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Bene Chocolates

26 Jul
I dropped into Be Well Spa last weekend to pick up a copy of a misplaced receipt, and ended up in a conversation with the owner, Cheryl Lycette. I met Cheryl earlier this year at the Chamber of Commerce Business awards. Be Well was nominated for Best Small Business of the Year with the Chamber and have been meaning to try them out ever since.
While I didn’t get any (more) spa treatments this weekend, I did happen upon what I can safely say will become my new favourite beauty product – Bene Chocolates.  Bene chocolates are handmade right at the spa, with locally sourced organic, fair-trade 71% dark chocolate. These are no Hershey’s dark, they are deep, creamy delicious bites with the perfect amount of sweetness.
There aren’t many things that I like more than well-made chocolate, but Bene takes it one step further. Each chocolate is  fortified with 15mg of resveratrol. Resveratrol is the substance toted for providing red wine it’s health improving qualities.  It is one of the most important nutrients known to improve the production and healing ability of collagen, a substance used in most tissues in the human body.  
Their tagline is ‘A Chocolate a Day Keeps the Wrinkles Away”, one theory I would be happy to test.
You can check out Bene Chocolates at the Be Well Spa on Robie Street. And if you are headed to the spa anyway, why not try out one of their unique spa services like the Arctic Frost and South Seas Packages, or a Marrakech Detox?

Spirit Spa

24 Jul

While some may not agree with me (the male half of the local traveler included), I think that spas are a critical part of traveling and travel review. How often do travelers gush with excitement from their beachside couples massage, or the secluded little spa they found in ___(insert_exotic_local_here)___.

Many vacations have the goal of relaxation, and a good spa can do just that, whether locally or in Mexico. The other great thing about spa-travels is that each spa is so unique, that a visit can often mimic that exciting ‘new place’ feeling.

This weekend, I tried out Spirit Spa. Spirit is located on Hollis, attached to the Harbourview Marriott. For a downtown spa, Spirit does a good job making you feel as though you have taken a retreat from the city. Their two waiting areas are both equipped with iced cucumber water, herbal tea’s and sometimes a sweet treat. There is also a rooftop balcony, pool and two private steam showers. The steam showers are what sold me on Spirit. I arrived for my treatments 30 minutes early, and one of the staff showed me to the steam room. She brought me to my  locker, equipped with a fresh robe and flip-flops and proceeded to explain how the steam showers worked. She made it seem very straight forward, but somehow I still managed to get mixed up a bit with the settings and put the steam on way too low, leaving me with closer to a glorified shower than a steam. Still, the experience was heavenly. The area was also equipped with towels, shampoo and conditioner and a tropical scented body wash.

Spa-day Ready Locker at Spirit Spa

I opted to try the Organic Facial and a massage. The description said it was their most popular facial, and given my limited knowledge of spa services I thought it would be a safe bet. To be honest, I didn’t love the facial. Not because the treatment itself was bad, but because of the person performing it. She had made a comment a few moments in that the organic facial wouldn’t be strong enough to help my problem skin. She said we will do this facial today but for future visits I should look into a clinical one instead. It is completely possible that this was a justified comment, but in the moment it felt offensive – and made me question spending over $100 for a treatment that, according to her, wouldn’t help me. It made me very uncomfortable, and obliged to ask for further advice rather than sit in offended silence. With that said, I DO think that the facial helped my skin. I just wish that she had waited until after my treatments to gently discuss future treatments so that I wouldn’t have spent the full hour embarrassed and uncomfortable.

My second treatment was their knot again Massage. Leanne, my massage therapist, was great. She did a brief initial consult and then went straight to work, kneeding every knot and tension from my body.

Despite my somewhat negative experience at spirit, I would go there again. The atmosphere, pool, steam showers and location are a convenient get-away. That said, I probably won’t go back for any future skin services. There is a way to handle good advice, and in my opinion, that was not the right way to do it.

Aqua Spa

21 Mar

‘Aqua’ is a full service spa located on-site at the Oak Island Inn Hotel. The spa offers an extensive list of services, from pedicures to salt scrubs, as well as direct billing options for those with massage coverage. Guests can relax in a quiet waiting room, or browse the many products, jewelry and purses on display in the lobby.

While visiting, we indulged in a massage, manicure, pedicure and signature facial (thanks to a great special they were offering for March). Both massage therapists were good but the room was a little chilly and frequently picked up noises from other hotel guests. The other services were all superb, especially the facial which included a back, neck and arm massage. Also of note, all manicures and pedicures include your bottle of polish.

Similar to all of our staff experiences at Oak Island, the staff at Aqua Spa went above and beyond to ensure top service.