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Bernardus Lodge & Spa Opens

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in News, Resort and Hotel Spas | 0 comments

Bernardus Lodge & Spa

Bernardus Lodge & Spa

The Bernardus Lodge & Spa opens in Carmel Valley, CA, with multi-million dollar transformation

California’s newest entry into the luxury hospitality arena welcomes guests April, 2015 with the long-awaited debut of the repositioned Bernardus Lodge & Spa.  Following a four-month, multi-million dollar transformation, the Forbes Four Star 57-guestroom property set on 28 fragrant acres of lavender, orchards and vineyards showcases a dramatic shift in style and interior design.  Curated for epicureans and romantics, highlights include the new Lucia Restaurant & Bar under renowned Chef Cal Stamenov, redesign of all luxury guestrooms, reconfigured public spaces with an indoor/outdoor aesthetic, expanded wedding and event spaces and re-envisioned Spa at Bernardus with a deep-rooted wellness and fitness slant.

Under new ownership and management, Bernardus Lodge steps up with an intimate and stylish experience deserving of its surroundings.   Shouldered by the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains, the Pacific Ocean to the west and Big Sur just 25 miles south, the Lodge’s ethos redefines luxury and revitalizes the senses.  From its sensually-designed suites and new standard of high-touch service, the bar on wine country retreats has officially been raised.  Rates start at $515.00/dbl. .


Los Angeles-based architectural/design firm ARYA Group, Inc., renowned for its high-concept celebrity residential portfolio, is credited with bringing the vision to reality with a rustic-chic ranch estate concept.   Clean contemporary lines and warm tones reflect the property’s new aesthetic with rich Italian stonework, mosaic tiles, grass cloth, French oak floors and chandeliers gracing public spaces.   With an eye to maximizing its natural surroundings, walls have been replaced with invigorating vineyard views, new outdoor fireplaces have been created and an alfresco dining terrace is now featured.  Guestrooms reveal a residential feel with custom furnishings and dream baths for two.

Reflecting Bernardus’ inherent epicurean spirit and soothing soul, interiors are set in neutral tones of olive leaf, charcoal and oyster.  Oxidized copper and seagrass accents are matched with punches of aqua and green lichen.  Pattern and texture play large roles in the guestrooms with rich hand-knotted rugs, oversized Strathmore chairs, mercury glass chandeliers and antique hand-hewn reclaimed wood accents.  Plush silver headboards and contemporary art combined with wrought-iron mirrors, limestone fireplaces and dining room tables deliver a ranch-style feel with an understated casual elegance.   Oversized private garden patios, feather beds, Frette linens, complimentary Bernardus wine bar and pantry and twice-daily housekeeping service round out the amenities.


Named after the majestic Santa Lucia Range which provides the dramatic backdrop to the outdoor dining terrace, Lucia Restaurant & Bar debuts with renowned Chef Cal Stamenov and team driving the stoves.  The restaurant showcases a vibrant, stylish and decidedly relaxed setting well suited to Stamenov’s style of cuisine.  Key highlights include a new 2,300 sq., ft., alfresco heated terrace and reconfigured footprint with expansive new gardens, mountain views and chandeliers.  A large fireplace designed from Bagattini Oregon stone marks the focal point of the main dining room with open vineyard views and a mixed-use table layout in rich marble and reclaimed wood.   Italian leather chairs, silver wall sconces and oxidized copper accents round out the seductive, earthy design.

The spring menu showcases “California country” cuisine reflecting the chef’s enviable cache of farmers, foragers and fisherman, spiked with sophisticated undertones.  Key starters include a Fava-Pecorino-Artichoke Salad with black truffle vinaigrette and local Dungeness Crab offset with sweet pea tendril and Cara Cara orange.  Entrees include Stamenov’s signature brick-oven pizzas, Diver Scallop Wellington with a decadent black truffle emulsion, Chicken Fried Quail with pickled vegetables and saffron-horseradish crème fraiche and a seasonal Smoked Sonoma Duck Stew paired with green olives, purple artichokes and rich goat cheese polenta.  Prized Wagyu beef and prime rib as well as a daily fresh fish selection round out the menu.  A five-course tasting menu is available nightly with wine pairing ($95.00/exclusive).  Starters: $10.00 – $21.00; entrees: $20.00 – $52.00.

In addition, Lucia Bar & Patio offers casual fare and a craft cocktail program focused on seasonal, artisanal drinks with 29 signature collections culled from small batch producers.  A variety of coveted private dining venues, from the expanded 12-seat Wine Cellar to the exclusive Chef’s Table inside the kitchen and Magnum Room, offer extensive tasting menus backed by an enviable 25,000-bottle wine cellar.  Seating is available from 5:00 p.m., to 9:00 p.m., nightly.


The award-winning Spa at Bernardus, a sun-drenched sanctuary flanked by two pools and a new hot tub, now features a curated wellness component with a garden-to-treatment philosophy rich in rewards.  From couples to corporate retreats, the new road to wellness includes yoga, hypnotherapy, guided meditation, sunrise stretch classes, reinvigorated tennis program, escorted hikes at nearby Garland Ranch Regional Park and programming centered on longevity.  Summer plans include workshops in culinary cultivation, boot camps, moonlight yoga and classes centered on the property’s annual lavender harvest.

Boasting two additional state-of-the art treatment rooms for a total of nine, the full-service spa, salon and 24-hour fitness facility’s new design mirrors the Lodge’s, with an earthen color palette and fresh spin on wellness and fitness.   The spa boasts dual eucalyptus steam and dry sauna rooms, a Vichy shower, private couple’s soaking tub and warming pool.  A re-imagined pool experience features a dramatic new entry, private luxury cabanas, custom pool furnishings and a dedicated food and beverage program.



First eforea Spa in Caribbean Opens

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Health and Wellness, News, Resort and Hotel Spas | 0 comments

hilton barbados

Hilton Barbados

The first eforea spa in the Caribbean opens at the Hilton Barbados; Spa Features Exclusive Treatment Journeys and Innovative Design Elements

Hilton Barbados Resort announces the opening of the first eforea spa in the Caribbean.  The 2,400 square foot spa offers an exclusive treatment menu, innovative design features and carefully selected product partners that appeal to today’s global travelers. As the spa experience becomes more important to business and leisure guests, the new eforea spa located at Hilton Barbados Resort enhances the travel experience.

“This is an exciting time for Hilton Barbados Resort as we continue to enrich the guest experience with the launch of the first eforea spa in the Caribbean,” said George Stanfield, general manager, Hilton Barbados Resort.  “With a trained team of therapists, we will offer some of the most unique spa treatments in Barbados and look forward to welcoming guests to an unforgettable pampering experience.”

eforea spa is an innovative global spa concept featuring a menu of treatments designed to help guests ‘emerge brighter’ from their  spa experience, feeling renewed, uplifted and refreshed. At Hilton Barbados Resort, guests can indulge in The Essentials Journey, composed of powerful, technologically advanced treatments, and The Escape Journey, incorporating local ingredients and products to inspire a truly indigenous spa experience.  Both Journeys at Hilton Barbados Resort feature results-oriented therapies that leave guests feeling rejuvenated and reinvigorated.

The new eforea spa at Hilton Barbados Resort provides a warm and relaxing environment with four treatment rooms, including one for couples, each offering individual controls for music selection; a transition lounge for a peaceful rest; manicure and pedicure room; and male and female washrooms with saunas.  The spa will also feature the first quartz sand bed in the Caribbean, where guests are embraced with heated sand, as well as a custom Caribbean Massage using a variety of rhythmic Caribbean techniques and pressures that support the body’s healing process and brighter emergence.

eforea spas boast some of the world’s top spa product brands throughout its treatment menu and retail area.  The spa at Hilton Barbados Resort features the Hylunia range of facial, body and cleansing products.

Room rates start at US$179 per night.  For reservations at Hilton Barbados Resort or further information, visit the website.




Spa Lunch Debuts at The Umstead

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Health and Wellness, News, Resort and Hotel Spas | 0 comments

Umstead Hotel and Spa

Umstead Hotel and Spa

Herons Debuts Spa Inspired Lunch at The Umstead

Herons, the signature restaurant at The Umstead Hotel and Spa has a new spa inspired prix fixe lunch, available daily. The Restore menu takes a whole foods approach to the freshest produce each season has to offer, in creative presentations designed to nourish all the senses.

Restore’s debut menu is full of hyper-local, wholesome spring delights, much of it fresh-picked from the nearby Culinary Farm at SAS Campus, where the focus is on organic and sustainable methods. Whether spa-goers prefer to dine pre- or post- spa treatment, Restore is the perfect complement to a complete day of wellness at The Umstead Spa.

 The menu is available daily at lunch for $35 per person.

In addition to Restore, Executive Chef Steven Greene has given all of Herons’ menus a spring refresh. Among the highlights:

·         Champagne-poached Kusshi oysters with lemon verbena ice and pancetta crumble

·         Asparagus salad with coddled egg, parmesan, radish and petite lettuce

·         Potato dumplings with lobster, fava beans, Honshimeji mushrooms, basil and garlic

·         Carolina quail with apricot-lavender lacquer, Hakurei turnip, ramps and smoked bacon

·         Lamb with polenta, pistachio, mint, coconut, granola, bergamot, and lamb jus

·         Strawberries with elderflower blooms, blue corn cake, tarragon, and St. Germain sorbet

·         Warm doughnuts with seasonal jam

For Herons reservations, call 919-447-4000.

About The Umstead Hotel and Spa

The Umstead Hotel and Spa is a singular property in North Carolina’s northeastern Piedmont region, an area rich in beauty and rooted in innovation. The state’s most highly rated hotel, it boasts stunning interiors punctuated with privately curated fine art, 150 spacious guest rooms and suites, world-class cuisine, a stimulating spa, gracious staff, and a serene woodland setting. The Umstead is a recipient of both the AAA Five Diamond award and Forbes Five Star rating. For more information, visit the website.


Spa Week 2015 Bargains: April 13-19

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Bargains, Health and Wellness, Tips | 0 comments


spa week

Spa Week is back, and from April 13-19, hundreds of spas nationwide will be offering bargains galore. Treatments valued at anywhere from $100 to $500 will cost just $50.

Now in its eleventh year, Spa Week is offering more locations and treatment options to choose from than ever before. Consumers can now affordably explore a vast range of spa, health and wellness services, from massage and microdermabrasion to acupuncture and floatation chambers. Along with such treatments, the Spring 2015 Event includes beauty services like Botox and eyelash extensions.

Medical evidence in recent years has established spa treatments as a valuable part of the healthcare spectrum. According to the the International Spa Association, the majority of spa-goers visit spas with health and well-being in mind, with 72% reporting stress as a factor in their decision to seek spa treatments. Spa Week’s $50 treatments have attracted more than 1.5 million people to premium spa and wellness providers across the country.

To celebrate the 2015 Spring Event, Spa Week is also offering exclusive promotions and giveaways via and its social media channels. Consumers should visit the website as early as possible to browse the directory of spa and wellness providers and choose from their $50 treatments. Spa-goers are advised to book early in advance to access the most convenient appointment times for their schedules.



Hercules Backpack: Truly Wonderful

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Product Reviews, Tips | 0 comments

Hercules backpack

Hercules backpack

A truly wonderful backpack is gold in a society where electronics travel with you everywhere and comfort may be hard to find when traveling. Enter the Hercules backpack with a design that allows you to go through airport security without taking devices out of the pack, with a large capacity and an elegant design that lies lightly on the shoulders.

The Hercules backpack really does save considerable time and trouble at airport security, and away from the TSA concerns, it is a very well balanced, thickly padded bag that allows you to neatly organize your electronics and cords from laptop to iPad and battery charger.

It is made by ecbc, a newish company that has designed a TSA-friendly system that unzips neatly to expose devices, with no need to take them out, put them in bins or repack them. It has ample compartments for a portable office, and the company’s Portable Power Pack,  at an additional $42.99, charges devices as you go. However, for the next month, the Power Pack will be free with the purchase of  a Hercules, Lance, Javelin backpack or Trident Messenger Bag.

The pack has excellent zippers, and the fleece-lined pocket can accommodate up to 17-inch laptops; there’s a removable module so smaller laptops can be fitted snugly into their pocket. In addition there’s a padded iPad/Tablet pocket, a phone pocket and a ticket pocket for quick access to documents. Zippered receptacles on the side are designed for water bottles, and there are interior pockets just right for passport, pens, etc.

Hercules backpack has multiple compartments.

Hercules backpack has multiple compartments.

I took mine on three successive trips: one to the heat of the Caribbean, one to Miami’s humidity and one to Northern Europe’s chilly spring rain. In the tropics I appreciated the moisture wicking air mesh on the back panel; despite the thickness of the pack, I was cool after a hike. The adjustable, padded shoulder straps keep the pack comfortable even when fully loaded, and a padded top handle allowed me to set it on my wheeled suitcase. There’s a sternum strap to keep it balanced where it should be on longer hikes, and a lanyard to keep keys handy.

The manufacturers claim that the pack, which comes in five colors, is nearly indestructible with its Kodra nylon composition. I can’t attest to that yet, but my natural linen color pack, having gone through six airline flights with me, under the seat in front of mine, looks as new and fresh as when I first picked it up, which is remarkable.  The stitching held perfectly with a considerable load of electronics, clothing and books, and I went through some heavy showers with all the contents staying perfectly dry.

At $139.99, the backpack is pricey, but for your back’s health and the time you save in security, it’s well worth it.





New Spa Opening at Kimpton’s Tideline Ocean Resort in Palm Beach

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Bargains, Resort and Hotel Spas | 0 comments

Tideline oceanview suite

Tideline oceanview suite

Palm Beach’s Newest Lifestyle Hotel Introduces 5,900 Square Foot Spa Inspired by Healing Properties of the Ocean

Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – Palm Beach unveiled its new spa this week during its “Turn the Tide on Melanoma” event in support of the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation.

Following a top-to-bottom renovation and re-design inspired by the healing properties of the ocean, the expanded 5,900 square foot spa includes seven treatment rooms offering a variety of distinctive treatments, body scrubs, facials, massages, salon and nail services as well as other wellness-driven offerings for men, women and couples to uncoil daily stress and renew the spirit.

Featuring products by Yonka, Paris and Jurlique, Tideline’s sumptuous services and therapies blend nature and science to nourish and treat both the mind and body, while relaxing the senses. Designed to delight guests with tranquil, Zen-inspired “relax-into-abandon” sensibility, Tideline’s spa embodies the hotel’s dynamic and rebellious spirit, contemporary design, and seductively relaxed vibe.

The March 4 “Turn the Tideline on Melanoma” event was attended by more than 125 Palm Beach taste makers who enjoyed the mini spa treatments, light hors d’oeuvres, libations and featured luxuries from local boutiques. In keeping with the hotel and spa’s community support, the event served as both the spa’s official launch while also kicking off a series of month-long $99 treatment services that include any one of the following:

50 minute Swedish massage

50 minute Deep Cleansing Facial


Blue Water Body Polish

After Sun Relief

Guests of Tideline’s spa are encouraged to take advantage of the hotel’s water-centric amenities including its direct beach access, infinity pool with soothing waterfall and private cabanas, locker facilities, amenities and complimentary valet parking.

Following a series of property enhancements, this irreverent and captivating resort, which sits on the Atlantic Ocean’s edge along 6,900 total square feet of oceanfront on the island, welcomed its first guests in December 2014. The hotel’s dramatic and soothing interior design, oceanfront destination restaurant and culinary experiences – a Kimpton signature; along with a pool deck that offers an extended day of sun worshipping thanks to its location, combine to create a uniquely Tideline guest experience. From day to night, guests will enjoy a seductive setting for sipping cocktails, sunbathing or enjoying an awe-inspiring spa treatment. Tideline’s 134 guest rooms and suites feature luxurious Sobel Westex bed linens and bath products by Paya.

To book a spa stay at Kimpton’s new Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa, a special grand opening rate, starting at $297/night, is available for booking through April 30, 2015. To book, visit the website, call 855-523-5455, or email at and refer to booking code TDLN and TDLNK for Kimpton Karma members. Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – Palm Beach is located at 2842 S. Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach, Florida.



The Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, a Kimpton hotel launched in December 2014, is the only beachfront boutique hotel on the island of Palm Beach. With 134 guestrooms and two suites, Tideline embodies the escapist in everyone by combining an unpretentious air of sophistication with the inviting glow of the sun and continuous flow of fresh ocean breezes. Perched at the Atlantic Ocean’s edge along more than 200 feet of white sand beach, the Tideline Ocean Resort’s dramatic views and soothing interior design, expanded signature spa, destination restaurant and infinity pool create a seductive setting for sipping cocktails, sun-worshiping, or enjoying an indulging renewal of the mind, body, and spirit. Tideline serves up a guest experience tailor-made for the discerning traveler, delighting guests with its “relax-into-abandon” sensibility, coy yet rebellious spirit, dramatic and contemporary style, and tranquil setting. Together with Kimpton’s hallmark focus on highly personalized service, Tideline redefines the Palm Beach vacation experience. For reservations and information visit the website or call (855) 523-5455 or 1-800-KIMPTON.