Gay Nagle Myers is sampling the Riviera Maya’s offerings, from spa rituals at the Grand Velas resort to Mayan ruins at Tulum. The spring breakers have come and gone, the wedding season has not yet hit its peak and the temperatures still hover at comfortable. Her third dispatch follows. Click to read Gay’s first and second dispatches.
On this trip to the Riviera Maya, I did not make it to the Mayan ruins. So many ruins, so little time.
What I did do in the free time I had was attempt to put some life into a relic of another kind — me. And what better place than the spa at Grand Velas?
I’m not a spa-goer or a spa-groupie. But there’s a huge market of travelers who choose resorts because of the spa facilities and treatments. Grand Velas is one of them. It earned its AAA Five Diamond rating because of its spa as well as the resort.
My previous encounters with spas were limited to pedicures and manicures. Years ago, one massage at a Caribbean resort put me off. The therapist’s hands were calloused and rough, and I think his day job had something to do with crushing rocks. It was not a pleasant hour.
All that has changed. What I experienced at Grand Velas was part Mayan ritual, part sensory delight, part coma (it took Patricia, my massage therapist, a few minutes to wake me up after she finished kneading the knots out).
There were numerous treatments from which to choose. I picked an hour-long water journey on a part man-made, part natural winding river route.
Stops along the way included a sauna, a steam bath, a hot tub, an ice-cold plunge, neck massage jets and bubble geysers.
This was followed by an 80-minute Nik Te Ha (Mayan phrase for water lily) aquatic massage in a small pool in a dimly lit room full of lavender scents and soothing background music. A break for herbal tea and then it was time for the deep-tissue massage.
I slept well that night, and I’m a convert now.
However, I did draw the line at putting my feet into two tanks of water, each one full of 150 Turkish fish that thrive on chipping away at callouses and dead skin.
One spa client said it felt like a puppy’s tongue giving kisses.
I’ll take his word on that one. Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.