MIAMI -- There are spas that put you on spartan diets and rigorous
exercise regimens, where guests are awakened at the crack of dawn
to salute the sun and where wheatgrass juice garnished with
spirituality is the preferred cocktail. They probably make you a
The Spa at Doral is not one of them.
There are no strict regimens, no diet police, no forced marches.
There is instead a large staff dedicated to making you feel
The spa is in the European tradition, beginning with the gardens
and Italianate fountains leading up to the palatial villa-style
Inside, visitors are struck by its sheer size: 148,000 square
feet, punctuated by a grand staircase, a soaring atrium and just
about every form of spa therapy and treatment known to man.
It is a
self-contained resort within the sprawling Doral Golf Resort &
Spa, but guests move freely between the spa and the rest of the
resort, which makes for a highly personalized retreat.
A guest can have a healthy, active day -- a morning of swimming
in one of the spa's three adults-only pools (indoor, outdoor lap
and outdoor recreational) and an afternoon of caliente dancing
class, for example -- and top it off with an evening of martinis,
she-crab soup and buttery steaks at the resort's Windows
Another guest might sleep late, indulge in pampering beauty
treatments and reclaim a sense of virtue with healthful but
satisfying meals -- spa pizza or Asian shrimp lettuce wraps with
spicy peanut sauce, for example -- at the Atrium at the Spa
But even if a customer opts for the more active and less caloric
end of the spectrum, perhaps with a consultation with the resident
nutritionist, the experience is served up as lavishly as a slice of
rich, decadent chocolate cake.
Many spa denizens spend the entire day in the lush terry robe
that is found in every locker, even while having meals in the
Atrium. One-size-fits-all slip-ons also are provided, but
smaller-footed visitors might feel more comfortable in their own
slippers or flip-flops.
More than 100 treatments are on the menu, including 16 types of
facial treatments and more than a dozen manicure, pedicure and hand
Salon services provide hair care, waxing and makeup applications
and lessons. You can even have your teeth whitened by a
Guests whose idea of heaven is a massage can have a different
therapy every day for nearly three weeks before exhausting the
The therapies range from the traditional Swedish, shiatsu and
deep-tissue to the lesser-known shirodhara, in which a stream of
warm oil is poured over the forehead, and the "mother massage,"
designed for pregnant women.
A favorite is the hot stone massage, which can turn the most
hardened, stressed-out, skeptical visitor into a dish of Jell-O.
Another is the Full-Body Fango, a mud wrap that leaves skin
startlingly soft and smooth for days; oddly enough, it also smells
Favorite massage therapies can be varied in a number of ways: al
fresco; a couples session, or two therapists working
For guests who desire a total-immersion spa experience, there
are 48 Spa Suites with private dressing areas, marble bathrooms,
Jacuzzis, wet bars and views of the formal gardens.
The "other side" of the Doral is, of course, the world-renowned
golf facilities that play host to the Ford Championship, which
kicks off the Florida swing of the PGA tour.
Its 72 holes include the top-rated Blue Monster course and the
Great White Course, designed by Greg Norman.
The resort also is home to the Jim McLean Golf School, which
uses a nifty video technique to compare a golfer's swing to that of
Tiger or Annika.
Among the instructors is Bobby Cole, winner of 22 pro
Although there is a bit of a divide between the two worlds of
Doral, the spa staff is devising ways to unite them.
Classes such as Yoga for Golf and treatments such as the Sports
Pedicure have drawn quite a few male golfers into the less
testosterone-driven spa side of the resort.
Luxury has its price, of course, but the Doral's rates for
accommodations and spa treatments are not out of line, and a number
of packages and seasonal offerings make them more affordable.
For example, the Spa Renewal package starts at $430 per person,
per night, double, and is available from Jan. 1 to March 31.
(Remind clients that there is a resort fee of $16 per room, per
night, and that the package price does not include tax.)
The package includes spa suite accommodations; one 50-minute and
one 25-minute service of choice for each night's stay; three
gourmet spa cuisine meals daily; roundtrip limousine transfers to
and from Miami Airport with a stay of four or more nights; use of
spa resort facilities; unlimited fitness classes; and an arrival
For more information, call (800) 71-DORAL or visit the Web at www.doralgolf.com.
To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to
[email protected] .