Contributing health and spa writer Sheryl Kraft achieves a double dose of happiness at the spa at Paradise Point Resort & Spa.
Friendship and massage share a lot of common ground when it comes to benefitting your health.
Both evoke the excitement that comes with anticipation. They boost happiness and reduce stress, can be helpful in reducing anxiety, and can improve your mood. And both are invaluable in helping to ward off depression, boosting your self-esteem and providing a feeling of bliss. And finally, laughing with friends and indulging in a massage releases endorphins, that feel-good brain chemical that also helps relieve pain.
That’s why I experienced a dose of double happiness when along with my dear friend Ellen, I recently visited the tranquil spa along at Paradise Point, a Destination Hotel. Ellen and I instantly bonded some years ago at another spa (where else?) and have shared many wonderful spa experiences since then. While we can’t always coordinate a week-long stay at a destination spa, when we visit one another a few times each year at our respective opposite coasts, we always make sure to fit in a day to share one of our favorite pastimes, a spa experience. What better way to celebrate good health and friendship?
This time, it was a visit to Paradise Point, tucked away on aptly-named Vacation Road, on a bucolic 44-acre island spread replete with gardens, lagoons and a sandy beach on Mission Bay in San Diego. We didn’t stay overnight in one of their cozy bungalow-style rooms, nor did we swim in one of their five pools or rent bikes. And we didn’t take advantage of nearby SeaWorld, Old Town, San Diego Zoo or Balboa Park, just minutes away.
Instead,we made a beeline to their blissful award-winning day spa (voted one of the top 100 U.S. resort spas by Conde Nast Traveler) and enjoyed a deluxe massage, a new offering called the Island Bliss Ritual, that would make us feel as if we’d been away a long, long time.
My masseuse, Annette, began my treatment with Fijian cane sugar infused with aromatic oils and slowly sloughed off dead skin with her gentle yet firm touch. Within mere minutes, the slow rhythm of my own breath guided my body into a state of deep relaxation. About 20 minutes later, I somehow made my way into the shower just steps away and washed away the smooth remnants of the scrub under a warm, steady stream of water. Then, I lay back down on the soft cool sheets, shifted my awareness back to the remaining 90 minutes and luxuriated in a full body and scalp massage, yielding to the incredible power of being transported into another realm.
Originally developed in 1962 by movie producer Jack Skirball, the resort was conceived as a fantasy-island setting, an easy escape for Hollywood executives and families. In fact, many artifacts from Skirball’s film-making days still exist on-site, including a porpoise fountain from Cleopatra. The resort’s lush, tropical setting, which includes more than 600 varieties of exotic foliage, added to the calm and peaceful aura that remained with us hours after emerging, bleary-eyed, from the treatment room.
From there, we headed for lunch at the outdoor, waterfront patio at the laid-back Barefoot Bar and Grill, enjoying a feast that not only satisfied our hunger but all of our senses: a panoramic view of Mission Bay, the soft sound of man-made waterfalls, and delightful cooking aromas that gently drifted from the kitchen.
And no wonder I love to visit spas. Not only are they a perfect way to relax and unwind, but they’re also a great place to share the experience with a friend…or even make a new friend, as I did all those years ago. To bond over an experience so special is as good an excuse for indulging in a massage as any, don’t you think?
IF YOU GO:
1404 Vacation Road, San Diego, California 92109
*Guests who receive treatment(s) at the spa can remain onsite and take advantage of other spa amenities, including use of the spa garden courtyard and private whirlpool, fitness center and bamboo relaxation room. The spa also has lockers, a eucalyptus steam room and a dry sauna.
Disclosure: Sheryl Kraft’s spa treatment was hosted by Paradise Point but any opinions expressed in this post are her own.