Tag Archives | spa

My Glen Ivy Escape

The words Glen Ivy SpaLos Angeles Spa makes me go weak in the knees. Located only 60 miles southeast from Los Angeles in Corona, Glen Ivy is an oasis of spa heaven. I first discovered Glen Ivy 10 years ago when I escaped to Los Angeles for the weekend to get away from my husband and children. My friend took one look at me and said, “You need Glen Ivy.” Boy did I ever. I was a working mom in my mid-20s with two kids, a heady job, and dirty house. (Now that I think about it nothing has changed in 10 years, except my age.) I needed a break or mid-life crisis. I opted for the break.

When my friend told me we were going to a spa, I figured it would be in a strip mall with mediocre massages, shag carpet, and maybe a free glass of water if I was lucky. Not even close. As we drove up the entrance it was clear to me Glen Ivy wasn’t just a spa; it was a complex, so vast it would make a Vanderbilt or Kennedy blush.

We walked up to the admittance office and then I beheld what I was to experience. The attendant handed me a map. A spa that needs a map? Yep. It’s that big. We walked into the area and I was as doe-eyed as a five-year old’s first trip to Disneyland. There were signs to the mineral baths, Roman baths, lap pool, the hot pool followed by the cold plunge pool. Fourteen pools total. We hit the mud first.

Mud? Yes. Your admission gets you access to every pool plus Club Mud. There’s an entire area dedicated to mud. Not just any mud, but Glen Ivy mud, a red clay mixed with the natural hot springs that will tighten your skin. Plopped on giant wheels, you grab a handful and  slather the special mud on your body. Let it dry in the California sun and then wash it off. Your skin will feel soft and revitalized.

I liked the Club Med, but I really liked the Grotto. For an extra fee, you can experience absolute soft skin. You walk into the Grotto area and then go down an elevator and enter a cave aka grotto. Your attendant will take a paint brush and paint you with a light green cream. It smells divine because it’s made of aloe vera, shea butter and coconut oil. Go deeper in to the grotto and sit in the “hydrating chamber.” You’ll feel like you are breathing butter, but the longer you sit the better your skin will feel. Then go rinse off. My hands felt soft and subtle days after I returned to the desert of home.

Los Angeles SpaA visitor to Glen Ivy could spend all day just drifting from mud to grotto to roman bath to mineral bath to sauna, but Glen Ivy also has traditional spa treatments. On my first visit, I was treated to scrub, wrap and massage.  Heavenly. Since, I have tried other Glen Ivy’s treatments including the clarifying facial.  Check out their pedicures and manicures as well. A massage or facial will cost roughly $100 per treatment.  On my last visit, I discovered the Glen Ivy Getaway package that included your choice of one 50 minute Swedish massage, 50 minute Glen Ivy facial, or a 50 minute body treatment, as well as grotto admission, and lunch for only $139. Admission is extra and will cost you $46 or $59 depending on whether you are there on the weekdays or weekends. If you buy a service that’s 50 minutes or longer, your admission is discounted.

Plan your day wisely. I like to get my treatments early in the visit, then eat lunch and spend the rest of the day vegging by the pools and ending the day with grotto. You’ll be wasted by the time you leave so expect to be in a fog.  Don’t forget to go to the gift shop. I like to pick up a container of mud and the grotto paint. That way when I’m back home, looking at my dirty house, exhausted from my job, frustrated by my mediocre mothering, I can open up the container, breathe deeply and let Calgon, I mean, Glen Ivy take me away.

Los Angeles has so much to offer!  If you are looking for a great Los Angeles accommodation to go with your spa visit.   Look no further!

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10 Questions to Ask Your “All Inclusive” Resort

All inclusive.  What does that really mean?  Is EVERYTHING included?  All inclusive resorts are a great travel idea for couples that don’t want to sweat all of the details.  All inclusives range from your classic sun and sand resorts to all inclusive winter skiing holidays.  We put together a little guide to help you ask the right questions before taking you first all inclusive adventure.

1)      Getting there-Believe it or not there are some all inclusive resorts that actually include airfare to and from your home!  Wow!  While this is truly a rare offering, you really need to know this upfront.  Travel to and from your destination is often the most expensive portion of your trip.

2)      Meals-This is one of the most common offering for all inclusives.  Meals are most often spelled out as breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is critical to get a clear understanding, if one of the three is not included, ask about the on and offsite resort food options.  If you or your sweetheart have food concerns including: allergies, limited food likes, or have other food related medical/religious concerns its always best to call ahead before booking.

3)      Meals II-Another important consideration is how good the food is. If you have pre-paid all your meals, you are “locked” into limited options.  Ask questions like: how many food venues do you have on site?  What different types of food do you offer: Chinese, French, fast food?

4)      Booze-This is an important question.  Ask if beer and wine are included only with meals, just dinner, or for a short “happy” hour after dinner.  Ask if spirits and liquors are included, and if they are not, where they can be purchased.

5)      Fine Dining-Are you noticing a common thread on a number of these questions?  Food!  Another key question to ask is about the fine dining options.  When traveling, we always love to spoil ourselves a little one night.  Ask the resort of they have any fine dining options included.  If not, ask about restaurants in the vicinity.  It just might be worth it to venture off “campus” to get some really good food.  Again, know your options.

jet ski

Image via Wikipedia

6)      Fun!-Is fun included?  Sure there is unlimited use of the jet skis…but…you must rent a helmet $$$.  Ask about massages, spa treatments, access to swimming pools and saunas.  Most include the basics and then you pay for the extras.  Find out what is included before your get your final bill.

7)      Kids-Some all inclusive resorts really specialize in traveling with children.  Some resorts even have infant and toddler programs!  For a new parent, an all inclusive is truly a relationship savior.   Keep in mind, not all inclusives are family friendly.  Many such resorts cater to adults.  Everything from evening entertainments, libations, and even the dress code might shock you.  Know before you go!

8)      Sight seeing/side trips–  While sitting on a white sand beach all week sounds great, you may want to see the locations further afield.  Are these side trips included?  Do you have to pay for the guides?  Is the transportation to and from the side trip included?

9)      Taxes/Fees-We saved this one for the end, we don’t want to rain on your parade, but this is a key factor in selecting the best resort for you.  Many resorts advertise with a sexy “base” rate that looks too good to be true.  Take the time to read the fine print.  Be aware that if you are going to an offshore resort, the fees and taxes might be a true shock.

10)   Tips/gratuity-this is certainly one area where you would not expect to be included in the all inclusive, but it never hurts to ask and understand what the standard practice for the resort is.

If your are looking for a vacation from your typical vacation, an all inclusive can be a great couple travel option for you.  Regardless if you are seeking the beach or all inclusive winter skiing holidays, ask the questions.  We just want you to enjoy your hard earned vacation by asking the right questions before you go.  Have fun!

 

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Avoiding the “Spa” Fight

 

Çemberlitas Bath-Istanbul, Turkey

Spa. Ah. Just the word makes you feel better. 1000fights likes spas. Let me clarify-the female half of 1000fights likes spas. The male half likes golf. So why not do both? Because we are both incredibly anal about money and equality, 1000fights has a rule. Equal money on vacation. That means whatever is spent on golf, is spent on the spa and vice versa. This policy of equality came after a fight in South Africa. We were staying at the Zimbali Lodge outside of Durban. Mike golfed. Luci enjoyed the pool. But Luci also started feeling very resentful because while Mike was spending fistful of South African Rands, Luci wasn’t. When she tried to book a treatment at the resort, there weren’t any openings. Lesson learned. Here’s a couple tips for the non-golfing ladies and spa attending guys to make sure you aren’t getting shafted on vacation.

Plan ahead. Don’t expect to be able to walk into the spa and get an appointment. If you don’t plan ahead for an appointment, you’ll be disappointed and mad.

Budget. Know what you want to spend. Often times hotel spas are overpriced and under deliver. You’ll spend three times as much on a massage at the hotel versus one at an independent business down the street.

Ask Your Hotel. I know this seems counter intuitive and often times the hotel will pimp their spa, but if you ask for a list of local spas, the concierge will oblige.

Get in on the social networking. Once you find a spa you want to visit both on vacation and at home, “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. You’ll end up getting special deals.

Surf the group coupon. Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Local usually have a spa deal very two to three weeks. If you know you are going to visit a city, sign up for their deals. Purchasing group coupons means you get more for your money and twice the treatments.

 

Go web shopping.  There are some really great Spa holiday links out there. These specialized websites drive deals just for Spa breaks UK and international spas. You’ll get better deals here than just approaching the property directly. You’ll also have the benefit of discovering several properties at once without having to look up each property individually. The best site I’ve seen is http://www.spabreaks.com. It makes me want to go to a spa now!

 

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