Spas aren’t supposed to be competitive. So why do I feel challenged?
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort – on tranquil Marco Island, Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico and an hour south of Fort Myers – rolled out a new treatment this spring, designed to lull spa-goers to sleep. The thing is, I’m not a nap person. Yet as part of the SLEEP treatment, after the 50-minute massage is a 20-minute guided nap. Some might call it power nap, others a restorative break. Can this really work on a nap neophyte like me? Shortly after the treatment launched, I flew down to Florida to test-drive the concept.
“Welcome to paradise!” sang a woman in a tropical dress at the front desk. This served as a fitting introduction to the 727-room resort’s mission to help guests unwind. The setting isn’t too shabby. Right outside the lobby at this South Collier Boulevard resort is a three-mile private white-sand beach. But the Holy Grail for relaxation is quite simply, “the spa,” as it’s called. Balinese philosophies drive the spa’s interior design, including fan-palm motifs woven into carpets and bamboo walls in each treatment room. Starfish and shells in each room remind that the Gulf of Mexico is a five-minute walk away. Candles lit throughout the spa omit beach-y aromas infused with tropical scents and were, in fact, so effective in calming me that one (bought at the spa boutique) found its way into my suitcase.
For the SLEEP treatment, shortly after 9 o’clock in the morning, I was summoned on my back on a heated migun mat, which is crafted from small pebbles and placed on top of the massage table. Far infrared rays within the mat penetrate heat into the body, another movement towards sleep. After selecting from three aromatherapy oils (I chose a rosemary scent), the masseuse employed long strokes designed to relax the body. Paired with dreamy music, my body quickly shut down. This was followed by a 20-minute restorative nap accompanied by sound waves, a sleep mask (either hot or cold) and a down comforter.
While my nap was an epic fail, the act of closing my eyes and pressing pause on my cluttered brain’s activity worked wonders. When the masseuse gently rang soft chimes to “wake up,” with a cup of lemongrass-ginger tea on a tray, I felt refreshed. I sipped my tea from a chaise on the spa’s terrace, taking in the view of the Gulf of Mexico and the resort’s beach.
Other treatments at the spa include eight signature massages, including a seashell-therapy massage and a sports massage (to work out the kinks after a day of kayaking?). A roster of 25-minute express services caters to busy travelers. There are also seven signature facials and five “body indulgences,” like a head-to-toe exfoliating treatment using Moroccanoil.
Post-treatment, it’s recommended to grab a chaise at the spa’s outdoor adults-only pool where food (including all-day breakfast, cocktails and wine) can be ordered poolside and a carafe of fruit-infused water is promptly delivered. My lunch of a vine-ripe tomato salad, paired with a glass of Provenance Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, was the perfect sequel to my treatment. Different tiers of seating around the pool create privacy and in addition to the ubiquitous chaise, you can cozy up in a wicker bed or dine at a table under an umbrella. Classical music is piped in, a subtle yet noticeable shift from the rock music you might find at the resort’s other outdoor pools.
While napping may not appeal to everyone, South Collier Boulevard is relaxing enough in that it doesn’t have the manic pace of most Florida beach towns. Instead, dog walkers and bicyclists meander along at a slower speed, the perfect setting for a spa-cation. In fact, on my third day, I walked out of the resort’s front entrance for what I’ve come to call my own form of meditation (a walking meditation), pleased to return on tired legs to such a gorgeous beach where thatched-roof huts beckon for little r&r.
Healing Lifestyles & Spas content focuses on integrating healing remedies, alternative medicine, natural living, spa wisdom, and nature into our lives, providing tools and inspiration to lead a more healthy and healing lifestyle. We all need to slow down, press pause, and nurture this absolute need to give back to ourselves. Remember to Live Mindfully, Eat Joyfully, Travel Consciously. Sign up and get your your daily dose of spa-living in an easy, bite-size tip, right in your inbox! We provide a wide range of experiences to enrich your mind, stretch your imagination, feed your psyche, move your body, and give you spa delights!