Located at the foot of the Tramuntana mountains in the northern part of Mallorca, Spain, sits Son Brull Boutique Hotel & Spa. Where to begin? Let’s start with the stunning, massive glass entry door. Now that is an entrance! The intimate lobby is more understated chic living room/library.
Located in a former eighteenth century Jesuit monastery, the owners dedication to preserving a sense of authenticity is clear. Son Brull is design-driven but heritage and tradition are clearly important. The original (and massive) stone machinery used in the olive oil making process fits seamlessly within the bar/restaurant area, which leads out to the pool area. There are actually two pools — one indoor and one outdoor — a huge plus in chillier months. (The hotel is closed for three months: December though February.)
And, then there’s the spa. Again, that sense of intimacy. Cozy treatment rooms with charming therapists. Wonderful sauna and steam room as well. What makes Son Brull special is that you feel like you are at someone’s fantastic villa off in the hills. Well, someone who also has a Michelin-starred restaurant — along with an organic garden! Standout memories for me: fresh oranges from the property’s grove, lingering in the sauna (with fresh lemon water after), one of the best roasted vegetable dishes ever, relaxing in my large, bright (Mallorca has 300 days of sunshine on average per year), airy room. So well-appointed with design details that mixed modern (stunning concrete floors) with warm woods and textiles. Think luxe rustic. I can still smell that orange…
Son Brull Boutique Hotel & Spa
Yoga Journal just came out with their list of fantastic yoga retreats for 2017. I will share more, but thought I would start with this one to Baja, Mexico! Here’s YJ’s information:
“Purple Dot Yoga Project with Liz Arch
Where: Baja, Mexico
When: March 25–April 1, 2017
Looking for a way to give back? Sign up for Liz Arch’s Baja retreat. Proceeds will benefit Purple Dot Yoga Project, an organization aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence through yoga. Then enjoy ocean-front eco-lux accommodations and specialty workshops focusing on challenge poses like the inversions and arm balances that have been eluding you.
From $2,095, Thetravelyogi.com
Can’t make it? Practice with Liz Arch in our Challenge Poses online course.”
A zen oasis hiding in plain sight is what I would call the Six Senses Spa at the Westin Paris, Vendôme hotel. I was searching for a massage in Paris when I remembered the discreet entrance on the corner of rue de Castiglione, which stretches between the Tuileries Gardens and the Place Vendôme, and rue du Mont Thabor, home of my favorite Japanese restaurant in Paris and so many other good things! Upon entering the spa, the landscaped “vertical garden” wall sets the tone. Organic, hushed, warm, and welcoming. Great staff! From reception to the very capable therapists. Zero attitude. Each guest is tended to in an authentically kind way — such good energy. As you know, I love design and I can only describe the treatment rooms at minimalist, wooden pods that feel like cocoons. All the hustle from city outside is sealed off. True relaxation. A special experience is reserved for the post-treatment lounge area. While sipping some of the BEST ginger tea, there is a beautiful movie of Place de la Concorde and its iconic “La Grande Roue” (ferris wheel) projected onto the wall. No sound. Just images. It might sound like an odd juxtaposition, but it works! Oh, and the massage? Heaven.
Six Senses Spa – Westin Paris, Vendôme
Spa My Blend by Clarins
Although I don’t get them often, I love a good facial. When I lived in New York City, I was a devotée of Christine Chin. She is a formidable, tell-it-like-it-is (“Oh, does it sting? Good! Beauty is torture!”), skin genius. Period. It’s taken me awhile to find a new place, but I think I just struck gold with the Spa My Blend by Clarins at the Royal Monceau hotel. The design is a sea of white lacquer and mirrored furniture. With so much stimulus hitting us from every direction these days, the minimalism felt clean, crisp and oddly soothing. Plus, I loved the beautiful fresh juices and treats to sample pre-appointment. My therapist, Marine, was a true delight and the real deal. Professional skin diagnosis, an incredible custom protocol for my skin (hence the name, “Spa My Blend“), and (when has this EVER happened) on top of a fantastic facial, the treatment included a hot stone massage for my neck and shoulders. Oh, a hand and and foot massage as well. When the treatment was over… a salted caramel macaron was waiting for me. Hello? God, I felt great.
There are moments as an expat when you love where you live, like where you live, feel like a fish out of water or just want to go home. By the way, these moods can all happen in one day. What helps tip the scale more to love is when you start to have your “network” going. Your friend tribe, your butcher, the fabulous lady you buy your flowers from, your fish monger, your “bio coop,” and on and on. Spa My Blend is officially part of the network. Expats in Paris: what gems are in your network?
Spa My Blend by Clarins, Royal Monceau Paris