Everythingspa’s Blog

CNYSPAGIRL blogs about all things spa

Studio 8 Fitness and A Time For Me Wellness Center, Clinton NY October 22, 2011

You would never expect an upscale day spa and fitness studio to be tucked away along this mostly rural stretch of Route 5 near Clinton, NY.  But just when I had started to lose confidence that my GPS would deliver me to my pre-programmed location, there it was.

It was a Wednesday morning in early September when I arrive at Studio 8 Fitness, prepared for a serious workout. I am joining a small group of women for a circuit training class as a guest of Kelli Corasanti, the fitness center’s owner. It’s the first time I’m meeting Kelli, but she hugs me like a long lost friend. And before I know it, we’re warming up on the cycles to signal the beginning of our workout.

It doesn’t take long before Kelli asserts herself in a drill sergeant-like manner that you’d never expect to come from the pretty, slim blonde.  One minute, she provides nurturing guidance to this group of ladies that follow her in an almost cult-like fashion. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way!) The next minute, she’s a rough and tumble fitness instructor issuing training instructions that you wouldn’t dream of deviating from.  But it’s all good: Kelli is the perfect combination of Barbie and G.I. Joe.

When I asked the other members of my small group why they come to Studio 8 Fitness instead of a traditional gym, the response was overwhelming:  It’s the personalization and the motivation provided in this somewhat non-traditional environment adjacent to A Time For Me Wellness Center.  But most importantly, it’s Kelli herself. “I love what I do and I think it shows”, says Kelli, whose classes are fun, energizing and certainly challenging.  It’s no surprise that Kelli has such a following, given her warmth, spirit and positive energy.  But she also holds an impressive resume of educational degrees and fitness certifications, so you know you’ll be in extremely good hands:

  • ACE Certified Personal Trainer specializing in functional training.
  • Certified as a TRX Instructor.
  • Certified as a Youth Fitness Specialist through the International Youth Conditioning Association.
  • Master’s degree in Counseling Education.
  • Previous experience as a Mad Dogg certified SPIN Instructor.

Kelli has published two books: Kelli’s Quips: Happy Thoughts for Busy People (available on Amazon.com) and Finding My Way Back to Me: A Journey of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble). Finding My Way Back to Me is also the title of an online life coaching program that Kelli created at http://findingmywaybacktome.com.

When my workout was over, I dragged myself down the stairs and into the day spa.  The tough part of my visit was over.  Now I was in for some serious and well deserved relaxation:  a massage, facial and lunch!

A Time For Me Wellness Center’s owner, Amy Croft, has created a welcoming sanctuary in this unassuming location. When I first arrive at the spa, Amy is decked out in gardening clothes and is going about the business of planting fall flowers out on the deck.  When I emerge from my massage, the first of two treatments in store for me that day, she has transformed herself into a sophisticated spa owner.  Along the way, she and her staff have baked oatmeal cookies (they’re still warm!), made the fruit-infused spa water and are mentally and physically preparing for the clients who are scheduled for appointments that day.  This is the typical day-in-the-life of a spa business owner who wears many hats.  What distinguishes Amy and her family-like team of associates apart is their passion for their clients, the spa and their work.

But don’t take my word for it: just ask the massage therapy client who has just received her 92nd massage at A Time For Me Wellness Center.  If that isn’t a testament to why the spa was Voted #1 Day Spa in the Utica Observer-Dispatch Readers Choice 2011 Awards, then I don’t know what is!

The spa itself is a stunning piece of architecture that has surely caused more than one guest to desire, wistfully, to live there.  The large deck, a spectacular gathering place for pre or post-treatment relaxation during nice weather, overlooks the thickly wooded surroundings, which were already showing signs of the fall spectacle that Mother Nature puts on annually.  I can imagine winters in the great room, in front of the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, sipping a warm beverage as the temperature dips outside.  It is the most unpretentious of settings – the kind of place where the clients feel “at home” moments after walking through the door.  The décor has a sunny, Tuscan feel – deep green ceramic tiles complement bright yellow walls. Warm wood flooring covered in patterned area rugs and rich woodwork lend a rustic feel to the open, airy design.  A cozy upholstered seating area is perfect for sinking into while you await your treatment; it’s the kind of place that makes you want to linger just a bit longer, so plan on making the most of your relaxation time and not rushing away after your service is complete.

With a full kitchen available, it’s a sought after place for holiday and office parties and just about any other event that a guest can dream up.  There’s even a designated spa party room in the works that can accommodate private groups. Since it’s opening in November 2006, the 4,000 square-foot three-level wellness center has become a popular place for couple’s massages, thanks to its two couples massage rooms. There are eight treatment rooms in total, with service offerings that include massage, esthetics, manicures and pedicures.

Christine Hansen is one of five Licensed Massage Therapists.  What impressed me the most about her massage technique is that there was nothing perfunctory about it.  If you’ve ever had a perfunctory massage, you know exactly what I mean.  Christine used a variety of techniques and assisted stretching to work all the muscles and areas of the body she knew would be sore the next day, courtesy of my morning workout with Kelli at the in-house Studio 8 Fitness (Coming soon –  more about Studio 8 Fitness). The signature massage is a customized 60 or 90-minute treatment that includes hot towels on the feet, hot stones on the back and a touch of aromatherapy.  During my visit, the spa was running a promotion that included a complementary add-on, normally a $5 value.  There were so many interesting offerings; I opted for the foot scrub as the ideal complement to the hot towels.

Jen Salvo, a cosmetologist who offers esthetic and nail services, gave me a pampering and relaxing facial using products by Plantogen, know for plant derived spa therapy.  Afterwards, I followed my own advice and lingered just a bit longer over lunch on the deck before making the surprisingly quick and picturesque drive back to Syracuse.  A Time For Me Wellness Center and Studio 8 Fitness is a gem of a spot that simply cannot be kept a secret!

A Time For Me Wellness Center

7201 Route 5 West

Clinton, NY 13323

315.853.3300

http://www.timeformedayspa.com

info@timeformedayspa.com

Studio 8 Fitness

7201 Route 5 West

Clinton, NY 13323

(315) 723-9986

http://www.studio8fitness.com

kelli@studio8fitness.com

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Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and Willow Stream Spa blend family friendly atmosphere and zen spa experience March 1, 2011

 

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

 

 

Come out and visit and bring your son”, my cousin’s wife from Scottsdale has been saying for years.  I took her up on the offer in the spring of 2009 and traveled solo to Scottsdale to spend time with family and to visit some of the acclaimed spas that The Valley (as the locals call it) is known for.  There are so many to choose from and one is better than the next; it was easy to fall hard for the spa culture and to begin plotting a return visit.  So this year, when school let out for February break, my eight-year old and I hopped a plane to Phoenix for some quality time with our extended family and some quality spa time for me.

We’re staying at the AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for 6 nights.  The sprawling 65-acre resort manages to seamlessly blend a classic Southwestern exterior setting with delightfully modern interiors. More than once, I gazed at the pink-hued Spanish colonial-style architecture with its expansive plazas and flower-drenched gardens and imagined it could easily be mistaken for a Mexican beach resort. Arizona’s McDowell Mountains rise and fall in the distance creating a stunning setting.

The resort features 649 oversized guest rooms, suites and casitas.  Our 525 square-foot deluxe guest room (3130) with two oversized double beds is designed like an apartment (minus the kitchen). The room is decorated in neutral shades of rich brown, mushroom and earthy greens. Walk to the end of the hallway to the main area that contains the bedroom, wet-bar, workspace and entertainment area. But what I really love about the unique layout of these guest rooms is the walk-in closet, entryway with abundant storage shelves and the oversize bathroom with double sinks, walk-in shower, soaking tub and separate water closet. Our private covered balcony overlooks one of the lushly landscaped tropical pool areas.

 

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess - Double Double Room

 

 

Adults and kids alike are drawn to the five heated swimming pools:  The fun and flirty South pool, the sporty East pool, the ultra kid-friendly Sonoran Splash pool with dual 200 foot long waterslides and zero-entry splash zone, the private casita pool and the rooftop spa pool.

 

South Pool at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

 

The near-perfect service is positively, can’t-get-enough addictive. On our first night, I opted to utilize the valet parking service since we arrived past midnight.  I had every intention of using the self-parking lot the next day. But I found myself being unable to resist the unfailingly friendly “welcome back” from the ever-smiling valet staff every time I drove up the circular drive and stopped under the porte-cochère.  I slipped into full relaxation and vacation mode and never came out until we drove off to a dose of reality – that is, the airport. There is nothing like air travel to undo every bit of good that was done from our week at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

At the informal LV Bistro, you’ll never feel like you have to rush through your meal because you’re dining with children.  It parents want to linger over dessert and coffee or a glass of wine, the kids can play in the specially-designed elevated play area with comfy couches, a flat screen TV and an impressive selection of toys geared towards kids of all ages.  Serving favorites for the whole family and fresh twists on reinvented classics like savory BLT pizza and shrimp Cobb salad, it’s a family-friendly bet for any meal or for an adult-only occasion at the fiery outdoor seating area overlooking the South pool.

 

La Hacienda - Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

 

It’s not often that fine dining and kid-friendly can co-exist in the same restaurant experience, but our dinner at La Hacienda, a modern Mexican restaurant by Richard Sandoval, did just that. Wood-beamed ceilings, tile flooring, roaring fireplaces and candles on every wall and surface created a cozy, casually elegant atmosphere. And yet, I was incredibly comfortable dining with my eight-year old son.  A reasonably priced kids menu with kid-friendly options, kids cups with lids and straws, and a dining server who took my cues to move the service along at a good pace and yet never made us feel like we were missing out on attentive service. With energetic Spanish music playing in the background, a décor of black and earth tones and ambient lighting, La Hacienda is a sophisticated and comfortable dining venue that blows traditional hotel and resort dining out of the water.

I couldn’t resist ordering a mango maraschino margarita after our savvy server shared that the cocktails were handcrafted with fresh juices and premium tequilas.  Queso fundido with chorizo was oozing with a blend of warm, salty and gooey cheeses. Be warned: Tacos will never taste the same again after you savor the lobster tacos with their chunks of the buttery crustacean, creamy avocado and black bean puree over petite corn tortillas.

You won’t have room for desert and coffee, trust me. But go ahead and order the warm cinnamon churros anyway. My son declared the rich, melt-in your mouth pillows of sweetened dough “scrumptious and delicious” after devouring half the plate.  The deal was sealed for me with an accompanying trio of dipping sauces: cajeta (sweetened caramelized milk), a slightly spicy chili chocolate fondue and cream cheese natilla (vanilla infused soft Spanish custard).  But the pièce de résistance of the meal was the flaming coffee prepared tableside to an appropriate chorus of oohs and aahs from intrigued nearby diners.  My choice was the Café 1921: Tequila de Créma and coffee in a fiery goblet rimmed with crusty caramelized sugar and topped with whipped cream and chocolate. It was the perfect ending to a very special and memorable meal.

I’ve been at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for five days now and haven’t had a chance to check out the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont.  I check my son into the National Geographic Explorers Camp for kids ($35 for half-day including lunch) and head over to the spa in plenty of time to enjoy all the amenities and facilities before my treatment.  In the women’s wet area, the domed ceiling rises to a circular skylight and I can see just a tease of bright blue sky.  Red rose petals seem to float on top of a bowl of chilled washcloths.  And while it’s simply beautiful inside – all marble and tile in earthy shades of mushroom, taupe, khaki and chocolate – where I really want to be is outside, especially after the severe winter we’ve had in the Northeast.

 

Rooftop Spa Pool - Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

 

I climb many stairs to reach the infinity edge rooftop spa pool, and it’s worth every single step.  When I reach the top, I’m treated to awe-inspiring 360-degree views of the mountains that surround this valley.  It’s a blue-sky day here in Scottsdale in late February; the morning air is still brisk, but it warms quickly as the sun rises in the sky. Steam gently rises off the water, and it’s not hard to imagine claiming a thickly cushioned lounge chair under a cabana and camping out until the sun begins to set. But instead, I have a 44,000 square foot spa to explore including a fitness facility, salon services, 25 treatment rooms, meditation gardens with waterfall, and men and women’s spa and lounge areas.

The exploration will have to wait until later. Now it’s time to meet my provider, the capable and confident Danielle, who is about to guide me to peace and tranquility over the next two hours during the spas signature treatment: The Havasupai Body Oasis Experience ($319, 120 minutes). In NYS, estheticians can perform body treatments, so I’m delighted to learn that Danielle is a licensed massage therapist. At the end of my treatment, the application of warm massage oil will be performed by someone who is an expert in the craft of massage, a bonus I don’t expect but am thrilled to discover.

Danielle leads me outdoors to the co-ed cave-like waterfall and gives me a few minutes to soak under the varying strengths of warm cascading water.  When she returns, she hands me a towel and my robe and we head to the treatment suite where my journey will take place.  “There are a lot of steps to this treatment”, she explains, “but they flow together wonderfully”.

 

Havasupai Falls Water Feature - Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Willow Stream Spa

 

We arrive at my treatment suite that has all the amenities I’ll need for my experience without having to shuffle from room to room. We begin with an aromatic footbath and foot scrub and Danielle offers me hot or iced Ayurvedic tea with hints of cinnamon and cardamom. Next is a gentle Chamomile body polish and body wash.  I step under the rain shower to rinse off the scrub while Danielle freshens up the room.  Already waiting for me is an inviting thermal bath, which I soak in for 15 minutes after Danielle steps out of the room.  She leaves me with lavender soaked iced washcloths and a bottle of neroli water (extract of bitter orange) to use as a cooling and hydrating mist.  When Danielle returns, the treatment resumes with a soothing warm oil massage application before I’m wrapped up to allow the oil to penetrate the skin. During my wrap, I experience a massage of the face, neck, scalp, shoulders and décolleté.  As Danielle removes the oils being from my hands and feet with warm cloths, I have just one worry:  After two hours of warm bliss, would I physically be able to put one foot in front of the other and walk to the relaxation area under my own power?

Miraculously, I’m able to float back to the National Geographic Explorers Camp to pick up my son.  He is happy and content, chattering about the photo safari and fishing adventures of the morning. Miss Janey, the camp’s no-nonsense but fun-loving manager, runs the program like a well-oiled machine. She hands me a digital photo disk, bids us an affectionate goodbye and we’re off.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is a dream for families traveling with children: abundant pools with fun water amenities, family-friendly dining, a fishing pond, the kids camp, a sports court, and flexible room accommodations for families of every size at many price points.  The staff went out of their way to create a special experience for us at every opportunity with professional and unobtrusive service.  Business travelers, spa lovers and couples looking for romance can all peacefully co-exist within the same beautifully manicured peaceful resort.  And the fresh-baked, best ever chocolate chip cookies are worth mentioning too!

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

7575 E. Princess Drive

Scottsdale, Arizona 85255

480.585.4848

Toll Free: 1.866.540.4495

www.scottsdaleprincess.com

As is common in the travel industry, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess provided the writer with a complimentary spa treatment, dinner at La Hacienda for two, lunch at LV Bistro and a half-day at the National Geographic Explorer’s Camp for the purpose of writing this article. While this did not influence this review, Examiner.com believes in fulldisclosure of any potential conflicts of interest.

 

Spa Review: Ascent, The Spa at Tenaya Lodge (Fish Camp, CA) at Yosemite National Park September 19, 2010

Filed under: Body Scrub,Massage,Spa Reviews,Spa Treatment — everythingspa @ 9:38 pm
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Ascent, The Spa at Tenaya Lodge provides an escape from Yosemite’s active pursuits.

After four days in the hustle and bustle of city life in San Francisco, I was ready for some peace, serenity and mountain air. So on a Tuesday morning in late August, my husband, eight-year-old son and I made the long, hot, flat drive east from San Francisco to Tenaya Lodge, just a few miles from the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. To read the rest of the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.

 

Spa Review: Stillwater Spa at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino (Lake Tahoe, NV) September 17, 2010

Swim out area that leads to outdoor pool

It’s late August and I’m on an epic Northern California adventure with my husband and our eight-year-old son.  Lake Tahoe is the third leg of our sensational 12-day journey, right on the heels of San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.  We’ve chosen to stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino for the private beach and to check out Stillwater Spa.

To read the rest of the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.

 

Spa Review: The Spa at ARIA (Las Vegas, NV) May 25, 2010

Filed under: hotel spa,Spa Reviews — everythingspa @ 4:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

The Spa at ARIA - Co-Ed balcony with therapy pool

To read the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.

 

Spa Review: Waterfalls Spa at Hope Lake Lodge (Cortland, NY) December 30, 2009

Waterfalls Spa Lobby at Hope Lake Lodge, Photo courtesy of Greek Peak Mountain Resort

To read the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.

 

Spa Review: The Spa at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa November 15, 2009

 

Topnotch Resort and Spa Room 137 and The Esex - 68

Women's gathering room at The Spa at Essex, photo by Michele McIntyre

 

 

To read the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.