Bermuda: Mandarin Oriental at Elbow Beach

By Debbie Snow

Poised above the shoreline at precisely the right elevation for breathtaking views of the turquoise Atlantic surrounding Bermuda are the six suites of the new Mandarin Oriental Spa at Elbow Beach. Spa suites -- oases where clients can spend hours or even the entire day in total comfort -- are the pampering world's latest trend. Mandarin refined their take on the concept at Miami and New York properties, bringing it to Bermuda when they collaborated with Elbow Beach to convert a collection of ocean-view hotel suites into these spacious, Zen-like retreats that are booked by time, not only per treatment.

A Mandarin Time Ritual begins outside your suite, in the spa lounge, where a staff member brings you a pot of tea infused with Bermuda honey. Your shoes are removed and replaced with spa sandals in Cinderella fashion. Once you've decided on your range of treatments and the amount of time you want to indulge, it's off to your private sanctuary.

The suites are composed of natural elements -- bamboo floors, granite soaking tubs, showers lined with river pebbles -- and provide all the necessary details: a full bathroom, shower, closet and dressing and sitting areas, all decorated in soothing colors and warm textures.

Many treatments begin with a ritual foot bath and foot massage designed, according to the principles of reflexology, to awaken the senses. During this time, your therapist assesses your needs and conditions, health and vitality. If your program includes a soak, the tub will be filled with warm bubbles and hibiscus petals along with an essential oil picked specifically for you.

At the massage table, the possibilities include a wide range of stone work, wraps and rubs. Treatments commence with the sound of Tibetan chimes. If you've selected an Ayurvedic regimen, the oils used will promote healing and rebalancing according to your dosha, or mind and body type. Other offerings include chakra balancing and Purva Karma, a four-hand synchronized massage. The Mandarin's holistic treatments have their roots in ancient Chinese, Indian, Balinese and Thai medicine and are designed to activate the senses of sound, scent, sight, taste and touch.

When the chimes sound again, it's time for reflection. Outside, your private balcony has been readied. Wrapped like a newborn in a soft robe and blankets, you're free to curl up on the daybed with another soothing cup of tea and take in the view of the ornamental grasses bending in the breeze and the afternoon sea spreading beyond.

Elbow Beach Spa: 441-239-8900;

Published: 5 Sep 2007 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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