Spa Reviews in South Florida
|Written by Scott Holland on September 13 2012|
The Royal Palms Resort and Spa
717 Breakers Avenue – Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 – 954-564-6444 – RoyalPalms.com
When the Royal Palms Resort and Spa called to confirm their participation in our spa issue they informed me that the services they would be providing were a 4 handed massage and a facial. Now, I have to admit, like a lot of gay men the thought of 2 guys seeing me practically naked lying on a table made me very self conscious. I even went so far as to try to get another staff member take this service, but no one could make it, so I decided to bite the bullet and take one for the team and I am oh so glad I did! More about that later!
When I entered the Royal Palms and Spa I was greeted by the front desk man Rick, who was so nice and escorted me to the Spa. Once I entered the spa I met Director, Michael Mulqueen who proceeded to give me a tour of the Gym and Spa. Once the tour was over I was escorted to the changing room. I changed into one of the luxurious Royal Palm robes and proceeded to the front counter where I met Antonio Wiles who would be the second therapist (doesn’t hurt that he is drop dead gorgeous), along with Michael, for my 4 handed massage. After allowing me to undress on my own they entered the room while I was face down and I felt Antonio’s soft hands (literally the softest hands I have ever felt on my body) massaging my upper body and the strength of Michael massaging my lower body. The feeling was orgasmic; not in a sexual way (get your minds out of the gutter) but rather in a whole body tingling kind of way. They started the massage with compressions to check for knots and also for them to be able to discover the type of pressure I could handle. They administer the Lomi-Lomi style of massage which is from Hawaii and features long flowing strokes. Just when I thought this amazing massage was coming to an end, I felt this bit of heat slowing gliding all over my body and after about 30 seconds I realized it was hot stones. It turns out they use aroma therapy oils with volcanic river rocks, which they use because they are high in iron and they hold the heat so that the body can draw it out of them. This was the best ending to any massage I have ever had. Can you imagine having 4 hands massage you for 50 minutes and ending it with your body absorbing heat…well you don’t have to imagine!
Once I summoned the energy to get off the table and put my robe on I was introduced to Aesthetician Eduardo who escorted me into his room. He started my facial with a deep cleansing using glycolic facial cleanser. He then did a skin analysis and told me that he can see I take very good care of my skin and only determined slight dehydration signs (yay....the products are working). The next step was exfoliation of dead skin cells using citrus facial scrub, followed by extraction of clogged pores (my favorite part, because although it’s slightly painful it makes your skin so much clearer). Eduardo then performed a facial massage to stimulate circulation and relaxation followed by a deep pore cleansing clay mask. While the mask was drying I received a hand massage. When the deep cleansing mask was removed Eduardo then applied a powerful anti-oxidant mask enriched with vitamins A and C to combat signs of aging and help repair any damaged skin. This final step of the facial was when Eduardo applied moisturizer and sunscreen.
Spa Cabana’s Men’s Day Spa
2133 NE 26th Street - Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305 - 954-565-2307 - TheCabanasGuestHouse.com
It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon when I entered the Spa Cabanas and was greeted by spa owner Norman Lachance. As always, Norman is a very calming soul and after a stressful day his gentle words had me relaxed within a couple minutes. After providing me with a choice of bottled or cucumber water (one of my favorites, so guess what I chose) Norman escorted me into the first room and explained what he was going to do and gave me a few minutes to undress and relax on the table.
My 2 treatments were performed by Norman himself and they were a Shadiva exfoliation and an anti-aging facial. The Shadiva of India body exfoliation (60 minutes = $85) lets you immerse yourself into the world of India with the intensive oil-based exfoliant with extremely pure, mineral rich salt from the Himalayas which removes dry skin cells and revives tired skin. The combination of Indian oils rebalances the skin and leaves it beautifully smooth. The Anti-Aging Facial (60 minutes = $129) is a deep cleansing and relaxing facial and is perfectly customized to rebalance and reenergize your skin for a youthful appearance. It actively increases skin moisture, calms irritations and minimizes expression lines and wrinkles. A relaxing anti-aging eye treatment (makes you feel lovely) reduces puffiness and fine lines. This facial included Microdemabrasion in which Norman uses DiamondTome, the latest and most advanced facial and body rejuvenation system. This procedure reduces age spots, blotchy skin, acne, scarring, black/white heads, oily skin and is painless with no down time. It just feels like a suction cup going over your skin.
When the 2 procedures were done Norman introduced me to Spa Manager Alex Chacon who escorted me to another room and explained that he was going to perform a Swe-Thai Massage (60 minutes = $95; 90 minutes = $125), which is one of the best massage techniques to treat muscular and joint tension (and boy did I have a lot of tension) and restore functional range of motion and flexibility. Swedish and Thai massages are combined using medium to deep pressured couples with intensive full body stretches. Alex warned me that I would probably be sore for like 2 days, but by day 3 I would be thanking him. He then proceeded to stretch my body into positions I have never experienced before. I felt like a pretzel (in a good way), but he said I wasn’t very flexible. Once the massage was over and I redressed I was greeted with another glass of cucumber water (yum) and a post treatment chat by both Norman and Alex. I was lucky as I was expecting to wake up very sore the next day (as Alex warned) but there was no pain at all.
I was lucky enough to have my services at the Cabana’s on the day they were celebrating their 4th anniversary. It was so nice to be there to celebrate with Norman and his staff. In honor of their 4th anniversary, Norman is offering a great special: a one hour massage and one hour facial package for only $149. This offer is good until September 30th.
The Grant Resort and Spa
539 N. Birch Road – Fort Lauderdale, FL - 954-630-3000 – GrandResort.net
When Spa owner J.D. was booking the appointments for our spa issue he said that the couple treatments at The Grand Resort and Spa have become so popular he would like me to experience them and that I should bring a friend along with me. I called my good buddy Michael Festa (shameless friend plug: he is a fabulous certified personal trainer...call him for info or appointments at 954-789-0056) to come with me as we have gone to spa’s together before and he gladly accepted.
Our first treatment was the Extreme Ultimate Pedicure (80 min - $85.00 per person). I recommend that you treat your puppies to this great experience! The Colombian bombshell Paula was my pedicurist (Paula and I bonded when she administered my facial last year). Now you know I am ready to just about marry anyone who rubs my feet, but I couldn’t marry Paula for 2 reasons: 1) She is already married and 2) she is a she. In addition to the normal steps you get at a pedicure our feet were exfoliated and then essential oils were applied for soothing and softening. This was followed by a super hydrating masque. As soon as the masque is fully applied the therapist wraps your feet in hot towels and the masque takes effect. There are genuinely no words for how good this feels. This is followed by a 15 minute massage and finally a moisturizer is applied.
The next treatment was The ‘Dermalogica’ Facial which includes professional double cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, masque, hydration, and solar defense. My treatment was administered by J.D. himself. I told J.D. that the next day was my birthday and I wanted to take 10 years off so he applied an aggressive exfoliator and explained to me that additional products and therapies are always available to target the individual needs of their guest’s skin.
When the Facial was over we returned to the front of the spa for some water and then we were escorted back to the same room for our couples massage. I was then introduced to the sexy Czech Olen, who is a big strapping man. That’s the type of man I like administering my massages. The Deep Tissue Massage focuses on specific areas to relieve tension, muscle spasms & tightness using medium to deep pressure. Olen had very soft hands, but they were coupled with a very strong touch that really melted away my stress. Although his hands and fingers are strong he was very sensitive to my body and was constantly checking in with me to see if I was ok with the pressure and touch. When this procedure was done, my body felt so good. Sexy and talented, that’s a good combination!
78 Degrees Spa
2153 Wilton Drive – Wilton Manors, FL 33305 –954-630-1444- 78DegreesSpa.com
78 Degrees, the median temperature for the greater Fort Lauderdale area, represents optimal comfort. For many people it’s the very reason we live in South Florida. 78 Degrees commitment is to deliver the highest quality spa treatments to bring you optimal comfort and pampering. Upon entering the spa at 2153 Wilton Drive, I was welcomed by owner John and Skin Care Specialist Michael and was given a full tour of the spa which is much larger than it looks from the outside.
When I was welcomed into the aesthetician room for my European Facial ($75) I noticed how clean and soothing the atmosphere is. Once on the table Michael started with a face cleaning that was so good, I already felt beautiful. Following that was exfoliation, a mask, steam, extractions, an apricot cleanser and moisturizers. Ending the facial was a face massage where Michaels touch was so gentile I could have fallen asleep.
Once the facial was over Geno, Licensed Massage Therapist, came to get me and usher me into his room for my Swedish Massage ($75). Before I got on the table he asked me about my last few days, what stress areas or trouble spots I have and then allowed me to choose my own aromatherapy scent which he infused in the room and in the lotions. Geno said that he finds giving a massage as relaxing as receiving one and by his gentile but yet strong touch I can see why. My body was relaxed from the back of my head to the tip of my toes.
78 Degrees is open Tuesday thru Friday from 11 am to 8 pm; Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm and by appointment on Sundays and Mondays. For more information call 954-630-1444 or visit 78DegreesSpa.com
Elemis Spa at Merrick Park
330 San Lorenzo Drive #2345 – Coral Gables, FL 33146 – 305-774-7171
In June I took my “Sista” Rolando for his birthday to a half day of beauty at the Elemis Spa. When entering the spa I was taken aback by the beautiful front counter that is surrounded by lots of products (everyone knows I am a product whore) including the full line of Elemis & Bliss products (my credit card was already vibrating in my pocket). Once we checked in we were taken to the locker rooms, changed into our luxurious Elemis robes and were then asked to wait in the Calming Lounge. How do I describe the Calming lounge? Oh yeah, heaven on earth! The lounge offers a quiet and serene place to relax and rest with a selection of wines, cheeses, crackers, fruits, drinks and snacks. When the therapists came to get us, Roly and I didn’t want to leave the Calming Lounge, but alas we did.
The half day of beauty started with a Swedish Massage. My therapist explained to me that this classical European technique manipulates muscles with aromatic massage oils. It is both relaxing and invigorating. While providing tonic for the soul, this massage can help improve the function of the circulatory, lymph, muscular and nervous systems. Next was the Frangipani Scalp Treatment which is inspired by a Tahitian recipe. This exotic oil blends fragrant coconut and frangipani flowers to produce monoi oil; a scented oil traditionally used by Polynesian women to protect and condition their hair and skin from environmental stressors. The oil was applied to my hair and scalp, and while it was working its wonders I enjoyed a relaxing scalp massage. The final treatment was the Elemis Taster Facial. By carefully selecting and harvesting medicinal grade plant and marine extracts Elemis has developed a brand that promises divine indulgence and incredible results. The Elemis taster facial uses their groundbreaking skin care range (I became addicted to some of the Elemis products when I was on a cruise on the Ruby Princess with my family last year). A gentle cleanse and tone, a refreshing exfoliation and a personalized mask will left me feeling refreshed and renewed.
We were then escorted back to the Calming Lounge, where we had some wine and just relaxed for about 30 minutes. This was a wonderful half day of beauty and when we were done we had lunch and shopped at Merrick Park.