Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spa(in)

I did go for more juice this morning.

Then there was metro - learn, learn, learn - metro.

And then...I went to a ridiculously expensive spa and can report that you do, indeed, get what you pay for.

After days of small rooms and skipped meals and cramped metros rather than clean cabs, I decided I needed a treat. And after browsing spas online, I kept returning to the Barcelona Spring treatment at a hotel nearby. So, after a wince at the price, I booked it. And winced again at the price.

Still, I've never regretted splurges on spa treatments while traveling for work. There's something about pausing to be utterly self-indulgent (I usually hover around 85%). So I went to Floor -1 in a very posh hotel and settled into a low sofa, awaiting my welcome tea. (It was not as good as the juice. But I survived.)

I was taken to the changing room after a woman took my shoes (on a tray - my poor flats were outclassed) and gave me slippers. I left my skirt and sweater in my locker and decided to take a shower as I had time before my appointment began. Emerging from the giant stall, nice and clean, I giggled as I donned disposable underwear (my first ever thong, by the way) and tied my silky robe closed before going to the Relaxation Room. I had water and a piece of stone fruit I was unable to identify and crossed my ankles as I reclined on my lounge chair and watched the black chains that formed a sort of wall drift and shimmer in the candlelight.

My therapist, an adorable British girl, fetched me and took me to the lobby of my treatment room and settled me into a chair for my foot treatment. She explained things but I tried to be attentive, but the pressure on my sore soles was delightful and my toes wiggled affectionately.

I followed her behind the curtain and took off my robe, arranging myself in a prone position on the towel-covered massage table.

I am a cough drop, I decided as she began to scrub my skin with a salt mixture scented with lime and mint and containing menthol that made my skin tingly. I pictured someone unwrapping me from my crinkly protective paper and popping me in his mouth. I would release soothing vapors - soothe sore throat and clear nasal passages - and click gently against the inside of teeth.

I flipped over when asked, becoming all cough-droppy on the front as well and blinking my eyes open when she said we were finished with this part.

"OK," I agreed and grinned when the head of the table raised so that I could easily slip off the table and into the shower in the corner. She gave me instructions - push this button, turn this knob, be sure to get the scrub off your neck and feet. I squinted, mostly blind sans glasses, and nodded and sleepily entered the room where purple lights glimmered from the ceiling.

"Oh," I said, happily surprised when depressing the proper button caused it to rain. I looked up into the purple glow, realizing the entire ceiling was dripping warm water onto my skin. I closed my eyes to listen as I kept my face turned upward, delighting in the sensation before slicking my hands over my body to remove the scrub.

"I'm all silky," I told my therapist once I'd emerged, dried off, exchanged disposable panties for a dry pair and settled myself on the table once again. "I miss the shower already," I sighed and she patted my calf before promising this next part was 'the best bit.'

After taking a deep breath as instructed, I perked up and decided if I could smell a single scent for the rest of my life, this would be it. Delicate and sweet, a gentle waft of mint and eucalyptus and something else I couldn't place permeated my brain, leaving it bathed in peaceful contentment. She began to rub the oil on my skin, starting at my feet, and alternating hot stones with firm pressure from fingers and palms.

It felt endless - like there was infinite time to relax and stretch and let muscles lose their tension and have my tummy rubbed with the perfect oil as my breasts were covered with a soft cloth. I ended up under the fluffy towel, her hands in my hair as she pressed points in my scalp and gently smoothed the stands.

I am an olive, I decided as I bundled back in my robe and slippers and returned to the relaxation room and the shimmering black chains. I'm marinating in my oil, growing supple and rich and delicious. I debated whether I - as an olive - would have a pit or pimento while I nibbled on nuts and gulped my water. Finished, I shuffled back to the changing room and returned to that shower, sleepily standing under the spray and washing my hair and rinsing my body before wandering out to pay.

And I was too blissed out to wince over the price, even after I added a bottle of oil so I could smell like this again at home.

4 comments:

Ms.PhD said...

Wow. Very sensual. I'd love to know what the third scent and the perfect oil were.

Girlpostdoc said...

Jealous. I love treating myself to spas!

suzy pepper said...

That literally sounds like heaven to me. I've only had a massage when being treated for calf strains. Sigh. Someday when I'm not broke!

post-doc said...

Ms.PhD -
Completely sensual, yes. I love spas in that you can be very physical without being sexual.

I had to look at my bottle but the third scent was rosemary. It's made by ESPA (www.espaonline.com) and is the energising body oil. Love, love, love.

Girlpostdoc - Me, too! Totally worthwhile.

Suzy - Send me an email with where you live. I'll treat you to spa treatments. They don't fix everything, but it does help for those couple of hours. (Plus, I love researching spas and gift certificates are easily email-able.)

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