Deep Tissue at the International Orange San Francisco

Golden Gate bridgeWhile in Switzerland last year, I was introduced to one of the worlds top Spa consultants and over an interesting exchange, he offered me several insider tips on city spas around the globe.  And so when I was last visiting San Francisco based on his recommendation, I took the opportunity to visit the International Orange Day Spa on Fillmore Street, located in Pacific Heights and close to Union Square.

International Orange – whats in a name

International Orange is in fact the name for the colour of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which I discovered when I was on a  photography tour  of San Francisco. Apparently the orange vermilion shade was chosen because it complimented the nearby surroundings and was also visible in the city’s famous morning fog. How or why the Spa is similarly named, I have yet to find out but perhaps given its location and city vibe, its as good a kinship as any. The spa or IO, as its known locally, offers yoga, body treatments, a well stocked shop and a zen relaxation area. As I chatted with the receptionist, it seemed to be full of health conscious regulars with greetings floating over my head as those in the know came and went with casual ease.

A cure for jet lag

Plane landingHaving just gotten off a 10 hour flight from Dublin my priority was to sooth the muscle aches in my lower back as well as to stay awake as long as possible and adjust to the new time zone. My personal battle with jet lag has, over time taken on epic proportions. I will go to extraordinary lengths to keep it at bay, given the frequency of my travel and the debilitation of my predicament.  And so while every bone in my body wanted to crawl off to bed, I was determined to flag an Uber and check out the International Orange Spa, as apparently a massage can really help with resetting your internal body clock. I had opted for a signature deep tissue massage with a twist. My affection for aromatic smells led me to book their ‘in-fiore‘ addition basically meaning that the massage oil would be infused with a scent from an exotic sounding list of balms such as Bois de Rose, Dayala, Shevanti, and Tangiers… I thought why not be expertly massaged into a cloud of deliciousness for additional oomph.

Be Wellthy

WellnessAfter been shown the lockers (standard metal ones) and offered a robe and slippers, I was instructed to wait for my therapist in the quiet relaxation area, which included a large sign over chilled water to ‘Be Wellthy’. My therapist soon arrived and steered me into a treatment room with the air of someone who was familiar with the drill. We settled on lavender from the ‘in-fiore’ menu and she quickly got down to business, kneading my tired muscles with surprising expertise. Her fingers seemed to be like mincers and steadily begun to unbind my cramped shoulder blades and lower back with a series of deep adjustments. I drifted into a semi awake state, aware that I was being massaged but suspended in a fog of aromatic bliss. As my treatment wore on, my battle with jet lag started to fail, with my body still on Irish time. I was just on the precipice of falling into a very deep sleep, when I felt a hot towel being applied to my feet, signalling the end of the treatment. All too soon, it felt like I was been ushered out of the room, back to reality. I barely knew who I was or where I was, as I stumbled out of the busy locker rooms and down into a waiting taxi. When I reached my hotel, I crawled zombie like to my room and fell into one of the deepest, loveliest sleeps you could ever possibly hope to achieve in a hotel bed! The moral of the story, always take tips on spas from those in the know!!

International Orange, 2044 Fillmore Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA94115

Volunteering for Strictly…

By Ingrid Miller,  guest writer for Unwind and let go.

Volunteering for StrictlyI’m glad I didn’t listen to my dad, his advice has always been never to volunteer, but there I was, a volunteer member of the Parents Association of my children’s school. “We need a new soft surface playground” the Principal said. An emergency meeting of the Kitchen Cabinet was convened – in my kitchen. After a few glasses of wine and some serious brainstorming we agreed as a team to take on “Strictly”. As the bottles were emptied, our confidence grew… and so

it began.

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The Delamar Hotel Spa in Greenwich Connecticut

Delamar Hotel SpaAs part of a recent work assignment on location in Greenwich Connecticut, the schedule included (much to my joy!) a complimentary treatment at the Delamar Hotel spa. Located on the waterfront, the hotel overlooks a pretty marina with fancy sailboats and kind of reminds you of a laid back Summer postcard. Having flown long distance to get there,  I opted for a Swedish massage as my treatment du jour. Perfect for weary travelers but not too demanding for already jet lagged muscles.

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Exfoliation at the Bulgari Hotel Milan

Bulgari HotelAs part of my recent Detox program, I upped the ante on my regime by including a body exfoliation at the luxurious Bulgari Hotel when I was last visiting Milan. Located in one of the nicest parts of the city, the Bulgari Hotel overlooks beautiful botanical gardens and is reputed to be the most exclusive hotel in the city.  I visited it on a quiet Sunday afternoon and observed many elegant guests in the lobby and adjoining spa. I chose my treatment carefully from the extensive spa menu and settled on the creme dela mer inspired ‘La mer signature body treatment with exfoliation’ to apparently ‘renew, relax and restore’ my body.  I don’t normally use the La mer range of products, but with a diamond component, I was happily anticipating beautiful shimmery skin by the end of my treatment.

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Enjoying the new spa at Ashford Castle

By Natalie McGuinness, guest writer for Unwind and let go.

The spa at Ashford Castle was reviewed by The Irish Times shortly before I visited, so my anticipation levels were raised based on the glowing feedback. The spa is a cleverly designed glass annex like an orangery for cultivating beauty and relaxation, tucked away in the west of Ireland. My first visit to the Spa was for an emergency file and paint.

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Tips on Long Haul Travel

By Joanie Bergin, guest writer for Unwind and let go

Tips on Long Haul Travel

Over the years I have traveled long haul extensively for both business and pleasure. The most important thing I have learnt from various trips around the globe is to be kind to people you meet along the way. I cannot convey how wonderful and unexpected things can happen when you either offer help to someone or offer a friendly smile. No matter what your mood is when you start your journey or even the booking process, my tried and tested tip is to always be polite and show goodwill to the airline staff, airport staff and other passengers. A thank you or a smile to even the cleaners in the bathrooms brighten their days when so many people can be dismissive. Believe me the goodwill comes back in terms of better seats, upgrades or a nicer meal from the first or business cabin and higher quality snacks. I still remember the time my flight was cancelled and rather than staying overnight in Frankfurt I asked to be routed via Hong Kong, met a friend for coffee and chat and got home to my Malaysian apartment 10 hours before my rescheduled flight was due to land. Trust me, kindness works every time!

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A Spring Detox

A Spring DetoxIt seems my urge to declutter extends also to myself, and about a month ago I started a detox program. Designed to boost energy, heal the gut and of course remove nasty toxins from your body, detox programs come in many shapes and sizes. I went with the The Clean Program, beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop followers, and when I was last in the US, I picked up the Clean detox pack and started the very next day.

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