SPAS FOR MEN: HIS FIRST FACIAL
by Brian Jump
It was a leisurely Saturday morning when I set out with my girlfriend to enjoy the Biltmore’s beautiful property and one of their fabulous breakfasts on the outdoor patio before heading to the spa. To offset my insecurities of getting a facial – one of those spa treatments that I thought was reserved for ladies only - I indulged in a very manly meal of steak and eggs. This seemed to do the trick.
In my 30 plus years on the planet I’ve been to just a few spas and only for therapeutic massages. When my girlfriend suggested I try the Biltmore Spa’s new facial especially designed for men, my first thought was that all the fresh air and sunshine must be weathering me beyond my years and this must be a subtle hint that I needed some better sunscreen. I also felt as though it was a waste of a spa treatment. If I was going to spend a day at a spa it was going to be for my usual deep tissue massage to relax and rejuvenate tired muscles. I have always thought of facials as purely aesthetic treatments and to spend my hard-earned money for something so frivolous was a waste of resources and a purely vain pursuit.
When it was just about time for my treatment, my girlfriend headed off to do some shopping and I wound my way through the Biltmore's beautiful gardens and active pool scene and wandered into the spa minutes before my appointment. I was welcomed at the reception desk with warm greetings, then escorted to the locker room and outfitted with a comfortable robe and slippers. I slipped on my spa attire and found a cozy lounge chair and good magazine to enjoy while I waited for my treatment to commence. Before long I was summoned to follow a therapist who lead me to a treatment room where she directed me to disrobe, slip under the covers and await her return.
Upon her return we exchanged pleasantries and I confessed that this treatment was indeed my first facial and that I honestly was curious but not convinced it was the kind of thing I would ever do again. She assured me that I would be pleased and went on to explain the technicalities and procedures. I would share these with you but my interest was not the products she would use or the outcome we hoped to achieve, it was simply to clear my mind, relax and leave refreshed so during the orientation I smiled, nodded and began preparing myself to do what I always do during my massage treatments - slip into a clear comfortable space. I could only hope the facial would give me this sense of space
It began with a scalp rub that had me melting into the table, followed by a number of cool moist products applied to my face freeing me from my body as if in a dream. The dream continued as the product was left to soak into my desert-parched pores. She then moved to massage my hands, then my feet…bliss…I fell asleep. This for me is the ultimate compliment to my therapist; if I can achieve this level of relaxation under their care I feel I am open to the highest good their treatment has to offer.
I can’t tell you how long I was out, but the extraction process is what woke me from my slumber – yes extraction. I had no clue this sort of thing took place during a facial - it hurts, but in a good way, the kind of hurt that brings satisfaction – like the pain of a deep tissue massage that melts away tension. Fortunately, the extraction process did not take long and it was followed by yet another soothing layer of cooling product.
Outside the spa environment, I am passionate about the outdoors, playing hard and taking little time to relax in a traditional way. When I do have a day off it usually means a long mountain bike ride or a hike to a remote rock wall. To me this is repose. When I do take the time to let my body rest it’s nice to employ the help of a professional and this day I learned that a facial – yes, a facial - left me relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to hit the trail once again.
The spa at the Biltmore did not wow me with rich décor and newly remodeled design – the spa was simple yet thorough in its amenities. What did wow me was the professionalism of the staff and the ability of the therapist to create an atmosphere and experience that changed my preconceived notions. I probably won’t be discussing my facial with my guy friends, but I guarantee I’ll be back to the Biltmore for another facial. Not only am I a convert, I am curious about what else is on the menu of treatments.
Men's skin care line at the Biltmore is from Babor and Pevonia. Cost for a 50-minute Gentleman's Facial is between $135 and $155. www.arizonabiltmore.com
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Writer Brian Jump is lead guide and sales manager at Arizona Outback Adventures