So while in Miami for Fashion Week, I headed back to Acqualina, mom in tow. We were originally there for the launch, and after the rough weekend battling paparazzo and denying my need for sleep in more than 4-hour increments, some big huge pampering was in order.
Miami's version of the Mercedes in DC is the Bentley--on a percentage basis, it's about equal. And as you drive up the circular brick driveway in Sunny Isles Beach, about 30% of the town's Bentley allotment is parked there. I think they leave those in front and hide the non-Bentleys in the valet garage. It's an impressive site nonetheless.
Clicking down the marbled foyer, left, left, and there in front it sits: Espa, the 20,000 square foot haven of spa perfection.
We each chose the 2-hour custom package simply called "Espa Time": the time block is open; you meet with your consultant and together you lay out your treatment package on the spot. Facial, foot massage (see FW Mayhem--this was the day after), back massage, salt scrub were my choices.
In front of us at the reception counter was a Marshall--she was about 70 with more work done than anyone I had ever seen before. Her wraparound Diors couldn't hide what had to be at least four eyejobs, her short white shorts definitely had some lipo relocation beneath them, and she had the chest of a 20 year old (beneath a Versace strapless scarf blouse, natch). It was rather unsettling.
As you're filling out your leather-bound preferences list, the assistant quietly brings over a tray with a lemongrass-infused icy cold washcloth and a small cup of their cold soup dujour--orange watermelon on this particular day. Yum.
You are then led into the exquisitely appointed changing rooms, complete with hot, cold and ice shower stations, then to the "relaxation room"--a bedded, bambooed room to meditate (or, if, say, you are not quite the fan of sitting still for 30 seconds, for catching up on T&C and US Weekly). You also have use of the private Espa pool during your stay, before and after your service, so pack up if you head down.
The spa decor consists of browns, plums, glass and bamboo throughout; the custom products they use are scented with a spicy, woody yet not too heavy mix (their candles hold the scent perfectly). Very relaxing all. Kind of a darker, more zen-inspired version of John Barrett, actually.
The services have been Americanized a bit since their launch--they were anti-extractions for facials, but have now incorporated them; the emphasis overall seems a bit more results-focused on services than before.
My aesthetician, Elizabeth: wonderful. The obligatory product mention, but no hardsell; a top-notch facial, and a massage that put me to sleep (and I'm not usually a massage person).
So when you're sunning in Miami this winter, head there if you can. The resort is wonderful. But Espa: extraordinary.