Los Angeles Travel Magazine article about my work!!! (Pg 95-96!)

Santa Fe Spa: Capture Your Spirit

Regionally inspired spa treatments have been a popular trend for years now, but Santa Fe, New Mexico, takes it to a whole new level. This charming desert destination will capture your spirit, with its local customs and global rituals.

My spirit soared, after experiencing the spa menu offerings in Santa Fe, during a special spa excursion there earlier this year.

Santa Fe’s plentiful art galleries inspire the world to venture there. So in addition to my own experiences, I also turned to someone who was drawn to Santa Fe and never left, artist Robbi Firestone, to get the local scoop on her favorite spa day in Santa Fe.

New Beginnings

One of my favorite spas in Santa Fe is the Spa at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, which begins treatments with a white sage cleansing ritual aptly called “New Beginnings.” For decades, Native American culture has practiced burning sage as a way of cleansing a person and starting anew.

During the ritual, bundles of dried white sage, embraced in cloth and robe, are burned, as spa patrons express a wish. Since I was running late, my wish was tossed into the fire for me. Hope my wish will still come true!

One of my most enjoyable moments on my Santa Fe spa vacation was La Posada’s Santa Fe Chocolate Chile Pedicure. This pedicure uses a custom blend of the warming Chimayo red chili pepper to warm the tootsies, while locally produced chocolates that include Chimayo pepper take care of warming your insides.

Many say the Chimayo pepper creates a dreamy state of mind. Whether it was the chocolate, the pepper, or just having someone rub my feet with expert precision, it sure was dreamy for me.

Indigenous Ingredients

In Santa Fe, I stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, nestled near a high mountain desert landscape. The space here also utilizes indigenous ingredients: honey, Adobe clay, blue corn, and more. Spa treatment rooms here are private, but with large glass walls for a unique indoor-outdoor feel that is also deeply inspired by the desert landscapes.

The Four Seasons’ remote desert location does not keep it from also embracing spa rituals from around the world. The Global Treatment adapted from and Asian bridal ceremony, the Javanese Royal Lular Ritual, included a massage, followed by a skin-enhancing scrub made of turmeric, sandalwood, rice powder, and ginger root. The pampering kept going, with a luscious lime and honey mask. The “bride” (you –no ring necessary!) completes the indulgence by soaking in a tropical flower bath.

Reflection of Luxury

A bath is all you need when you visit The Spa at Loretto. While the bath was only a portion of my lovely Native Reflection Ritual spa treatment, if was the star. Most surprisingly so, since I am not much of a bath person – multi-tasker here.

The luxury took over when I found myself in a Kohler antique claw foot tub, lights dimmed and chandelier overhead. With candles glowing and the church bells outside my shaded window, I could have been a thousand miles or even a few hundred years away from Santa Fe. Somehow I also felt I should have had a set of pearls on; it was just so elegant.

Santa Fe’s spa scene spans many different aspects –from spiritual to worldly to elegant—while still retaining a unique Southwestern charm.

The Art of Relaxation

Santa Fe is a city deeply rooted in culture, including food, art and spirit. It seems like there is art everywhere, even in the spas. In fact, Santa Fe boasts more than 250 art galleries in a city that’s only 37 square miles big.

Artist Robbi Firestone’s gallery, The Art Sanctuary, is my favorite. This adobe gallery, right in the heart of the historic first livery stable, is all about nurturing creativity, feminine energy, and the deeper, spiritual side of art. While you’re in Santa Fe for the spas, sign up for one of Firestone’s creative-spiritual retreats, such as Vision Journaling, or painting meditation, at SantaFeArtClasses.com. Firestone is best known for her unique oil portraits that aim to capture not just the external features of the subjects, but also their spirits.

Firestone’s favorite way to relax and replenish in Santa Fe is to spend the day at Ten Thousand Waves: a private suite, a deep-tissue massage by Reno, a facial, meditation in the quiet room, and dinner at Izanami.

She says she also loves to unwind with horseback riding at Bishop’s Lodge, followed by a hike up the Big Tesuque Trail, with a stop at the Shidoni Sculpture Garden.

“Santa Fe’s intellectual capital, coupled with dynamic, individualism and creativity, sophistication, and bohemian nature, offers many the cultural benefits of a big city,” Firestone says. “Our passionate arts organizations, like Creative Santa Fe and SITE, exquisite dining, live entertainment, high-desert beauty, and gentle pace are perfect.”

–Ava Roxanne Stritt

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