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This is the fourth year we’ve put together the annual Spa Edition, and one of my favorite things about it is forming relationships with the local spa owners. Every year I look forward to seeing them and spending some quality time with them and their staff. A lot of people think of spas as places we visit while on vacation, but trust me, if you take care of your body on a regular basis, it will take care of you and make you look and feel younger for many years! This year, to be as fair as possible, I decided to write about the spas in the order in which I went to them.

Spa Cabanas

Spa_copy12133 NE 26th Street – Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305 – 954-565-2307 – TheCabanasGuestHouse.com

My first stop this year was the Cabanas Guest House and Spa (a European-style men’s spa). Norman (the owner) and I clicked the very first year and it’s always a pleasure to see and chat with him. He always puts a smile on my face. Norman himself has been a masseur and aesthetician for many years and is also certified in Babor Products, a German-made men’s skin care line.

This yeSpa_copy3ar I received three services. The first was a deep tissue massage from Rick Boyett. Although it’s called a deep tissue massage ($95 for 1 hour) Rick really calls it NMT (neuromuscular therapies), which breaks down the areas of the body into smaller sections and works the individual muscles. Therefore he can work on somebody and give them relaxation without some of the pain associated with a deep tissue massage. Rick was very careful and made me feel very comfortable. I left the room feeling very relaxed and a bit sleepy.

I then was introduced to Corey Winner who would be responsible for giving me my Anti-Aging facial ($129 for 1 hour), one of Spa Cabanas most popular facials.  This is a deep cleansing not to mention relaxing facial that that made my skin glow.  After checking my skin and making an evaluation, he proceeded to cleanse and exfoliate using the Spa’s amazing Babor products.  Once the cleaning was finished, extractions are done followed by a high frequency treatment used to shrink pores and even the complexion tone.   A Babor mask was applied that was soothing and refreshing and made me feel quite relaxed.

After a fantastic facial it was off to the next area where I met Brandon Kelly who adSpa_copy2ministered a “Lift Treatment” ($149 for a 90 minute treatment). The lift is an ultrasound liposuction procedure designed in Europe that requires no recovery time and will produce immediate results. The Ultrasonic machine can also be used to pinpoint specific areas that may be of concern. A lot of you may have heard of this; it is also known as “The Red Carpet Lift” and “The 48 Hour Lift” as stars will have this done 48 hours before they walk the red carpet. Although you see some results immediately, the full effect comes after 48 hours.  My skin really felt and looked great from the moment I left the Spa Cabanas.

Keep in mind anyone who receives a treatment at the Spa Cabanas is entitled to full use of the facilities at the Cabanas.

For the month of September the Spa at the Cabanas has a few specials and they are: 5 sessions of a 90 minute massage for only $360 (reg $625); New Client waxing 20% off, and a 6o minute Swedish massage combined with a 60 minute anti-aging facial for only $149 (reg $214).

 

Lavish Manors Nail Spa

Spa_copy42717 N. Dixie Highway – Wilton Manors, FL 33334 – 954-396-6245 – LavishManors.com

When I arrived at Lavish Manors, I was greeted by owner Tommy Lee, whose number-one task at the spa is to ensure quality service to all of his clientele. He was very welcoming and sat me down at the massage chair pedicure station. I was then introduced to Le who performed my Rock Pedicure for Men ($40) and my classic manicure ($15).

I started out with relaxing my feet in tSpa_copy4_2he bubbling warm water. Then my nails were trimmed and shaped, and the cuticles detailed and buffed with a sea salt scrub. He then softened and plumped my skin with an intensive callus treatment followed by an exfoliation with a mango peel. This was followed by a rejuvenating foot masque to brighten, soften and relieve dry skin and inflammation. This was followed by the best part of the Pedicure: a warm stone massage with a house blend of hot oils (now if you have never received a stone massage on your feet, this is another bucket list item…trust!). The Pedicure ended with aromatic steaming towels followed by a moisturizer.

The Pedicure was directly followed by the classic manicure that included nail trimming, shaping, cuticle detailing and a lotion massage.

Needless to say I left Lavish Manors feeling like my feet and hands were stars!

 

Chi Spa

Spa_copy52415 N Dixie Hwy – Wilton Manors, FL 33305 – (954) 563-0001 – ChiAsianSpa.com

Although I had seen the Chi Spa building for many years, I never had the pleasure of going in or receiving any of their services, so I was so happy when they responded to be a part of our annual Spa Edition. A big shout out to Amber (the manager), who is soSpa_copy5_1 nice to deal with and very accommodating.

I started with the Chi Signature Massage ($75 for 60 mins. or $110 for 90 mins.), which is their own special mix of Thai Stretching, Shiatsu Acupressure and Swedish. I was told by my massage therapist, Mark Kochkodan, that they customize it for each individual person, so if you are not a fan of getting massaged too deep, they will go lighter. Mark has been a massage therapist for 16 years, and has worked at Chi Spa for four years.  The Chi Signature Massage is designed to be incredibly relaxing, therapeutic and invigorating. However, this is a massage where the therapist gets on the table and stretches you, so if this is something you are uncomfortable with (I am not), then choose from their many other massages.  Mark went on to tell me that the owner, Kimberly, is so easy and accommodating to work for and she allows them to have input in the business. He said that they are treated like a family!

Spa_copy5_2I was then escorted to the lovely Sonia Romero, who is Colombian and has a beautiful accent. I was given the Chi facial ($75 for 60 minutes) which consisted of a foaming cleanser, an exfoliation, a pumpkin peel mask, a preparation serum to make extractions easier, vaporization, extractions, astringent, a Vitamin C serum, a gold mask (nothing makes you feel wealthier than a gold mask…LOL), and then an optic mask. While the first mask was setting, Sonia worked on my hands by exfoliating them, then put a mineral mask on them, and then set them in thermal paper. While the second mask was setting, she massaged my neck, upper back, arms and shoulders, and then removed the thermal paper and mask from my hands and moisturized them. Afterwards, she moisturized my face and then applied a cell renewal serum. Sonia had such a nice touch and was so pleasant. I truly enjoyed this facial tremendously.

Canyon Ranch Hotel and Spa

Spa_copy66801 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141 – 305-514-7000 – CanyonRanch.com/MiamiBeach

Last year when I went to the Canyon Ranch for a men’s facial, the Aquavana Thermal Suite was being renovated so I could not see or use it. Therefore, this year they decided that they wanted me to take advantage of this luxurious suite and all the other amenities the Canyon Ranch has to offer.  They invited me to bring a friend, so I took Oscar and off we went to Miami for a day of relaxation.

Spa_copy6_1Once we checked in to the Spa, we changed in the men’s dressing room, which in itself is amazing, and up to the fifth-floor rooftop pool we went. We were laying by the pool, looking out onto the ocean and I was thinking to myself, “How could life get any better?” Well, I will tell you how: they have a HydroSpa with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, which is enhanced with bubbling jets, contoured seats and small pressure-point river pebbles to relax the body. This is AMAZING and I felt like a pampered prince.

Spa_copy6_2After laying out for two hours, it was time for lunch and we went downstairs to the Canyon Ranch Grill, where we dined beside the surf with sweeping ocean views. The Canyon Ranch Grill is health-conscious and is reasonably priced. We split an Heirloom Tomato Flatbread, which was yummy, and each had a Salmon Burger which really was scrumptious.

After filling our tummies, it was off to the gym, which is state-of-the-art and also overlooks the ocean. We had a fantastic workout, and now it was time to go and enjoy the Aquavana Thermal Suite which is an array of healing waters, thermal cabins and soaking tubs. We wandered from one rejuvenating experience to the next, feeling renewed with each breath and soothed by the cool and warm waters. The Aquavana Thermal Suite is the most luxurious collection of European-style healing aquatic environments in North America. While much of the pleasure and efficacy of aquathermal therapy lies in the comfortable temperature of the various pools and treatments, exposing the body to a contrast of hot and cold temperatures is at the heart of these therapeutic offerings.

The Aquavana experience features an open-air rooftop crystal steam room, experiential rains, a Finnish sauna, a foot spa, an herbal laconium hydrospa, an igloo, and thermal heated loungers.

This is pampering at its finest and is something you need to put on your bucket list!

The Grand Resort and Spa

Spa_copy7539 N. Birch Road – Fort Lauderdale, FL   – 954-630-3000 – GrandResort.net

For those of you who read the Spa Edition on an annual basis, you know that if I ever turned straight, I would be marrying Paula at the Grand Resort and Spa. There are really only two flaws to this plan: Paula is already married, and I don’t think I will ever turn straight…but then again they are only two obstacles…LOL! More about Paula later.

Spa_copy7_2Before I talk about the services, I must congratulate the Spa at the Grand Resort for being honored by USA Today as one of the top ten spas in Fort Lauderdale.

The Grand Resort and Spa is so proud that our country is making gigantic steps on the marriage equality front that they have put together many packages for couples that combine options of nights at the resort with spa services. Packages can even include a gift bag with a Grand robe, chocolates, champagne, red roses, dinner for two, and a ½ day photo shoot.

Spa_copy7_3JD, owner of the Spa, asked that I bring a friend so we could experience the couples massage and facial, so Oscar got lucky again and attended with me. The massage they administered (I had JD and Oscar had Brian) was a deep tissue massage. They told me that the theory of the Spa at the Grand is they let their hands do the walking so that every massage is customized to the individual person’s needs. All of their massages are therapeutic but are geared toward relaxation.

The next procedure was the couples Age Smart facial. Paula did mine (like there was any other choice) and Mirian did Oscars. I know Mirian and Oscar were in the room with us, but I was only able to hear Paula’s voice and it felt like we were in the room alone. Paula started out by analyzing my skin, which she noticed had some brown spots and some sun damage (from a recent vacation) and told me I had combination skin. The facial process began with a pre-cleanser, then a cleanser, and an exfoliator. This was followed by scaling fluid, which helps with extractions. Then extractions, followed by a facial massage using normalizing oil. The next steps were a multi-vitamin mask, then a cold contour mask which deeply hydrates the skin. The masks were taken off with a hot towel (love this) and followed by a moisturizer, a firming booster on the eyes and then sun protection.

Paula does many things well (can you tell how much I like her?), but two things that she does better than anyone else are: first, when she massages your face she uses her fingers in a way that is incredibly relaxing and enjoyable, and second, she has mastered the art of putting a hot towel on your face.

As if all of this wasn’t good enough, when we got dressed and were ready to leave (by the way, all the amenities of the hotel are available when you get services at the spa) they presented us with a gift bag each (anybody who knows me knows I am a SUCKER for gift bags) that had Godiva chocolates, a bottle of champagne and a Grand robe…all I can say is SOLD!

Urban Retreat Spa

Spa_copy84450 NE 20th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 – 954-249-9176 – FacialsFortLauderdale.com or  BestGaySpa.com

I have known Frank Velaz, owner of Urban Retreat Spa for many years, and he open Urban  in 2006 and the business has steadily grown. He has a staff of 5 therapist who each have at least 10 years experience in the industry.

O2 Lift Facial, also known as the Celebrity Red Carpet Secret / used at Miss Universe & Miss Spa_copy8_1America on day of pageant is only $75 for 50 minutes. This luxurious and effective  oxygen facial skin care treatment infuses oxygen, plant-derived stem cells, peptides and a high concentration of enzymatic botanicals into the skin leaving it luminous, refreshed and rejuvenated. This oxygen skin care process provides a revolutionary treatment to exfoliate, illuminate and oxygenate. Right before applying moisturizer and Sunblock he applies a UR-Beauty Hyaluronic Serum (their own brand) that shows immediate results. Seriously he had me hold a mirror so I could literally see the results instantaneously. This procedure has no down time.

Spa_copy8_2Originally Frank was talking to me about getting the Collagen Induction Therapy CIT (stimulates the body to release collagen and elastin naturally four days after the service and continues to release collagen from a cellular level for up to six month later, great for aging skin, hyper pigmentation, wrinkles and lax skin) or the ReZENerate Treatment Center (nano technology collagen stimulation….the future of skin repair), but since I was a chicken of what I considered invasive stuff we settled on the O2 Lift Facial. However while I was there he showed me how the others are done and they are none invasive and I will do them next.

Urban Retreat offers a Free Skin Analysis to properly design a custom plan of professional treatments and home skin regimens, reality based prices. Evidence based skin care solutions. PCA Skin Certified Peel Treatment Center and Certified In Collagen Induction Therapy by Florida Esthetics Association.