Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Blessings.....

Blessings to you and yours during this beautiful Christmas Season and may they continue throughout the coming New Year.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


Friday, October 9, 2009


That's me querying "the Donald" at the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the The Spa at Trump, Trump International Hotel & Tower (Chicago, IL). Daughter Ivanka adds expanded commentary.

My September 7, 2009 post, "SPA TREATMENTS AND PRODUCT EXPERIENCES-PART I" gives a recap of my treatment experience, the Royal Lulur Ritual.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


Monday, September 21, 2009


INTRO: With autumn’s chill and the crunch of falling leaves fast approaching, I figured it was the perfect time to offer reviews and recommendations of products in what’s become a tradition for me. I’ve been very busy these past few months putting these products through their rigors, as it were, testing them, waiting for reactions, results, etc. Many of these products may not be available in traditional brick and mortar stores, but are available online, or at select spas. Many of these products would also be ideal for an at-home beauty regimen or spa experience. If not already in your retail area, consider adding some of these lines to further offer your guests options and alternatives to consider for their additional purchases. And, with the holiday gift-giving season fast approaching, what better time than now to consider special gift sets for your discerning guests, or for yourself.

METHOD: Depending on quantity, I tried using products anywhere from one to two weeks in order to gauge efficacies (especially the skincare and those promoting lash growth; the later I used for at least four weeks). Nearly all products reviewed were enjoyable, easy to use, and delivered some form of transitory result. The few products I found a bit unpleasant usually had something to do with the product aroma, which didn’t necessarily nullify efficacy. Some of the products reviewed also included food related, where most items would be ideal in a spa cuisine setting, or as part of a healthy eating approach at home. Taste, after all is part of the sensory experience. A sensory-driven experience, which is what spas are supposed to based on, should engage most, if not all of the senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight and even aspects of equilibrium and intuition; the latter two being related to body, mind, spirit connection. Following are my takes on a comprehensive array of products.


Darphin: Stimulskin Plus Rejuvenating Lifting Serum, Stimulskin Plus Divine Lifting Cream, and 8-Flower Nectar ~ I loved all of these results-driven anti-aging products. My skin’s texture (face and neck), hydration level and elasticity were noticeably improved after using these products for only a few days; fine lines were also diminished. Other enjoyable aspects of using these products included the luxurious feel of each product, and the extraordinarily beautiful botanical aromas. I used the Lifting Serum and Lifting Cream in the morning; for the evening, I used the Nectar as a base, followed by the other two products. My aging skin was definitely revitalized. Some of the ingredients in the Serum include polypeptides, collagen, rosemary, and avocado oil; in the Cream, extracts of green tea, chamomile, mulberry, and grape, vitamin C and E; in the Nectar, there are eight pure essential oils, including Everlasting, Iris, Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose and Ylang Ylang, with the latter one the most predominant. BTW, Darphin recently announced its decision to no longer sell its products in upscale retail stores like Neiman Marcus and will only be available at select spas, or online. No spas in my area currently offer Darphin’s extravagant “Divine 8-Flower Lifting Facial”; I would’ve loved experiencing this treatment as part of reviewing these three products. For more information, go to

Pevonia Myoxy Caviar: Timeless Balm Cleanser, Repair Lotion, Repair Serum, and Repair Cream ~ All of these products are high performing, results-driven and geared to minimize the effects of aging; they were gentle, quickly absorbing, non-tacky and had a silky texture; hydration levels remained throughout the day, while diminishing wrinkles; anti-aging ingredients include caviar extract, pearl, marine collagen, hibiscus esculentus, and polypeptides; product aromas were lovely. I enjoyed all of these products and noticed that my skin’s texture was more refined, and looked healthier; hydration levels remained throughout the day. For more information, go to

Decleor Hydra Floral: Flower Nectar Moisturizing Cream, Flower Dew Moisturizing Eye Gel Cream, and Flower Essence Moisturizing Mask ~ This perennial favorite targets normal to dry skin types (and even aging skin, like mine) and has been reformulated and made even better than before. The formulation includes ingredients like mint and orange blossom aromatic water, codium (sea algae) and wild pansy. The codium and wild pansy are natural “aquaporins” that circulate and deliver water to the skin on a continual basis, aiding in moisture retention. The results were visible; my skin always felt hydrated; product texture was silky with lovely subtle floral aromas. For more information, go to

Arbonne: NutriMinC: Hydrating Face Wash, Balancing Toner, Day & Night Facial Serum, Daily Cream, Night Cream, Facial Scrub and Deep Pore Cleansing Mask ~ Although not a large quantity of product to review, overall these anti-aging products were gentle, non-irritating and maintained their hydration levels. The products I didn’t like, because of a pronounced chemical aroma, were the Balancing Toner and Day & Night Serum; the other products all had a faint orange aroma. For more information, go to, or

reLastin: Skin Revitalizer and Ultra Emollient ~ Behind the science of reLastin is a proprietary (patent-pending) formulation, “Zinc Firming Complex”, which is said to increase the cellular production of elastin, which is naturally lost as part of the aging process; the product also promises to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, while improving levels of hydration and moisture retention. Originally, I was using the Skin Revitalizer in the morning because it had a lighter consistency, and the Ultra Emollient for my nighttime regimen, due a denser consistency. Initially, both products were applied to the face, neck and décolleté. I noticed the Skin Revitalizer had a tendency to dry my skin (it also had a sour and chemical aroma), while the Ultra Emollient didn’t. Once I switched using the Ultra Emollient for day and night, the hydration level improved. I didn’t notice much improvement in fine line minimization on my face (especially my forehead); however, skin texture and line minimization to the neck area and décolleté have occurred. For more information, go to

Lamas Beauty: Organic Citrus-C Facial Cleanser (All Skin Types) ~ Dense consistency and minimal lather, even after wetting the skin. Non-pump bottle made it hard to dispense, due to product density. Product rinsed off thoroughly without leaving any residue; non-irritating and didn’t leave skin feeling dry or taut. If you like the aroma of oranges in things besides the real fruit, you’ll enjoy this product. For more information, go to

Avalon Organics Facial Cleansing Gel: Lavender (Sensitive Skin) ~ Pump bottle made it easy to dispense. High lathering action; rinsed off thoroughly without leaving any residue; didn’t irritate or leave skin feeling dry or taut. I loved the wonderful aroma of lavender in this product. For more information, go to


Talika: Eyebrow Lipocils, Eyelash Lipocils, Eyelash Conditioning Cream, Lash Extender and Lash Conditioning Cleanser ~ I enjoyed using these products. Products were gentle and non-irritating; over time, the lashes and eyebrows became conditioned, with no breakage; the cleanser was thorough and gently removed eyeshadow and mascara effortlessly. The only product I was a bit skittish using was the Lash Extender; this is applied immediately after an application of mascara and then followed with another coating of mascara; I can be a bit pokey and having to finesse holding a magnifying mirror with one hand and the applicators with the other, let’s just say I can be a bit of a bumbler. That said, these products are a great addition to eyelash and eyebrow treatment and definitely condition and maintain. For more information, go to

Pevonia: Eye Makeup Remover, C Évolutive Eye Gel and Évolutive Eye Cream
~ These three products are super gentle and high performing, delivering results. I especially enjoyed the Eye Gel in the morning and then the Eye Cream in the evening; the products were non-irritating, quickly absorbed and didn't leave any tacky residue or feel. Makeup Remover gently removed without any tugging and didn’t leave any residue of color or mascara; also non-irritating. For more information, go to

reLastin Eye Silk ~ The morning’s application of the gel-like consistency to the delicate under eye area gave the skin a very smooth and hydrated feel; however, as the hours went by, I looked in the mirror and noticed that the area appeared drier and my fine lines more pronounced; the evening’s application was a repeat, although I eventually added another eye cream over this product to maximize hydration. For more information, go to

RevitaLash ~ The innovator of lash growth stimulators also produced results within four weeks. Out of all three “like” products, I thought the applicator brush for this one was designed better and was the easiest to use and control the application of product to just the base line where the lashes grew. Overall, I think nothing can replace a great mascara that has a terrific applicator brush to make your lashes look more stunning, versus not wearing any mascara (of course, false eyelashes are another option). Even after new growth results, the product will require faithfulness and diligence and a nightly routine of applying the product to maintain and extend any additional growth. I sometimes run out of these things, even for products like this. For more information, go to

DermaLash ~ This lash growth stimulator also produced results within four weeks. My lashes were never dark or thick; my hair color, now mostly gray, used to be what was referred to as dishwater blonde. The results this product produced were a slight improvement to the puniness of my lashes, although lash color didn’t darken. I think DNA trumps any of these products. If you’ve lost something over the years and then get it back, it will revert back to what you had before it was lost, not what you never had to begin with. Results diminished slowly once product use was discontinued. This product is also available in colors, for use as an eyeliner; I tried the one in Plum, which was a complementary color for me; nice to have if you forget to do the nightly routine. Again, I lack the discipline to maintain a nightly routine, but can see myself at least trying this approach. For more information, go to

neuLash ~ Another “oomph-those-skimpy-lash” growth stimulator products. The first few nights I used this product along the lash growth line, I noticed a bit of tearing and after three days, a dark line forming on the eyelid, so I discontinued use of the product along my lash line, and instead, opted to use it on my eyebrows, which is another suggested use for the product. The few areas where my brows were sparse received nightly applications of the product; I also swept the applicator lightly over the entire brow area. Fullness and new growth on the sparse areas was noticeable within four weeks. Would also require nightly continuation of product as a form of maintenance. For more information, go to


McEvoy Ranch 80 Acre Organic Body Care: Verde Hand & Body Wash, Verde Body Balm, Verde Olive Oil Soap, and Verde Hand & Body Lotion ~ These are all outstanding products that deliver results and are gentle to the skin and non-irritating. The aroma is extraordinary and although I’ve never been to an olive ranch, I can well imagine how walking through the groves has the same fresh cut luscious green aroma as these products. The Lotion is quickly absorbed and leaves skin hydrated for hours. I especially loved the Body Balm and used it on those areas prone to dryness, including the cuticles; very emollient. I would love for McEvoy to develop a perfume in this fragrance; it would be stunning. For more information, go to

Inspire by Dionis: Smart Three in One Shampoo, Body Wash & Bubble Bath, Brave Sugar Scrub), and Brave Hand Therapy ~ Body care for the young at heart with motivational sayings and quotations on product packaging. The Three In One had a pleasant delicate floral scent; lathered and rinsed well, leaving no residue. The Sugar Scrub had a nice grapefruit aroma and was my favorite product; thorough exfoliation and didn’t leave my skin oily feeling. The Hand Therapy moisturized well and had a fruity aroma, but was a bit hard to squeeze out of its tube. For more information, go to

Argiletz: Red and Green Clay ~ Prized for properties that include remineralization and detoxification, natural clays have been used for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes for hundreds of years. Many health facilities all over the world continue using clays for these purposes. These clays are preservative and additive free and gentle on most skins. Clays can be used safely on the hair, face or body. Fresh and earthy aroma; non-irritating or drying; hint: never let clays dry and then remove; this is counter to the intended purpose of removing toxins, which may revert back into the skin as clay dries. For more information, go to, or

Karawan Alep Soap: Olive Oil & Bay Tree Oil ~ This natural soap is prized for its gentle and effective cleansing capabilities, while providing natural hydration. The aroma is very earthy and the chunk of soap I used had a rustic shape, and reminiscent of a time when soap was painstakingly made in huge cauldrons over a blazing fire, put into forms and than left to dry for up to nine months. For more information, go to


Jane Iredale: “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining” Fall Collection
~ Never mind what the calendar may say. Jane Iredale always comes through with color palettes that are season-less with gorgeous colors that work well individually or blended with other colors from other seasonal palettes. In the Fall Collection, I especially loved the Silver Lining PurePressed Triple Eye Shadow compact with colors of Twilight Silver, Glistening Silver and Shimmering Charcoal; wear one or wear all three; the result is always impressive. The Silver Liquid Eye Liner was another winner; I usually have trouble controlling eyeliner applicators, but with her applicator’s design, it was easy to control and I felt like a pro. The Midnight Blue Pencil made eye lining easy and gentle, since this pencil was soft on the delicate eye area and didn’t tug at it. The multi-purpose Double Dazzle Dual Highlighter Pencil is a use anywhere product; one end is in Gilded Gold and the other in Glowing Copper; ideal for adding highlights or a subtle hint of color wherever needed. The Hazelnut PureGloss Lip for Lips is gorgeous; a hint of mint and ginger also adds a bit of plumping. Her products and colors always make it easy to get a look that is brilliant, flattering and never garish. For more information, go to

Arbonne: Virtual Illusion Makeup Primer
~ Although a small amount to review, I definitely enjoyed this colorless product, which dries matte. It not only primed my skin for color, but it evened-out the texture, making it very smooth and silky; the application of color was effortless; non-drying or irritating. For more information, go to, or


Fleur d’ Amour Fragrance by Sylvie Beljanski ~ This lovely, light floral fragrance is a complex formulation that melds into a subtle floral; top notes of bergamot and black currant (Bourgeons de Cassis), with bergamot not at all discernable, quickly dried down to middle notes of lily, jasmine, peony and rose; the bottom notes were barely discernable (amber, musk, sandalwood and vanilla) in the dry down. The middle notes were more predominant than the top notes and to me gave it its characteristic subtle floral. For more information, go to

L’Occitane Certified Organic Lavender EDT ~ The first certified (EcoCert) organic product in this line where Provence-grown lavender is the predominant fragrance note; the dense formulation also includes notes of lemon, mint, white cotton, cedar and other aromatics. The fresh and crisp fragrance is very pleasant and subtle; dries down to a very subtle aroma. For more information, go to

L’Occitane Fig Tree Leaf Home Perfume Diffuser ~ A new entry in their Home Fragrance array, this product is very heady and aromatic; I’ve always loved Fig Tree Leaf, and the formulation is delightful, but the product evaporates too quickly, making for a very short lifespan. The square bottle design may be contributing to rapid evaporation, or the type of diffuser reeds used. Still, it’s a wonderfully aromatic new addition to their Home Fragrance product array. For more information, go to

L’Occitane Home Candles: Fig Tree Leaf and Provençal Landscape ~ Also new to their Home Fragrance array, these long-burning aromatic candles fill any space with a bit of the freshness and green of the Provençal countryside. Both fragrance versions were heady, without being cloying and were very subtle. The Fig Tree is intense and heady, while the Provençal is green and fresh. For more information, go to

McEvoy 80 Acres Verde Scented Soy Candle
~ This product is part of their prestigious home and body care array, and had a deliciously refreshing and green aroma; clean burning. Known for their certified organic estate olive oil, McEvoy 80 Acres has positioned itself by offering superior quality body care products in their array; they promote sustainability with an organic product that’s contained in 100% recycled packaging. For more information, go to

Aveda Chakra Balancing Body Mists ~ Seven individual body mists formulated for balancing each of the seven Chakras. Obviously a mist may not necessarily accomplish this, but the individual aromas are very pleasant and aromatherapeutic. Although not an expert in this field, I do feel that when certain Chakras are out of balance, one’s olfactory automatically draws them to the appropriately corresponding Chakra Balancing Body Mist, as if the intuitive aspect takes over, like a craving for something, with one’s preference dominating their selection; at least this is what I experienced. The mists are also suitable for spraying on bed linens, imparting a pleasantly faint aroma. Aveda spa locations do offer a Chakra Balancing Massage that utilizes these products. For more information, go to


Pevonia PevoVitale Vitamin Supplements: YouthRenew (Healthy Aging), ClariPlex (Healthy Complexion), LipoRefine (Smoother Skin), AccuMind (Mental Alertness), CircuLibrium (Optimal Circulation), and MenoLibrium (Peri-Menopause/Menopause) ~ Healthy skin and body care must also include aspects of nutrition, and these supplements target the specific areas of concern by feeding and replenishing the body with what it needs. I’ve taken all but the ClariPlex (which is recommended for those with problematic or oily skin), and have noticed that my appetite is diminished, although this isn’t one of the targeted results; still, I think that with the addition of these nutritional supplements regularly, and given my lifestyle and inconsistent eating habits, I’m getting a recharge of nutrients my body needs; overall, I feel better. Depending on a specific skincare regimen recommended by Pevonia, a recommendation of one or more of these supplements may also be suggested. For more information, go to


Republic of Tea Acai Berry Glass Bottled Tea ~ This brewed and bottled version of super-antioxidant Brazilian Acai berry, with an herbal (Red Bush) rooibos base, is delightfully tasting and very healthy; delicious as is, which is unsweetened, adding a bit of Agave nectar and a squish of fresh lemon will rev up this refreshing new addition to the already impressive array of teas. For more information, go to

Evian Glass Bottled Waters: Natural Spring (Still) and Badoit Mineral (Sparkling) Waters ~ These new entries to the U.S. market are well established throughout Europe. The source for the Natural Spring water is Cachat Spring, France, and Badoit at Badoit Spring, France. I’ve always enjoyed the clean taste of Evian Natural Spring Water (blue plastic bottles and also their Brumisateur, mineral water spray). The glass containers are naturally 100% recyclable. These glass containers naturally preserve the fresh and clean taste of their waters, while also being very refreshing. For more information, go to http//

McEvoy Ranch Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~ Imported seedlings from Italy’s Tuscany region, brought here in 1991, were the beginnings of this estate’s olive groves and the basis of this outstanding “authentic” product. Prized by many top chefs for its clarity of taste and rich full bodied consistency, this estate grown and produced cold-pressed certified organic EVOO makes everything it’s used on taste exceptional; the product is the result of blending six different olive varieties grown on the estate. What results is a beautiful and delicate taste that is neither fruity nor bitter. I love this EVOO drizzled on my Caprese salad, garnished with my homegrown organic sweet basil. Delicious, for sure! For more information, go to

Hokto Organic Mushrooms ~ These aren't your ordinary dirt-grown mushroom varieties. These are organically and hygienically grown in a compostable growing medium on custom made growing forms. Each variety of White Beech, Brown Beech, King Trumpet and Maitake (Hen of the Woods) will delight the palate. As a mushroom purest, I find them at their peak flavor sautéed in a smidge of EVOO with a pinch of Sel de Mar and a light crank of peppercorns. Delicious to the point that other mushroom-types pale in comparison and you’ll switch your taste preferences. For more information, go to

Mii Amo Spa Cookbook “A Journey of Taste”
~ I’ve never had the good fortune to experience this premier destination spa, but their first cookbook venture is a beautiful narrative of what it’s like being at Mii Amo. It’s also a must-have for any foodie. More than tantalizing recipes and beautiful images, the book’s introduction and a detailed outline of a day at the spa definitely transports the reader to the environs. The reward is a motivational peek into Mii Amo’s windows and how to embark on a life-long commitment to achieving a healthful lifestyle through intelligent eating. This is more than a beautiful tabletop book. Recipes are easy for any level of culinary accomplishment. For more information, go to

CLOSING: I’ve been covering related topics involving the spa industry since the mid-1990s, including products and trends, and have tried to structure that coverage from the standpoint of being a consumer; coverage has also been non-advertorial. Since the mid-1990s, changes in these industries have brought about many extraordinary new products, ultimately benefiting the consumer. Whether it’s been to reformulate, refine, clarify, take advantage of new scientific or botanical breakthroughs, bringing about products that address specialty needs, ages, types and preferences (including sometimes finicky, easily bored, or even curious consumers), technology has led to the momentum of change and forward thinking by the gifted and talented.

I applaud all of the scientists, biologists, botanists, all of the other “ists”, and of course, the professionals who are dedicated to and passionate about their products and processes. Their collective goal always remains to provide the most safe and efficacious products, while meeting the unique and/or specific needs of their consumers. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these products and will take the time to explore the individual websites to learn more about the entire product range for each product line mentioned.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


Thursday, September 10, 2009


DISCLAIMER: For any of you not familiar with my work, which has been published since the mid-1990s in a number of publications, and especially any article content I'm currently and additionally posting on my article blog, let me state that what I am representing with this content hasn't anything to do with advertising. My content is editorial, not advertorial. Nor do I currently monetize any of the content. My objective firsthand reviews of properties and products are information and shared expertise. These articles and editorial content remain objective and are written by an authority and expert on the topics contained therein, myself.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


Monday, September 7, 2009


Spa at Wynn Las Vegas Hotel Resort (Las Vegas, NV)

Forget about the moniker of “Sin City” and the declining economy. Las Vegas is bursting with spa properties that run the gamut of ordinary to extraordinary. Like Donald Trump, Steve Wynn knows how to consistently deliver and this eponymous first property of his never disappoints, no matter how many times one frequents it. The resort and spa are a must for anyone venturing to this global hotspot.

Treatment Experience: Good Luck Ritual

The Good Luck Ritual continues to be the Spa’s most popular signature treatment and is based on the five elements of Feng Shui (wood, fire, water, earth and metal). Naturopathica ( products are used exclusively for this treatment.

This treatment ritual began with a preparatory inhalation of Lemongrass & Ginger Bath and Body Oil, which stimulated and warmed olfactory tissue, while calming the nervous system; the body, hands and feet were then exfoliated using Bamboo Lemongrass Body Scrub (the pulverized bamboo is an incredibly gentle, non-abrasive exfoliator); the scrub was gently wiped off with warmed toweling; then the entire body and hands were massaged using the Lemongrass & Ginger Bath and Body Oil; the feet were then treated with the Peppermint Tea Tree Foot Balm; after these steps, the hands and feet were massaged and then wrapped in warm toweling. My therapist then covered my body with a warming blanket; a warmed herbal neck roll was also positioned, and my eyes were covered with a warmed herbal eye mask; after a short period of rest, the eye mask was removed, and a hair and scalp massage followed, using Wild Lime Blossom Oil, which helped restore the pH, while stimulating the senses; the final step involved a gentle facial massage with Beech Tree & Ginseng Moisturizer, for hydration; facial pressure points were also massaged using a warmed Thai poultice (I was given the poultice to keep).

I thoroughly enjoyed the Naturopathica products; all were very effective and extremely aroma-therapeutic. This ritual covered every inch of the body, including all pressure points and Chakras. My highly skilled therapist worked her magic alleviating my tense and sore muscles, while creating an environment of healing, calming and restoration.

It’s easy to see why guests favor this signature treatment ritual; “one-armed bandits” aside, it’s a sure bet and winner. For more information, visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image: Women's whirlpool area; copyright, Wynn Hotel)


Spa at Geneva Ridge Resort (Lake Geneva, IL)

What used to be known as the Interlaken Resort & Country Day Spa is now the Geneva Ridge Resort & Spa. The resort portion received extensive renovations, while the spa is still “in waiting” for a major makeover; the protracted economic downturn will more than likely stall the spa’s much-needed and deserved makeover. In the heart of the Lake Geneva area, it remains a very popular destination for Midwesterners and especially Chicago-area folks in search of a short respite and recharge.

Treatment Experiences: Hot Stone Massage and Anti-Aging Facial.

The Hot Stone Massage began with my therapist (also the new spa director) conducting an in-depth discussion with me on my medical history, including specific back-related issues and injuries; once the intensity and modality of the massage was established, the treatment began. Although rigorous, I was definitely relaxed and noticed quite a bit of relief. The technique was wonderful and just the right thing after a long drive in rush-hour traffic.

The Anti-Aging Facial was very gentle, thorough and restorative; my esthetician began the treatment with a refreshing foot treatment that included a soak, exfoliating scrub and application of moisturizing lotion. Throughout this multi-phase treatment, Pevonia Botanica ( products were used. The steps of the facial were matched up with the full-range of products from the Dry Skin array and included the Rejuvenating Dry Skin Cleanser, Rejuvenating Dry Skin Mask, Rejuvenating Dry Skin Toner and Rejuvenating Dry Skin Cream. My skin was noticeably rehydrated and its texture smoother to the touch.

After this restorative facial, I received an application of Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup ( Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder and a gentle sweep of Shimmer Powder. The pureness of these mineral formulations eliminated any concern over irritation or sensitivity; both products enhanced my natural appearance. The combination of the massage and restorative facial definitely delivered favorable results. For more information, visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at



Avani Spa at Abbey Resort (Fontana, WI)

The Abbey Resort is a favorite destination for Midwesterners; it’s due North of Chicago; although it rests on the shores of glacial Lake Geneva, Fontana, where the property is located, is a neighboring city of Lake Geneva; this area has always been the home for wealthy Chicago-area industrialists and continues to be referred to as the Hamptons of the Midwest. Avani Spa is the new and improved version of what had been known as Fontana Spa; when Fontana opened in 1989, it was the area’s largest (35,000sf) and it’s first European-style spa, offering traditional European-style treatment therapies. The resort and spa are a preferred escape and rejuvenate destination for many Midwesterners, especially Chicago-area folks.

Treatment Experiences: Aromatherapy Retreat Wrap, Café Trio and Avani Relaxation Massage

Products used: Aromatherapy Treatment Wrap uses Trilium Organic Oils ( The treatment began with a gentle dry brushing and then an application of wonderfully aromatic organic grapefruit infused essential oil was applied; I was then wrapped in herb infused linens and allowed to rest and sweat away those terrible toxins; it had been some years since I had had an herbal wrap and I had forgotten how wonderfully relaxing and restorative an herbal wrap could be; in the final stages of the wrap, I had a delightful scalp and neck massage, although I would’ve preferred a facial massage, which is what the menu lists (my therapist informed me that I’d get this as part of my massage).

The Café Trio uses Body Coffee (
products. This multi-phase treatment began with a body exfoliation using the Body Polish, which contains ground Arabica coffee beans, Dead Sea salt and essential oils, and Body Coffee’s trademarked Coffee Blossom Essence delicately fills the treatment area. I’m led to the in-room whirlpool bath, which is filled with the Cleansing Body Wash; as I soaked away the Body Polish, I noticed the water was silky to the touch, as was my skin. I then returned to the treatment table where I was covered with a professional formulation of kaolin clay, herbal powders, green coffee extract, caffeine and sea algae; this formulation helped to open, cleanse and detox after being wrapped. I also noticed that the concoction made me sweat quite a bit, which was the object of this treatment phase; as a component of the treatment, my very capable therapist also massaged my face. After this phase, I was led to the Swiss Shower to wash and rinse away any product residue; this shower was exhilarating with its sixteen high-powered jets. The treatment ended with a thorough application of the Moisturizing Body Lotion. Plenty of water to rehydrate following my experience was another focal point of this treatment.

An incredible Relaxation Massage was the icing on the proverbial spa cake. The therapist used Biotone Organic Massage Cream ( My outstanding therapist also has a clientele list that includes a number of professional athletes, including the Chicago Bears. Impressive, yes, but it was her thorough and highly effective massage technique that was remarkable; she reacquainted me with many body parts I had almost forgotten about. The treatment was highly relaxing, but especially therapeutic with its targeted focus. An incredible, albeit abbreviated foot reflexology was also included.

The sequence of these treatments was an ideal way to maximize restoration and relaxation. For more information, visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image: Spa atrium pool; copyright, Abbey/Avani)


Stonedrift Spa at Eagle Ridge Resort (Galena, IL)

Galena is an historic Victorian-era city located in the Northeastern part of the state, due west from Chicago. This area was carved out by glaciers, making the terrian markedly steep and rolling. IL and two other states have borders that converge at this point, WI and IA; all are clearly visible and in close proximity to each other. Many come to play world-class golf at the Eagle Ridge Resort, but the spa-savvy knows that Stonedrift Spa is where the real action occurs.

Treatment Experiences: Transcendent Facial and Mystic Sage Stone Ritual

Products used: Transcendent Facial uses Eminence Organics ( products that included Stone Crop Cleanser, Citrus Cleanser, Stone Crop Hydrating Mist, AHA Fruit Pulp Exfoliant, Stone Crop Masque, Blueberry Soy Repair Masque, Tomato Seed Vitamin E Oil, Stone Crop Whip Moisturizer, Naseberry Eye Exfoliant, Raspberry Eye Masque, Wild Plum Eye Cream, and Citrus Lip Balm.

What was exceptional about this treatment was that the cleansing, exfoliation, mask and hydration steps were given twice. The thoroughness of these outstanding products intensified the results of the treatment, which totally restored and brightened the skin. For me, the least favorite of the products were the eye products; I’m not a fan of fruit aromas in skincare products (except for citrus); that said, however, the product’s diminished my personal preferences. I enjoyed the Citrus Cleanser and especially the Stone Crop products. The treatment was a thorough sensory experience that included balance, restoration, and revitalization. Chakra balancing with gemstones, a thorough massage of the décolleté, arms, hands and feet, added to this multi-phase dimensional facial.

Another treatment experience was the Mystic Sage Stone Ritual. This treatment was another multi-phase and dimensional therapy that completely restored and uplifted my droopy persona. The treatment began with an application of Oregon Tilth ( organic herbal poultices of peppermint and lavender. Then, hot stones were placed on specific pressure points, while the body was massaged with infusions of clary sage and sage Ess Pure Essential Oils (various distributors). Between the intoxicating aromas of the essential oils, the incredibly relaxing deep penetration from the hot stones and my therapist’s technique, I was transformed and restored.

These restorative treatments, plus my therapist’s skillful technique, made for an enjoyable experience. For more information visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image: Relaxation room; copyright, Eagle Ridge/Stonedrift)


Kohler Waters Spa (Burr Ridge, IL)

Burr Ridge is an affluent Western suburb of Chicago. The new day spa opened in the spring of 2008 and is contiguous to their new Design Center.

Treatment experiences: Deep Detox Body Treatment

Products used: Skin Authority ( and Fleur’s (

Before even setting foot into my treatment room, I opted to try the Circle of Tranquility. This was a recommended pre-treatment experience for all guests, and definitely sets apart Kohler Waters Spa from its competition. Kohler is definitive to water. The circular room for this water indulgence includes three different types of stimulating Kohler shower experiences (Quench, Envelop and Deluge); a 25ft. whirlpool area, complete with an eight-foot waterfall and water massage station, eight-foot cold plunge pool, dry sauna and steam. It’s recommended that guests try to spend at least thirty-minutes prior to their spa treatment getting prepped with this exceptional water immersion experience. The pre-treatment ritual is amazing and a definite must-do.

After a slight cool down, I traipsed over to the Relaxation Area and got rehydrated. My therapist greeted me and led me to my treatment area. She explained all of the elements of the treatment. All treatment products were by Skin Authority (SA), with the exception of the Fleur’s essential oils used during the facial massage step.

The Deep Detox Body Treatment began with a total body scrub with SA Purifying Energy Stimulation Scrub; the product was then removed with hot towels. Next, a full-body application of SA Deep Detox Ritual Mask, which contains Rhassoul clay, was applied; I was then wrapped with warming blankets; as I’m sweating and detoxifying, my therapist began giving me a very relaxing facial pressure point massage with Fleur’s Moisturizing Rare Essence Essential Oil for Dry Skin. The pressure point massage is extended to my shoulders, neck and scalp; after being totally transported to a place I could easily call home, I’m gently prodded to my in-room Kohler Ambient Rain shower to thoroughly rinse off any of the clay mask residue; returning to my the table, I’m given a super-hydrating application of SA Olive, Fig, Shea Butter Body Cream. My skin’s texture felt amazing, and the aromas of all products were calming. My therapist left a generous amount of water for rehydration.

The multi-dimensional Deep Detox Body Treatment delivered positive results and was very effective. The treatment not only relaxed me, but also significantly reduced my stress levels and left me with a definite spring in my step; both treatments also exceeded my expectation. For additional information visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image: Part of the water experience; copyright, Kohler)


mySpa at Fairmont Hotel (Chicago, IL)

Treatment Experience: myRitual Hammam

Originating in the Middle East and taken to the new world (Spain) by migratory conquerors, the Hammam’s history is well documented and dates back over one thousand years. The Hammam traditionally included water, heat, steam, exfoliation and massage. Today’s hammam experiences continue this historical therapeutic ritual with aspects of detoxification, energizing, cleansing, purifying, relaxation and hydration.

Products used: Red Flower Hammam ( This was a multi-dimensional body treatment ritual, emphasizing Red Flower’s individual treatment phases of cleanse, scrub, polish, replenish and enrich.

Preparatory/Cleanse: A private shower primes the detoxification and purification process using the Moroccan Mint Tea Silt Purifier.

Scrub/Polish/Invigorate: Lying on a warmed treatment table, my therapist began the treatment with an application of Lemon Coffee Blossom Olive Stone Scrub; various massage techniques gently exfoliated and polished my skin. Hot towels were then used to remove the product.

Detoxify/Relax: A full-body application of Jasmine Rose Rhassoul Clay Polish was followed with my feet being wrapped in hot toweling; next, my body was also wrapped and covered in layers of blankets. My eyes were then covered with an eye pillow to further induce a state of deep relaxation. This helped to stimulate my body’s radiant heat, which induced sweating. As I self steamed, my therapist then massaged my shoulders, neck, face and scalp. I was unwrapped and escorted to the in-room shower to rinse off any traces of product.

Recharge: Toweled off, I got back onto the table, while the entire treatment area was misted with Orange Quince Steam Room Mist; its lovely aroma gently floated on me in the form of delicate droplets.

Relaxing Warmth: As a ritualistic blessing, the therapist then began massaging into my entire body warmed Cardamom Amber Oil, which furthered my state of relaxation, while rehydrating my skin.

Replenish/Enrich/Illuminate: The treatment ritual culminated with an application of an incredibly dense moisturizer, Tangerine Fig Butter Crème. Red Flower recommends a final bath soak, using their Neroli Cypress High Atlas Bath Soak; however, this step wasn’t offered at mySpa during my visit.

Red Flower found a way to formulate these products to conform and compliment one another in what seems to be dissimilar aroma-based products. By layering each individual product, a dense and heady mix of formulations result. Each product intensifies the efficacy of the previous product used. The aromas were complex and sophisticated. Individually, the product formulations and aromas worked well, but synchronously, they became incredibly effective and very aroma-therapeutic. My therapist’s technique was wonderful. My skin’s texture was silky and revitalized and my aches and pains were a faint memory. A chilled bottle of Evian ( for rehydration awaited me outside my door. My therapist escorted me to the Relaxation Area. All in all, the myRitual Hammam treatment ritual was an extraordinary treatment experience and exceeded my expectation. For additional information, visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image: Spa hallway; copyright, Fairmont Hotel)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


The Spa at Trump, Trump International Hotel & Tower (Chicago, IL)

This new eponymous tribute to luxury is in the heart of Chicago’s downtown area, and in close proximity to the tony Mag Mile, where money continues to flow, despite the economy. Extraordinary views and scapes of the Windy City await the guest. It’s Trump, so what else would you expect?

Treatment Experience: Royal Lulur Ritual

The Royal Lulur is a 17th Century indigenous treatment ritual given to a royal bride-to-be over a forty consecutive day period prior to her wedding. The bride’s female family members would prepare her body for her betrothed and impart sage wisdom on what to expect as she transitioned into wedded bliss.

Products used: JAMU Asian Spa Rituals (

Live gardenia blooms (which I love) adorned my enormous treatment room. Half of the room was for the treatment area, while the other half accommodated a huge Kohler ( tub with jets that synchronously change to Chakra colors. The room also was filled with the delicate aromas of jasmine and frangipani; rounding out the visual and olfactory experience was the visual of an explosion of illusion candles everywhere my eyes focused.

Before the treatment began, my therapist explained the significance of the traditional ritual and then presents a tray of fresh gardenia blossoms and treatment products. After inhaling these heady aromas, my therapist left the room and I made my way towards the warmed treatment table and immediately wanted to fall asleep. My therapist began the treatment by applying Jasmine Frangipani Organic Massage and Body Oil. Using a combination of Asian and European massage techniques, my circulation was revitalized while my taught and achy muscles became pliable.

After the massage phase, an exfoliating Lulur scrub (Jasmine Organic Body, Hand & Foot Scrub), which contained tumeric, rice bran and Indonesian herbs, was mixed into a paste with some of the Jasmine and Frangipani Organic Massage and Body Oil. The scrub was applied to the entire body, which polished and brightened the skin. Resting briefly while the scrub air-dried, warmed yogurt was then applied on top of the scrub and massaged into the skin; hot towels were then used to meticulously remove the scrub and yogurt mixture. I was then wrapped in sheeting and escorted to my soaking tub, where I methodically cleansed myself further with Jasmine Frangipani Organic Bath & Shower Gel. The fragile aroma of numerous gardenia blossoms surrounding my tub’s perimeter, combined with the delicate aromas of jasmine and frangipani was almost distractive to the underwater lights in the enormous soaking tub as they changed colors; I definitely felt like royalty. As I languidly soaked in floral splendor, an arm’s reach bottle of New Zealand’s geothermal water, Waiwera ( was a reminder for me to drink and rehydrate. A faint knock was heard, which signaled that I had to reluctantly leave my new aquatic refuge area and return to the table. The grand finale of this exquisite treatment ritual included a closing round of calming massage strokes and a thorough application of Jasmine Frangipani Organic Hand & Body Lotion, which helped to replenish and hydrate my skin. As my ritual experience concluded, my outstanding therapist imparted a Balinese blessing on me by saying, “Om Suasti Astu”, or “peace in your heart and in the world”. Again, I didn’t want to leave, but pried myself off of the table. My therapist waited for me outside the room and gave me another bottle of Waiwera water to drink for continued rehydration; he then escorted me to the beautiful women’s Relaxation Area.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Royal Lulur treatment. My therapist’s technique was exceptional, and magically transformed my skin with JAMU's outstanding products, while totally eliminating my stress, aches and pains; my skin’s texture was greatly improved and left silky smooth to the touch; the skin also had a noticeable glow. After the treatment, I felt incredibly lighter. The ritual experience was a beautiful sensory experience as well. The Royal Lulur Ritual exceeded my expectations. For additional information visit

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image: Spa tub, floating flowers; copyright, Huber)


OVERVIEW: Selecting the right mix of products to use during the treatment phase can make all the difference between a guest experience that is mediocre versus one that’s memorable and defines the spa experience. Furthering that experience by making sure these same products are also available to the guest in the retail area will ensure that the guest will be able to purchase the same products and re-create their treatment on an at-home basis. Consider including with their purchase a how-to guide on the proper use of the products to maximize their at-home experience. This added value will further the guest experience.

Following is a series of overviews of some recent spas I’ve experienced, the treatments received and the related treatment products used during the course of the treatment.

• Part I The Spa at Trump Hotel (Chicago, IL)
• Part II mySpa at Fairmont Hotel (Chicago, IL)
• Part III Kohler Waters Spa (Burr Ridge, IL)
• Part IV Stonedrift Spa at Eagle Ridge Resort (Galena, IL)
• Part V Avani Spa at Abbey Resort (Fontana, WI)
• Part VI Spa at Geneva Ridge Resort (Lake Geneva, WI)
• Part VII Spa at Wynn Las Vegas Hotel Resort (Las Vegas, NV)

SUMMARY: I wasn’t disappointed with the experiences or the products used and have actually found them ideally formulated and suited for an at-home experience. Of course, nothing can ever replace the skillful hands of qualified therapists and estheticians, and although the at-home experience is an acceptable interim for a spa-fix, nothing will ever replace an in-spa experience. These are experience investments that keep delivering, whether from the standpoint of at-home product use and treatment re-creation, or through memory recall of skilled hands administering the treatment.

I’d like to commend all professionals who make informed decisions on which treatment lines to use within their operation. Given the scope of product companies and products available, not too mention the new and “me-too” products entering in the marketplace that seemingly pop-up overnight, it must be a daunting task at times making the best product selections. If you’re not familiar with some of these lines, be sure to check out their websites for more information.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have yet to meet one individual who isn't personally impacted by the protracted recession. Many of us also know individuals who are struggling on a day to day basis to keep afloat and provide for their families. Some of these individuals may in fact be your former clients, or even former spa professionals who used to work in your spa, but had to be laid off. People are struggling and although I have my own challenges to deal with, I try to do whatever I can to help those less fortunate than myself.

I'd like for spa businesses, especially day spas, to consider having a food drive at their places of business. Visitors can donate one or more canned goods or dried goods. When enough items are collected to fill a shopping bag or two, go and donate it to your neighborhood food pantry. Or, maybe check-in on your former staff and see how they're doing and possibly donate some of the collected food to them. Help out wherever you think there might be a need.

For a greater point of promotion, consider sending out notices to your client list, or area media and other businesses promoting the food drive effort. Get a partnering effort going with other businesses. Through this type of creative and caring advertising, you may generate an even greater awareness of those in need within your community, more than likely you'll generate some free press for your spa business as well.

Along these lines, consider combining the food drive by also offering an open house with other area businesses, especially those in health care who might be able to give free health screenings or offer health-based brochures.

Let your community know that you genuinely care about what is going on with others who aren't doing so well. Change the image of your spa business from one that might have a superfluous hedonistic image, versus one that truly exemplifies community involvement and care for its neighbors.

If your spa business is already doing this, terrific. If not, won't you please consider reaching out and helping those in your community who may need your help?

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


Monday, July 6, 2009


Although a rather arduous drive from the suburbs of Chicago to Green Lake, WI tested my patience and perspective with all of the hideous early morning rush-hour traffic and ubiquitous highway construction, getting away from most vestiges of the hectic 24/7 life has its moments, but once I finally made it past the evil of this “stuff”, I found myself a less stressed and enjoying going down country roads that meandered through glacial terrain-ed roads of small town America; it was real sweet and melancholy. Without the road challenges, the Green Lake, WI area is slightly over three hours from the Chicago-area and west of Milwaukee. The rolling glacial hills and abundant conifers and deciduous trees makes for an idyllic setting for heading to a property like the Heidel House Resort and Evensong Spa. As a reference, the quaint town of Green Lake is named after Wisconsin’s largest and deepest fresh water glacial lake, Green Lake; the town is picturesque and crammed with antique shops and specialty boutiques; it’s definitely a tourist town that grows exponentially during the warmer months with the good-and-plenty-type folks that have their summer “getaway” homes situated around the beautiful lake.

The Heidel House Resort began as a private residence in 1890 (Heidel House), although an adjacent residence was built in 1873 (Grey Rock); the overall property was then purchased in 1899 where it continued largely as private residences for the moneyed, with additional structures being built (Stable House and Pump House). By the mid-1940s, the overall resort area really began to be regarded as a preferred lodging, meeting and dining location. From that point on, the twenty-acre resort area expanded to include seven structures for accommodation, a conference center, and an upscale restaurant. The resort is a major draw for vacationers who enjoy hiking, fishing, swimming or golfing. The resort also houses a fitness center, indoor pool and whirlpool. During the summer, there are organized water sports (fishing, boating, etc.). For an exceptional dining experience, the award winning upscale Grey Rock is a throw-back to an earlier era (1950s); overlooking the beautiful lake, this favorite “night spot” offers an impressive menu and wine list; food fare is definitely in the surf ‘n turf type although there is an equally impressive vegetarian/vegan menu to select from with wonderfully inventive and mouth-watering selections. For toned-down to casual dining, there’s the popular Sun Room, which has a lovely view of the well-landscaped terrain. The resort is also a popular meeting and retreat for corporate-types; the resort will custom design a team building experience for those on retreats; also ideal for families, the resort offers many special focused activities for the kids that are both fun and educational; some lodges also offer extended stay options for multi-week/month stays. Weddings and other special occasions are another major guest-draw for the resort. My accommodations were comfortable, especially my down outfitted king-sized bed; I had no trouble falling asleep quickly; my bathroom was a bit dated. I did have a beautiful view of the lake and opened my windows to let the clean crisp air come in while I slept; I was pleasantly awakened with the cheerful banter of songbirds, although the raucous sound of the alarm clock going off at 6:00am also kept me on schedule for an eventful day at the spa.

Given the resort’s decades-long emphasis and focus on family vacationers, the corporate meeting-types, sport’s enthusiasts and other special occasion draws, it really wasn’t until the early 2000s that the resort’s emphasis and focus finally turned to deciding to build a spa that would be distinctive and unique, and something that would brand itself like no other spa, especially within the Midwest. The resort had the land for this new and vital amenity, and decided to build the beautiful single-level structure a short walk from the resort’s Main Lodge.

The Evensong Spa first opened its doors in September 2006. Situated near a forested area, the spa is contiguous to part of the resort’s main path of carefully mapped walking trails for the outdoor enthusiast, which creates natural interest for these passers-by. This 16k s.f. spa was designed by CMD Architects, Inc. The eleven generously sized treatment rooms, also includes a couple’s suite and hydro room. There are steam and whirlpool facilities in both the men's and women's areas. Currently, there are twenty staff during the shoulder season, with that number expected to double during its high season, summer.

Design Elements: Frank Lloyd Wright-esque Prairie Style with a character that’s clean, crisp, minimalist and retro (1960s/1970s), with matching angular furniture styles (sixties acid-green colored chairs in the Spa Café; even the serviceware has a retro feel); high ceilings, very large waiting and relaxation areas that overlook nearby forested areas; floor-to-ceiling windows; huge granite fireplaces throughout. Accoutrément blends the indigenous with Asian influences; the combination is unobtrusive and comfortable. Color palette is nature-based with muted colors of beige, ochre, brown, and green; beautiful black and white wall art renderings of plant life; deep earthy natural slate floors; towering bamboo accents set in river rock, enveloping the outer perimeter of the labyrinth area. Throughout the spa, there are insightful and contemplative sayings on the walls written in flowing calligraphy, with artfully positioned variegated copper leaf, adding to the importance of a juxtaposition of mindful introspection and the nature’s beauty. The sayings are attributed to the Dalai Lama, Swami Sivanada, Ram Dass, Nietzsche, Frank Lloyd Wright, Taoism and Zen proverbs, inherently forces the guest to slow down, take some time, and become aware of them. These same sayings are part of their collateral materials, as well as their user-friendly and well designed website. The treatment rooms are named after essential oils: lemongrass (massage), lavender (couple’s), chamomile (hydro) and geranium (facial); the hair, makeup and nail areas are separate from the spa treatment area (no chemical processing of hair, or artificial nail care is offered at the spa.) Dining in the Spa Café for lunch was a wonderful experience; the emphasis on cuisine is fresh, healthy and local; I had a delicious guacamole appetizer served with jicama and cucumber, and an equally delicious chicken and avocado salad with fresh fruit; portions were rather ample (I wasn’t able to finish eating my fresh fruit, and the Café kept it chilled for me and later re-served it to me while I was getting my pedicure; that’s exemplary service!).

Performance Features: Impressive and a must-do is to journey through the spa’s eleven-circuit indoor labyrinth occupies approximately, which is a wonderful way to quietly awaken one’s inner self. Evensong Spa is the only Midwest location with a labyrinth and was also designed by principal architect Riccardo Cattapan. This labyrinth is based on a medieval design and one of the more elaborate ones in existence. It is comprised of eleven circular circuits and thirty-four turns that lead to a perfect circle in its center. It is made of slate tile and washed river stone edging; the labyrinth’s area is nearly 2k s.f. and has floor to ceiling windows and three skylights, which add spatial depth and openness to the contemplative qualities of the labyrinth’s journey. For reference, the spa offers a number of books on this subject matter for guests to peruse. All guests are encouraged to experience the labyrinth; a brief introduction with suggestions on approaching the experience is available. For guests wanting a libation or repast, the Spa Café offers menu selections from the light to the ample (soups, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, wraps, dessert and smoothies).

Products, Etcetera: Decléor, Carita, Naturopathica, SkinCeuticals, CreativeSpa, OPI, Senna Cosmetics and Prive Hair Care; robing and chenille throws by Chadsworth & Haig, and sandals by Okabashi; toweling by Cypress. All of these brands (except for the toweling) are available in the spa retail area; other items are available for purchase to extend the guest’s spa experience at home (journals, books, music, aromatherapy, etc.). When a guest checks out of the spa, any of the products used in their treatment are pulled for a final review with the guest, along with their take-home regimen prescription their therapist has prepared, which is briefly reviewed at the conclusion of the treatment. The spa’s website also lists its complete treatment product lines. With product descriptions and manufacturer’s links, this resource tool is a unique spa-goer aid, and a definite plus when it comes to taking out the mystery and guesswork in trying to figure out what product’s will be used in the treatment phase. I think a further extension of this favorable guest resource would be to consider listing which product lines are used for each treatment in their site menu of services. Another plus in the spa’s retail area where treatment product lines and other spa must-haves for the at-home spa experience are waiting to be snatched up.

Treatment Therapies: My experiences included the Evensong’s Botanical Body Journey (Donna), the Inner Journey Massage (Nick), and the signature Solar Song Pedicure (Shelley). For the Body Journey, although it was supposed to begin with a trip to the steam room for a detox inhalation, my therapist began the session instead with guided deep breathing inhalation therapy to calm and balance; once relaxed, my body was exfoliated with a private blend of cranberry herbal salt; the salts were gentle and the aroma very pleasant. Essential oil infused hot toweling was then applied to remove the salt residue; a body mask was then applied and my body and feet were wrapped in warming blankets and towels, while my therapist massaged my neck, shoulders and face with essential oil; after twenty minutes or so, I was then assisted to the in-room shower, where I rinsed off all traces of the body mask; my body was then moisturized with a very hydrating cranberry shea butter body balm; my therapist concluded this restorative treatment with various subtle massage techniques to further balance my state of calm; all of the scents added measurably to the treatment’s effect. For the Inner Journey Massage, I was first asked to select which Decléor Aromessence scents I preferred (; I chose the Spa Relax (a blend of essential oils) and the Spa Relax Balm, although choosing one scent was very difficult, since I adore all of the scents. Another round of inhalation therapy and guided breathing by my therapist set the tone for this treatment, which incorporates various massage techniques, including foot reflexology; hot stones were strategically placed on the chakras, in the palms of the hands and in-between the toes, which radiate soothing and calming heat while the therapist methodically works on targeted areas of stressed muscle and tissue. Both therapists were two of the better ones I’ve had working on me in recent years and my treatments were by far the best I’ve received to date of their type; it was clear to me that both individuals not only had formidable training and experience, but that their commitment to the guest’s healing and restorative process was of paramount importance to each of them. Another outstanding treatment experience was the Solar Song Pedicure; I don’t always treat my peds to this type of treatment, and as a frame of reference, a few weeks prior to coming to Evensong Spa, I had received a pedicure from a local day spa; I thought that one was fairly good, until I noticed that the other nail technician hadn’t thoroughly groomed my cuticles. My nail tech at Evensong Spa worked her extraordinary skills on me, using a host of high-performing CreativeSpa products (; an exfoliation of feet and parts of the leg (almond oil sea salt) also soothed; the application of densely hydrating shea butter was exceptional; the grooming and subsequent OPI ( brilliant red polish application was also one of the better pedicure treatments I had received in recent years.

Industry veteran Spa Director Pamela R. Andreotti continues developing additional spa packages that will further emphasize wellness and holistic approaches; this will also include comprehensive fitness and body movement classes, such as Yoga and Pilates, that will occur in the spacious movement studio; also on the books is developing guided outdoor fitness hikes in the ideal natural setting.

Lastly: Overall, the emphasis on inner self and well-being and connectivity comes through beautifully at Evensong Spa; from its specialized treatments, to the design elements, and the outstanding labyrinth, Evensong Spa knows how to add relevancy and reality to the mind-body-spirit experience. This is one of the better spas I’ve experienced recently, including the level of proficiency and skill by my individual therapists and technician. This is another great addition to the Midwest's, and especially to Wisconsin’s, impressive spa population. A must-include on one’s spa circuit and a five-loofah definite!

Resources: For additional information on the Heidel House Resort and Evensong Spa, visit and

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Eleven-circuit labyrinth. Image by Heidel House Resort)

Monday, June 15, 2009


On any given day, a remarkable thing happens at the Desert Springs, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa (Palm Desert, CA). When most people are still doing their last turn in bed, Bob Lemen (former Purdue track star, former U.S. Army Captain and retired Aetna Insurance sales executive) begins his daily ritual as the Desert Springs Spa Fitness Center leader. He’s also the leader of “the pack”, of power walkers, that is.

Big deal, you’re probably wondering. Right? Well, it is a big deal, when you consider that Bob Lemen is a youthful, physically fit, ninety-four year old gentleman, who has been motivating others at the resort with his daily power walks for fifteen years.

Bob opens up the resort’s Fitness Center at 5:00 a.m. (M-F) and begins his routine of checking out the equipment and resetting any of its programs, before the early birds start arriving to begin their sweating, moaning and groaning. Bob’s a permanent and welcome fixture of the Fitness Center, and always on the ready, just in case one of the guests can’t figure out those high-tech control panels (like me). He’s seen fitness equipment advances over the years, but none of the new-age high-tech stuff phases him in the least; so, if you need any help, have any questions, Bob can do just about anything, except guide the personal training regimens.

Okay, if 5:00 a.m. seems a wee-bit early for you, then try getting your “you-know-what” out of bed and get over to the gym no later than 7:00 a.m. and really see what Bob’s specialty is and why so many regard him as the resort’s living legend. Before setting out on his 3.3-mile course, Bob puts his walkers through a routine of stretching maneuvers that lasts about eight minutes. Bob’s walking buddies can number anywhere from a few to as many as forty, are of varied ages and fitness levels, and although women comprise about eighty-percent of the participants, the twenty-percent of men who do show up for the challenge, enjoy the rigors just the same.

Although the power walk begins outside of the gym area, meandering outside of the resort, walkers get a closer view of some of the area’s most beautiful scenery. Bob’s pace starts at a brisk thirteen-minute mile pace, a good clip at any age or fitness level (I consider myself fortunate to clock in at a twenty-minute mile pace). As the course progresses, locals from the nearby villas (an annual pilgrimage for many) often join the hearty group of walkers, which sometimes slows the pace a tiny bit; even taking this into consideration, the entire course is completed anywhere from forty-five minutes to one hour, which is still a good clip of about a fifteen minute mile.

Bob enjoys inspiring and encouraging anyone who tries. If Bob notices that any of his walkers appear to be falling behind and losing their pace a bit, he goes to the rear, offers some motivating words of encouragement or humor, and before you know it, their pace has quickened and their step more lively, and consistent. In all the years he’s been doing this, he’s yet to lose anyone along the way.

Bob reminisced that once a younger gentleman, about seventy, kept asking him all sorts of questions about what he did at the resort; finally, Bob jokingly quipped something like “. . I know what you’re up to; asking me all of these questions, just so you can try and get my job; well, you can’t have it.” Bob further reminisced that a lot of people are caught up with their weight and don’t understand their genetics; I guess many of us, including myself, try to become a weight or body-type that we’ll never attain, no matter what we do to try and achieve it. Staying active, trying and accepting who you are, are probably some of the most important things a person can do. Bob recalled how a rather plump lady showed up one day for one of his walks; she didn’t look like she’d be able to keep up with the pace, but her determination was wonderful and she finished ahead of most of the other walkers in the group. Bob was very happy for her accomplishment; it’s all about trying!

Bob’s exceptional life has kept him going, both mentally and physically; which is probably why Bob can still out-walk most people of any age. And, he has an incredible positive attitude about everything and everyone. Talking to Bob, you understand why he’s been able to keep going. He absolutely loves what he’s doing, and gets a huge kick out of taking folks out on his power walks. It really invigorates and revitalizes the group, but Bob gets these same benefits as well.

Bob’s attitude is to keep moving and just do it. You understand this when you hear about his college days as a Purdue track star (Big Ten Champion, Drake College Relays), running alongside athletes like Jesse Owens, whom Bob knew and felt was one of the greatest athletes of all time, in addition to also being a fine gentleman. Bob humorously recalls at one of his track meets, he wore his school jersey that had a letter “P” on it, for Purdue; although he came in second place (still a significant accomplishment), he learned that the radio announcer incorrectly identified him as a runner from Princeton. Bob decided to approach the announcer and correct him. It would be many years later that Bob realized that the person he had corrected all those years ago was none other than Ronald Reagan. Bob received his B.S. in Business Administration in 1938 from Purdue; his minor was in Physical Education and Psychology from Purdue. A four year stint in the Army convinced him that a “moving target is hard to hit”, which no doubt came in handy on many occasions. And, considering his history, Bob had to have been a stellar senior sales executive at Aetna Insurance before retiring after forty years of service.

Bob’s college background was definitely the foundation for his life: athlete, understanding people, and knowing all about business and salesmanship, and with Bob’s incredible longevity in the business world, it was obvious that Bob really knew how to sell anything, including himself. That’s how Bob came to be affiliated with Desert Springs, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa all those years ago.

When he and his dear wife Betty decided to settle in the Palm Desert area, they moved into one of the condos right next door to the resort. Always on the go, Bob continued his daily walking routine, staking out for himself a preferred route by the resort. Because Bob is incredibly affable, he loved engaging the resort guests in conversation and encouraging them join him on his daily treks, which locals and resort guests took a liking to. In spite of the resort having an established walking activity for its guests, it was Bob, the consummate salesman, who approached management and convinced them that he was the ideal person to lead their daily walks. Bob is without question the definitive authority on the resort’s early morning walks.

Bob’s positive attitude towards life and his deep love and devotion for his family, keeps him looking forward to the future. He loves life and loves what he does at the resort, and looks forward to each day he’s able to continue his walks and seeing others staying active. He is a humble man who enjoys being with others, talking to them and inspiring them to keep moving.

People of longevity and a keen mind are invariably asked what they do differently to achieve what many envy (or may not live long enough to experience). Bob’s approach is simple. He’s always been active, spending time each day to do some form of fitness activity; he eats whatever he wants, with moderation being the key, and he doesn’t drink or smoke. He keeps his mind active by reading a lot, enjoys a good conversation, and rarely has time to go to the movies. Bob’s too busy with life to worry about looking back. He’s focused on the future and moving forward. Bob Lemen is a remarkable man, with a remarkable history. He is an inspiration to many and is a gift that keeps on giving.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at


(Image by Benito Juarez. Bob Lemen, Spa Lobby.)

Monday, May 18, 2009


During the Victorian Era, it was de rigueur for land-locked "swells" to pack up their satchels and trunks to escape their unbearably hot and humid throat-gagging sooty and frenzied unpaved streets (escaping bitter cold winters was another excuse to pack-em up). With kids and servants in-tow, this was definitely the way to go, albeit no easy accomplishment, since this also meant taking one of the infrequent trains west to California, where the Gold Rush frenzy melded with a land where healthier climes restored the weary. Here was a place where travelers could soak in the warming rays of sunshine, breathe intoxicating and healthy Pacific Ocean sea salt air, while gorging themselves on a never-ending bounty of fresh produce and fruits de mar. Compared to points East, the pace here was definitely slower and more conducive to relaxation and restoration. Here was a land where wellness was key and available in large doses, merely for the taking. Ah, yes, those were the good ole’ days.

Overview - Nestled on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and set on twenty-eight acres of natures finest, the Victorian-era Hotel del Coronado (a short jaunt from San Diego, California) opened its doors in 1888. It quickly became the preferred destination for industrialist escapism and health seeker. Always innovative in offering the latest in premium guest care, The Del, as it’s affectionately referred to, offered exquisite amenities and accommodations, outstanding guest care, gloriously fresh food, and of course, endless sunshine and sea air year round. It wasn’t uncommon for guests to arrive in tow, along with their personal attendants and au pairs, with enough luggage to start a leather goods emporium. It also wasn’t uncommon for guests to stay for months, while their bitter winter subsided, melding into the promise of spring.

The Del even offered its guests a separate building, which housed the hotel’s curative bathing and soaking area pools. Seawater was pumped in from the ocean and then heated up, while guests enjoyed the revitalizing water. Guests at The Del swore to their doctors that the heated seawater cured them of aches and pains and other ills, imagined or real, with often the doctor’s immediate concurrence. It was a prescription for a newfound water cure, and much closer than a trans-Atlantic to Europe uncomfortable and long trek.

Since those early days, this exquisite destination has continued to provide a place of refuge and escapism for those weary and in need of an experience that is pleasurable, but also purposeful. The abundance of sunshine, seawater and fresh air, its fresh produce and fruits de mar, continues to attract the weary and frenetic traveler.

I recently visited The Del to experience its latest new additions to its immense property. One addition was the secluded luxury Beach Village, which opened up in the summer of 2007. Exquisite one and two-bedroom suites, complete with spacious living and dining spaces, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, offers the finest in décor, upscale bedding, leisure, entertainment, appliances, vanity and other accoutrement, such as indoor fireplaces, outdoor whirlpools, soaking tubs, fire pits and ocean view terraces. The overall architectural style carefully blends in with the hotel’s historic and beautiful Queen Anne style, neither of which is stuffy or over-stated. My room was luxurious, and staff care was outstanding; I looked forward each evening to turndown service, which included a lovely, thoughtful saying and a small seashell as a memento; the shells were culled from the ocean’s shore; a very sweet gesture. Beach Village also has its own Front Desk, Concierge, and the exclusive Windsor Club Cottage where guests can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, or an intimate aperitif before heading to one of the hotel’s outstanding dining establishments. Beach Village is beautiful and grand.

Another dining establishment guests enjoy is the upscale 1500 OCEAN, which serves exceptional Southland Cuisine; this style captures the pride of Southern California’s best in organic, locally grown fruits and produce, as well as premium cured meats and delectable fresh sea food. The creative menu offerings by gifted culinary artisans (like Chef de Cuisine Brian Sinnott), and when paired with eclectic wine selections, makes for an exceptional dining experience. Although a bit lower-keyed, guests can also delight in the romance of the ocean’s view and sunset in the aptly named new outdoor Sunset Bar; the light menu fare and a languid cocktail make this an ideal choice for a night cap. For a buffet to end all buffets, don’t miss the Sunday brunch in the stately and grand Crown Room. There’s plenty to do throughout this historic masterpiece for those of all ages; just walking down the boardwalk grounds you to the memories and stories made at the Del, including the story of ghost Kate Morgan, or the filming of “Some Like It Hot”. The must-visit eclectic gift shops, especially the hotel’s Signature Shop bring returning devotees back for more, almost as a pilgrimage and duty for the novice and veteran guest.

More Sensory Treats - As if this weren’t enough, now guests of the hotel and its Beach Village can luxuriate in The Del’s newly completed Spa at The Del. The Spa building houses the new Fitness Center, which is comprised of a separate workout studio and equipment area, as well as the Yamaguchi Salon.

Fitness Center - Classes offered in the studio include spinning, Yoga, Pilates, body sculpting and aerobics. Yoga and Pilates are offered indoors and oceanside; another popular outdoor class is the fitness walk. The indoor classes fill up quickly, while the oceanside classes enhance the fitness experience with its exhilarating vistas. The comprehensive equipment area offers the latest in weight and cardiovascular equipment, with certified personal trainers available to guide or train.

Yamaguchi Salon
– This is another huge draw for those in search of a Feng Shui beauty consultation and salon services with the eponymous designer and lifestyle master (or one of his esteemed stylists). Billy Yamaguchi was the first one to ever recognize the correlation between, and then apply the same philosophy and principles of Feng Shui to hair, beauty and aesthetics. His global demand and appeal makes his presence at The Del a major coup for hotel guests (and locals), who often combine their hotel visit with a salon appointment, and then top it off with a treatment or two at the beautiful Spa.

Spa at the Del - The Spa’s understated, yet beautiful décor compliments the elements of nature, sea, sunshine, and airiness. In addition to its popular retail area, the Spa offers twenty-one spacious treatment rooms, including one couple’s, two Vichy, two body, four facial and twelve massage. There are sixty-five staff members, including a manager and director to oversee this exceptional spa amenity. The Spa uses a variety of skin care and body care products. The gender-specific locker rooms come equipped with steam rooms and a meditation area where healthy and organic fruit and libations are plentiful. To further the experience, there’s also a private veranda and an outdoor infinity pool with fire pit; of course, a breathtaking view of the historic Windsor Lawn and Pacific Ocean are added bonuses for spa goers.

Spa Experience
- The Spa offers an impressive array of individual or package rituals of therapeutic and restorative treatments for skin and body, hair and nails. To further enhance the Spa's commitment to guest well-being. All treatment products are natural and organic-based. The highly skilled staff creates and sustains a calming, nurturing environment for the guest from the moment they arrive, until their departure. While there, I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the Spa‘s customized group sensory events that included reflexology treatments poolside; the treatment also included a revitalizing paraffin wrap and a final massage with an application of moisturizer; the Spa customizes other treatments for group events as well. Speaking of customized treatments, I wanted to experience a more in-depth body treatment compared to what was being offered on the Spa’s extensive menu. I made a suggestion for a customized adaptation of one of their restorative body treatments, the Seaside Enzyme Wrap. The treatment usually includes a gentle exfoliation, a sea enzyme wrap, and an application of lotion.

I wanted to advance some of the properties of the treatment, so I suggested to, and working with my exceptional therapist (Tammy), ended up receiving a super-customized body treatment that started with a body exfoliation using sugar and sea salt in a base of lemongrass essential oil; after this element ended, the exfoliant was removed using hot towels; this was followed by a body application of seaweed enzyme (Thalgo; I was then completely wrapped, with the exception of my feet, which were treated to an incredible foot reflexology massage; following this, I was escorted to a wet room that had a powerful multi-jet Swiss Shower for a thorough rinse; I was towel dried and resuming my “bed position”, my body was completely moisturized with an application of shea butter (Pure Fiji; To complete this exceptional customized treatment my hands, feet, neck and shoulder areas were thoroughly massaged. My therapist and I were very pleased with the way the customized treatment came out; the only change I would make next time would be to request that a lighter weight body moisturizer be used, since shea butter can seem a bit “heavy” and dense once the skin has been properly exfoliated and re-mineralized with a seaweed-based treatment product. Overall, my experience at the Spa was one of the better one’s I’ve had recently, and the Spa’s readiness to customize a treatment for me with such stellar results, is definitely the mark of an extraordinary spa. I give the Spa my five-loofah rating.

Accolades - The Spa has been receiving major kudos since opening in the Spring of 2007. It garnered the 2007 Conde Nast Traveler’s “Hot List” issue as one of the world’s up and coming seventy-five new spas in the world to watch, and in the August 2008 issue of Traveler + Leisure, it made its “World’s Best List” in the category “Top 20 Hotel Spas”.

Hotel del Coronado is a National Historic Landmark and one of the impressive KSL Resort properties. Whether for fun and sun, or a romantic rendezvous, wedding, or meeting, The Del offers its guests exemplary service and care, not too mention an indulgent sensory experience. Overall, The Del experience is a memory waiting to happen, and highly recommended. For more information on The Del, Beach Village or Spa, call 800-468-3533, or go to

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the spa industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. You can email her at

(Image by Hotel Del Coronado. View from Spa Terrace.)