What more reason do we need to celebrate love than having an all-encompassing balance with our lives and nature, plus someone to share it with? This Valentine’s Day and long holiday weekend is the perfect time to get away and reconnect with your mind, body, and soul in the natural, relaxing settings of spas located in one of the leading spa culture countries in the world – Mexico! Lux & Eco was lucky enough to meet with the women behind the new book and photography collection Harmony + Serenity + Balance: Spectacular Spas of Mexico celebrating the centuries of holistic cures and cultural healing methods that actually landed Mexico the current title as 12th most successful spa industry, even higher than Switzerland and Thailand! Contributor and spa guru Diana Mestre was inspired to put together the book after realizing that while Mexico is emerging as a luxury destination, little literature exists regarding the spas and spa culture that Mexico has celebrated and attempted to revive for years. Now, we are reminded of the smells and colors of the mountains and rivers, the sounds of the ocean waves, the tastes of the avocado and chile, and the inner feeling of peace we can attain while surrounded by all these senses in carefully, authentically constructed locations.
The history behind Mexico’s spa culture is one of mystery because of landmark events like the Spanish Inquisition, media-fed reputations of dangerous border-towns, and a collective human attitude governed by stress and constant movement. What the book’s CEO and President Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin wishes most of all is to rescue that hidden culture of holistic healing and lifelong tranquility that kept the natives of the land healthy and happy for centuries. These indigenous ways and still-existing lifestyles can be resurfaced through the purchasing of the book, as Gina ensured a generous percentage of its profit goes into the hands of the people whose traditions inspired the emerging spa industry. We took the time to stop awing at the photographs of white beaches and moist jungles, massage beds in caves and organic juice bars by the pool, to highlight the most luxurious and eco-friendly spa destinations and authentic Mexican spa treatments featured in Harmony + Serenity + Balance to give you a few ideas about how you can reconnect with love, life, and luxury this year.
One of the world’s most sought-after destinations, Riviera Maya, named for the Mayan archaeology it boasts and the teal and white shorelines it is defined by, is also a well-known location for cenotes. Associated with underground caves and mysterious jungle wells, cenotes are historically tied to the notion of water being “the sustenance of life and all living beings” and have a strong spiritual connotation in Mexican culture. A Lux & Eco favorite, Xpa Xcaret, a natural spa in Parque Xcaret, utilizes these sacred caves as the heart of its spa experience. With actual massage beds in hidden waterfall coves and underground cenote rooms, the chance to swim with dolphins, chocolate body treatment, and Mayan baths and mud facials, this spa brings us back to how simple it is for nature to create luxury.
The Aroma Spa located at the Hotel Esencia is the first organic facility in the region and relies on home-grown plants and herbs for its therapeutic remedies and also its menus. Candlelit Jacuzzi couples treatment cabins, and daily Hatha yoga or meditation in the garden makes this spa unique and picturesque as it sits on the brink of beach and jungle. Traditional Mexican treatments offered at this spa include Manteada rituals, where “rebozos”, soft and notably fashionable Mexican shawls, are wrapped around guests as they are spun and gently rolled by two therapists in a motion that realigns the spine to actually release emotions, leading to the ultimate feeling of comfort.
Floating away from the pristine beaches and up into the green mountaintops of Cuernavaca you will find Mision del Sol Resort and Spa designed to cater to the human spirit and its power over what the body experiences. Sol is environmentally-friendly and relies on its exposure to sunlight as its guiding force into rediscovery inner energy. Exercise combined with meditation are encouraged in the facility made entirely out of natural materials and naturally decorated by the flowers and trees of the land. The couple’s cabins are all decorated with candles and flowers also used for oriental treatments, and some are especially designed for music therapy or aromatherapy. Aside from garden strolls, Tai Chi, and a spa kitchen, Sol also offers traditional Mexican “temazcal” treatment. This pre-Hispanic steam bath, sworn by because of the longevity of health the natives experienced as a result of the process, has the same effect on conscious awareness as deep mediation, but is also physical. It is arguably the most representative of Mexican culture and the most ancient of all rituals and therapies. Conducted in a “beehive-like” adobe with a fire pit center, the ritual uses guided chanting and music while sesame, eucalyptus, oak, red geranium, and other herbs open the body’s pores and release the sweat and moisture that clogs us within.
Aside from offering breathtaking photo journals and detailed itineraries of treatments and programs offered at 39 Mexican luxury spas, Harmony + Serenity + Balance also gives thorough explanations of the traditional rituals mentioned here, every unique kind of therapy offered at the spas, a rich history on Mexican spa culture through the decades, profiles on native Mexican foods and their health benefits and therapeutic affiliation, and recipes for drinks, food, and treatments you can make at home that feature authentic Mexican ingredients and can be found in all the spas. Because we know you would love to bring luxury into your life every day, here are two of the book’s spa recipes you can make on your own so that every day feels like a vacation!
From the Pacific Coast: Papaya Wrap
½ Cup plain yogurt
1 Cup liquified (in a blender) papaya
1 Tablespoon of honey
Biodegradable plastic film
Mix yogurt, honey, and papaya until they are well combined. Apply the mixture evenly all over your body, then wrap yourself in the film for 20 minutes. Rinse and apply a moisturizer.
From the Baja: Nopal Treatments
40 Grams nopal extract
2 Tablespoons honey
Mix all the ingredients and apply as a mask to your face or cover your entire body. Nopal detoxifies , aloe refreshes, and honey helps moisturize.