Health & Grooming: Sweet Surrender

<< Back to Robb Report, September 2004
  • Shari Mycek

“It’s okay to surrender,” says spa director Barbara Schultz, as she tucks a chenille blanket around me. I have spent the past two hours cocooned inside the Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach, Calif., sitting naked in hot steam, dipping into ice-cold water, resting under mounds of blankets, and then repeating the process a second, and a third, time. If military regiments could find such bliss in their surrenders, the world would no doubt be a more peaceful place.

Montage’s four-day Surrender retreat is not designed to defeat you; it is intended to heal on a most personal level. Schultz, a longtime fitness expert, came up with the idea five years ago over dinner. “I’ve always found ordering from a menu confusing,” she explains. “You may not be familiar with the ingredients, the preparation, or what’s best for your body. The same is true with spas. Everyone has different needs, and most spa-goers have no idea what treatments are best for them.” Her concept, therefore, is about designing individualized healing experiences for clients based on what is going on in their lives and with their bodies.
 
The program begins prior to your visit with an in-depth telephone interview assessing physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Questions range from how you feel about your body, food, and aging to your medical history and spiritual beliefs.

Upon arrival, you are immediately guided through the Art of Spa, a program intended to teach the proper way to steam and cool the body for maximum health benefits. However, says Schultz, it also serves the purpose of helping guests to “relax and get out of their heads.”

Following my Art of Spa introduction, I undergo a two-hour aroma-balancing therapy, or “body reading,” with Michelle, my personal spa therapist for the duration of my stay. Using essential oils and various massage techniques, including abdominal and reflexology, she detects a sluggish liver and digestive system, as well as residual muscular trauma (from a car accident when I was 19).

From this body reading, Michelle plans my surrender. I am to start my day with an early-morning beach walk (both on sand and in waist-deep water) to raise my heart rate. Daily candlelight meditation and yoga are prescribed to calm me and keep me “in the moment.” She also recommends an additional Art of Spa session combined with hot-and-cold treatments to combat fatigue and improve my circulation and metabolism. Among these treatments is the spa’s signature Laguna Beach Kur, which consists of a warm mustard- seed soak followed by a wrap in sheets that have been dipped in ice water—a detoxification therapy first practiced in the 1700s in Italy.

Over lunch on my final day, I learn that while I have been detoxifying and chanting “om,” a fellow participant has been sprinting up and down steps, then undergoing pampering massages—therapy for the recent loss of her spouse. Another visitor, recently diagnosed with cancer, is complementing his oncology treatments with a Surrender program.

“There is no cookie-cutter approach,” says Schultz. “Surrender is about personal transformation, healing—inward and outward—and moving to the next level of wellness. Every Surrender is different.”

 

Montage Resort and Spa
866.271.6953,
www.montagelagunabeach.com

From Around the Web...
From La La Land to Lord of the Rings, these movies gave our editors a serious case of wanderlust…
The James New York-NoMad
The hotel will feature 344 rooms and suites, a restaurant and bar, and more…
From cocktails to devilish accommodations, here’s how to do New Orleans in Robb Report style…
An undulating chapel, an industrial-style restaurant, and redesigned rooms bring the farm into the...
From Watergate to Citizenfour, these luxury hotels played host to major political scandals…
$13.9 million jet trip
The most expensive around-the-world private-jet trip offers much more than sightseeing…
Robb Report celebrates Presidents’ Day with a look at the world’s most extraordinary presidential...
1 Hotel South Beach in Miami
It’s VIP all the way for guests of 1 Hotel South Beach’s exclusive new Retreat Collection…
35th America's Cup at Rosewood Tucker’s Point
Resort guests will watch races aboard the Mariner III yacht, a 122-foot pleasure cruiser built in...
From FDR to JFK, these POTUS-approved hotels are perfect for a President’s Day weekend getaway…