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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Willow Stream Spa

Now, I'm not much of a spa-goer, but when I do go, I want to be pampered!! That is exactly what I got at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont hotel in Scottsdale, AZ! The facility is absolutely beautiful and peaceful. Just upon entering, you can "smell" the relaxation coming!!! Aromatherapy is definitely put into effect here, and the scents they use will immediately give you a sense of peacefulness! The spa can be "booked" for the day by paying a daily fee for use of the facilities, or is yours to experience with any spa treatment. My first day there, I decided to get a pedicure. Now...the pedicure was $90!!! Astronomical!!! But, then I realized that not only was I paying for the Fairmont name, but I was getting the use of the spa facilities for the day, so I was able to justify it a bit more. The pedicure was very nice - I sat in a massage chair while my feet soaked in a warm bath. I was given a warm neck roll to help me relax as well. The experience lasted one hour! I walked away with beautifully pampered feet just in time to show them off while I lay by the private pool. The pool is on the rooftop level - there are about 100 lounge chairs and some of them can be made private by pulling the curtain closed around the chair groups. There is also a fireplace to add a bit of ambience.

Besides the pool, there are several other very nice "activities" to enjoy. There is a warm mineral pool with a waterfall which splashes into the pool under which you can stand and get a sort of massage (if you don't mind getting your hair wet!). This is coed and is situated between the entrances to both the women and men's locker rooms.

Inside the women's locker room, there is a very hot jacuzzi tub which resembles a roman bath. There is also a cold plunge pool, which some people enjoy after soaking in hot water! There is a dry sauna, a steam room, a swiss shower, and a room temperature aromatherapy room infused with eucalyptus. This is the perfect spot to clear all the nasal passages!! The second day of my spa extravaganza included a hot stone massage! The therapist was very professional and did an excellent job. The therapy room opened up to a small courtyard which allowed for fresh air to seep into the room as well as the sound of the running water from the waterfall.

The masseuse used the hot stones to massage me, as well as her hands. She used bindi oil which smelled wonderfully. The towels were all infused with lavender to create just that much more of a relaxed experience.

The spa also offered a fitness room for a great workout and aerobics classes. They had a small snack area with teas of all kinds and orange infused water. There were muffins in the morning, and organic cookies in the afternoon. Apples were available all day! There was a beautiful teak outdoor eating area with infused sun where all the spa goers sat in their plush white robes awaiting their treatments. The locker rooms had giant shower stalls and all the amenities to primp after your treatments - hair spray, styling brushes, blow dryers, and much more.

Fairmont Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ

The Fairmont in Scottsdale, AZ is truly a remarkably beautiful hotel with all the amenities that a hotel of this caliber should offer. The service and the facilities are impeccable. The grounds are very beautiful, and they incorporate the beauty of the desert landscape with cactus gardens, earth colored buildings, and pathways covered in clay like stones.

Of course, they have added green grass and swimming pools to the mix to accomodate lounging by the pool in the warm Arizona sun.

Bougainvillea and red geraniums also brighten up the scenery by adding just the right splash of color.

At night, the atmosphere becomes romantic and dreamy with all the fires burning throughout the property. Fire and water features are found strewn throughout the hotel, from the giant fountain in the main courtyard to fire-illuminated walkways. All the bars offer fire pits for those cool desert evenings.

The rooms in Building E are suites featuring a living room and eating area, a generous sized bedroom with walk in closets, and a gorgeous bathroom with a separate shower stall, water closet, and sunken tub. They even have a wonderful espresso machine for making that perfect cup of espresso in the morning!!! The crema made by this machine is wonderful!

On the whole this hotel was scrumptious....but there were a few little things which rubbed me the wrong way. First of all was that there was nothing to eat to be found after 10 pm!!! Granted that by 10 pm, you should not be looking to eat dinner, but we found ourselves in need of finding nourishment at this late hour after having arrived from California. Therefore we were forced to order room service! And, after having seen the romantic atmosphere that was all around us at the hotel, we would have loved to have experienced it with a glass of wine and a nibble of food - instead of cooping ourselves up in our room!!

The other drawback to this hotel was the silly little charges they added to the bill - there was a luggage fee of $12 per person per day, irregardless of any luggage handling done by the staff, and a $2 per day per person maid fee! the $250 to $500 price range of the rooms at this hotel, couldn't they just throw that in? Or, if they were smart and had to add that, they should have just included it in the fee charged and not tell you that they were nickel and diming you with these extra charges!! Whenever these luxury resort start adding these extra charges, it irks me to no end because it cheapens the experience.