Wellness Wednesday: An Easy Way to Create a Spa Day at Home

One of my favorite indulgences is spending time at the spa. Even when I am on vacation I try to book at least a few hours at the spa for a massage. I once booked a lengthy stay at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale with the goal of doing nothing other than lounging by the pool and frequenting the spa. That was one of my favorite vacations and I often think about doing it again. I shared a bit about that trip in a previous post about outdoor shower design. But trying to get away, even for a few hours, can be demanding on schedules. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do? Leave it to Reviving Charm to figure it out for you….I’ve got your back! Keep reading…

relax spa day Reviving Charm Spa Mistcreate a spa day at home Reviving CharmI took full advantage of the spa facilities, including the eucalyptus steam room, on previous trips to Estancia Hotel in La Jolla and most recently to Bacara Resort and Spa near Santa Barbara. Both hotel spa shops offer a product called ShowerSpa Mist. I’ll be honest, I had been tempted to purchase it on numerous occasions but was a tad reluctant. After all, how can a single take-home product compare to the expensive steam shower systems installed at resort spas? Well, after my most recent trip to Bacara I took a leap a faith and made my purchase with the intent of trying to recreate the spa experience at home. What did I learn? After using the product for almost 3 months, I learned that it’s super easy to recreate a spa-like environment that isn’t complicated, involves little to no time, and requires only one product. I also learned that I regret not buying it years ago after first learning about it.
european spa source spa mist via reviving charm 3What exactly is ShowerSpa Mist and how do you use it? Each bottle contains pure essential oil. You simply spray it onto your shower walls and let the steam do all the work. You have complete control over how much or how little scent you want depending on the number of sprays you use. I like a strong scent so I will pump 5-10 sprays onto my shower. It automatically transforms my shower into an aromatherapy experience, helps clear my sinuses, and creates a relaxing environment which is also good for the soul. ShowerSpa Mist comes in three scents: Eucalyptus, Lavender & Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass & Eucalyptus. I’ve used all three and enjoy each of them differently depending on the experience I’m trying to achieve. I prefer to use Lemongrass & Eucalyptus (my favorite) in the morning to help energize me, the Lavender & Eucalyptus is the mildest of all three and is good in the evening before bed, and the pure Eucalyptus (my second favorite) is good anytime.

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I hope this post doesn’t sound sales pitchy. This is not a sponsored post and is just a product I enjoy and want to share with you. It isn’t entirely the same experience as the professional spas, but that’s something you shouldn’t expect anyway. It does, however, elevate an ordinary shower into something that is as close as you can get to recreating that experience. My showers have been transformed and now I never shower without it. If you want to try ShowerSpa Mist for yourself or give it as a gift, you can buy it at many high-end spas or get it directly from the manufacturer, European Spa Source. Happy Spa-ing….

PART 3: THE SUITE LIFE AT BACARA RESORT AND SPA

Booking a room a hotel or resort is something I take very seriously. I do a lot of research and it’s not uncommon for me to call a hotel directly and ask a few questions about the location of certain rooms, types of rooms or their amenities. I have found this helps to ensure we get the best room for our dollar and a room that meets our expectations. At certain hotels I might even go so far as to request a specific room number; however, not all hotels will allow this. The latter was the case with Bacara. But nonetheless, we very happy with our room, its amenities and its location within the resort. This was our first stay at Bacara so naturally I did a lot of research about the resort and even spoke to a reservation agent about the differences between a few of the rooms. I narrowed it down to two room types. Do I reserve a smaller room with an ocean view or larger room without an ocean view? Oh, the problems to have! Ultimately, I ended up booking an 820 square foot Executive Suite sans view. Let me take you on a tour…

Our Executive Suite had a small entry space (photo bottom left) that had a full-length mirror in a perfect location for checking yourself before heading out the door. You can’t see the actual front door in the pictures below but it is located opposite the mirror. The louvered door is a small powder room, as seen in the photo to the right. Having two bathrooms in our room was another huge selling point for booking the Executive Suite. bacara-resort-executive-suite-1From the foyer, you automatically enter the dining area of the open dining/living area of the suite. The dining room comfortably seats six.
bacara-suite-dining-room-via-reviving-charmThe room was generously sized to include a living area, dining room, and dedicated office space. You can see the front door to the suite at the right-hand side of the picture below.suite-life-at-bacara-reposrt-by-reviving-charmbacara-executive-suite-detailsThis is the office area before I got situated in the room. I ended up using this space as a makeshift dressing room and a place to store my suitcase since the only closet in the suite was fairly small. There are lots of drawers in the room but very little space for hanging clothes. I found that the desk was also handy as an area to layout cosmetics, etc. bacara-resort-executive-suite-office-spacebacara-suite-detail

I also used the desk as a place to draft a handwritten note for the hotel Concierge that was extremely helpful in arranging to have a couple of floral arrangments delivered to the room. More on that later…

The office area is equipped with a tablet that allows you to do many things. For instance, you can request housekeeping, room service, and express checkout. I rarely used it but it was a great feature to have when I needed it.barcara resort executive suite via Reviving Charm 1In the corner of the living area there is a comfy chair and ottoman where you can catch up on the reading material supplied by the resort. I am a magazine junkie so I was happy to enjoy some new reading material. The doorway to the left side of the tray table is the entrance to the one bedroom in the suite.
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Window treatment details.bacara resort suite life via Reviving CharmLet’s enter the bedroom now, shall we?bacara-executive-suite-bedroomFrom the bedroom, another louvered door leads you into the main bathroom. The louvered doors are a very nice decorative touch throughout the entire suite but they don’t provide much in the way of privacy when it comes to masking sound. For this reason, I often used the powder room when I needed to tinkle. The hotel should seriously think about making a change to the door situation. bacara-executive-suite-bathroom-1bacara-suite-bath-productsIf you look closely at the bathroom photos you might notice that the floral arrangement moved from place to place within the space. Ultimately they stayed in the location you see below.  bacara-suite-flowers

Speaking of flowers…Whenever we stay in a hotel for any length of time I really like to have fresh flowers placed in our room before we arrive. I usually order two small arrangements: one for the bedroom and one for the bathroom. I couldn’t write this post without mentioning something about the flowers I ordered for the room as it is a testament to the exceptional service we received when it came to a last minute request. You see, I had been meaning to call Bacara to order flowers but never got around to it. It was about three hours before check-in in time when I finally was able to make the call. I called the Concierge and apologized for the short notice and inquired about the possibility to have flowers placed in the room. I had no special requests other than I was looking for something elegant. The Concierge called around and called me back promptly to inform me that my request could be granted and provided me with a very reasonable quote. When we checked into our room we found these two small floral arrangements waiting for us. I was very happy with the floral arrangements but I kinda chuckled when I saw the carnations since it had only been days after writing this post. bacara resort suite life in room flowers Reviving CharmI can’t share photos of our suite without including a picture of our private balcony that overlooks the pool. This was a great place to relax outdoors without having to leave our room. bacara suite balcony via Reviving CharmSo there you have it…the 3rd and final post about Bacara Resort and Spa. I hope you have enjoyed it. Most importantly, I hope this series may be useful in helping you decide any future vacation plans. If you happen to book your next vacation at Bacara, feel free to drop me a note and let me know how your trip was. I would love to hear all about your experience. bacara resort landscaping via Reviving Charm

PART 2: THE SPA AT BACARA

You have a myriad of hotel choices when visiting Santa Barbara, California. I narrowed it down to three choices before finally booking a suite at Bacara Resort and Spa last month. One of the deciding factors was really their reputation for providing a wonderful spa and 3,500 square foot fitness facility. I had a wonderful 80-minute massage in one of their 36 treatment rooms and took advantage of their jacuzzi, sauna and eucalyptus steam room. I even brought home some of this eucalyptus shower spray to recreate my experience at home. I like the spray so much I even plan to purchase the lavender and lemongrass mists also. But the spa has so much more to offer. Let’s take a look, shall we?

This is the walk up to the spa (shown in the background) and the adjacent spa cafe. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take advantage of the spa cuisine served at the cafe. spa-at-bacara-resort-via-reviving-charm-1

The entrance to the spa building and spa cafe overlook an adults-only heated salt water pool.spa-at-bacara-resort-via-reviving-charm

As you walk into the spa building you immediately notice the sheer volume of the space and the magnificent wooden beam rotunda. A circular staircase will take you to a large roof top terrace. We’ll visit that area in just a bit.bacara-spa-via-reviving-charm

There are several very comfortably appointed lounge rooms including those designated only for women, men, and a co-ed lounge space. Here is the woman’s lounge area. bacara-spa-via-reviving-charm-1bacara-spa-via-reviving-charm-2

The woman’s lounge has floor to ceiling windows that overlook the spa pool. spa-at-bacara-resort-pool-via-reviving-charm

A look at another lounge area.bacara-spa-via-reviving-charm-3bacara-spa-via-reviving-charm-4

Once you reach the top of the circular staircase you enter this transition space on the rooftop. The rooftop terrace is comprised of several outdoor rooms for lounging or outdoor massages.
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I only had one negative experience while at the spa. While in the jacuzzi I was joined by a group of three women who were talking really loud. There is something to be said about spa etiquette and keeping your voice to a whisper to allow others to relax in a calming environment. I had no shame in asking them to (kindly) pipe down. They immediately obliged.

Nevertheless, the Spa at the Bacara is a great destination for a girls getaway or romantic couples trip. I definitely plan on going back. Only next time I hope to spend more time at the spa to take advantage of all it has to offer.

All images via iPhone.

day in the life of Reviiving Charm january 2017

A DAY IN THE LIFE: REVIVING CHARM ON VACATION

A few weeks ago I starting thinking about surprising Mr. B with a weekend getaway. I wanted a destination that was within easy driving distance to take advantage of and make the most of this past three-day holiday weekend. I ended up booking a suite at the Bacara Resort and Spa located approximately 20 minutes north of Santa Barbara, California. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few images from our trip taken in real time.

Today I am sharing a “day in the life” of Reviving Charm while on vacation this past Sunday, January 15.  Other than a morning massage, nothing else was scheduled. Sometimes the best days are those you don’t plan! We took advantage of the mild California weather by driving through the beautiful neighborhoods of Montecito and Santa Barbara to admire the lush landscaping, Spanish architecture, and gorgeous estates. Stay tuned for a future post featuring more of the resort and our spacious hotel suite.

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7:00 am. Rise and shine. This is the bedroom of our hotel suite.

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7:20 am. I headed out the door and down the path that leads directly from the resort to the beach. Being up early allowed me to take advantage of seeing the sunrise over the water and enjoy a nice peaceful walk along the rocks and sand. I felt like I had the entire beach to myself.

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8:45 am. I checked into the spa for a 9:00 am massage appointment. I indulged myself with an 80-minute aromatherapy massage and enjoyed the other spa amenities offered, such as the eucalyptus steam shower and sauna.

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12:45 pm. After driving around Montecito we stopped for an impromptu lunch at Tydes Restaurant located directly across the street from The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel in Santa Barbara. The restaurant is waterfront overlooking the beautiful Butterfly Beach, inside the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club.

1:45 pm. We explored the grounds of The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. We stayed here many years ago and is hotel I highly recommend.

1:45 pm. We explored the grounds of The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. We stayed here many years ago over New Year’s weekend and were asking ourselves why we haven’t been back. I highly recommend this hotel for a romantic getaway. If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day getaway, I definitely recommend a stay here.

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2:30 pm. After lunch Mr. B and I strolled the neighborhood surrounding The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. The neighborhood is filled with beautiful multi-million dollar estates.

Another beautiful Santa Barbara estate.

Another beautiful Santa Barbara estate.

3:30 pm. Mr. B and I sat on a bench overlooking Butterfly Beach to enjoy the outdoors before heading back to our hotel.

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4:00 pm. Shortly after arriving back at our hotel, we enjoyed a scoop of ice cream while having a fireside conversation in the lobby.

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4:50 pm. After an ice cream break I headed to the spa gift shop to pick up a few skin care items.

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7:00 pm. Staying in for the evening allowed me to relax and catch up on reading material.

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10:00 pm. Sweet dreams…buona notte…good night!