Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2014

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Page 28 of 43

F oraged ingredients are one of the newer culinary trends du jour on restaurant menus (wild mushrooms, anyone?), and now they're showing up on spa menus as well. Case in point: e Spa at Paradise Point, where the "Island Origins" treat- ment takes visitors on a botanical tour around the 44-acre island to forage for such ingredients as hibiscus, ginger and eucalyptus followed by a full-body treatment that utilizes the island's "most powerful plants in their end form." Once on property, I see just why Paradise Point is the ideal place to introduce this type of treatment. Located in San Diego's Mission Bay area, the somewhat isolated property is surrounded by water and its own private beaches—situated on grounds abundant with lush tropical land- scaping that feels more like Kauai than the edge of Southern California. "Many people say they feel like they're in Hawaii when they're here," a sta er con rms as I'm checking into my beachside bungalow. e sun is peeking through the clouds on the somewhat chilly May morning when I rst meet up with lead therapist Kaylee Lindsley to try out the Island Origins treatment for my- self. As we set forth on the tree-lined path away from the spa, Lindsley explains that the term "foraging tour" is a bit of a misnomer—the treatment doesn't actually include any physical foraging. It's designed to be more of an educa- tional and sensory experience, where visitors can get up close and personal with the 600+ types of plants on the island. "People are interested in touching, feeling and seeing the ingredi- ents we'll be using on their bodies," she explains, but it would be dif- cult to prepare a potent mixture in the given two-hour time frame. " e [pre-prepared] essential oil is where the magic is and where you'll get the most therapeutic bene t—it wouldn't be strong enough to just pick and use." However, that doesn't make it any less fun to explore the plants that will soon be pampering me, while learning about their heal- ing properties. Among the rst things we spot are a strawberry tree (native to Ireland and France) and a lagoon of water lilies. Bending down for a closer look, Lindsley says the lilies are known for their antiseptic and decongestant properties, but cautions that they can reduce sexual drive, which may not be ideal for vacation. A gaggle of adorable baby ducks crosses our path (and it won't be the last time—I later encounter a duck in the resort pool). Once we reach a eucalyptus tree, Lindsley cups some leaves with her palms and shuts her eyes in contemplative thought. "I like to ask the tree for permission before picking any of its leaves, because they could be poisonous," she says, adding that she's seen people ask per- mission to stand in poison oak with none of the typical itchy reper- cussions. is done, she picks several leaves and hands them to me to feel and smell. We continue exploring the island, rich with bird of paradise, papyrus, tea trees, ginger and hibiscus. As we admire the landscap- ing, Lindsley shares some of the hotel's history. e founder, lm producer Jack Skirball, hired landscaper Frank Rich to create the property's tropical feel, and Rich started import- ing plants from all over the world in the early 1960s. (Piece of trivia: part of Skirball's lm Cleo- patra was lmed at Paradise Point.) When the 45-minute botanical tour concludes, it's time to return to the spa for the relaxing part. Bright pink orchids and a oral massage blan- ket provide a pop of color in the sparse, dimly lit treatment room. I lie facedown on the dreamy eucalyptus-scented head pillow as Lindsley begins with a so ening hibiscus foot scrub said to "utilize the antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties [of the hibiscus] to get the feet really clean and exfoliated." She then proceeds to give me a ginger oil body massage, paying special attention to my injured shoulder by targeting the tender deep tissue around the area. She adds that ginger oil has detox powers, helping to "improve circulation and digestion, getting things moving in the body." e treatment concludes with Lindsley pouring a mixture of hot coconut oil and tea tree oil all over my scalp, followed by a relaxing head massage to work the oils into my hair. She advises me not to wash my hair until at least that evening (or ideally the next day) to maximize the magic. A erward, with a moment to re ect in the eucalyptus steam room, I marvel at having had the unique opportunity be to truly connected to the roots of the spa experience—seeing them in nature and better appreciat- ing their herbal powers. It was also a pleasant way to explore the grounds. Later that evening, as I'm still basking in the post-spa glow (and rocking the oily hair), my husband and I enjoy a meal at Paradise Point's new restaurant Tidal, which specializes in local "cra and catch" cuisine, then head o to make a re and roast s'mores on our bungalow's private beach. Just another day on the island—and I feel fantastic. The Island Origins spa treatment at San Diego's Paradise Point will make you a (pampered) forager by Jen Jones Donatelli ~ ~ photos top: Jen Jones Donatelli, all other photos courtesy Paradise Point august/september 2014 29

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