Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island

We were fortunate to spend last weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. It's located just 20 minutes from the Jacksonville Airport in northeastern Florida, and lucky for us not far from our cousin's wedding activities. The property is gorgeous, it sits on a stretch of beach full of shells and shark's teeth bordered by dunes. Like other Ritz-Carlton properties we've visited, the attention to service and quality was obvious from check-in, from the totally comfy beds and linens, to the beach chairs, the great food, and of course the spa.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island was redesigned in 2006 and aims to reflect the Southern and coastal influences surrounding it. At 27,000+ square feet, it's huge, with separate relaxation rooms and wet areas for men and women, including saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs. There's a spa pool in addition to the resort pool with underwater music and a waterfall. It has two spa suites (pictured below), each with its own lounge and three treatment rooms that would be perfect if you had a large group on a girls' getaway or a wedding party.

We experienced the "Salt" at the Spa Package which lasted two and half glorious hours. Special thanks to Stacy Myers, the Spa Treatment Supervisor for a fabulous morning. It started with a Margarita Salt Scrub and wrap which was perfect in September after a summer's worth of sun and dry skin. Our hands and feet were wrapped in towels dipped in paraffin (nice sterile touch there). While we were soaking, Stacy gave us a scalp massage and washed our hair. Then we had a Vichy massage, which was new to us. We hadn't tried it before thinking we'd feel too exposed while a technician ran water jets across our body; but Stacey artfully covered us with washcloths. Then on to a stand up shower with tens of jets shooting in every direction possible. That was followed up with a honey butter massage. Leaving the room our skin felt so alive, fresh and healthy; we impulsively reached out to Stacy and gave her a hug (truly a first again!). Lastly, we had a Margarita Salt Pedicure with a margarita. The perfect finish that left us ready for the wedding festivities.

If you're looking for a treatment that's unique, the spa also offers the Heaven in a Hammock, a nod to Southern culture. The hammock distributes your weight, elongates your spine, and rocks and sways while the technician works around and below you. Wearing non-binding yoga attire makes this massage and treatment ideal for the modest spa goer.

This would be a great girls' trip: its location so close to the airport makes it easy for a long weekend, the variety of restaurants (a poolside grill, a cafe, a bakery, and a AAA Five Diamond restaurant) mean you don't have to leave the property, a spa that was made for pampering, and the beach and pool which are perfect for catching up with your friends. We'd love to go back for one of the spa's seasonal treatments.

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