Monday, May 16, 2011



Kohler, the eponymous luxury brand for all-things-water, is also synonymous with “spa”. There are three luxury Kohler Spas; their flagship one is located in Kohler, WI (The American Club Resort Hotel); also in St. Andrews, Scotland (Old Course Hotel, Gold Resort & Spa); and, the Chicago location, which is actually located in Burr Ridge, IL, one of Chicago’s tonier suburbs.

While I’ve not yet experienced the Spa in Scotland, I’ve experienced the flagship one in Kohler, WI on a number of occasions. This location is less than a four-hour drive from my home. The Chicago-area location is less than twenty miles from downtown Chicago, and less than eight miles from my home. When I need a Kohler “fix”, I head to this location.

First opening in 2008, the gorgeous spa is 10,200 SF and boasts a twenty-five foot figure eight shaped whirlpool, with a drop waterfall. This impressive water feature is the Spa’s focal point. Along with this feature, there’s the unique Circle of Tranquility, which is a series of three distinctive shower experiences (Quench, Envelop and Deluge), all using the latest and most therapeutic Kohler hydro-technology; there’s also steam and sauna available to guests. Within this area is a very comfort-inducing Relaxation Area. Behind the perimeter of the co-ed area are fourteen treatment rooms and individual locker facilities for men and women. The outer areas of the Spa include Reception, Retail, Make-up and Nail. There are fourteen treatment rooms, including Vichy wetrooms. The overall design of these areas might seem noisy, but acoustically, the areas remain quiet (unless, of course, there’s an overly exuberant guest who can’t contain themselves). Spa cuisine is available; guests can chose everything from salads to sandwiches and wraps off of a special menu; guest orders are served in the Relaxation Area. At this time, no fitness classes are offered at this location.

If all of this isn’t sufficient to get one’s “Kohler Waters Spa Fix”, there’s also a beautiful Kohler Design Store contiguous to the Spa. Here is where dreamers and renovators alike can whet their appetites and refine their bath and kitchen wish lists and work with on-premises design experts on that once in a lifetime project, while viewing in-store displays and other sample inventories. Considering all that’s readily available for the guest, about the only thing missing are rooms for an overnight stay; a nearby Marriott Hotel has partnered with the Spa; registered guests can get a 20% discount on their treatments just by showing their hotel key card; this offering runs through December 31st. Also, members of Chicago-area Lifetime Fitness also qualify for a 20% discount on treatments.

I scheduled a Kohler Waters Wrap (seventy-five minutes); this is a seasonal body treatment that’s only offered until May 30th; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if this weren’t added to the regular menu of services, since it’s very popular and adaptive to any seasonal transition, depending on the products used.

The treatment therapy is a wonderful multi-layered ritual, which combines exfoliation, detoxification, extremity manipulation, and facial and scalp massage. While exfoliation, detoxification and jump-starting the lymphatic circulatory system lead to warmth from seasonal chill, the overall effect was balancing, relaxing and restoring.

My therapist was Lead Esthetician Renata. The treatment began with my inhaling a small amount of a special blend of Kerstin Florian professional-grade organic essential oils (Lavender, Eucalyptus and Orange) to calm and balance me. A full-body dry brushing, using the Supracor Bath Mitt, prepared my skin for the next step, which was an application of the organic essential oils blended with Kerstin Florian Organic Sunflower Oil.

After the oil application, a special professional-grade blend of detoxifying Chinese Medicinal Herbs (Bio Elements) were applied to my body in small circular patterns, which caused a subtle massage action, while also diffusing the herbs. The herbs included Kai Chin So (calming, soothing), Shan Zhu Yu (soothing, nourishing), Fu Pen Tzu and Da Za0 (natural alpha-hydroxy acids) and Da Zao. The alpha-hydroxy herbs exfoliated, while the others detoxified. After this thorough application of oil and herbs, I was wrapped in several layers of sheeting and blankets, and rested. After about fifteen minutes or so, I was then escorted to the in-room shower, where I carefully rinsed all of the herbs from my skin. I returned to my treatment table, and my therapist applied more custom blended oils to my skin. After this, I was again wrapped and allowed to rest for another twenty minutes or so. While resting, my therapist began applying a series of Kerstin Florian products. First, my face was cleansed with the Rehydrating Neroli Cleansing Gel; after product removal, my face was spritzed with the Rejuvenating Thermal Tonic toner. Then, my entire face was gently massaged with Organic Anti-Stress Aromatherapy Oil. As my eyes remained closed, cool stones were placed around the orbital areas and also my upper nasal areas; the cool stones stimulated circulation. As I continued resting, my therapist massaged my scalp and then applied the oil blend to my feet, while gently massaging them; she then covered my feet with warm toweling. After my period of rest, all sheeting and blankets were removed and my entire body was spritzed with a final application of Kohler Signature Avocado Spritz. As I exited the treatment room, Renata was waiting with a glass of water for re-hydration, and then escorted me to the lovely Relaxation Area, where I’d continue my state of relaxation. I was in the spa-zone. This was an exceptional treatment that got rid of the winter “blahs” and instilled in me some spring “ahs”. My skin was silky smooth and wonderfully hydrated. The subtle imparted aroma left on my skin was very calming and relaxing.

My only regret with my experience was that I didn’t come prepared with my bathing suit so I could fully experience the Circle of Tranquility shower experiences and the gorgeous waterfall and whirlpool. But, Kohler staff are so accommodating that I was given a return invitation pass to experience these amenities.

Upcoming Spa Events ~ Now through May 26th, a “Mom and Me” specially priced nail event for girls ages 8-13 and their moms. May 26th, the Spa’s cosmeceutical skincare brand, Skin Authority, is offering a one-day “Get Rich Event”; the best of skincare event will be educational and interactive, with demos and how-tos on the latest in skincare; the event will also introduce their newest “Ultra Rich Moisturizer” product, in addition to express facial treatments. To register for these Spa events, call 630-323-7674.

One last thing…..on May 14th, I attended a “Splashtacular” event, held at this location’s Kohler Store, which featured popular HGTV Show Host Monica Pedersen. During the half-day seminar, there were informative presentations and Q&A interaction on all-things Kohler for the bath and at-home spa elements. Product benefits, along with sensory-driven aspects were also emphasized. I was also impressed with the extensive product line’s design and functionality as being eco-centric, including in areas of water conservation and energy efficiency. Some attendees came equipped with sketches and lots of questions for their home projects; one-on-one “speed design bathroom makeovers” were offered by in-store expert designers. Marketing Manager Lynn Schrage gave other presentations. Attendees were treated to an interactive one-on-one with Spa Massage Therapist and Aromatherapist, Ross. Each attendee scoped out their likes and dislikes in aromas and then spent time discussing benefits of aromatherapy with him; he then created a custom-blend of essential oils based on their preferences. The only disappointment with the event was a no-show by Topaz Restaurant; they were scheduled to do a spa cuisine cooking demonstration; Topaz is the Spa’s food provider. Aside from this glitch, overall the event was impressive, and I left with a better sense of the product line and how it reflects the latest in innovative feature design, form and functionality. All attendees left with ample product literature and reference material. Given the presentation, it’s no wonder why many homes, retail establishments, hotels, resorts and spas use the Kohler brand for their needs.

Back on pointKohler Waters Spa Chicago is an exceptional spa. It’s very accessible, the design and layout is extremely beautiful, it offers an expansive menu of services, and features awesome water-focused amenities. It is the latter which exemplifies the Kohler name ~ all-things water, which is also what “spa” is all about.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the 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. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand. Photo of Ms. Pedersen by Helen Burkun.)

Friday, May 6, 2011



(Volume 2011.3)

In Memoriam ~ This edition is dedicated to my dear cousin Bobby Centano, who died unexpectedly April 15, 2011. He was family and friend, but also an extraordinary person, fellow musician and lover of life. He touched the lives of many. He loved many and many loved him in return. Bobby was the type of person that if he only had one remaining shirt and someone needed it, he wouldn’t hesitate giving it to them. He’ll be greatly missed. May God bless you and may you continue smiling upon me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My Transitioning Into Spring and Spring Bouquet editions framed aspects of the seasonal change and transitioning from winter into spring, with helpful hints and an array of product reviews. This edition continues with more product reviews just in time for this hopeful season of transition and change.

~ For Face and Body ~

Crabtree & Evelyn ~ This favorite brand has introduced an array of floral-based products. I had the pleasure of trying the new Iris Bath & Shower Gel and Iris Body Lotion. The fragrance formulation is based on orrisroot

from the Iris flower; the characteristic aroma is also blended with sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver. To me, the aroma reminded me of violet. I loved using the Gel; it had a wonderful rich lather that left a subtle aroma; it also left my skin soft and hydrated. I also loved using the Lotion; the silky rich consistency went on effortlessly, absorbed quickly without leaving any type of residue; shea butter, coconut oil, glycerin, and almond oil made the product very hydrating, while leaving a fresh and lovely subtle aroma.

GloProfessional ~ gloTherapeutics is one of the two product lines of this brand. This line is dedicated to treatment products in the skincare range and are cosmeceuticals; gloMinerals is the other line; it’s comprised of a full-range of mineral makeup for lips, eyes and face. I tried the gloTherapeutics gloProtecting SPF 30 and gloBarrier Balm. The gloProtecting SPF 30 had a pleasant lotion consistency that went on easily, was quickly absorbed, left no tacky residue or hint of SPF ingredients (like so many other similar products); this product can also be used as a light moisturizer. I then applied the gloBarrier Balm over this product to create a layered barrier. The Balm’s consistency was very dense, so only a little of the product was needed; after warming a small amount in the palm of my hand and then applying to the face, it was a bit sluggish and didn’t have that much glide; it also left a tacky residue. Applying the Balm was all I really needed for maximum hydration.

Goldfaden Skincare ~ Goldfaden is a cosmeceutical line with a base of organic and natural ingredients. The primary ingredient being organic red tea, South African Rooibos; purportedly the antioxidant potency of Rooibos is some fifty times stronger than Green Tea. The line consists of products that are free of parabens, alcohol, artificial colors, silicone, mineral oil and petrochemicals. I tried a number of products over a period of approximately four weeks that were representative of this comprehensive line. These included Revelation Pure Clarifying Mask, Red Tea Infused Daily Exfoliant, Stem Cell Skin Serum, Revolution Eyes, Alpine Rose Stem Cell Cream, Pure Power Antioxidant Complex, DNA Telomere Cream, Arnica & Vitamin K Renewal Cream, and Sleep Renewal Night Cream. The Alpine Rose Stem Cell Cream, Pure Power Antioxidant Complex, DNA Telomere Cream, Arnica & Vitamin K Renewal Cream, and Sleep Renewal Night Cream were my favorites, with the Alpine Rose Stem Cell Cream being by far the most enjoyable product I tried. All of these products I found to be gentle and revealing a slightly improved overall texture of my skin; none of these products was harsh or irritating; products were quickly absorbed, left no residue and had a silky texture to the formulations, which also translated to my skin feeling silkier and smoother. Least favorite products, due to formulations that were either too harsh or irritated my skin, included the Clarifying Mask (drying), Daily Exfoliant (harsh) and Stem Cell Skin Serum (reactive skin); and, the Revolution Eyes. From my experiences, cosmeceutical-based products are often too harsh, have limited hydration, and cause irritation, including dryness; I’ve found this to be true even with formulations based in organic and natural ingredients.

JAMU Asian Spa Rituals ~ I’ve always loved using these products either at-home or in a spa treatment setting. When it comes to a favorite aroma, I have many, but among them is lemongrass. I’ve always enjoyed the soothing aromatherapeutic properties of green-based aromas such as this one. This line’s Thai Lemongrass Massage Oil and Thai Lemongrass Hand and Body Lotion transported me to places removed from my reality. Both products are dense with organic ingredients that hydrate; some of the ingredients include shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, bamboo, lily and lotus extract, rosemary and lavender. The Massage Oil works well on both wet or dry brushed skin; it’s non-greasy, quickly absorbed and doesn’t leave any residue. The Body Lotion has a rich, dense consistency that is also non-greasy, quickly absorbed without leaving any tacky residue. Both products deliver exceptional hydrating results, while being aromatherapeutic. An application of either product will quickly cause stress to dissipate.

~ Esthetics and Beyond ~

L’Occitane ~ Just in time for the season, this popular brand has unveiled their new Pivoine Flora, a delicate fresh floral scent. Head notes include crisp and bright bergamot and grapefruit; heart notes include extracts of peony, magnolia and violet; and, base notes include vanilla, cedar and musk. The heart notes define this lovely fragrance. Dry down is subtle, light and airy, and wasn't at all cloying. Expanding this popular brand is the new seasonal palette of makeup for lips, eyes and cheeks. I tried the Facecolor Cream Duo Tint #2, Arabesque and Apricot. Arabesque is a subtle neutral color with a hint of beige; Apricot is the season’s trend color that is bright and fresh, but not shocking. Both of these natural colors can be worn individually, or blended to customize a new color dimension; colors blend easily without fading; besides adding an awakening color to the cheeks, eyes pop with a hint of color added to the upper lids. The colors are ideal for most skin tones. Lastly, another plus for this line is the fact that all of their packaging includes product information in Braille.

The Thymes ~ Another favorite line of mine, offers an array of product collections that range from home fragrance, candles, bath and body. The Thymes has also made it easy for customers to identify the fragrance profile for each of their collections in categories like green, floral, citrus, aromatic, oriental, woody, or gourmand. Tying in with the season, I wanted to experience some of their various “green” collection items. I tried the Azur Triple Milled Soap, Naia Body Lotion, and Olive Leaf Cologne. The Soap included restorative ingredients like phytomarine complex of mineral and plant extracts, moisturizing oils like coconut, Evening Primrose and vitamin E; this very gentle bar left my skin hydrated and subtly fragranced with a fresh clean and green scent. The Lotion thoroughly hydrated my skin with benefits of shea butter, coconut oil and vitamin E; quickly absorbed and no tacky residue, not only was my skin revitalized, the combination of water lily, cyclamen, citrus and lychee aromas made for one delightfully energizing and uplifting experience. The Cologne was lovely; ingredients included olive leaf extract, olive oil and vitamin E; the top note is fruity with a soft floral dry down; very uplifting, fresh and green.

Elizabeth Arden ~ I’ve always enjoyed the fresh, light airiness of the scent of “green tea”, and the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Scent Spray version doesn’t disappoint. Head notes include citrus, lemon and rhubarb; heart notes include peppermint and oak moss; and, base notes include anchor scents of musk and amber. This fragrance isn't cloying or strong. The dry down is subtle, but continues revealing a fresh, light and airy fragrance. This scent is an ideal pick-me-up.

~ Healthy Tasties ~

Go Picnic ~ Go Picnic Ready To Eat Meals are a healthy alternative for on-the-go quick eating fixes. I tried the delicious Hummus + Crackers variety. The all-natural, gluten-free, vegan, Kosher, GMO-free and no artificial flavors included Wild Garden Hummus Dip, Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers, Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame, Sweet Perry Orchards Baja Blend Fruit & Nut Mix and a Terra Nostra Organic Dark Chocolate Square. The complete meal required no refrigeration and came complete with eating utensils. Nutritional value included 24g of protein, 12g of fiber and a total of 410 calories. I also tried their tasty Steak Nuggets + Cheese variety. These tasty convenient meals are deal for work, beach or picnicking.

Wei of Chocolate ~ Wei of Chocolate isn’t known for the garden-variety pop ‘em in the mouth mindless chomping pieces of candy. They’re hardly that. These dark chocolates are organic, gluten-free, vegan, eco-conscious, fair trade, mindful and healthy; each variety is formulated with an infusion of flower essences by Lotus Wei Organics. The flower essence infusions don’t add any flavor to the dark chocolate; all it adds is a unique energy and intent. Meant for savoring and contemplating, I tried three different varieties that included Café Wei, Wei Joyful and Wei Dark. Café Wei is infused with espresso, and contains 68% cacao; the flower essence infusion is for energy and protection. Wei Joyful is infused with citrus, and contains 70% cacao; the flower essence infusion is for awakening insight and wisdom. Wei Dark is pure dark chocolate with 70% cacao; flower essence infusion is for more joy, peace and inspiration. All three varieties were not only mouth-watering awesome, but I found as I savored each piece, reflecting on the flower infusion’s intent, these delicious dark chocolates were also therapeutic and reminded me of taking the time to be a part of a less stressful space.

~ Miscellany ~

A few take-with items to use at-home or in your travels might include Olivia Garden Healthy Hair Bamboo Brush, Ola Hawaii Kukui Travel Candle and OKA b. The Bamboo Brush I tried was a full round with boar bristles; bamboo, an eco-friendly and sustainable material, regenerates more quickly than tree wood; the bamboo material made the product lighter and easier to handle while styling; the bristles gripped my hair nicely. The Kukui Candle is made of coconut oil and Sacred Hawaiian Kukui nut oil; the burn is clean, even and smokeless; I enjoyed the Paradise Plumeria scented candle, which added a subtle and lovely aroma to the air; adds a nice floral aroma to the air even when not burning. Fashion-savvy aficionados in and out of a spa setting wear OKA b. Sandals. I loved my Tiffany Thong-Style Sandal; it was adorned with a cute leopard print bow. Design comfort aside, next time you have access to any of their styles, turn the sandal over and be sure to check out the soles; they’re complete with an intricate nature-inspired design of trees and whimsical birds; sweet.

That’s it for this edition…until the next one…remember to take care of yourself and those around you.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the 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. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa, and is Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)