Taking It Easy 5-27-2005

Clients can pamper themselves with a spa package

By: Chere Coen

People head to New Orleans for many reasons bachelor parties, conventions, Mardi Gras. How about getting over a broken heart?

The Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast has teamed up with the Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour (which usually offers drinking tours of the Big Easy) to offer a “Breaking Up Is So Very Hard to Do, But I’ll Get Over Him” hotel package. The “healing experience” includes three nights with continental breakfast, souvenirs and voodoo doll (pins included) and a one-hour massage at Bodyjoys Day Spa and Salon.

The rejuvenation treatment, although not always catering to heartache, is part of a trend to incorporate spa visits with hotel stays. Several hotels and bed and breakfasts in New Orleans offer spa packages to allow visitors a chance to unwind.

Major hotels offering spas and pampering packages include the Monteleone in the French Quarter, the Ritz-Carlton on nearby Canal Street, the Windsor Court and Loew’s fronting the Mississippi River with streetcar connection to the Vieux Carre. Others include the Avenue Plaza Hotel & Spa on St. Charles Avenue and Miss Celie’s Spa Orleans within the Olde Victorian Inn, a historic bed and breakfast on the edge of the French Quarter.

Hotel Monteleone

Located on Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter, the Monteleone is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, particularly the city’s writers. The elegant hotel was recently named a Literary Landmark for its association with William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway.

The hotel also earned the American Automobile Association’s Four Diamond award this year.

After enjoying an original drink at the Carousel Bar, where literary figures once warmed the seats, visitors can head to the Spa Aria, a full-service spa that offers everything from facials to body wraps. Packages, such as “The Gentleman’s Treat” and the “The Monteleone Experience,” range from 1½ to four hours and cost $150 to $240.

Spa Aria also features a “Girls Day Out” for groups of women, according to Elizabeth Townsend, spa manager.

“It’s more like a bride’s day,” she said, adding that the package includes champagne, mini pedicure, full manicure and a 60-minute massage.

Miss Celie’s Spa Orleans and Old Victorian Inn

Miss Celie’s began as a bed and breakfast in an historic building at the north end of the French Quarter, said co-owner Keith West-Harrison. Then he discovered its colorful history.

“We bought the building years ago and had no idea of its history,” West-Harrison said. “A friend of ours pointed out that it had the beauty parlor.”

The building was once owned by Celie Brune, a Creole woman who pampered New Orleans’ socialites at her “Maison de Beaute,” according to West-Harrison. The story has it that the salon was located in what was then a rooming house owned by Lizzy Agnes Francais, the eccentric widow of an indigo baron. Francais spent most of her life traveling with Miss Celie as her nursemaid and it was during these trips that the two discovered European spas. The building was bequeathed to Miss Celie in 1890 by Francais upon her death.

West-Harrison hoped to continue the building’s tradition of pampering, including offering worldly spa treatments. The spa offers body treatments, manicures and pedicures, massage and its trademark Ma-KOH-DO-ssage, a Japanese incense infused body work that centers around an hour-long massage preceded by 15 minutes of guided meditation.

The spa features wellness packages that coincide with stays in one of three guestrooms at the bed and breakfast that overlook the courtyard. A week program costs $4,965 and includes a seven-night stay, breakfast, morning French Quarter walks, cooking classes, personal wellness consultations, spa lunches, massages, personal yoga lessons and DNA analysis, which is used to examine how clients are aging on a cellular level. A miniature version of the program, which consists of a three-night stay, costs $2,125.

The Windsor Court

“The Windsor Court’s ‘Spa to You’ program turns the hotel into a virtual 324-room spa,” said Cary Alden, publicist for the AAA Four Diamond hotel. “Guests can indulge in massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and body wraps in the comfort of their suite” by the hotel’s staff of trained estheticians.

Aromatherapy candles and relaxing music of the client’s choosing can be incorporated in the treatment.

Alden added that celebrities and wealthy clientele are regulars to the hotel, so the in-room service offers privacy they could not receive at a public spa.

Suite packages, that combine hotel room, room service continental breakfast and a choice of up to $250 worth of spa treatments, are available.


Louisiana’s only AAA Five Diamond hotel offers a full-service spa that’s been garnering accolades, such as being named the “Top Luxury Spa” by Healing Lifestyles and Spas magazine and the “Top Urban Hotel Spa” by Spa Finder magazine.

Signature treatments include the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans Signature Facial, where warm stones infused with essential oils are used to relax the muscles of the upper torso, followed by a facial. Napoleon’s Royal Massage consists of a bath in a hydrotherapy tub followed by a Swedish massage infused with a lemon verbena eau de cologne. For something a little more Southern, try the Magnolia Sugar Scrub, a body polish with the essence of magnolia.

The hotel also offers hotel-spa packages, such as the Ritz-Carlton Signature Spa (from $510), which includes deluxe accommodations, two signature massages, breakfast for two and valet parking.

Avenue Plaza Hotel and Spa

The 9,000-square-foot Mackie Shilstone Pro Spa at the Avenue Plaza Hotel in uptown New Orleans offers a fitness facility, whirlpool, sauna and steam room, in addition to massage, aromatherapy, herbal treatments and body wraps by appointment. Specialized treatments include body scrubs and steam wraps.

Packages range from “The Big Easy,” a body massage, scrub and herbal wrap for $119 to Bayou Bliss, a body massage, scrub, wrap, facial, manicure and pedicure for $215.


One of the newest hotels in New Orleans, Loew’s offers spa services such as massages with a variety of enhancements available (aromatherapy, pre-natal, deep tissue and more), facials, body treatments, waxing and manicures and pedicures.

For the Couples Instructional Massage, a licensed massage therapist instructs one guest while giving the other the massage. Then the couple trades places.

In-room treatments are also available for a slightly higher fee.


The Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast

Avenue Plaza Hotel and Spa

Hotel Monteleone


Miss Celie’s Spa Orleans and Old Victorian Inn


The Windsor Court