On a recent trip, I experienced the rarest of skin care surprises: A procedure that was under sold and over delivered. And it happened in the middle of a beautiful tropical setting in the far reaches of the eastern Caribbean at the amazing Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa in St. Martin.
As HudsonMOD’s Beauty/Grooming Editor, I’m privy to some of the planet’s most incredible salon spas that house the very best products and services. Although this certainly sounds glamorous, my island excursion found me on an impossibly tight deadline and way off my game. To make my sunrise flight to paradise, I had to blow off sleep and left for the airport at three in the morning. So out the window went all the rest, stretching and hydration I had done in advance of this journey—not to mention the single Jack & Diet Coke I needed to steel my nerves once airborne.
So what’s always our first call to order before checking in to any luxe hotel or resort? Quickly Google the spa salon, scour the menu and make an e-appointment while we’re fumbling for our boarding pass with the other hand.
Let’s get down to it: How often do spas over promise and under deliver? Um, always. The real surprise here at Radisson Blu’s elegant, relaxed Le Spa, which features the Parisian skincare line Carita, is how far they knocked my jaded spa service expectancy on its back. Way back. Before the sun and surf, I needed a serious clearing facial, yet I wanted a serious lift that could ricochet coconuts from my cheekbones. We can only hope.
After a quick pre-appointment consult the day before, we decided on Carita’s Idéal Pro-Lift, which wonderfully combines several superior services into one royal treatment, hitting all my spa-rific buttons in one heavenly sweep. With so many effective cosmetic lines being thrown at us these days, I was fully aware of Carita’s high-end positioning in the marketplace, yet hadn’t experienced their organically advanced procedures.
One of my biggest disappointments with many facial spa services is the less than thorough cleansing—the literal clearing of impurities and blackheads—and how many providers purposely want you to come back frequently by doing a partial cleansing. I get that, but what these spas don’t get is that most of us want to pay them to get rid of all the funky stuff’ now clearing the canvas for other services not weekly cleansing. My new-found respect for facial services was fueled at Le Spa, while Carita’s Idéal Pro-Lift was designed as a full 90-minute service, 20 of those minutes is devoted entirely to deep, no-holds-barred cleansing, all before the real magic can begin.
Starting the procedure from Carita’s epic lineup is their Fluide de Beauté 14, a legendary, ultra-nourishing dry oil. This is mixed with the Carita’s mythic product created in 1956, Le Rénovateur—talk about ahead of their time. Special sunflower seeds, cloves, thyme, lemon and essential oils are repeatedly massaged into the skin, until it turns from a pulp to a dry dust, “refining the skin’s texture while stimulating cell regeneration and revealing an incredibly radiant skin.” And, boy, did it ever do just that. O-M-G.
The next phase of the service is the ultra-hydrating lift using Carita’s Lagoon line of scrub, mask, serum and penetrating creams. These products are highly recommended. Using their own electrically charged device that releases vibrational waves, the balance of this service helps to further reduce final impurities, boost mega-oxygen absorption and stimulate and firm facial muscles that last beyond the treatment. The latter being noticeable for several days—seriously. The real test, however, was how tight the vulnerable skin under the chin, jawline and cheekbones got. WOW. Just WOW.
So now I’m all massaged, cleansed, smoothed and lifted—feeling brand new and being told by everyone I see in the next few days how great and tight my skin looks (I started a trend at the resort and both men and women who normally don’t indulge at the spa requested the procedure I received). Come to find out Radisson Blu’s Le Spa is introducing a new, local indulgence, Ligne St. Barth’s. An über-organic prestige line that’s not only manufactured from St. Martin’s locally grown fruits and vegetables using specific enzyme-rich plants, but the water is purified from the Caribbean sea water, making their product line and attached spa services locally sustained and manufactured as well as mineral rich. Ingredients including cold-pressed avocado oil, Aloe Vera gel with mint, Ivy extract, papaya and spirulina algae grabbed my attention because for those in the know, these items all are serious transporters of nutrients into the lower levels of the epidermis (enzymes).
OK, so my glamorized wellness went long, but personally, I get excited when I can drink water from the tap (Radisson Blu is the only resort in St. Martin with their proprietary reverse osmosis water system), learn about how pesticides are replaced with a lady bug army (true), indulge in first-rate spa services, dine on Manhattan-worthy cuisine and be treated like a king by an amazing staff under the charming direction of world-class general manager, Jean-marc Jalbert.
So, in this corner of the glorious Caribbean, in the magnificent beach club resort called Radisson Blu, there’s Le Spa, a small oasis where they under promise and over deliver. Who says jaded NYC beauty editors can’t be beautifully surprised? Do yourself (and your face) a favor; get thee to St. Martin’s Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa. Magic is waiting for you there.