Category Archives: spas

Friday Escape: The Most Romantic Hotel in the World

My first thought of where we should go today was Paris. With Valentine’s day upon us, I figured it would be a suitable destination…but…I found myself hesitating. Too obvious. So, I did a little digging and decided to take us somewhere a little bit unexpected – India!

Currently ranked as the most romantic hotel in the world is the breathtaking Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Incredibly beautiful and dreamlike, this white marble palace seems to float on Lake Pichola waters, like a precious ivory flower. This architectural masterpiece was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743. Royalty used it as a summer get away to escape the intense heat. Not too shabby for a summer home right? Let’s go!

Obviously we’ve got to hop on a boat to get to the palace so…all aboard!

Almost there…

Welcome to the Palace. Ready to be treated like Royalty? Yes please.

I can’t wait to see what the rooms are like! Let’s have a peek into several of the suites…

Gorgeous right? Tough choice! But I think we deserve the Presidential Suite…don’t you? Go big or go home.

Check out the view from our private terrace! This place is beyond magical.

I’m dying to explore the pool and gardens…come on…

I’m getting the feeling that romance was actually born here. Aren’t the grounds stunning?

Okay, so I have a real treat for you. We usually hit a spa of some sort on our escapes but today…we are actually going on a SPA BOAT! Yup. Why not sail on the gentle waters of the lake while we slowly slip into a state of bliss…here it comes…

This spa boat idea is pure brilliance!

As the sun sets, let’s go enjoy some dinner…

Don’t want to join us? Would you rather have a private dinner out in the middle of the lake with your love? Go for it. It can be arranged. How’s that for romantic?

As for the rest of us…let’s enjoy a cocktail in the lounge while our table is being prepared…

I think we should dine in the gardens…don’t you?

I leave you here to enjoy your meal and watch as the Palace is veiled in darkness. Experience the twinkling lights of a thousand candles, the fragrance of exotic blooms and hopefully a romantic night you’ll never forget!

Thanks for coming with me on this Friday escape.

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend! Spend it with those you love.

xo,

p.s. Not quite ready to leave the Palace…watch the video tour here.

Images via here, here and here.

8 Comments

Filed under Friday Escapes, holiday, spas, Travel

Vicarious Vacation # 1 : Casole d’Elsa

Happy Friday and welcome to our Vicarious Vacation. Today, I’m going to whisk us off to the quaint, little town of Casole d’Elsa in the hills of Tuscany. Strolling down the ancient cobblestone alleyways, decadent wine tastings, a visit to the Siena marketplace, a brush with history and of course a large helping of the local food are all on the agenda. Sound good? Okay, come on!

Image via casalecapita

Let me tell you a little bit about this beautiful town. Casole D’Elsa is located in the Tuscany region in the province of Siena. Conveniently located between Florence and Siena, it provides a peaceful respite from the bigger, touristy cities. See map here. Pedestrian friendly streets, intimate cafes and a few notable historic attractions should keep us busy but not overwhelmed. Leaving plenty of time to soak in the Italian sun, sip Chianti and gobble up the local delicacies. Now where are we staying, you ask? Well…

I hope you don’t mind but I booked us into a rather fancy hotel just outside of town. I think we deserve it, don’t you? Welcome to the Relais La Suvera. Steeped in history this medieval fort turned sumptuous Mediterranean villa is our place of relaxation and refuge after all that sightseeing. Sigh…isn’t it simply dreamy!?

Ready to see your room?
Images via Relais La Suvera

Fit for a princess right? Okay, freshen up and let’s go exploring. I know you are tired from the trip but it’s nothing a glass of Chianti can’t fix! Besides, we have massages scheduled later at the spa. Yes, even medieval fortresses in Italy have spas!

Let’s go for a walk…

Press play to listen.


Images 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Am I Hungry? Of course I am! This place looks charming…let’s stop here – Osteria del Caffè Casolani- and have some treats.

Here’s what I’m thinking…wine, cheese & cured meats. The local cheese -Pecorino di Pienza and fresh cold cuts such as salumi di cinta senese, will make the perfect blend of tastes and textures. Creamy and nutty in flavor, the Pecorino is a perfect pairing with the saltiness of the meat and sweetness of the wine.  The celebrated local wine is aptly named Erta, meaning steep slope, indicative of the agricultural landscape of the region. A completely organic wine, it is a lovely blend of 95% Sangiovese grapes and 5% Merlot. Subtle herbal notes and deep cherry overtones will delight your palette! Want more…why don’t we try the testaroli? It’s a crepe like pasta usually combined with pesto. Yummy! This place is famous for it!

Images 1. 2.

Now to walk off all that scrumptuous food…

Ooh…before we go…is that a little bakery I see?

We had better stop in and grab some dessert! This region is known for its pastries and traditional sweets. One of the oldest treats around is the famous Panforte margherita!  This “spiced bread” is a magical combination of dough, almonds, candied fruit, cinnamon, all spice and a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. Isn’t it beautiful?

Images 1. 2.

On to some history…

This is the Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back 1161! The original Roman bell tower still remains with the upper half of the building being constructed in the 14th century. Inside are the sacred tombs of Beltramo Aringhieri, by Marco Romano, and of bishop Tommaso Andrei, by Gano di Fazio.

Directly next to the church lies the Museum of Sacred Arts. A beautiful collection of religious art can be enjoyed here, including the works of Alessandro Casolani and sculptor, Marco Romano.

Got your culture fill? Let’s go to the Siena Markets!

Press play to listen to the bustling market square…


How gorgeous is that fruit?

Images 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Don’t you love all the amazing colors and textures?

I don’t know about you but the hotel spa is calling my name…let’s head back and end our trip on a relaxing note.

You go on and get your massage. I’m heading down to the hot pool for a nice soak…so lovely…

Images via Relais La Suvera Spa

I hope you enjoyed your day in the Tuscan countryside. Loved vicariously traveling with you! I learned a lot and loved seeing this little corner of the world. The village of Casole d’Elsa was enchanting, the food delectable and the Siena markets were utterly inspiring.

Join me again next Friday, when we head to Spain!

Have a beautiful weekend!

xo,

audio files via freesound.org

Related Articles

13 Comments

Filed under Dreams, Food, photography, Recipes, spas, Travel

A stroll in the rose garden…

Forgive my absence. With family in town and other random summer craziness, I have been truly neglecting my blog.

Okay, so today, I have some images for you from the beautiful Portland Oregon Rose Garden. My mom, dad, Grace and I visited here last week. It was lovely to stroll through the endless flowers, deeply inhaling the sweet perfume of thousands of the city’s prize blossoms…

Grace kept insisting that flower fairies must live here. As she delicately smelled the roses, she would call out to them in a soft whisper. It was too cute. Alas, much to her disappointment (and mine)… none were sighted.

Of course, I had to play around with some of my shots and add some fabulous textures. Such fun…

Have a fantastic Monday, or at least do your best.

xo,

p.s. On a side note, I have a bit of fun news…a little organic massage spa in Vienna contacted me with interest in selling our products in her lovely storefront. I’m a tad excited to say the least. I hope to be sending her samples soon, so I will keep you posted. I would love to just hop on a plane and deliver them myself! I wish…

2 Comments

Filed under News, photography, spas, Stories, Thoughts

Lunch and a Massage…

Went into Ennis yesterday and had lunch out with my mom and Grace at Yesterday’s Pharmacy.

Yes, it’s a Pharmacy slash Diner…I don’t know why…but it’s kinda charming and the milkshakes are delicious. I also love the little mason jars they use for water glasses.

For an extra touch of kitch…they refinished their hardwood floors and decided to put socks on all the chairs and tables to prevent scratching. Upon entering the dining room, Grace loudly announced, “Chairs and tables don’t wear socks! That’s silly!” This bold statement was followed by a healthy dose of giggles.

After that we strolled over to the Montana Wellness Center, where I had my “Raindrop Therapy Massage”.

One word – heavenly.

My lovely massage therapist started me on my back and did some craniosacral work first to “open” me up. I’ve never had this kind of therapy done before and at first I felt nothing. But as she worked her way from my feet to my neck I gradually felt waves of warmth radiate up and down my spine. It was a little alarming at first but then felt very soothing. I was intrigued to say the least.

Following this she proceeded to rub a sequence of powerful essential oils into the arches of my feet. The oils used were:

* Oregano

* Thyme

* Basil

* Cypress

* Wintergreen

* Marjoram

* Peppermint

In addition to these, two essential oil blends were applied. One called Valor to balance energy and a second one called Aroma Seiz to relax the muscles.

After my feet were thoroughly massaged, I flipped over on my tummy. Let the raindrops fall!

Warm drops of oil were dripped on my spine and then lightly massaged using a feathering technique. This continued until all seven oils had been applied to my back, which was very warm at this point. She covered me with a warm damp towel and let me lay there for about ten minutes to allow the oils to penetrate deeply. My body was extremely relaxed as my back heated up quickly. Hot and intense, my skin drank deeply of these amazing oils. When I thought it was almost getting too hot, my whole back went icy cold. It sounds a bit extreme but I promise you it was very soothing. My stess, anxiety and body melted.

When my back had cooled completely she removed the towel and stretched my neck and spine. Sadly…that was the end of my sixty minutes of bliss. I always hate when a massage ends. I did love how I felt though – totally relaxed but also energized. My lower back, which almost always aches, felt calm and soothed.

It’s a totally different experience to a typical massage but for those willing to try something unique I would highly recommend it. The effects of the oils can last as long as a week in the body as they purify, detox and heal.

Anyone can give this treatment once learned, so if you want to teach yourself how to do it check this out. A book about the technique…here.

Have a great Wednesday.

xo,

Ivy

Leave a comment

Filed under essential oils, Health, spas, Stories, Travel

Raindrop Therapy Massage

I decided that before heading back to reality, I needed to get a massage at the local Ennis Spa – the Montana Wellness Center. It’s a tiny little operation but the women who run it are professional, friendly and do wonderful healing work.

A couple of months ago my mom treated herself to their Raindrop Therapy Massage. She said it was blissful…so I signed up.

What is the Raindrop Therapy method?  I had no idea so I looked into it.

Raindrop Therapy, according the spa experts at the Keswick Hall Hotel in Charlottesville, VA  is -

“A specialized aromatherapy massage using over nine essential oils to create both structural and electrical
alignment to the body. Also stimulates physical and emotional harmony and detoxifies the body.”

To read more about it click here.

Needless to say, with my obsession of essential oils, I am eager to experience this.

I will let you know how it was tomorrow.

Have a fabulous Tuesday.

xo,

Ivy

Image via Keswick Hall Hotel

Leave a comment

Filed under essential oils, Health, spas, Stories, Travel

Mountain spa getaway

I may be in the middle of nowhere, but a lovely spa resort is not too far away…with a good winter package to boot!

Three hours northwest of here lies a secluded mountain hideaway…a historic hot springs resort that deserves a visit.  A gourmet five-star restaurant, extensive wine cellar, charming, rustic cabins and beautiful grounds – Chico Hot Springs should not be missed.

No phones or TVs, Chico is renowned for its peace inducing practices. Visit the spa and get their famous Yellowstone River Rock hot massage or detox with a Moor Mud Wrap. If you are more of the adventurous type, bundle up and go on a dog sled trek into the wild and breathtaking mountain wilderness.  Of course, one can’t miss the natural, hot spring pools for a good soak.

So, if you find yourself in the mountains of Montana consider a little detour for some serious pampering.

Yes, you deserve it.

xo,

Ivy

Images via: Chico homepage, littlest.birds, jkatrta

1 Comment

Filed under spas, Travel