New spa at Margaritaville Orlando channels Fla. chill

The "Salty Piece of Land" salt stone massage at the new St. Somewhere Spa at Margaritaville Orlando Resort.
The "Salty Piece of Land" salt stone massage at the new St. Somewhere Spa at Margaritaville Orlando Resort.

At the newly opened St. Somewhere Spa at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, the late afternoon thunderstorms that saturate Central Florida practically every summer day aren't a bother. In fact, they play a pretty significant role in the spa's signature "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" massage, resulting in a surprisingly uncommon spa experience.

The spa opened last month, a few months behind schedule, but it was worth the wait. It's not grand, by any means, but was clearly designed with purpose and forethought. Each of the eight treatment rooms is named for an island visited or frequented by the Margaritaville mastermind, Jimmy Buffett: Grand Cayman, St. Barth and, of course, Key West are among them. The treatment rooms are outfitted with chromatherapy, which uses multicolored lighting, enabling guests to choose the color that best suits their mood before the treatment begins.

I was offered several upgrades as a guest of the spa, including a refreshing eye tea mask for $15 (I chose this one, as I readied to board a transatlantic flight later in the day) and a Himalayan salt diffuser for $40, a small machine the therapist places under the table for a concentrated dose of the salt's healing properties. More on this later.

The "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" massage is notable. Priced at $225, it's more than just an 80-minute lomi lomi-style treatment; it's also a narrated, guided meditation that includes audio from those afternoon thunderstorms that Florida is famous for.

Once the treatment begins, the therapist presses a button on a media player installed adjacent to the door, and the program begins. I worried that the narration would be intrusive, but it wasn't: It simply reminded me to take deep breaths; listen to the rain, thunder and waves; and just relax. The audio program also serves a more practical purpose, alerting the therapist with a wind chime when it's time to change the tempo or move on to another part of the body, as well as serving as timekeeper.

The common areas focus on three major components: a steam room, sauna and Himalayan salt relaxation room (which the spa says is one of only a few in the state). The main wall of the relaxation room is made from over 200 Himalayan pink salt bricks, backlit for a stunning effect. The heated loungers in front of the wall are also made from smaller salt bricks. Among the benefits of Himalayan pink salt, according to the holistic health world, are assisting with respiratory issues and maintaining positive ions in the air, which boost mood, improve focus and relieve stress.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Margaritaville spa without a bar, where friends or couples can relax with a frozen concoction before heading into their treatment. The building also features a beauty bar for hair, makeup and nail services. Treatments use Pure Fiji products, which come straight from the South Pacific island and are all-natural, with essences of coconut, plumeria and vanilla.

The spa is open seven days a week to both guests of Margaritaville Resort Orlando and the general public.

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