The following blog contributed by STI Ambassador, Kimberly W.
What do you get when you gather a group of gals together for a week-long of pampering? The Girlfriends Spa-cation Week, of course! Tucked away in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico your week of relaxing bliss awaits you at the Ixtapan Spa Hotel and Golf Resort.
After arriving at Mexico City airport (or Toluca airport if you can find a flight there), you will meet with a hotel representative who will whisk you, and all of your luggage, away to an air-conditioned van for your 2 ½ hour ride to the hotel (if you are lucky enough to get a flight into Toluca, the ride is only about an hour). The drive will take you through small towns up and down hills and around very curvy roads. If you tend to get car sick, opt for the front passenger seat. The back seat of the van is like riding in the back of a school bus!
Upon arrival at the hotel you will be greeted by a courteous and friendly staff. Brush up on your Spanish though, since only a few employees speak fluent English. All of the ladies in our group received a bouquet of flowers and our bags were delivered to our room for us. After a yummy dinner, we had a spa orientation where we received our schedules for the week along with a brochure detailing upgrade services.
The hotel was very clean, but very warm (hot) during the day. There is no air conditioning anywhere, though they do provide an oscillating fan in each room. Evenings and mornings are cool, so we slept with the window open. Bring a sleep mask though, because the sun is very bright! On the plus side, they do bring you six bottles of water every day even though sometimes you may have to remind them.
A typical day begins at 6:45am with juice and coffee in the lobby followed by a two-mile walk around the grounds and surrounding area promptly at 7:00am. Each day the walking route gets progressively harder. If you suffer with a respiratory disorder, you may want to try the walk the first day and see how you do. Remember, up in the mountains the air is thinner and the path is not level, there are many hills to go up and down. Even with the walk leader showing us the shortcuts, a few of our ladies were lagging far behind.
After the walk you have a choice of attending either and aerobics class or yoga session depending on the day of the week. Thereafter, a wholesome breakfast of fruit, yogurt and cereal is served. If you want more than that, eggs, pancakes and French toast are available to order. Just keep in mind if you are truly following the spa menu, extra calories may be added depending on what you order. Also, have your taste buds ready, because you will place your lunch and dinner order before you even complete breakfast. If you choose a meal from the regular menu, no pre-order is necessary. And yes, you may mix and match your choices as well. Who says you can’t have a spa lunch and regular dinner, or a spa dinner and regular dessert?
Now that exercise and breakfast is out of the way, change into your swimsuit and relax by the pool until 10:00am aqua aerobics. Just don’t skip numbers while counting otherwise the instructor makes the whole class do another set!
By 11:00 it’s time to relax again. There are many things to do. You can stay in the pool and swim or head over to the other pool and swim laps or play on the waterslide. There are three awesome Jacuzzi’s available either outside, in the spa or in the Holistic spa. The meditation garden is very quiet and peaceful, about 10 degrees cooler and a great place to nap or read. Just follow the path from the waterfall, past the pool and over the bridge. You’ll see lots of canopy swings just waiting for you to plop down on.
This would also be a good time to schedule a golf or tennis lesson. This can be done at the front desk. Lessons are about 30 minutes and very informative.
A walk into town is another option. If you decide to do this, don’t forget to visit Rossy’s for the best creams and lotions around. Walk straight down the hill on Juarez street turn left on to September 16th Street and go a few blocks down. Rossy’s is located on the right hand side of the street two stores from the corner. If you reach the church, you’ve gone too far. It is certainly worth the walk down but I’d suggest spending the $2.50USD to take a cab back up the hill.
By now, you’re starting to get hungry which is good because lunch begins at 1:00pm. The spa lunch is served on the terrace by the pool and the regular lunch is served in the Veranda dining room.
Now that you’ve exercise for in one, two or even three hours and had two meals, it’s time to be rewarded for all of your effort. How best to do that? Why, with your scheduled spa treatments of course! Be it a mani, pedi, massage or facial, you will enjoy the attention centered around you.
All of the spa treatments included are given in the hotel spa located on the 5th floor. The upgraded services are given in the Holistic spa, which is located on the grounds behind the movie theater. Our group’s favorite upgrades were the Balinese Hot Clay Treatment, the Oriental Thai, Triple Aromatherapy, and Hot Stone Massages, as well as the Aqua Marine Facial (a must for sinus suffers!) Don’t worry if you dose off during a treatment, you are so relaxed it’s almost impossible not to.
For additional spa services at very reasonable prices, visit the Spa Ixtapan next door to the water park. They offer many other services not available at the hotel. I recommend the eye lash curling and tinting. It’s approximately $30USD and lasts for about two months.
By the time your treatments are over, it’s time for dinner, served promptly at 7:00pm. Afterwards, don’t miss out on bingo on 8:30pm, it costs nothing and they play four games. The prizes won were great and include two margaritas, internet access, an additional golf or tennis lesson, or an additional manicure or pedicure.
Right after bingo, around 9:00pm they show a movie, and yes, it is in English. Some of the movies shown while we were there included, Up in the Air, Invictus, Couples Retreat, The Hangover and The Blind Side. Of course, most nights we skipped the movie and gathered together to cash in our bingo winnings and sip margarita’s on the patio.
After a sound night’s sleep, we got up and did it all over again.
Now you may do it too! Click here to join us in February, 2013.