Upon crossing the threshold of the Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary, I immediately caught a whiff of incense mixed with the scent of Palo Santo. Palo Santo is a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America that when burnt, has the ability to remove negative energy from a space, much like sage does. It’s also known to have healing properties and brings good luck. Instantly, I knew this wasn’t going to be a typical spa experience. If what you are looking for is a gigantic, impersonal spa experience, complete with a steam room, cold plunge, and waterfalls, this is definitely not it. Originally, Croydon Rose Spa was described to me as a boutique spa, but the description that came to my mind was more like sacred space.
I meet Annette, a petite brunette with piercing blue eyes and was pleased to discover that she was the owner of the spa and she’s also a certified massage therapist, yoga instructor, Ayurvedic skin practitioner, and Reiki master. She informed me that there’s a yoga class on the Croydon Hotel rooftop every Saturday at 10:00 am that is free for hotel guests ($20 for non-guests) and that you can book personal yoga sessions at any time.
Today I’m booked for an Ayurvedic facial and custom massage and I actually couldn’t wait to get started. Anxiety and stress had been wearing me thin, and this was just what I needed.
I’ve been an avid meditator for at least a dozen years, am a huge fan of anything New Age, but hadn’t heard a lot about Ayurveda except for the few articles I’ve read written by Deepak Chopra touting its praises. Ayurveda is a system of alternative medicine originating in India. The ambiance in the spa now made sense to me, as I had noticed the beautiful tapestries, candles, and Ganesh (an elephant-headed Buddhist deity) figurines adorning the space that Annette had picked up during her trips to India. Annette delved into detail about Ayurveda and explained that it’s a way of life that integrates everything you do from what you eat to how you sleep. After Annette said a few words I would be embarrassed if I tried to pronounce, she lost me for a bit. I was eager to get started in hopes that I could somehow capture the zen aura this amazing woman had about her.
Being the high strung control freak that I am, I immediately asked her: “So how does this work? Do you want to do the facial first or the massage?” Clearly, I was eager to get started. She gave me a sly smile, lead me into a treatment room, and gently requested that I undress and lie on the bed.
After a few deep breaths of aromatic essential oils, I decided to relax and give myself over to the process. After all, this is why I booked the spa treatments in the first place! She started with the massage and without even asking me, she intuitively just knew exactly where to rub. Then I turn over and she starts the facial. Most of the products that are used are made by the company Shankara, which uses all organic ingredients and incorporates Ayurvedic philosophies. Annette explained that Ayurvedic facials are totally different from the other harsh, intrusive and abrasive facials most people are used to. She massaged the skin on my face while explaining that this would release any tension and help circulation, bringing fresh oxygen to my skin. While the ultra hydrating mask was drying, Annette finished off the massage inclusive of a foot scrub. I didn’t even have to get up or move! Now that’s total relaxation, and at this point, I felt so good that I could barely remember my name.
The Croydon Rose Spa is a unique place where you can get services you would expect from any spa, but also offers you experiences that you simply can not get anywhere else. Need some enlightenment? Try the Classic Shirodhara. This treatment involves oil slowly dripping directly on the third eye (middle of the forehead between the eyes) and can relieve stress, calm the nervous system, and even help depression. Annette recommends this treatment after a massage, as you would be in the most relaxed state, and are ready and highly receptive to the possibility to accept some messages from the Universe. Feeling very tense or sore from a workout? Try the Thai Yoga Stretch & Massage. This treatment takes place while lying on the floor and incorporates the therapist stretching you while massaging you. This regimen is so popular that you must book it a few days in advance. Are you wondering why bad things keep happening to you and need some direction in your life? Get an Akashic Records reading. Feeling down, low on energy, or negative lately? Get an Energy Balancing session from the in-house Shaman to cleanse and recalibrate your spirit.
By the time I left the Croydon Rose Spa, my skin was positively glowing. As I walked out of there I felt like I was floating on air, at one with the Universe, and felt a bit like, well, jelly. I was so very relaxed for the rest of the day that even the annoying long line at Whole Foods didn’t faze me one bit.
If you’re in the neighborhood, you really should check out the Croydon Hotel. Built in the 1930’s but completely renovated and reopened in 2014, it still retains it’s original Art Deco charm.
Finding the divine Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary at the Croydon Hotel certainly felt like destiny to me, and I definitely be coming back!
at the Croydon Hotel
3720 Collins Ave.