Take a Vacation to the Next Level

By Abby Weingarten –

What is the most satisfying way to take a vacation to the next level? Make it a spa-cation, of course! There is nothing like a massage, facial, body scrub or aromatherapy session to soothe the soul during a getaway. As part of our new travel features, we will be exploring the indulgent treatments at the spas where we stay. Unwind with us.

Don CeSar’s Spa Oceana

After lounging in a blue cabana on St. Pete Beach while sipping a strawberry daiquiri, it seemed only fitting to indulge in even more relaxation at the Don CeSar’s Spa Oceana.


The luxury hotel’s 11,000-square-foot award-winning spa is a vacation within a vacation, which begins with a calming respite in the Whisper Lounge or in the Gulf-side rooftop garden. I took a dip in the whirlpool before slipping on my comfy white robe and sandals.


Deciding on a treatment was the only stressful part of the spa experience, as the options all looked euphoric. Would it be the 90-minute Spa Oceana Splendor with an Ocean Mist body treatment and a softening sugar body exfoliation? It was a toss-up between this, an Oceana Aromatherapy Massage, a Beach Glow Treatment, a Sea of Life Facial, and a Floral Blossom Manicure & Pedicure.


I went with my first instinct (the Splendor) and, as I was coated with a soothing gel and wrapped up to soak in the moisture, I breathed in the most delicious air. The aromatic atmosphere had been infused with essential oils such as orange, lavender and sage. I tried to take as many breaths as I could before stepping into a warm shower. The water washed away the sugar scrub and gel, and I hopped back onto the table for a massage with the signature Ocean Mist body lotion.


At the end of the treatment, I felt as though I had newborn skin. Of course, I didn’t want to leave the massage table…ever. But, as I returned to my locker and donned my regular clothes, I relived the spa moments in my head. Every time I need to remember carefree bliss, I relive them again.

Spa Oceana, Loews Don CeSar Hotel: 3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach. 727-360-1881; loewshotels.com/don-cesar.


The Coconut Point Hyatt’s Stillwater Spa

One flute of sparkling champagne was the perfect prelude to one blissful hour at the Stillwater Spa. Located inside the regal Hyatt Regency Resort, this Coconut Point retreat is a dimly lit space that exudes tranquility in every square foot.


Inside my treatment room for a 50-minute pure botanical facial, I breathed in a combination of eucalyptus and bergamot orange essential oils, and the mix instantly made my eyelids heavy.

The facialist rubbed my skin with potions infused with all-natural herbs, and conducted a stimulating lymphatic massage on my face, neck and shoulders to remove any toxins. A sulfate-free cleanser, a bioactive floral water toner and a mineral mask helped exfoliate my forehead and cheeks. My pores soaked up the moisturizing serums as my facialist gently scrubbed away all of the dead, dry cells. I glowed.

After my spa therapy, I dined on a whole snapper dinner at the onsite Tarpon Bay restaurant, followed by a ferried visit to the private shores of Big Hickory Island Preserve. Stillwater and stillness are now synonymous to me.

Stillwater Spa: Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, 5001 Coconut Road, Bonita Springs, 239-390-4360; coconutpoint.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas.



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