Pamper Yourself at a Resort Spa
By Georgina Cruz
Special to North Palm Beach Life
If there is something my husband Humberto and I have learned well during the past two years of pandemic it is, without a doubt, that our health and wellness should be our top priority. But, of course, living in our busy modern world, often time to devote to our fitness and well-being is short. We wanted to do more this fall for our physical and mental health. Like the ancient Romans who stressed mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body, a saying attributed to the poet Juvenal) we wanted a vacation that would provide both a change of scenery as well as relaxation and healthy pursuits. So, we looked for a resort getaway with a top-notch spa, lush landscapes, a lake and/or water features, strong health protocols and safe activities.
Our research pointed to the Four Seasons Orlando –which is on Disney property but is not a Disney hotel. The Four Seasons Orlando has robust protocols including enhanced cleaning and ventilation systems and complimentary in-room kits with masks, hand-sanitizer and wipes. We booked a three-day stay to relax and fortify ourselves ahead of the busy holiday season.
Located in the upscale neighborhood of Golden Oak, this lakeside resort, in Spanish Revival architecture, sits on 26.5 acres with an abundance of live oaks, palms and other trees and vegetation. Recreational amenities include the Tranquilo Golf Course, a Tom Fazio-designed, par 71 course that is a certified Audubon sanctuary, and five acres of water features including five pools, lazy river, splash zone and water slides.
The resort’s fitness and recreational facilities also include cardiovascular equipment, Peloton bikes, weight training, whirlpool, steam room, complimentary yoga and three Har-Tru tennis courts. Additionally, The Spa at the Four Seasons is an impressive oasis with one of the most noteworthy menus of services we have come across. I personally am delighted just with some pampering in the form of a mani-pedi and a facial or massage. But this facility goes well beyond that: it has 18 treatment rooms for vibrational sound therapy (a touch-less massage performed with vibrating Himalayan bowls), an Experience Shower with nine jets, lights, and sounds, detoxifying cupping, cryotherapy, hydrating oxygen facials and more. Vitality drips and vitamin injections for those seeking to boost their energy and immune systems are provided by a doctor. And there is a beauty salon, and Solarium with a babbling fountain and a tranquility lounge for post-treatment relaxation.
Other relaxing spots include the adults-only pool, where attendants pamper guests on arrival with ice water and complimentary sunscreen and bring you lunch if you wish to linger for a few hours.
Our Park View room was spotless, spacious and chic with a contemporary vibe. We had a king-size bed that was particularly comfortable. Our marble bathroom had a television in the mirror, deep soaking tub and separate shower and we had a furnished terrace with views of the resort’s pools, lakes, golf course and woodlands as well as the fireworks at Disney parks. We also had a mini fridge plus an unexpected delight: a handy wine dispenser to enjoy a glass while viewing the fireworks from the room’s own terrace.
There are four restaurants and a coffee/ice cream shop onsite and all have outdoor seating –a definite plus for Humberto and me as we love alfresco dining particularly in the times we are living in now. One of our favorite restaurants was Plancha, featuring Cuban-American cuisine including popular Cuban sandwiches. We patronized PB&G, serving freshly prepared salads and grilled dishes and Lickety-Split which serves coffees, sandwiches and ice creams including such flavors as “birthday cake!” From the terrace of the 17th floor rooftop gourmet restaurant Capa that serves delicious Spanish-influenced cuisine –including paella—diners can view the fireworks at Disney parks. Ravello, another one of the on-site restaurants, serves delicious Italian cuisine and bountiful breakfast buffets –including one that is a hit with families as it features Disney characters.
The Four Seasons Orlando has complimentary coaches that take guests to Disney World parks, but we came across several guests, including one couple with children, who told us they, and even their kids preferred staying at the Four Seasons with its lazy river, pools, slides and complimentary children’s activities, and so were not planning to go, or would go less frequently, to the parks.
What can I say? We are marking our calendars to return. For information, visit www.fourseasons.com/orlando.
Another favorite resort spa with us is the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin in Orlando with its Mandara Spa --we also spent three days there this fall. A Marriott resort located steps from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (guests can walk or take complimentary boats to those two parks and free buses to other Disney World parks and attractions) in addition to the Mandara Spa, the Swan & Dolphin has lovely settings for relaxation including a lake, six pools and three health clubs. Lodging can be in the guest’s choice of three resorts: the Swan, the Dolphin (each of these crowned with colossal sculptures of swans and dolphins, respectively) and the new, more boutique-style Swan Reserve that opened its doors in November.
The Mandara Spa, inspired by the lovely and legendary Indonesian island of Bali, which we have been blessed to visit during several world cruises, is a 10,500-square-foot facility. It offers Balinese décor, beauty salon, and a Tea Garden (a lovely sitting and sipping room), delightful Meditation Garden and other relaxing areas, as well as a variety of massages, facials and treatments utilizing exotic ingredients such as frangipani, coconut and lava rocks. A Fire & Ice manicure and pedicure is a pampering delight I indulge in.
Our room, a deluxe Resort King in the Swan, had what the resort calls its “Heavenly Bed,” which was very comfortable; views of the grounds, lovely Crescent Lake and the fireworks at Epcot; a furnished terrace; mini fridge, and a bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower.
There are four signature restaurants in the Swan & Dolphin and one in the Swan Reserve plus a varied selection of casual eateries and lounges. Among our favorites is Il Mulino New York Trattoria, one of the signature restaurants where every time we dine in it –from the aged parmesan cheese and minestrone to the pastas, veal chops and salmon to the creamy gelato –we are whisked to the glorious region of Abruzzo, Italy.
For information: www.swandolphin.com.
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Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
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