WHERE & WHEN: The Standard Hotel and Spa, Belle Isle, Miami
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, mid-July, 2009
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
With over 15 years in the fashion business, we’ve experienced and written about a lot of beauty treatments, more than we can remember. Some standouts: the DDH Facial at the Delano Spa, pedicures by Billy at the Shore Club in Miami, and massage at the Carapan Spa in New York City.
We’ve got a new addition to the list – the spa at the Standard, Miami. The treatments we experienced there during Mercedes-Benz Miami Swim Week catapulted the Standard to the top of our list. This spa has the winning combination of excellent treatment [a given], customer service, and a cool yet friendly ambiance. It’s not often you find all of these in one package.
THE STANDARD’S PHILOSOPHY -
Is inspired by global bathing cultures, self-teaching and healing.
While there, you’ll be encouraged to discover and indulge in the communal, shared rituals of ancient bathing traditions with a Turkish-style Hamam, Roman waterfall, Aroma Steam Room, Finnish Sauna and Mud Baths.
A GRACIOUS AMBIANCE
The Spa’s Director, MINA GOUGH,gets our vote for “Most gracious Spa Director”. She had the best manner of all the spa directors we’ve met over the years. She took us on a tour of the grounds, pointing out the mud bath area by the pool, the stainless steel tubs inside and the porcelain ones on the decks of the rooms.
Why all these baths? Said Mina, “The Standard, is based on the concept of bathing and water therapy.”
WHAT THAT MEANS: you can experience Tub Therapy in the privacy of your room after sweating out toxins in an Ashtanga class.
THE VIBE: Friendly and organic. The Standard is an oasis of tranquility on Island Avenue, just a shot down the cause way on 17th street from the Raleigh, on Belle Isle. There’s nothing remotely stuffy or uptight here, some of the guests’ dogs were lounging contentedly on the lobby couches. We mentally slowed down as we took in the vast expanses of pale aqua and white and the tall green boxwood hedges borderingth the property. The tour was so enjoyable that we got a late start on our facial and pedicure.
THE STANDARD FACIAL
The facial we experienced at the Standard was above and beyond. Admittedly, we have trouble relaxing and run around like a wind-up toy from 6:30a.m. until well after 10p.m. [much later during show weeks].
Not much after laying down on the table and Kathy starting our facial, we were in a deeply relaxing ¾ sleep, similar to what you experience after an especially good Ashtanga Yoga class or 5 mile run. Although it’s technically a facial, we’re going to call it a facial/massage appointment.
Kathy started with a light pressure point massage on our legs and then on our face and shoulders.
The actual facial with the ASTARA SKIN CARE LINE w/ the exception of the DDF SPF30 sunblock – [Astara doesn’t currently make one]
Our facial included:
CLEANSING with Botanical Cleansing Gele
EXFOLIATION with Daily refining Scrub
EXTRACTION – it never tickles but is necessary if you want beautiful clear skin”
MASK – using the Activated Sea Mineral Mask, which gave us a glow, we don’t normally possess unless we’ve just been exercising.
MOISTURIZING – Astara Anti-oxidant Moisturizer on face, Astara Botanical Eye Treatment around the eyes.
SUNSCREEN – DDF’s organic sun protection
ABOUT ASTARA SKINCARE
Astara’s claim is that it is “RAW NOURISHMENT FOR THE SKIN”
These products are synergistically formulated to diverse the damage incurred by ageing, environment and lifestyle.
That evening, at the CIA MARITIMA swimshow, the makeup artist at the MAKEUP FOREVER cabana pronounced our skin “glowing and fresh looking”.
It felt more hydrated than it had after months of dryness maybe due to the RETIN-A we apply nightly in our ongoing anti-wrinkle campaign.
Three days later, back home, our skin STILL felt hydrated. ASTARA is definitely a line worth looking into and trying.
TAKE-AWAY: A complete Astara Travel kit is available for $86 in a clear zip carrying case. KATHY assured us that the products last a long time as they are very pure and need to be diluted with water prior to application.
To read more about Astara, visit www.astaraskincare.com
THE STANDARD PEDICURE WITH ALEJANDRA
The pampering continued with an extremely thorough pedicure by ALEJANDRA who removed the dead skin and calluses our daily runs cause without resorting to the dreaded razor. She used a mixture of acid on pads [it didn’t hurt] and a lot of elbow grease buffing away the unsightly dead skin.
Perhaps the best part was that she had our damaged toes looking just about perfect – an optical illusion that we’re grateful for while we’re waiting for our blue runner’s nails to grow back in sometime later this year.
PRODUCT SUGGESTIONS FROM THE PROS
In between treatments, we browsed the gift shop and asked Kathy what she’d personally tried and would recommend.
FOR THE BODY: It’s PURE FIJI’s Coconut Sugar Scrub, which smells good enough to eat.
FOR THE FACE: Even if you’re currently devoted to another skin treatment line, pick up DDH’s organic Sun Protection in SPF30 for daily out and about use.
AESTHETICIAN TIP: If you’re a runner or engage in sports that have you sweating, put on some 70 sunblock as it is much thicker and you won’t have to reapply as often.
THE STANDARD MIAMI’s Features and Amenities – just a partial listing!
• Indoor Baths: Hamam, Aroma Steam Room, Scrub Room, Cedar Sauna and Wall of Sound Shower
• Outdoor baths: Roman Waterfall Hot Tub, Arctic Plunge Pool, Falling Water Column, “Sound” pool with underwater music installation and high
pressure jet streams.
• Mud Lounge with water-side sun loungers
• Fully programmed yoga center with waterfront yoga lawns, guided retreats and workshops
• 7 spa treatment rooms
• Natural Beauty Skincare Clinic
• Fully equipped gymnasium with personal trainers, Pilates and Gyrotonics
• “Do-It-Yourself” menu of hydrotherapy treatments
•Naturopathic, Nutritional Counseling and Acupuncture
The Spa is very discreet, but if you want complete privacy, that’s also available. • In-room holistic spa services including massage therapies, Chinese herbal baths, aromatherapy and reflexology are all available in-room.
LAST WORDS: FOR NEXT TIME
We’re on board for the poolside mud bath that’s available in a variety of fun colors. After getting cleaned-up, we’ll be heading over for some classic BINGO. This old game is now cool again and a great way to spend Sunday night.
Like us, if you’re the sort who doesn’t mind not being in the eye of Miami’s social hurricane taking place on Collins Avenue, a stay at the Standard is for you. It offers: peace, quiet, luxury, pampering – all in one of Miami’s most gorgeous properties. It’s not a hard choice to make.
Address: 40 Island Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: 305 673 1717
Fax: 305 673 8181
Images, courtesy of Lucy McIntyre, The Standard Hotel and Nadine Johnson Public Relations
Image of front entrance and boutique, VGK