Villas and bougainvillea // © 2011 waywuwai
What was once a mundane tennis court two years ago is now the first gemstone-inspired spa in Latin America. The 602-suite Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa’s Coral Beach Gem Spa was designed with seemingly no expense spared. The AAA Five Diamond property built the 40,000-square-foot spa as an annex to the resort, and it is one of the largest spas in Cancun.
The spa’s unusual treatments are inspired by the natural healing elements of gems from three distinct regions of the world — the Riviera Maya (such as the Chaya Body Treatment, the Chocolate Body Wrap and the Mayan Emperor Facial), the South Pacific and Asia (think the Hindu Head and Foot Massage, the Lumi Juma Massage and the South Seas Ritual) and the Baltic Sea (the Traditional Russian Massage With Malachite Stones and the Coffee Caprice Anti-Cellulite Body Wrap are among the offerings). Various gemstones indigenous to these regions, such as tiger’s eye, amber, amethyst, jade and obsidian, are utilized in treatments. A signature collection of treatments integrates the use of diamond dust from Natura Bisse, a Spanish product line.
The Gem Spa presents a sleek, sophisticated ambience, integrating the use of rich hardwoods, Italian mosaics, iridescent turquoise tile, natural taupe and brown marble and tumbling waterfalls over black granite. After checking in at the private reception area, with a backlit onyx counter, an attendant escorts the client off to the changing area, where he or she is given a fluffy robe, Sensi Italian sandals with massaging soles and disposable underwear. Clients shouldn’t miss the 10-step, guided circuit Hydrotherapy Ritual, a luxurious complimentary process created to detoxify skin through a series of warm-and-cool temperature water treatments combined with high and low water pressures. Spa guests are encouraged to set aside at least three hours when they book a treatment so that they can fully experience their treatment as well as the Hydrotherapy Ritual, which can be done before or after their appointment.
In an enormous softly lit, grotto-like space, somewhat reminiscent of a Roman bath, I entered the so-called “pool of sensation.” Feeling like Cleopatra, I stepped in gingerly. Immediately, I felt the irritations of airports and security lines start to float away in the warm, comforting effervescent water. I let the charging cervical neck jets massage my sore shoulders, then frolicked in the bubble and floor geysers and water cascades. I drifted back and forth in this water playground, ending up again with the strong neck jets pounding me into sublime submission. After about 15 minutes, my guide came to quietly advise me that it was time to continue with steps two through 10, consisting of aromatherapy, a multi-jet shower, clay and a steam room, an ice/polar room, a sauna, a rain shower, a whirlpool and, finally, a lagoon pool with an intriguing river pebble maze pathway created to massage the feet while stepping through it.
Next, I lounged in the waiting area, sipping on detoxifying water, until my therapist came to fetch me for my appointment. The Gem Spa features 26 treatment rooms, including 10 multi-functional rooms, six massage and facial rooms and five couples’ treatment rooms. It also features two spa master suites with hydro-massage tubs and color therapy, one VIP spa couples suite with a double Jacuzzi tub and a steam room and two shiatsu and Thai massage rooms. In addition, 20 exclusive all-suite accommodations are located adjacent to the spa. Guests who reserve these suites have complimentary access to the Hydrotherapy Ritual, special aromatherapy essences and Thierry Mugler bath products.
I had a hard time choosing which treatment to indulge in, but decided on the Diamond Magnetic Ritual, a 120-minute blissfully decadent experience. The treatment combines Shiatsu and bio-energetic lifting and applies a special mud, infused with real diamond dust, which is then removed with a massage utilizing magnets. After the body is completely relaxed, the ritual ends with a “Diamond Perfection” facial.
After my treatment, I stopped into the Gem Spa Cafe for lunch. I chose a Moroccan couscous dish, typical of the menu’s healthy, moderately-portioned culinary selections. A full-service salon offers services for both and women including hair styling, manicures and pedicures. It also includes luxury pedicure thrones and special areas dedicated to foot massages.
In the Gem Spa boutique, guests will find gemstones to use for healing or adornment as well as beauty and skincare products from Natura Bisse, Decleor, Germaine de Capuccini and local brands.
The Gem Spa also offers a dedicated fitness program, with guided meditation and group yoga lessons, as well as seminars on gemstone healing properties and balancing chakras.