How Thalassotherapy Rescued My Rainy Vacation

Therapeutic saltwater pool at the Thalasso Center & Spa

I packed everything I could possibly need for a much-anticipated beach vacation at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, a luxury boutique resort set on 14 acres in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Sunscreen. A sizable hat. Bathing suits. Flip flops. Tropical prints. Plenty of reading material. Anything a serious beachgoer could ever need.

Of course, I anticipated an abundance of sun. During the region’s “dry season,” from November through April, the average temperature hovers around 75 degrees with 7-9 hours of sunlight each day.

500-yard private beach at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita
500-yard private beach at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita (Credit: AMResorts)

After a six-hour weather-related delay in New York, we arrived at the airport in Cancun. Our flight was the last to get out before Jet Blue would shut down for the next 17 hours. But Mexico wasn’t spared from the pesky, erratic and irksome weather systems plaguing the U.S. We arrived in rain that persisted for days.

While some people chose to drown their sorrows in food and drink, others preferred naps or getting lost in a book (or two). But for me, it was time to consider a safer and more satisfying alternative to public drunkenness, looming weight gain or constant crankiness.

After all, I was on vacation!

Finding comfort at the spa

Although I’m a spa lover, on a beach vacation I usually want to be on…the beach. And although I hadn’t planned to spend time inside a spa, now was my opportunity to do it.

I found comfort in Zoetry’s soothing Thalassotherapy Spa. If the ocean couldn’t come to me, I was going to the ocean, dammit!

Therapeutic saltwater pool at the Thalasso Center & Spa
Outdoor therapeutic saltwater pool at the Thalasso Center & Spa (Photo credit: AMResorts)

Thalassotherapy, which comes from the Greek word for “sea,” is a therapeutic and healing therapy using various aspects of the ocean – the water, seaweed, mud and other substances.  It received official recognition by the French Ministry of Health in 1997, after being widely used for thousands of years by many ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Most spas offering this therapy are located in France or on the Mediterranean Sea so I was fortunate to have this opportunity in Mexico.

For 90 minutes, I was transported, coddled, indulged and pampered.

First, a 20-minute soak in an indoor tub-for-one filled with warm, filtered water from the sea outside. The 72 (!) powerful jets alternated their magic on my body, from head to toe, delivering a soothing massage. The warmth of the water helps open the pores of the skin, so the seaweed and other minerals can penetrate and detoxify. Relaxation entered while all my tension dispersed into the water in tiny little droplets, one at a time.  It felt as if I were floating on a gentle surf.

Jacuzzi at the Spa (Credit: AMResorts)
Jacuzzi at the Spa (Photo credit: AMResorts)

Massage and more

From there, my therapist directed me into a darkened room with soft piano and guitar music piped in, where, on a cushioned table, my body was treated to a slow and gentle body exfoliation.  After that, I somehow got into the shower (when you’re that relaxed, who can remember?), where I washed off the remains of the lovely particles.

One of the massage rooms
One of the massage rooms (Photo credit: AMResorts)

A 25-minute massage followed by a facial capped off my treatment.

By the time I drifted out of the spa, the rain had ceased and darkness surrounded me. I walked back to my room, taking slow, measured steps so as not to break the spell. And as I glanced upwards, I saw the slightest hint of light peeking out from the persistent cloud cover that had plagued us since our arrival. Had the thalassotherapy worked its magic on the weather, as well as my body?

Tomorrow, the sun would shine, and I would return to the ocean, but this time, in its vast, majestic and full glory.


Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita

Besides its 22,000 square foot Thalassotherapy spa, the first certified facility of its kind in North America, Zoetry offers a host of other health & wellness services, among them body wraps, massages, facials, yoga, acupuncture, reiki, music therapy, and Temazcal, a pre-Hispanic sauna ritual to cleanse the body and spirit, conducted by an authentic Shaman.

Disclosure: During my vacation at Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, some of my spa treatments were graciously hosted by the property but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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  1. That happens to be one of my favorite hotels on the Riviera Maya. Their spa is amazing, as are their treatments. Did you know that the resort was built in 2001 and named “La Bonita” in honor of architect Carlos Gosselin’s wife Elisa (aka “La Bonita”) as a tribute to their travels together?

    I went several times when they were privately owned and I’m hoping they haven’t lost their “magic” since the change in ownership.

    I want to return soon as I’ll be covering Cancun/Riviera Maya for a couple of publications.

  2. Sounds fabulous. I have plenty of sun in South Florida, but there’s never anything wrong with SPA TREATMENTS, lol. Great way to spend a rainy day.

  3. Oh lordy I would love to get a spa treatment like that, Irene! You have me very intrigued by this resort too. I’m going to be going to the link as soon as I click Submit. I can’t stop staring at the outdoor pool looking at towards the ocean. Wishing I could be teleported there right now! 🙂

  4. Funny, I just commented on your Grand Velas post about how we stayed here when we visited Riviera Maya. I loved everything about this fabulous place – except the iguanas! They really freaked me out, especially the huge ones that would lounge across the sidewalk. I knew they couldn’t hurt me, but still…did not like them!

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