejuvenate one's body and spirit. With more than 4,000 square feet of space, Pleiades offers naturally lit treatment rooms for various massage therapies, a jetted pool plunge, steam room, two wet treatment rooms and private change rooms.

Spas just aren't for stressed-out moms anymore. At Holiday Inn Family Suites in Orlando, Sugar & Spice Kids Spa recently opened to offer teens manicures, pedicures, light makeup, temporary tattoos, colored hair gel, and the pirate look. Glamour photos of the finished product are also available.

In May 2003, the new Spa opened at King Pacific Lodge, Canada's premier floating wilderness lodge and the smallest property in the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts collection. Surrounded by North Vancouver's rain forest and ocean, and echoing the sophistication of its Japanese heritage, the Spa at King Pacific Lodge offers a menu of spa treatments to indulge and rejuvenate its discerning guests. Built of fir with driftwood accents and rich mossy green hues for the walls, the spa reflects the tranquility of the surrounding landscape while capturing the energy of the ocean. The Spa at King Pacific Lodge expands the massage options at the Lodge to include seaweed wraps, mud wraps, exfoliating body care, salt glows and rice bran body scrub. Together with the existing sauna, steam bath, plunge pool and Jacuzzi, the spa offers a welcome addition for its 25 guests.

In its second year, the summer family program at Pritikin Center in Miami reports great results and enthusiasm from the kids who learn about nutrition and fitness while having fun at the beach and on the property's recreational facilities. Daily activities include cooking workshops, lectures, and outdoor recreation. The mission of the program: "to give parents the tools and knowledge to introduce ongoing healthy lifestyle changes for the whole family while empowering children to grow into lean, healthy adults. The program encourages optimal sports nutrition and performance and focuses on achieving the optimal Body Mass Index (appropriate weight/height distribution) for active, growing children."
The new Girlfriends Getaway Package at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, near St. Petersburg, Florida, throws in a pair of signature pajamas for guests who take advantage of the accommodations-spa package. Also included: daily breakfast, a pizza party, and an in-room movie. Packages are available April through September and October through December of 2003. The historic spa's treatments are based on the resort's five mineral springs, each attributed to specific healthful properties: Beauty Springs, Stomach Springs, Liver Springs, Kidney Springs, and Pure Water Springs.

Fort Myers Beach's classic Pink Shell Beach Resort in Florida is undergoing a $70 million transformation that will result in, among other upgrades, Aquagene, a deluxe 6,000 square foot health and beauty spa with 12 treatment rooms and a full menu of treatments featuring top-of-the-line spa products and therapists. Completion is slated for December, 2003, when the resort will also debut its whimsical pink shell-themed Octopool.

Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa in Florida recently reopened its spa focusing on its archaeological past as site of a native Calusa village. New facilities include a couples suite, flexibility studio for yoga and Pilates training, Relaxation Bistro for light lunches, and re-designed fitness area. New treatments use essential sea nutrients and hot stone massage. "The Caloosa Experience" allows couples and groups to perform their own facial and body wrap treatments in a special steam chamber under therapist supervision. Spa-goers are invited to add their "wishing shell" to a living shell mound outside the spa.

Kiaweh Island Resort in South Carolina opens a full-service spa in spring 2004. It's the first resort spa in the Charleston area. The resort also owns and manages the Jefferson Hotel In Richmond, Virginia, and The Hermitage in Nashville, TN. In October, 2002, The Charleston Health Institute opened at the resort. The Institute is a unique medical retreat offering executive health, wellness, and weight loss programs through an association with the Medical University of South Carolina. Participants experience cutting-edge health services in a relaxing atmosphere at the oceanfront Kiawah Island Inn, which has installed a new fitness center specifically for the Institute. Programs are designed for those who are serious about living better and living longer.

Grande Lakes Resort, Orlando: A new Ritz-Carlton will be part of this $600-million, 500-acre complex which debuts July, 2003. The 40,000-square-foot spa will carry trademark Ritz services based on the resorts citrus theme, such as an orange blossom soak. (Management has even hired a full-time citrus consultant, the only resort to boast such.) It will include a 584-room Ritz, a 1,000-room Marriott, and a kitchen run by one of Miami's foremost trend-setting chefs, Norman Aken.

The new Mandarin Oriental in Miami recently debuted theThai Massage Academy with certification courses conducted in its Chi Studio. Also new is a Beach Club on nearby Key Biscayne, complete with beach butlers and frozen fruit. Only a year after its opening, the Mandarin became the first hotel in the metropolitan since 1994 to receive the AAA's Five-Diamond Award.

Guests who spend five nights or more at Jamaicas all-inclusive Royal Plantation Spa & Golf Resort now receive a spa credit valued at $550 per room. The credit will buy products and services, including the spa's signature Sunrise Sea 'n Scrub Experience, which uses the island's crushed almonds, honey, brown sugar, sunrise, and a sea dip.

Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has opened its Wilderness Adventure Spa, which takes advantage of location and outdoor activity. Treatment packages include Reiki on horseback and hot stone massage, and winter dogsledding followed by a mud wrap and sage body hydration.

At the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort in Miami, a grotto-style pool, a splendid fitness center, sea kayaking, and access to miles of pure-white beach enhance the spa experience. It opened in January with 390 rooms and its unusual American Classics Car Exhibit.

The Northwest's only mountain retreat with a full-service spa, the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Washington, announces a distinctly Northwest menu of therapies including: the Touch for Two using a special tummy cradle to nurture mother and child, rejuvenate the skin, improve elasticity and decrease edema; the Earth Cocoon in the "Rain Room" where warm mineral rich mud is applied from neck to toe while gently wrapped for detoxification and nutrient absorption; and a Private Guided Massage where a therapist leads a couple through a 50-minute massage enhancing their own healing powers through human touch with a loved one.

Florida's Spa Authority
Every two years or so, Chelle Koster Walton, as updater of the Florida section of Fodor's Healthy Escapes spa guidebook, travels around the state getting rubbed, scrubbed, and wrapped.
"Travel writing can have its stressful moments," says she, "but this definitely is not one of them."
Need a feature, sidebar, or round-up about spa treatments, resort spas in Florida and the Caribbean, or the newest spa trends? Ask Chelle (in between massages, please).

I'll be happy to more fully develop any of these ideas to suit your readership. Simply contact me at or 239-699-4754 with your needs.