Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Spy Lovers Pampering Retreat Remembered

Did you know that jet setters have long held a secret that the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas is where the “beautiful” people retreat for a chance to unwind? Although, it is widely known that the hotel has been the location of two James Bond spy movies, "Thunderball" and "Never Say Never Again," its real claim to fame was its spa.

Sitting beachside just a stone’s throw away from the towering, soft yellow hotel on Bay Street, in downtown Nassau, was the charming Azure Spa. This full service 3,200-square-foot day spa served has a holistic retreat for those seeking to de-stress and detox at an ocean’s edge. The dècor was typically Bahamian with rich and colorful paintings adorning the walls. Each of the seven treatment rooms were named for different islands that make up the Bahamas. And the spa director, Isabelle, had healing hands that even 007 couldn’t resist. I still remember my visit to this little spa.

I’d met Isabelle earlier and she invited me in to sample their services. Refreshing and deep cleansing facials, body scrubs, massages and wraps were served à la cart. A relaxing 50-minute Vichy shower with a body scrub, using natural ingredients from the island, was my indulgence of choice. After a week of duty-free shopping, art gallery and museum hops and lunch by the sea… it was time to experience the Azure Spa for myself.

Just a few minutes after I walked into the spa and traded my beach cover-up and swimsuit for a comfy robe, I remember entering the Exuma treatment room where marble tile walls and overhead shower jets greeted me. Isabelle went right to work slaughtering a berry scrub all over my body before polishing with a loofah sponge. She worked quickly on both sides, while gently removing dull dry skin and improving circulation. Next, warm water fell from overhead like tropical rain revealing my sparkling new skin. After a soothing moisturizer was applied, I was well on my way to a Zen moment.

But soon, I was on the table again for the most amazing Swedish massage that I had ever experienced. Generally, I stay away from this type of massage because it’s a little rough for me. But under Isabelle, it was nothing short of blissful. She asked, “What would make the message more comfortable for you?” And she adjusted her strokes accordingly, while strategically targeting muscles that were in need of a little TLC. An hour later, I felt brand new kind of like a Bond Girl ready for an afternoon martini... shaken, not stirred!

It was some weeks later when I learned that the spa closed. I couldn’t believe it. After all what’s a spy lover to do without her favorite hideaway? Although, I’ve been back to Nassau a number of times… still staying at the Hilton, I can’t help but reminisce about that day at the spa

Do you have a favorite spa?
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