Features

Pampered in Provo

A sampling of Providenciales’ sybartic – and healthful – spa pleasures.
By Kathy Borsuk & Claire Parrish ~ Photos By Claire Parrish
When Claire and I decided to visit many of the spas in Providenciales for this feature, I inwardly cringed. I’m a wash ‘n’ ready, no-frills gal who was brought up to believe that hard work and deprivation build character and self-indulgence is morally wrong! (I also don’t like strangers invading my personal space.)
Ironically, my sister is a successful massage therapist and esthetician. Her views on the subject started to change my opinion of the virtues of spa therapies, as did Claire’s obvious enthusiasm for the project. But it was this fall’s tour of Provo spas — and their rejuvenating effect on my exhausted body, blotchy complexion and stressed-out mind — that turned me into an advocate, especially as to their long-term benefits for health.
As an upscale resort destination, the Turks & Caicos Islands boast a large number of exceptional spas. We focused our attention on spa services available on Providenciales, where most tourists visit and most residents live. The locations are as varied as the list of treatments available, ranging from seaside palapas tucked behind a private dune to a large wellness center with personal treatment rooms that seem to float upon a reflective pond. You can visit luxurious sanctuaries filled with aromatic essence and the sound of a waterfall or take your treatment by the beach, in a garden or on a sun-drenched patio overlooking the sea.
What we found to be universal were a commitment to excellence and professionalism; a sincere enjoyment in pleasing clients by spa management and staff; and spotlessly clean treatment rooms with decor that invited us to take a deep breath, relax and enter a world of peace and tranquility.
But what about the recession? Is there a place for pampering during these hard times? One spa manager I talked to put it best, “When you’re working hard to manage your business or do your job, taking care of your family, and probably worrying about the economy on top of it all, you need to remember to set aside time to keep your body and mind healthy. Stress takes its toll in more ways than you can imagine, starting with high blood pressure and heart disease and ranging to insomnia, headaches and skin problems. And when you’re continually rushed and anxious, you’re more likely to argue with family and friends or fall into depression. When you consider that a massage, facial or other spa treatment can help alleviate a great deal of stress, I would say it’s well worth the money.”
Spa managers also agreed that tourists expect pampering to be an important part of what may be their only vacation of the year. Many make spa visits a daily part of their resort stay, taking advantage of spa packages. An oft-noted trend is the increase in couples coming to the spa together, especially among honeymooners, and men taking advantage of spa services more than ever.
A number of the spas we visited had recently offered discounts and promotional specials, especially during the slower months of the year. Also available were resident’s discounts. It’s worth asking if any promotions are available when you make your reservation, or check out the spa’s website ahead of time.
As we visited the various spas, Claire and I (who work out of separate offices) kept in touch via email. What follows includes extracts of our “spa chat.”
Exhale® at the Gansevoort Turks + Caicos
Hi Claire: I went for my first spa treatment today at your favorite place for core fusion classes: Exhale® Spa at the Gansevoort. The resort is so chic and trendy — there always seems to be a “buzz” about the poolside and I know you’ve spotted several celebrities there. I was a little intimidated, but felt right at home as soon as I met Tami Norris, the spa manager, and my esthetician, Tamika Thompson. Both were so friendly and down to earth!
They welcomed me into the beautiful reception area — I loved the clean, minimalist lines and combination of dark wood and dusky gray and have you noticed that amazing sand art piece on the front of the desk? We sipped some water and tea while a lot of people — several couples — came in and out to make reservations. But as soon as we entered the treatment room, it was like being in another world: quiet, soothing, scented with a refreshing botanical and just the right temperature. I snuggled into the comfy spa gown and braced myself for the verdict as Tamika analyzed my skin in preparation for a 60 minute ”true” facial.
Age, sun damage, dryness and an annoying predilection for acne led to Tamika’s diagnosis of mature, combination skin and she expertly selected the appropriate lotions and formulas. The first step was a warm and wonderful steaming, followed by a cleanser and a tingly, exfoliating Z-peel. Then came the torture — a.k.a. “extraction.” This involved Tamika squeezing the life out of my every whitehead, blackhead and anything else on my face that didn’t belong. It hurt! But I endured, all in the name of beauty! Tamika explained that this was the proper way to “pop a pimple” and that childhood admonishments against this were because dirty fingernails can cause infection. Yuch!
I was more than ready for the soothing facial massage that followed, along with a rejuvenating mask made of Oriental mushrooms, with a serum applied to my eye “squints.” The final steps were application of moisturizer and a sunscreen that actually treats and protects at the same time. What I especially enjoyed were Tamika’s luxuriant hand and foot massages while the peel and mask did their work.
Tami had told me that Exhale® chooses their product line because “you can see results right away,” and she was right. Although my face was slightly irritated from the extractions, by the next day it was noticeably smoother and less “bumpy” and it did seem that a few wrinkles had vanished. Of course, regular treatment is the key to long-lasting results.
Exhale® is an extension of the popular “mindbody” spas that started in New York City in 2003; over 20 in the line are expected to open internationally. Exhale® is the only Condé Nast Johansen recommended spa in Providenciales. Spa manager Tami Norris notes that the most popular services here are massages, especially the fusion massage which make use of aromatherapy for relaxation and healing. Afterwards, many clients enjoy the outdoor garden shower, under which you can rinse in your own private paradise of sunlight and tradewinds.
Besides a variety of facial treatments, including the popular g.r.n. product version, clients can enjoy grn manicures and pedicures in the Islands’ only pedicure chairs! Budding brides and honeymooners often partake in the brow and body waxing services.
For the ultimate in luxury, Tami suggests an “escape” spa package, which combines a deep flow massage, true facial, glow body scrub and unlimited mind body classes during your stay at the resort. (In fact, their trademark Core Fusion® classes, which fuse the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates and yoga and are transformational in themselves, are very popular among residents and guests.)
Exhale® uses several results-oriented exclusive product lines, including their own grn products, Actifirm, 302, jimm harrison and IS clinical, which is of dermatologist quality. A variety of these products, along with spa wear, can be purchased in the reception area.
This winter, Tami says you can expect several brand-new offerings, including special sunburn body wrap and de-tox therapies. The “de-tox” will encompass exfoliation, a purifying mud masque and scalp massage, all designed to relieve the effects of holiday excess.
Visit www.exhalespa.com or call 649 941 7555.
Thalasso Spa at Point Grace Resort
Hi Kathy: I have just visited tranquility near the beach! I think I’d like to live there!
I have been surrounded by flowers, grasses, sea breezes, a view of the ocean and pretty white-washed buildings full of eclectic keepsakes. There is Asian music in the air and I already feel relaxed. Having arrived at Point Grace Thalasso Spa, Merna Alcandsado from the Philippines showed me a wide ranging menu of all the treatments offered. I could have taken all day choosing! She knew me a little already and I being a sporty working mum of two she was quick to suggest her signature massage, the Fusion. It brings together Swedish and Thai massage techniques to strengthen the body’s energy.
I inhaled a bracing peppermint aroma while my therapist set to work to improve my flexibility, promote my circulation and stimulate the release of toxins. Using a mixture of olive oil and peppermint, she eased every possible muscle or joint tension . . . every toe, every finger, no joint was left out. She was gentle yet firm and added more massage pressure as requested. The added pleasure with this massage was the soothing extensions and flexions of joints. I have often drifted off to sleep during other massages, coming to with a feeling of, “What have I missed?” This massage was just right for me as it made me listen to my body as Merna enhanced my flexibility . . . I only snoozed a little! I blame that on the luxuriant effects of the beautiful natural scenery around me — I think I was dreaming about how I could set up home in this spa.
Point Grace has a special location on the point of world-renowned, 12 mile Grace Bay Beach. It has won for four consecutive years the World Travel Award’s “Caribbean’s Leading Boutique Hotel” designation.
Whether in the hotel or the spa you get a sense of being untouched by modern time. This authentic Caribbean spa so close to nature specialises in preparing facial and body wrap mixes using fresh Neem leaves from trees on the grounds or aloe grown in their gardens. Luxury here comes in the form of marble sinks paired with open-roofed showers, and of course the feeling of freedom when de-robing while looking out to sand dunes and the turquoise sea!
Appropriate to its location, the spa also highlights Thalassotherapy — using the properties of sea water as well as applications of sea mud and select seaweed by specialists trained in these European techniques. These treatments contribute to naturally restore vital energy.
And everyone can benefit — I loved the fact that the comprehensive spa menu includes options not just for men and women, but also for kids. They have “kids at the spa” selections for children between 5 to 12 years old, including a mini massage, mini cooling wrap and mini manicure/mini pedicure. In fact, I shall be giving my six year old (who likes the finer things in life as much as any of us) a special treat for Christmas — a mini-massage at Thalasso Spa.
Visit www.pointgrace.com or call 649 941 7743.
The Regent Spa at The Regent Palms Resort
Good morning Claire: I decided to send Gary for a men’s facial at The Regent Spa. Spa Development Manager Sara Codner says more men are coming in for treatments these days and they even have an old-fashioned barber’s chair for traditional shaves.
At 28,000 sq. ft. and with 17 treatment rooms, The Regent Spa is the island’s largest. It’s a separate facility well away from the resort, and as soon as walk up the path to the spa, shoulders relax and calming music urges you to enter a private sanctuary dedicated to pleasure. The first thing you see is a calming reflecting pool, very oriental in appearance, surrounded by pillars and bamboo plants. Everything is white, with wrought iron accents and a touch of colorful flowers.
We checked in at the beautiful, high-ceilinged reception area, which doubles as a boutique from which to purchase custom apparel, unique organic jewelry, and products from the spa’s various lines. Elder, Gary’s personal spa attendant, led him to the men’s dressing room to change into a robe and slippers.
Besides housing separate men’s and women’s dressing areas, this “outer chamber” also includes a high tech fitness center and a dedicated manicure/pedicure room. I passed through the yoga pavilion to check out the spa’s main treatment area. Here, eight private, stand-alone rooms line the palm-flanked signature pool — each seems to float above the water in its own tranquil aura. There is a quiet area with padded loungers on which to relax before or after treatment and a garden on the opposite end, with a waterfall flowing down the bordering rock wall. Its quiet murmur, along with the bubbling of fountains, served to further separate this elegant oasis from the surrounding world.
Janice Thompson was Gary’s esthetician. After helping him get comfortable on the padded table, she diagnosed discoloration, skin damage and dryness, and set to work with the 80 minute Signature Red Carpet Facial. I left and came back when it was done.
Amazingly, his skin looked fresh and smooth and I could tell he was pleased. Of course, men tend to space out the details, but Janice explained the customized steps she followed for the Sonya Dakar “Fitness Facial.” She began with a Mud Eucalyptus Wash, using actual mud from the Dead Sea to throughly cleanse his skin, while eucalyptus and lemon extracts did more deep cleaning. The next step was an organic scrub to decongest and exfoliate, then a toner to prepare his skin for the next step — seaweed lipsome gel, a “power shake” packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins. One reason he looked so much younger afterwards was probably due to the enzyme peeling cream, which used pumpkin and cardamom extracts to gently remove dead skin, and the lightening mask, combining wheat grass and lactic acid. The final applications were an eye cream to reduce wrinkles, hydrosoft lotion to rebalance his skin’s pH level, and Sport SPF 30 sunscreen (which she urged him to apply daily). I was envious! He had obviously had top-notch care from a “skin expert” and I’m thinking of checking myself in next.
Although The Regent Spa exudes an aura of casual five-star elegance, it’s the result of lots of hard work over the last four years by its talented manager Sara Codner and her staff of 28. With a strong background in managing upscale spas (she started-up The Spa at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, England), Sara has used her expertise to refine The Regent Spa to sheer perfection. She says, “We create our own trends and take pride in our authenticity. For instance, since we offer Thai massage on the menu, we make sure it’s done by an experienced masseuse from Thailand. We have a Balinese therapist who begins her traditional meditative massage with a terrific coconut body scrub and incorporates fragrant oils. For our signature Zareeba herbal steam detoxifying ritual, we have a woman in Jamaica who handpicks and mixes our therapeutic herbal blend. We also offer a Mother of Pearl body exfoliation that uses a blend of hand-crushed local queen conch shells to polish your skin to perfection.”
On the other hand, their product line reflects sheer sophistication. Sara explains, “Sonia Dakar is a Beverly Hills favorite, the Somme Institute products are popular among New York City’s elite and this is the only place outside of the US where you can get The Art of Shaving line.”
As a qualified massage therapist and esthetician herself, Sara knows what to look for when selecting staff. She explains, “Of course I look for credentials and experience, but I also personally try out each applicant and I can tell almost immediately if they have that special touch and healing energy the makes for a good spa therapist.”
Massages make up about 70% of The Regent Spa’s business, and their menu includes many varieties, ranging from aromatherapy and deep tissue to Swedish and Shiatsu, with an interesting sea massage which takes place on a warm flotation bed.
Other salon services include make-up application by professional artists, luxury manicures and pedicures, hair cuts and styling for men and women and depilatory services using Lycon wax treatments.
This summer offered were fabulous $1 per minute massages and 50% off facials. Residents always receive a 20% discount and other specials are available throughout the year.
Visit www.regenthotels.com/thepalms or call 649 946 8666.
Beauty & the Beach:
Maxime salon & day spa at Caicos Café Plaza
Hey Kathy: Countless friends make regular visits to Mercy (Mercy Garcia, massage therapist at Beauty & the Beach) and now I can say I’ve had the Mercy experience!
Mercy’s choice for me was Swedish massage with, as she put it, added movements of arms, legs, feet, back and neck to aid flexibility. Whew! With relaxing Enya music in the background, I soon felt very much at home listening to my body again. After some warming up massage, Mercy put her whole body behind the movements, whether massage or flexing joints. This included considerable weight on specific areas of my back – enough to make me exhale involuntarily! She comfortably went beyond the elongations I had previously experienced, one example being legs firmly held to one side and head to the other, giving a great back stretch, and somehow Mercy found a way of adding to that stretch with pressure on my back too. How many hands has she got? This experience was all about energising and stress relieving. Again every joint area was targeted and of course my head too.
Both of my massage visits have made me realise that regular massage gives health benefits to the whole body and I need to rethink the way I have viewed massage. Whether it’s easing cramps and muscle tension, stimulation of circulation or lymph systems or a feeling of well being – the health benefits could come into play far more often than just my birthday or Mother’s Day treat. I used to view a spa visit as simply relaxing time away from work or children, when really it’s a more serious health benefit that accumulates the more you do it.
Beauty & the Beach day spa has been operating for nearly 12 years and is hugely popular with residents who also frequent Maxime’s hair salon on site. In the heart of Grace Bay at Caicos Café Plaza, access is easy and the small team here is extremely approachable and friendly. Walking into Maxime’s/Beauty & the Beach feels like walking into a true neighbourhood shop — there are always people you know having a cut or treatment! And yet there is complete confidentiality within the two beauty rooms —the site may be small but the layout works perfectly.
Ann Clift Northcote, an esthetician and owner/manager, continues to keep herself updated on cutting edge ingredients and techniques to provide the services people would like. She says her partnership with Sothys Skincare Paris located in Miami keeps her on her toes, whether it’s eyelash perming to reflexology, or stone massage to glycolic peelings, to name a few. Over the past few years the wedding market has taken off and Ann has worked hard with hair stylist Geraldine Burtschi to create a great name for themselves amongst clients, wedding planners and photographers.
Call 649 946 5093.
Anani Spa at Grace Bay Club
Hi Claire:
I just returned from one of my most relaxing massages yet, at the Anani Spa at Grace Bay Club. Sonia Heastle, spa manager, says Anani is one of the best-kept secrets on the island. Although open since April 2006, a lot of residents aren’t aware that it is tucked into an enclave on the resort grounds. In fact, I loved its warm, intimate aura; I felt embraced in care and comfort as soon as I walked through the doors. The walls are honey-toned, with golden oak floors, warm wicker furniture draped with Balinese sarongs and the fragrance of lemon grass fills the air. Anani is an ancient Lucayan name for “water flower,” and the theme is carried out in the decor, with fresh flowers everywhere — even under my face cradle! Both Sonia and my massage therapist, Sharon Myburgh, clearly take a genuine interest in each client. They explained that many of the staff are veterans of the former Serenity Spa (one of the island’s originals) and take the “healing power of touch” quite seriously.
Sharon gave me a 75 minute Elemis Well-Being Massage. Anani specializes in Elemis treatments and products, and this is one of their specially “choreographed” massages (although Sharon says their client-customized massages are also popular, where the therapists’ creativity can really shine). I inhaled four essential oils and chose the “Muscle Melt” blend of warming Rosemary, Juniper, Thyme, Birch and Chamomile, designed to ease tired, aching muscles. This massage incorporates ten cultural touches from around the world in a smooth, flowing rhythm from start to finish. It started with a Thai foot ritual with warm lime mitts, which stretched the muscles of my feet and legs, and a brisk body brushing to exfoliate and improve circulation. Then, I started my journey into bliss. Using a variety of sure, long strokes, interspersed with pauses at pressure points and to flex joints, Sharon massaged the warm, fragrant oil into my ever-so-willing body, from one side to another, top to bottom.
When I was putty in her hands, she gave me a mini facial, including a cleansing followed by lavender compresses and face massage with Moringa oil, one of Elemis’ “miracle” products, a strong anti-oxidant designed to repair my aging skin. Her final touch was a blissful scalp massage; it felt like my every worry of the week flowed out through her fingers. The tincture bell sounded the end of the treatment all too soon. I re-donned my robe and slippers and padded into the dressing room to shower, dress and prepare to face the world again. Next time, I plan to spend time relaxing in the cozy lounge area, sipping tea or water, to ease my transition into reality.
The Anani Spa encompasses six treatment rooms, including a large couples suite with private double shower and a dedicated manicure/pedicure area. Each room opens to an outdoor treatment area with shower, and on into a private, enclosed garden. Massages on the beach under a tent are another option.
Five experienced, trained therapists offer a variety of treatments using all-natural Elemis products and techniques, a highly successful line, Sonia says, which is extremely results-driven and backed by extensive clinical and scientific studies. (In fact, Elemis sends representatives to the spa each year to introduce their ever-expanding product line and train therapists in new techniques.)
Massages also include deep tissue, aroma stone therapy and a nurturing pregnancy massage. Facials can be specialized to any skin type or problem, and always include luxurious neck, shoulder, hand, arm and foot massage and de-stressing scalp therapy. Body scrubs and wraps are an exotic option, utilizing natural ingredients  such as seaweed to detoxify and deep cleanse inside and out. Spa packages combine treatments for a day of luxury, especially popular among wedding parties.
Sonia and Sharon explained that at Anani, time moves slowly and they are never in a rush to hurry clients in and out. Elemis is a lifestyle brand, offering specialized treatment series. A popular program among Anani’s strong resident following is the weekly body sculpting treatment, combined with Elemis body enhancement supplements. They also say that residents love their pedicures, a.k.a. “facials of the feet,” which can transform a foot in one treatment! In 2010, Anani Spa will release a new “resident’s spa menu” to complement their 10% resident discount.
Sonia calls spa therapy “luxury with a purpose.” She says, “Treatment helps remove stress, aches and pains and improve your quality of life. In fact, we notice that many of our clients are making spa treatments a lifestyle choice. It’s like giving yourself the gift of health.” Sharon concurs, explaining, “Anani is much more than just a resort spa. We’re dedicated to people. We listen to each person and deliver results. We want each client to leave as a better person, and know that they’ve made a new friend.” That’s exactly how I felt when I left.
Visit www.gracebayclub.com or call 649 946 5050x 1045.
Faces & Fingers
Hi Kathy:  Another day, another treatment . . . this is fun! Today I went to Faces & Fingers and it lived up to all I was led to believe. My face feels tight and sparkling clean – I daren’t touch it for the rest of the day!
Very quickly I found myself experiencing the extreme professionalism I had expected in decisive suggestion of treatment for my skin, organisation of treatment room, the no-fuss process of applications with simple, gentle advice throughout, yet still with a clear message that I was here to relax. I totally felt that “an expert” was in charge and it was nice to know that I had to do absolutely nothing whilst much was being done around me. Even my bed had a means of raising my head as needed — I didn’t need to move a muscle.
For my Scientific Facial, I enjoyed the sensations of cool, smooth, warm and cool again while my face was being cleansed, creamed, steamed, viewed, gently extracted, and toned. It was while the toning mask was on and I was being treated to hand, foot, head, neck and shoulder massages that my attention strayed to the outer waiting/open treatment area. It wasn’t that voices were intrusive, they were fun to hear. There was a very nice older man catching up with some of the staff. I could tell he was here for a regular treatment and I thought “good for him – a treatment and a chance to catch up with some sweet younger ladies!” Soon there was a gentle hum of more regulars telling their latest tales, yet in the privacy of my own booth I could still drift off to the sound of Asian music and the smell of lavender.
Faces & Fingers used to be found on Airport Road, but has now taken an upfront location in the new Courtyard Plaza on Leeward Highway. It has long been well known for its loyal clientele, based on its professionalism and excellence in service.
Owner/director Georgia Wint started out with her shop in Jamaica 20 years ago and brought its sister shop to TCI 4 1/2 years ago. Patrice Elliott-Wint manages the shop here. Faces & Fingers provide a full treatment menu for men and women, very much specialising in scientific skin care, but also offering treatments such as laser hair removal (popular with the men), permanent makeup and nail artistry. The shop is definitely a Caribbean/European experience!
Call 941 4411.
The Spa at Seven Stars
Well, Claire, I made it through with flying colors – my first massage by a male therapist! You know how apprehensive I am about massages in general; but when Jennifer McLennon, spa manager of The Spa at Seven Stars told me my “Island Dream” treatment would be done by a man, I stood in dread all weekend.
Craig turned out to be her husband, they run the spa together, and both are very experienced professionals. Originally licensed and certified in Canada, they not only were employed in massage and physiotherapy clinics there, but have also worked in several upscale locations in the Caribbean, including Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands and The Four Seasons Spa in Nevis. What I’m trying to say is that it was clear from the beginning that I was in good hands.
Both the reception area and treatment rooms are in a building separate from the large Seven Stars resort. Both aura and aroma were clean and calming, emphasizing light earth tones in the decor with bamboo floorboards, lemon grass wallcovering and unique wave fans. Each of the four treatment rooms has a private shower and opens in the back to an outdoor patio.
Although I was pretty nervous at the beginning, Craig’s comfortable manner and strong, sure strokes soon emptied my mind of embarrassment and turned it to relaxation and pleasure. As requested in our consultation beforehand, he focused on my always-aching back, shoulders and neck, besides spending plenty of time on legs, calves and arms. Using a combination of Swedish and deep tissue techniques and a lovely rosemary massage oil, Craig managed to loosen each muscle and amazingly, make vanish a hard knot that often hurts in my upper back. I could feel it disappear! I also noticed that his movements worked to encourage lymphatic drainage towards the center of my body, a fact he confirmed afterwards by encouraging me to drink lots of water to wash away released toxins. He also seemed to stop at various pressure points and bend my joints to and fro, both designed to ease muscle tension.
All too soon the massage was over and the mini-facial treatment began. And yes, men do know how to give good facials! It began with a cream cleansing with a milk-based product, followed by toner and a clay purifying mask with a firming eye treatment. Even waiting time was pleasurable, as Craig massaged my feet (ah, sheer indulgence!) and hands while the mask was drying. A touch of moisturizer for my face and hot towel compresses for my feet were the finishing touch.
Afterwards, I had a chance to chat with Jennifer and Craig, a lovely, friendly couple who are obviously enthusiastic about their recently opened spa, and set very high standards. Jennifer explained that besides offering a good selection of massages, facials, body treatments, manicures and pedicures at very reasonable prices, the Seven Stars Spa is eager to customize treatment for clients. This means you can pick and choose among your favorite treatments and body parts, so, as Jennifer says, “You will enjoy every single second. After all, it’s all about you!” In-room, beachside and couples massages are also available.
Body treatments, including scrubs and wraps, and facials make use of Yon Ka products, a high-end line of all-natural ingredients imported from Paris. One interesting specialty was a “How To” massage, in which couples can learn how to give each other a full body relaxation massage. (Or is that too much work when spas are available???)
The Spa at Seven Stars offers a 15% local discount and a free treatment after you have five. They also have lots of fun specials planned for the holidays, include a Peppermint Body Polish for Christmas, which includes fresh peppermint leaves macerated with sea salt for a body scrub, peppermint oil for a massage and a cup of peppermint tea to follow.
Visit www.sevenstarsgracebay.com or call 649 333 7777 x 7740.
Spa Sanay
Hi Kathy: I got a bit carried away looking through the full spa menu at Spa Sanay, but was led in the right direction – my face is consolidating its education in “tingling!”
Just as with massage, it’s a learning curve to put into practice taking a regular facial and carrying on the good work at home to keep your skin healthy and glowing. I’m really pleased I had a facial suited to my age and skin type. Doing so compounded the reasons to keep the practice up!
This facial was called a Resurgence Renewal with Eye Renewal Mask. It followed all the steps I was now becoming accustomed to. My esthetician, Verona Mellis, explained to me what she was doing step by step and also told me about some of the things I could use at home if my skin care supplies were running low, like honey for toning and tightening as well as healing the skin. Honey kills bacteria and is a great remedy for skin blemishes. Avocado triggers the production of collagens, toughening and toning the skin. Her advice led me to look for more information on the Internet and there’s a lot to learn about natural remedies.
My problem areas were targeted with their own mask and then a cooling, calming, all-over mask of papaya and pineapple was pasted on. After the eye treatment I was ready for a most relaxing massage to my arms, hands, lower legs, feet, head and neck. Just as I am learning to expect, the foot massage was amazing! My mind was overcome by the reward of knowing that my face was getting extreme nourishment while my whole body was being further eased, all to the sound of calming music.
I was very pleased to leave the spa with a sizable purchase of products targeted to my needs, feeling I owed it to my skin to maintain a good simple routine. For the whole of that day my skin did feel tightened and tingling fresh, and I think it still does today, give or take the odd late night out!
Spa Sanay was started by owner/managers Sandy and Fay Lightbourne in 2003 in the Grace Bay Court Plaza opposite Sunshine Nursery, and they now also have a small spa at The Alexandra Resort which caters to both visitors and residents. As Fay tells me, Sandy, a banker by trade, likes to keep a close eye on his spa and is highly involved, doing all the purchasing of products, for example. Amongst his staff Georgette Dallas is key, overseeing things in his absence.
As their menu suggests, the range of treatments is all-encompassing including a full selection of hair services. Because these well known locals are devoted to their spa and their staff they have a great following, as I witnessed when two visiting gentlemen arrived with recommendations to take a Spa Sanay massage.
Email spasanay@hotmail.com or call 649 946 8212.
Spa Tropique
Hi Claire: I thought I’d forward you the report from my friend Charmaine Thomas. She visited Spa Tropique’s outlet at West Bay Club and received much more than she expected!
Hi Kathy:
I must say that I feel flattered to have been chosen as one to enjoy a Spa Tropique treatment. Located in the quiet tranquility of West Bay Club resort, the seaside spa is surrounded by luscious greenery which further emphasizes its serenity.
After describing my skin type, my therapist, Olive Fletcher, suggested that I receive a Papaya Pineapple Scrub followed by a body massage.
The body scrub was in a class of its own. Formulated with papaya and pineapple enzymes, it smells heavenly and both exfoliates and moisturizes, leaving my skin glowing and smooth.
My massage therapist was very knowledgeable in her job and I felt quite confident when observing her skills and caring spirit. The room was filled with soft music which mellowed my mind, placing me in a relaxing mood. Warm therapeutic oils were graciously and generously rubbed onto my body from neck down to my heels, and by the end of the massage, all my tight muscles seemed to have unwound.
I enjoyed every minute I spent in this spa and can’t wait for my next visit!
Spa Tropique is made up of a friendly, caring, professional group of therapists who work from many of Providenciales’ upscale resorts . . . and just about anywhere else you’d like a spa treatment! It reflects the customer-service oriented outlook of its owner/manager Meryl Cooper, who grew up in a family business and has it bred into her genes to please her clients. She explains, “Our goal is to be a wonderful part of the vacation experience. We want to make every customer feel like they are part of our family. We want everyone to leave happy.”
It would be nearly impossible not to be, with Spa Tropique’s extensive and creative list of spa services, whimsically described on their new menu. Ranging from Knotty but Nice classic Swedish massage to the Blemish Buster facial, Magical Mud Pie mud wrap, and Tootsies and Footsies foot and hand treatments, each selection seems an adventure into fun and relaxation.
Meryl says the most popular treatments are those that symbolize Caribbean flair, including the Margarita Body Glow scrub using Turks Island sea salt, and Caribbean Wrapsody, a papaya-pineapple créme fraiche body wrap, “the most delicious in history.”
Besides their home base Ports of Call location, Spa Tropique runs spas in a number of popular resorts, including both Ocean Clubs, The Sands, West Bay Club, Windsong and Reef Residences. They also handle out-call services for The Somerset, Coral Gardens and Royal West Indies. As a result, Meryl maintains a large, flexible staff that can be quickly mobilized to handle large parties (such as weddings and reunions) and corporate gatherings, as well as visit private residences or hotels. Meryl recalls among the most unusual “gigs” being when her staff dressed as pirates for a 50th anniversary party or when they set up their massage tables on the deck of a yacht — right next to the helicopter!
Meryl’s warm, outgoing personality makes her a natural for this people-pleasing business. Born and raised in New York City, Meryl began her career in retail and is a born actress, voiceover talent and stand-up comic, as well! She met the spa’s former owner during a trip to Little Cayman several years ago and shortly afterwards was living in Provo, running Spa Tropique and, along with her talented staff, on a mission to spoil you rotten.
Totally hands-on 24-7, Meryl hand-picks her staff from the many resumés that come her way. It currently includes certified, experienced therapists from the US, the Philippines and Jamaica — each one, like Meryl, thoroughly convinced that they’re doing “something good in the world through the power of touch.”
Spa Tropique also makes and packages a number of retail products, including salt scrubs and foot scrubs using indigenous ingredients. They are sold in the spa’s various outlets.
Visit www.spatropique.com or call 649 331 2040.
Teona Spa
Claire:  I just came back from my massage at Teona Spa and I was almost too relaxed to climb the stairs to my office. Edmonde Sidibe-Jones is the spa director (as well as its heart and soul) and I was glad to be in such capable hands. Last week, I had moved nearly seven tons of magazines around the island and into the storage locker and every muscle in my body was tight and sore. Edmonde treated me to one of her signature massages, in which she used a special blend of herbs, plants and fruits, including turmeric, lemon grass, ginger and mango, steamed together in fist-size bundles. Throughout the massage, she would take one of the hot bags and press and rub it over various meridian points on my body, an interesting sensation that was wonderfully warm and relaxing. As soon as I turned on my back, I could smell its spicy scent in the air.
Edmonde is a person who exudes beauty, warmth and love even when she is simply booking a treatment over the phone. During a massage, it positively flows from her spirit. She utilized a top grade olive oil, and plenty of it. She also used her elbows and forearms along with her strong hands and fingers to give the most personal, loving massage I have ever experienced. With a combination of long, smooth strokes, rocking, joint rotation and pressure, she slowly worked her way over my knotted back and shoulders, legs, feet, arms and neck, introducing each new area with the hot plant rub. Then I turned over and she started on the other side, including a stomach massage and ending with a scalp rub that included a tug or two on my hair.
As I slowly relaxed to the quiet music playing in the background, I could hear pops and clicks as my knots unknotted and my tensions unreeled. All too soon, the massage came to a close with two warm balls of the steamed blend tucked on either side of my neck, releasing for my deep inhalations their purifying scent. I will take Edmonde’s advice when she says I need to do this more often!
Teona Spa is tucked away in a shady grove in a building just south of Villa Renaissance. It serves as the resort’s dedicated spa, as well as for its sister property The Regent Grand. Its name “teona” means “a spirit of peace” and from the time you step into the African-themed waiting area and breathe in the rich scent of patchouli, tranquility begins to flow. Edmonde was born in Senegal; her father was African and her mother French. As a result, her spa bring to the Turks & Caicos an exotic blend of cultures that well suits the Caribbean. Her extensive training was primarily done in France, and this European influence can be felt in both her professional approach and sophisticated techniques (as well as her lovely French accent). She explains, “In Europe and throughout the Old World, spas have a rich heritage and a deep philosophy. It is not just somewhere you go for pampering, but a process of holistic healing. It involves body and mind, and can be spiritual as well.”
Open since November 2007, Teona welcomes all TCI visitors and has a strong resident clientele, many of whom believe in the value of long-term spa treatments on their health. (They also seem to enjoy her slimming therapy and de-tox programs, which, like most of Edmonde’s treatments, deliver results.) Teona’s extensive menu includes an array of facials, body wraps and scrubs and a wide variety of massages gleaning rituals from around the world. Signature treatments were created to utilize Edmonde’s 25 years of experience, and Master’s level knowledge of spa techniques. What looked especially appealing to me for next Valentine’s Day was “Two Hot to Handle,” a couple’s treatment involving a Boreh mask, a spiced bath and a Mediterranean hot oil massage. Edmonde says many of the treatments can done in your hotel room (or balcony), villa or home, including the ultimate four-hand massage in which two therapists work simultaneously. Teona also offers complete manicure, pedicure, depilatory and make-up services.
Edmonde’s product line includes Thalgo marine-based cosmetology (especially appropriate to our sea-surrounded island), as well as Phytobiodermic and Rhonda Allison products.
For 2010, Edmonde is anticipating a total remodel of the existing building. The interior space will be tripled, with the reception separated from the quiet treatment room area. There will also be a large outdoor facility encompassing a garden, waterfall, outdoor shower and relaxation area with two bungalows tucked in the dunes overlooking the beach. She plans to introduce several new technologies, including light therapy, corrective baths, a sauna and Turkish bath and a hair salon.
Visit www.www.villarenaissance.com/Teona_Spa or call 649 941 5051.

A sampling of Providenciales’ sybartic – and healthful – spa pleasures.

By Kathy Borsuk & Claire Parrish ~ Photos By Claire Parrish

When Claire and I decided to visit many of the spas in Providenciales for this feature, I inwardly cringed. I’m a wash ‘n’ ready, no-frills gal who was brought up to believe that hard work and deprivation build character and self-indulgence is morally wrong! (I also don’t like strangers invading my personal space.)

Ironically, my sister is a successful massage therapist and esthetician. Her views on the subject started to change my opinion of the virtues of spa therapies, as did Claire’s obvious enthusiasm for the project. But it was this fall’s tour of Provo spas — and their rejuvenating effect on my exhausted body, blotchy complexion and stressed-out mind — that turned me into an advocate, especially as to their long-term benefits for health.

Massage at Thalasso Spa beachfront treatment room

Massage at Thalasso Spa beachfront treatment room

As an upscale resort destination, the Turks & Caicos Islands boast a large number of exceptional spas. We focused our attention on spa services available on Providenciales, where most tourists visit and most residents live. The locations are as varied as the list of treatments available, ranging from seaside palapas tucked behind a private dune to a large wellness center with personal treatment rooms that seem to float upon a reflective pond. You can visit luxurious sanctuaries filled with aromatic essence and the sound of a waterfall or take your treatment by the beach, in a garden or on a sun-drenched patio overlooking the sea.

What we found to be universal were a commitment to excellence and professionalism; a sincere enjoyment in pleasing clients by spa management and staff; and spotlessly clean treatment rooms with decor that invited us to take a deep breath, relax and enter a world of peace and tranquility.

But what about the recession? Is there a place for pampering during these hard times? One spa manager I talked to put it best, “When you’re working hard to manage your business or do your job, taking care of your family, and probably worrying about the economy on top of it all, you need to remember to set aside time to keep your body and mind healthy. Stress takes its toll in more ways than you can imagine, starting with high blood pressure and heart disease and ranging to insomnia, headaches and skin problems. And when you’re continually rushed and anxious, you’re more likely to argue with family and friends or fall into depression. When you consider that a massage, facial or other spa treatment can help alleviate a great deal of stress, I would say it’s well worth the money.”

Spa managers also agreed that tourists expect pampering to be an important part of what may be their only vacation of the year. Many make spa visits a daily part of their resort stay, taking advantage of spa packages. An oft-noted trend is the increase in couples coming to the spa together, especially among honeymooners, and men taking advantage of spa services more than ever.

A number of the spas we visited had recently offered discounts and promotional specials, especially during the slower months of the year. Also available were resident’s discounts. It’s worth asking if any promotions are available when you make your reservation, or check out the spa’s website ahead of time.

As we visited the various spas, Claire and I (who work out of separate offices) kept in touch via email. What follows includes extracts of our “spa chat.”

Exhale® at the Gansevoort Turks + Caicos

Hi Claire: I went for my first spa treatment today at your favorite place for core fusion classes: Exhale® Spa at the Gansevoort. The resort is so chic and trendy — there always seems to be a “buzz” about the poolside and I know you’ve spotted several celebrities there. I was a little intimidated, but felt right at home as soon as I met Tami Norris, the spa manager, and my esthetician, Tamika Thompson. Both were so friendly and down to earth!

They welcomed me into the beautiful reception area — I loved the clean, minimalist lines and combination of dark wood and dusky gray and have you noticed that amazing sand art piece on the front of the desk? We sipped some water and tea while a lot of people — several couples — came in and out to make reservations. But as soon as we entered the treatment room, it was like being in another world: quiet, soothing, scented with a refreshing botanical and just the right temperature. I snuggled into the comfy spa gown and braced myself for the verdict as Tamika analyzed my skin in preparation for a 60 minute ”true” facial.

Age, sun damage, dryness and an annoying predilection for acne led to Tamika’s diagnosis of mature, combination skin and she expertly selected the appropriate lotions and formulas. The first step was a warm and wonderful steaming, followed by a cleanser and a tingly, exfoliating Z-peel. Then came the torture — a.k.a. “extraction.” This involved Tamika squeezing the life out of my every whitehead, blackhead and anything else on my face that didn’t belong. It hurt! But I endured, all in the name of beauty! Tamika explained that this was the proper way to “pop a pimple” and that childhood admonishments against this were because dirty fingernails can cause infection. Yuch!

I was more than ready for the soothing facial massage that followed, along with a rejuvenating mask made of Oriental mushrooms, with a serum applied to my eye “squints.” The final steps were application of moisturizer and a sunscreen that actually treats and protects at the same time. What I especially enjoyed were Tamika’s luxuriant hand and foot massages while the peel and mask did their work.

Tami had told me that Exhale® chooses their product line because “you can see results right away,” and she was right. Although my face was slightly irritated from the extractions, by the next day it was noticeably smoother and less “bumpy” and it did seem that a few wrinkles had vanished. Of course, regular treatment is the key to long-lasting results.

Exhale's outdoor couples shower

Exhale's outdoor couples shower

Exhale® is an extension of the popular “mindbody” spas that started in New York City in 2003; over 20 in the line are expected to open internationally. Exhale® is the only Condé Nast Johansen recommended spa in Providenciales. Spa manager Tami Norris notes that the most popular services here are massages, especially the fusion massage which make use of aromatherapy for relaxation and healing. Afterwards, many clients enjoy the outdoor garden shower, under which you can rinse in your own private paradise of sunlight and tradewinds.

Besides a variety of facial treatments, including the popular g.r.n. product version, clients can enjoy grn manicures and pedicures in the Islands’ only pedicure chairs! Budding brides and honeymooners often partake in the brow and body waxing services.

For the ultimate in luxury, Tami suggests an “escape” spa package, which combines a deep flow massage, true facial, glow body scrub and unlimited mind body classes during your stay at the resort. (In fact, their trademark Core Fusion® classes, which fuse the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates and yoga and are transformational in themselves, are very popular among residents and guests.)

Exhale® uses several results-oriented exclusive product lines, including their own grn products, Actifirm, 302, jimm harrison and IS clinical, which is of dermatologist quality. A variety of these products, along with spa wear, can be purchased in the reception area.

This winter, Tami says you can expect several brand-new offerings, including special sunburn body wrap and de-tox therapies. The “de-tox” will encompass exfoliation, a purifying mud masque and scalp massage, all designed to relieve the effects of holiday excess.

Visit www.exhalespa.com or call 649 941 7555.

Thalasso Spa at Point Grace Resort

Hi Kathy: I have just visited tranquility near the beach! I think I’d like to live there!

I have been surrounded by flowers, grasses, sea breezes, a view of the ocean and pretty white-washed buildings full of eclectic keepsakes. There is Asian music in the air and I already feel relaxed. Having arrived at Point Grace Thalasso Spa, Merna Alcandsado from the Philippines showed me a wide ranging menu of all the treatments offered. I could have taken all day choosing! She knew me a little already and I being a sporty working mum of two she was quick to suggest her signature massage, the Fusion. It brings together Swedish and Thai massage techniques to strengthen the body’s energy.

I inhaled a bracing peppermint aroma while my therapist set to work to improve my flexibility, promote my circulation and stimulate the release of toxins. Using a mixture of olive oil and peppermint, she eased every possible muscle or joint tension . . . every toe, every finger, no joint was left out. She was gentle yet firm and added more massage pressure as requested. The added pleasure with this massage was the soothing extensions and flexions of joints. I have often drifted off to sleep during other massages, coming to with a feeling of, “What have I missed?” This massage was just right for me as it made me listen to my body as Merna enhanced my flexibility . . . I only snoozed a little! I blame that on the luxuriant effects of the beautiful natural scenery around me — I think I was dreaming about how I could set up home in this spa.

Point Grace has a special location on the point of world-renowned, 12 mile Grace Bay Beach. It has won for four consecutive years the World Travel Award’s “Caribbean’s Leading Boutique Hotel” designation.

Whether in the hotel or the spa you get a sense of being untouched by modern time. This authentic Caribbean spa so close to nature specialises in preparing facial and body wrap mixes using fresh Neem leaves from trees on the grounds or aloe grown in their gardens. Luxury here comes in the form of marble sinks paired with open-roofed showers, and of course the feeling of freedom when de-robing while looking out to sand dunes and the turquoise sea!

Appropriate to its location, the spa also highlights Thalassotherapy — using the properties of sea water as well as applications of sea mud and select seaweed by specialists trained in these European techniques. These treatments contribute to naturally restore vital energy.

And everyone can benefit — I loved the fact that the comprehensive spa menu includes options not just for men and women, but also for kids. They have “kids at the spa” selections for children between 5 to 12 years old, including a mini massage, mini cooling wrap and mini manicure/mini pedicure. In fact, I shall be giving my six year old (who likes the finer things in life as much as any of us) a special treat for Christmas — a mini-massage at Thalasso Spa.

Visit www.pointgrace.com or call 649 941 7743.

The Regent Spa at The Regent Palms Resort

Good morning Claire: I decided to send Gary for a men’s facial at The Regent Spa. Spa Development Manager Sara Codner says more men are coming in for treatments these days and they even have an old-fashioned barber’s chair for traditional shaves.

At 28,000 sq. ft. and with 17 treatment rooms, The Regent Spa is the island’s largest. It’s a separate facility well away from the resort, and as soon as walk up the path to the spa, shoulders relax and calming music urges you to enter a private sanctuary dedicated to pleasure. The first thing you see is a calming reflecting pool, very oriental in appearance, surrounded by pillars and bamboo plants. Everything is white, with wrought iron accents and a touch of colorful flowers.

We checked in at the beautiful, high-ceilinged reception area, which doubles as a boutique from which to purchase custom apparel, unique organic jewelry, and products from the spa’s various lines. Elder, Gary’s personal spa attendant, led him to the men’s dressing room to change into a robe and slippers.

Besides housing separate men’s and women’s dressing areas, this “outer chamber” also includes a high tech fitness center and a dedicated manicure/pedicure room. I passed through the yoga pavilion to check out the spa’s main treatment area. Here, eight private, stand-alone rooms line the palm-flanked signature pool — each seems to float above the water in its own tranquil aura. There is a quiet area with padded loungers on which to relax before or after treatment and a garden on the opposite end, with a waterfall flowing down the bordering rock wall. Its quiet murmur, along with the bubbling of fountains, served to further separate this elegant oasis from the surrounding world.

Janice Thompson was Gary’s esthetician. After helping him get comfortable on the padded table, she diagnosed discoloration, skin damage and dryness, and set to work with the 80 minute Signature Red Carpet Facial. I left and came back when it was done.

Amazingly, his skin looked fresh and smooth and I could tell he was pleased. Of course, men tend to space out the details, but Janice explained the customized steps she followed for the Sonya Dakar “Fitness Facial.” She began with a Mud Eucalyptus Wash, using actual mud from the Dead Sea to throughly cleanse his skin, while eucalyptus and lemon extracts did more deep cleaning. The next step was an organic scrub to decongest and exfoliate, then a toner to prepare his skin for the next step — seaweed lipsome gel, a “power shake” packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins. One reason he looked so much younger afterwards was probably due to the enzyme peeling cream, which used pumpkin and cardamom extracts to gently remove dead skin, and the lightening mask, combining wheat grass and lactic acid. The final applications were an eye cream to reduce wrinkles, hydrosoft lotion to rebalance his skin’s pH level, and Sport SPF 30 sunscreen (which she urged him to apply daily). I was envious! He had obviously had top-notch care from a “skin expert” and I’m thinking of checking myself in next.

The Regent Spa private treatment rooms encircle a tranquil pond.

The Regent Spa private treatment rooms encircle a tranquil pond.

Although The Regent Spa exudes an aura of casual five-star elegance, it’s the result of lots of hard work over the last four years by its talented manager Sara Codner and her staff of 28. With a strong background in managing upscale spas (she started-up The Spa at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, England), Sara has used her expertise to refine The Regent Spa to sheer perfection. She says, “We create our own trends and take pride in our authenticity. For instance, since we offer Thai massage on the menu, we make sure it’s done by an experienced masseuse from Thailand. We have a Balinese therapist who begins her traditional meditative massage with a terrific coconut body scrub and incorporates fragrant oils. For our signature Zareeba herbal steam detoxifying ritual, we have a woman in Jamaica who handpicks and mixes our therapeutic herbal blend. We also offer a Mother of Pearl body exfoliation that uses a blend of hand-crushed local queen conch shells to polish your skin to perfection.”

On the other hand, their product line reflects sheer sophistication. Sara explains, “Sonia Dakar is a Beverly Hills favorite, the Somme Institute products are popular among New York City’s elite and this is the only place outside of the US where you can get The Art of Shaving line.”

As a qualified massage therapist and esthetician herself, Sara knows what to look for when selecting staff. She explains, “Of course I look for credentials and experience, but I also personally try out each applicant and I can tell almost immediately if they have that special touch and healing energy the makes for a good spa therapist.”

Massages make up about 70% of The Regent Spa’s business, and their menu includes many varieties, ranging from aromatherapy and deep tissue to Swedish and Shiatsu, with an interesting sea massage which takes place on a warm flotation bed.

Other salon services include make-up application by professional artists, luxury manicures and pedicures, hair cuts and styling for men and women and depilatory services using Lycon wax treatments.

This summer offered were fabulous $1 per minute massages and 50% off facials. Residents always receive a 20% discount and other specials are available throughout the year.

Visit www.regenthotels.com/thepalms or call 649 946 8666.

Beauty & the Beach: Maxime salon & day spa at Caicos Café Plaza

Hey Kathy: Countless friends make regular visits to Mercy (Mercy Garcia, massage therapist at Beauty & the Beach) and now I can say I’ve had the Mercy experience!

Mercy’s choice for me was Swedish massage with, as she put it, added movements of arms, legs, feet, back and neck to aid flexibility. Whew! With relaxing Enya music in the background, I soon felt very much at home listening to my body again. After some warming up massage, Mercy put her whole body behind the movements, whether massage or flexing joints. This included considerable weight on specific areas of my back – enough to make me exhale involuntarily! She comfortably went beyond the elongations I had previously experienced, one example being legs firmly held to one side and head to the other, giving a great back stretch, and somehow Mercy found a way of adding to that stretch with pressure on my back too. How many hands has she got? This experience was all about energising and stress relieving. Again every joint area was targeted and of course my head too.

Both of my massage visits have made me realise that regular massage gives health benefits to the whole body and I need to rethink the way I have viewed massage. Whether it’s easing cramps and muscle tension, stimulation of circulation or lymph systems or a feeling of well being – the health benefits could come into play far more often than just my birthday or Mother’s Day treat. I used to view a spa visit as simply relaxing time away from work or children, when really it’s a more serious health benefit that accumulates the more you do it.

Beauty & the Beach day spa has been operating for nearly 12 years and is hugely popular with residents who also frequent Maxime’s hair salon on site. In the heart of Grace Bay at Caicos Café Plaza, access is easy and the small team here is extremely approachable and friendly. Walking into Maxime’s/Beauty & the Beach feels like walking into a true neighbourhood shop — there are always people you know having a cut or treatment! And yet there is complete confidentiality within the two beauty rooms —the site may be small but the layout works perfectly.

Ann Clift Northcote, an esthetician and owner/manager, continues to keep herself updated on cutting edge ingredients and techniques to provide the services people would like. She says her partnership with Sothys Skincare Paris located in Miami keeps her on her toes, whether it’s eyelash perming to reflexology, or stone massage to glycolic peelings, to name a few. Over the past few years the wedding market has taken off and Ann has worked hard with hair stylist Geraldine Burtschi to create a great name for themselves amongst clients, wedding planners and photographers.

Call 649 946 5093.

Anani Spa at Grace Bay Club

Hi Claire:

I just returned from one of my most relaxing massages yet, at the Anani Spa at Grace Bay Club. Sonia Heastle, spa manager, says Anani is one of the best-kept secrets on the island. Although open since April 2006, a lot of residents aren’t aware that it is tucked into an enclave on the resort grounds. In fact, I loved its warm, intimate aura; I felt embraced in care and comfort as soon as I walked through the doors. The walls are honey-toned, with golden oak floors, warm wicker furniture draped with Balinese sarongs and the fragrance of lemon grass fills the air. Anani is an ancient Lucayan name for “water flower,” and the theme is carried out in the decor, with fresh flowers everywhere — even under my face cradle! Both Sonia and my massage therapist, Sharon Myburgh, clearly take a genuine interest in each client. They explained that many of the staff are veterans of the former Serenity Spa (one of the island’s originals) and take the “healing power of touch” quite seriously.

Sharon gave me a 75 minute Elemis Well-Being Massage. Anani specializes in Elemis treatments and products, and this is one of their specially “choreographed” massages (although Sharon says their client-customized massages are also popular, where the therapists’ creativity can really shine). I inhaled four essential oils and chose the “Muscle Melt” blend of warming Rosemary, Juniper, Thyme, Birch and Chamomile, designed to ease tired, aching muscles. This massage incorporates ten cultural touches from around the world in a smooth, flowing rhythm from start to finish. It started with a Thai foot ritual with warm lime mitts, which stretched the muscles of my feet and legs, and a brisk body brushing to exfoliate and improve circulation. Then, I started my journey into bliss. Using a variety of sure, long strokes, interspersed with pauses at pressure points and to flex joints, Sharon massaged the warm, fragrant oil into my ever-so-willing body, from one side to another, top to bottom.

When I was putty in her hands, she gave me a mini facial, including a cleansing followed by lavender compresses and face massage with Moringa oil, one of Elemis’ “miracle” products, a strong anti-oxidant designed to repair my aging skin. Her final touch was a blissful scalp massage; it felt like my every worry of the week flowed out through her fingers. The tincture bell sounded the end of the treatment all too soon. I re-donned my robe and slippers and padded into the dressing room to shower, dress and prepare to face the world again. Next time, I plan to spend time relaxing in the cozy lounge area, sipping tea or water, to ease my transition into reality.

The Anani Spa encompasses six treatment rooms, including a large couples suite with private double shower and a dedicated manicure/pedicure area. Each room opens to an outdoor treatment area with shower, and on into a private, enclosed garden. Massages on the beach under a tent are another option.

Five experienced, trained therapists offer a variety of treatments using all-natural Elemis products and techniques, a highly successful line, Sonia says, which is extremely results-driven and backed by extensive clinical and scientific studies. (In fact, Elemis sends representatives to the spa each year to introduce their ever-expanding product line and train therapists in new techniques.)

Massages also include deep tissue, aroma stone therapy and a nurturing pregnancy massage. Facials can be specialized to any skin type or problem, and always include luxurious neck, shoulder, hand, arm and foot massage and de-stressing scalp therapy. Body scrubs and wraps are an exotic option, utilizing natural ingredients  such as seaweed to detoxify and deep cleanse inside and out. Spa packages combine treatments for a day of luxury, especially popular among wedding parties.

Sonia and Sharon explained that at Anani, time moves slowly and they are never in a rush to hurry clients in and out. Elemis is a lifestyle brand, offering specialized treatment series. A popular program among Anani’s strong resident following is the weekly body sculpting treatment, combined with Elemis body enhancement supplements. They also say that residents love their pedicures, a.k.a. “facials of the feet,” which can transform a foot in one treatment! In 2010, Anani Spa will release a new “resident’s spa menu” to complement their 10% resident discount.

Sonia calls spa therapy “luxury with a purpose.” She says, “Treatment helps remove stress, aches and pains and improve your quality of life. In fact, we notice that many of our clients are making spa treatments a lifestyle choice. It’s like giving yourself the gift of health.” Sharon concurs, explaining, “Anani is much more than just a resort spa. We’re dedicated to people. We listen to each person and deliver results. We want each client to leave as a better person, and know that they’ve made a new friend.” That’s exactly how I felt when I left.

Visit www.gracebayclub.com or call 649 946 5050x 1045.

Faces & Fingers

Hi Kathy:  Another day, another treatment . . . this is fun! Today I went to Faces & Fingers and it lived up to all I was led to believe. My face feels tight and sparkling clean – I daren’t touch it for the rest of the day!

Very quickly I found myself experiencing the extreme professionalism I had expected in decisive suggestion of treatment for my skin, organisation of treatment room, the no-fuss process of applications with simple, gentle advice throughout, yet still with a clear message that I was here to relax. I totally felt that “an expert” was in charge and it was nice to know that I had to do absolutely nothing whilst much was being done around me. Even my bed had a means of raising my head as needed — I didn’t need to move a muscle.

For my Scientific Facial, I enjoyed the sensations of cool, smooth, warm and cool again while my face was being cleansed, creamed, steamed, viewed, gently extracted, and toned. It was while the toning mask was on and I was being treated to hand, foot, head, neck and shoulder massages that my attention strayed to the outer waiting/open treatment area. It wasn’t that voices were intrusive, they were fun to hear. There was a very nice older man catching up with some of the staff. I could tell he was here for a regular treatment and I thought “good for him – a treatment and a chance to catch up with some sweet younger ladies!” Soon there was a gentle hum of more regulars telling their latest tales, yet in the privacy of my own booth I could still drift off to the sound of Asian music and the smell of lavender.

Faces & Fingers used to be found on Airport Road, but has now taken an upfront location in the new Courtyard Plaza on Leeward Highway. It has long been well known for its loyal clientele, based on its professionalism and excellence in service.

Eyebrow waxing at Faces & Fingers

Eyebrow waxing at Faces & Fingers

Owner/director Georgia Wint started out with her shop in Jamaica 20 years ago and brought its sister shop to TCI 4 1/2 years ago. Patrice Elliott-Wint manages the shop here. Faces & Fingers provide a full treatment menu for men and women, very much specialising in scientific skin care, but also offering treatments such as laser hair removal (popular with the men), permanent makeup and nail artistry. The shop is definitely a Caribbean/European experience!

Call 941 4411.

The Spa at Seven Stars

Well, Claire, I made it through with flying colors – my first massage by a male therapist! You know how apprehensive I am about massages in general; but when Jennifer McLennon, spa manager of The Spa at Seven Stars told me my “Island Dream” treatment would be done by a man, I stood in dread all weekend.

Craig turned out to be her husband, they run the spa together, and both are very experienced professionals. Originally licensed and certified in Canada, they not only were employed in massage and physiotherapy clinics there, but have also worked in several upscale locations in the Caribbean, including Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands and The Four Seasons Spa in Nevis. What I’m trying to say is that it was clear from the beginning that I was in good hands.

Both the reception area and treatment rooms are in a building separate from the large Seven Stars resort. Both aura and aroma were clean and calming, emphasizing light earth tones in the decor with bamboo floorboards, lemon grass wallcovering and unique wave fans. Each of the four treatment rooms has a private shower and opens in the back to an outdoor patio.

Although I was pretty nervous at the beginning, Craig’s comfortable manner and strong, sure strokes soon emptied my mind of embarrassment and turned it to relaxation and pleasure. As requested in our consultation beforehand, he focused on my always-aching back, shoulders and neck, besides spending plenty of time on legs, calves and arms. Using a combination of Swedish and deep tissue techniques and a lovely rosemary massage oil, Craig managed to loosen each muscle and amazingly, make vanish a hard knot that often hurts in my upper back. I could feel it disappear! I also noticed that his movements worked to encourage lymphatic drainage towards the center of my body, a fact he confirmed afterwards by encouraging me to drink lots of water to wash away released toxins. He also seemed to stop at various pressure points and bend my joints to and fro, both designed to ease muscle tension.

All too soon the massage was over and the mini-facial treatment began. And yes, men do know how to give good facials! It began with a cream cleansing with a milk-based product, followed by toner and a clay purifying mask with a firming eye treatment. Even waiting time was pleasurable, as Craig massaged my feet (ah, sheer indulgence!) and hands while the mask was drying. A touch of moisturizer for my face and hot towel compresses for my feet were the finishing touch.

Treatment rooms at The Spa at Seven Stars

Treatment rooms at The Spa at Seven Stars

Afterwards, I had a chance to chat with Jennifer and Craig, a lovely, friendly couple who are obviously enthusiastic about their recently opened spa, and set very high standards. Jennifer explained that besides offering a good selection of massages, facials, body treatments, manicures and pedicures at very reasonable prices, the Seven Stars Spa is eager to customize treatment for clients. This means you can pick and choose among your favorite treatments and body parts, so, as Jennifer says, “You will enjoy every single second. After all, it’s all about you!” In-room, beachside and couples massages are also available.

Body treatments, including scrubs and wraps, and facials make use of Yon Ka products, a high-end line of all-natural ingredients imported from Paris. One interesting specialty was a “How To” massage, in which couples can learn how to give each other a full body relaxation massage. (Or is that too much work when spas are available???)

The Spa at Seven Stars offers a 15% local discount and a free treatment after you have five. They also have lots of fun specials planned for the holidays, include a Peppermint Body Polish for Christmas, which includes fresh peppermint leaves macerated with sea salt for a body scrub, peppermint oil for a massage and a cup of peppermint tea to follow.

Visit www.sevenstarsgracebay.com or call 649 333 7777 x 7740.

Spa Sanay

Hi Kathy: I got a bit carried away looking through the full spa menu at Spa Sanay, but was led in the right direction – my face is consolidating its education in “tingling!”

Just as with massage, it’s a learning curve to put into practice taking a regular facial and carrying on the good work at home to keep your skin healthy and glowing. I’m really pleased I had a facial suited to my age and skin type. Doing so compounded the reasons to keep the practice up!

This facial was called a Resurgence Renewal with Eye Renewal Mask. It followed all the steps I was now becoming accustomed to. My esthetician, Verona Mellis, explained to me what she was doing step by step and also told me about some of the things I could use at home if my skin care supplies were running low, like honey for toning and tightening as well as healing the skin. Honey kills bacteria and is a great remedy for skin blemishes. Avocado triggers the production of collagens, toughening and toning the skin. Her advice led me to look for more information on the Internet and there’s a lot to learn about natural remedies.

My problem areas were targeted with their own mask and then a cooling, calming, all-over mask of papaya and pineapple was pasted on. After the eye treatment I was ready for a most relaxing massage to my arms, hands, lower legs, feet, head and neck. Just as I am learning to expect, the foot massage was amazing! My mind was overcome by the reward of knowing that my face was getting extreme nourishment while my whole body was being further eased, all to the sound of calming music.

I was very pleased to leave the spa with a sizable purchase of products targeted to my needs, feeling I owed it to my skin to maintain a good simple routine. For the whole of that day my skin did feel tightened and tingling fresh, and I think it still does today, give or take the odd late night out!

Spa Sanay was started by owner/managers Sandy and Fay Lightbourne in 2003 in the Grace Bay Court Plaza opposite Sunshine Nursery, and they now also have a small spa at The Alexandra Resort which caters to both visitors and residents. As Fay tells me, Sandy, a banker by trade, likes to keep a close eye on his spa and is highly involved, doing all the purchasing of products, for example. Amongst his staff Georgette Dallas is key, overseeing things in his absence.

As their menu suggests, the range of treatments is all-encompassing including a full selection of hair services. Because these well known locals are devoted to their spa and their staff they have a great following, as I witnessed when two visiting gentlemen arrived with recommendations to take a Spa Sanay massage.

Email spasanay@hotmail.com or call 649 946 8212.

Spa Tropique

Hi Claire: I thought I’d forward you the report from my friend Charmaine Thomas. She visited Spa Tropique’s outlet at West Bay Club and received much more than she expected!

Hi Kathy:

I must say that I feel flattered to have been chosen as one to enjoy a Spa Tropique treatment. Located in the quiet tranquility of West Bay Club resort, the seaside spa is surrounded by luscious greenery which further emphasizes its serenity.

After describing my skin type, my therapist, Olive Fletcher, suggested that I receive a Papaya Pineapple Scrub followed by a body massage.

The body scrub was in a class of its own. Formulated with papaya and pineapple enzymes, it smells heavenly and both exfoliates and moisturizes, leaving my skin glowing and smooth.

My massage therapist was very knowledgeable in her job and I felt quite confident when observing her skills and caring spirit. The room was filled with soft music which mellowed my mind, placing me in a relaxing mood. Warm therapeutic oils were graciously and generously rubbed onto my body from neck down to my heels, and by the end of the massage, all my tight muscles seemed to have unwound.

I enjoyed every minute I spent in this spa and can’t wait for my next visit!

Spa Tropique is made up of a friendly, caring, professional group of therapists who work from many of Providenciales’ upscale resorts . . . and just about anywhere else you’d like a spa treatment! It reflects the customer-service oriented outlook of its owner/manager Meryl Cooper, who grew up in a family business and has it bred into her genes to please her clients. She explains, “Our goal is to be a wonderful part of the vacation experience. We want to make every customer feel like they are part of our family. We want everyone to leave happy.”

It would be nearly impossible not to be, with Spa Tropique’s extensive and creative list of spa services, whimsically described on their new menu. Ranging from Knotty but Nice classic Swedish massage to the Blemish Buster facial, Magical Mud Pie mud wrap, and Tootsies and Footsies foot and hand treatments, each selection seems an adventure into fun and relaxation.

Meryl says the most popular treatments are those that symbolize Caribbean flair, including the Margarita Body Glow scrub using Turks Island sea salt, and Caribbean Wrapsody, a papaya-pineapple créme fraiche body wrap, “the most delicious in history.”

Besides their home base Ports of Call location, Spa Tropique runs spas in a number of popular resorts, including both Ocean Clubs, The Sands, West Bay Club, Windsong and Reef Residences. They also handle out-call services for The Somerset, Coral Gardens and Royal West Indies. As a result, Meryl maintains a large, flexible staff that can be quickly mobilized to handle large parties (such as weddings and reunions) and corporate gatherings, as well as visit private residences or hotels. Meryl recalls among the most unusual “gigs” being when her staff dressed as pirates for a 50th anniversary party or when they set up their massage tables on the deck of a yacht — right next to the helicopter!

Meryl’s warm, outgoing personality makes her a natural for this people-pleasing business. Born and raised in New York City, Meryl began her career in retail and is a born actress, voiceover talent and stand-up comic, as well! She met the spa’s former owner during a trip to Little Cayman several years ago and shortly afterwards was living in Provo, running Spa Tropique and, along with her talented staff, on a mission to spoil you rotten.

Totally hands-on 24-7, Meryl hand-picks her staff from the many resumés that come her way. It currently includes certified, experienced therapists from the US, the Philippines and Jamaica — each one, like Meryl, thoroughly convinced that they’re doing “something good in the world through the power of touch.”

Spa Tropique also makes and packages a number of retail products, including salt scrubs and foot scrubs using indigenous ingredients. They are sold in the spa’s various outlets.

Visit www.spatropique.com or call 649 331 2040.

Teona Spa

Claire:  I just came back from my massage at Teona Spa and I was almost too relaxed to climb the stairs to my office. Edmonde Sidibe-Jones is the spa director (as well as its heart and soul) and I was glad to be in such capable hands. Last week, I had moved nearly seven tons of magazines around the island and into the storage locker and every muscle in my body was tight and sore. Edmonde treated me to one of her signature massages, in which she used a special blend of herbs, plants and fruits, including turmeric, lemon grass, ginger and mango, steamed together in fist-size bundles. Throughout the massage, she would take one of the hot bags and press and rub it over various meridian points on my body, an interesting sensation that was wonderfully warm and relaxing. As soon as I turned on my back, I could smell its spicy scent in the air.

Edmonde is a person who exudes beauty, warmth and love even when she is simply booking a treatment over the phone. During a massage, it positively flows from her spirit. She utilized a top grade olive oil, and plenty of it. She also used her elbows and forearms along with her strong hands and fingers to give the most personal, loving massage I have ever experienced. With a combination of long, smooth strokes, rocking, joint rotation and pressure, she slowly worked her way over my knotted back and shoulders, legs, feet, arms and neck, introducing each new area with the hot plant rub. Then I turned over and she started on the other side, including a stomach massage and ending with a scalp rub that included a tug or two on my hair.

As I slowly relaxed to the quiet music playing in the background, I could hear pops and clicks as my knots unknotted and my tensions unreeled. All too soon, the massage came to a close with two warm balls of the steamed blend tucked on either side of my neck, releasing for my deep inhalations their purifying scent. I will take Edmonde’s advice when she says I need to do this more often!

Teona Spa is tucked away in a shady grove in a building just south of Villa Renaissance. It serves as the resort’s dedicated spa, as well as for its sister property The Regent Grand. Its name “teona” means “a spirit of peace” and from the time you step into the African-themed waiting area and breathe in the rich scent of patchouli, tranquility begins to flow. Edmonde was born in Senegal; her father was African and her mother French. As a result, her spa bring to the Turks & Caicos an exotic blend of cultures that well suits the Caribbean. Her extensive training was primarily done in France, and this European influence can be felt in both her professional approach and sophisticated techniques (as well as her lovely French accent). She explains, “In Europe and throughout the Old World, spas have a rich heritage and a deep philosophy. It is not just somewhere you go for pampering, but a process of holistic healing. It involves body and mind, and can be spiritual as well.”

Open since November 2007, Teona welcomes all TCI visitors and has a strong resident clientele, many of whom believe in the value of long-term spa treatments on their health. (They also seem to enjoy her slimming therapy and de-tox programs, which, like most of Edmonde’s treatments, deliver results.) Teona’s extensive menu includes an array of facials, body wraps and scrubs and a wide variety of massages gleaning rituals from around the world. Signature treatments were created to utilize Edmonde’s 25 years of experience, and Master’s level knowledge of spa techniques. What looked especially appealing to me for next Valentine’s Day was “Two Hot to Handle,” a couple’s treatment involving a Boreh mask, a spiced bath and a Mediterranean hot oil massage. Edmonde says many of the treatments can done in your hotel room (or balcony), villa or home, including the ultimate four-hand massage in which two therapists work simultaneously. Teona also offers complete manicure, pedicure, depilatory and make-up services.

Edmonde’s product line includes Thalgo marine-based cosmetology (especially appropriate to our sea-surrounded island), as well as Phytobiodermic and Rhonda Allison products.

For 2010, Edmonde is anticipating a total remodel of the existing building. The interior space will be tripled, with the reception separated from the quiet treatment room area. There will also be a large outdoor facility encompassing a garden, waterfall, outdoor shower and relaxation area with two bungalows tucked in the dunes overlooking the beach. She plans to introduce several new technologies, including light therapy, corrective baths, a sauna and Turkish bath and a hair salon.

Visit www.www.villarenaissance.com/Teona_Spa or call 649 941 5051.



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