Time for self is important. Taking that time to embrace and indulge in self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a need – which is why their spa menu is beautifully curated with a collection of cultural Balinese finds, local influences, and global, results-based therapies, according to Youlanda Deveaux, Mandara Spa regional vice president, Bahamas.
An ultimate Mandara Spa experience is one in which the guest immerses themselves in a “journey of the spirit” drawing on world-inspired therapies and philosophies.
Deveaux invited me to Mandara Spa Atlantis where they welcomed me to close my eyes, inhale a deep breath, exhale a deep breath, let my mind drift away, enjoy the quiet and let the tension disappear, setting the mood for immersion in wellness.
Deveaux assures that Mandara’s mix of Balinese tradition, local influences and innovation in wellness are best-in-class therapies certain to indulge the most discriminating of spa aficionados. Before handing me over to therapist Samantha Munnings to execute what would work best for me at the time, Deveaux encouraged me to leave time at the door and enter their sanctuary where wellness meets wonder.
At Mandara Spa Atlantis, they say science and nature, practicality and mystery, beauty and peace are entwined, offering an experience as luxurious as it is therapeutic, and as magical as it is real.
A dual therapist, Munnings is a staunch believer in healthy skin being the mirror of a healthy body. And with the change of seasons from the dark days of winter to the lighter days of spring signaling a time of renewal, she asserts it’s the perfect time to take stock of self and “spring clean” the body’s largest organ – the skin, which she admits people too often take for granted. Just like one spring cleans the home, Munnings maintains it’s the perfect time to take stock of your skin routine.
“What you eat is just as important as the products that you put on your skin,” said Munnings. “I recommend a healthy lifestyle, a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated and exercising. Maintaining a consistent daily skin regimen is an opportunity to notice changes within yourself.”
The massage therapist of 18 years and esthetician of six years recommends getting a consultation from an esthetician or dermatologist before starting any skin regimen, to find out what products best suit your skin type and step-by-step instructions on how to use the products for best results.
Upon receiving Munnings’ analysis, after consultation and conversation about my likes, dislikes and concerns, she recommended I prepare for my soul to be soothed and to indulge in the ultimate luxury.
It began with the exotic frangipani monoi salt glow scrub in which frangipani flowers are the centerpiece to this silky, mineral-rich salt and hibiscus polish. The salt and hibiscus cleansed and exfoliated while monoi oil and frangipani flowers sealed in moisture. I was left nourished, soothed and deliciously, delicately fragranced.
Munnings said the benefits of having a body scrub done regularly is to remove dead skin cells and encourage the healthy production of new ones. Scrubs she said also increases blood circulation, allowing the skin to look more vibrant, youthful, smooth, soft and supple.
We followed the scrub with the Mandara customized massage – a bespoke massage based on the Swedish method that the therapist can tailor to suit each guest’s needs. Hot stones can be added if the client has sore aching muscles, or they can upgrade to a deep tissue massage in which the therapist uses firm pressure and slow strokes to massage deep layers of muscle. Due to the nature of my job, my back muscles tend to be really tight, so Munnings added both hot stones and deep tissue into the session to work out the kinks.
But the pièce de résistance for me was the application of warming paraffin treatment to hydrate my feet. The warmth of the paraffin stimulates circulation while relieving and moisturizing chapped, dry hands or feet. This was the first time I had a paraffin treatment during a massage session and believe me – it was divine. Munnings did not just shove my feet into a bag of hot wax, but gently introduced the warmth to my feet by massaging my feet with the bag first to warm the feet before she slipped each foot into the bag and secured them in place while she proceeded with my massage. This proved to be the absolute ultimate in indulgence, and it was topped off with a coconut-infused scalp massage. Sheer bliss! The Swedish method enhanced by worldwide techniques achieved desired results. It was a heavenly escape.
Body therapy does more than evoke a sense of comfort. It helps the body eliminate toxins through the lymphatic system, gives the circulatory system a boost of energy, and brings about a state of peace and harmony.
We had chatted about my love for hyaluronic acid, a sugar found naturally in the skin that holds water and helps keep it hydrated and plump, and she decided that the Elemis skin resurfacing facial was perfect for me. The revolutionary resurfacing facial addresses skin tone, blemishes and fine lines to transform the texture of the skin. The ultrasonic peel reveals a noticeably smoother complexion. Steam and extraction deeply cleanse and detoxify before massage and light therapy restore equilibrium. Wrinkles and fine lines are reduced to leave a complexion that has never been softer or smoother.
Munnings began the treatment with the Elemis cleansing balm to help remove pollutants and impurities, before using the Elemis resurfacing wash and a lavender toner to help maintain my skin’s natural pH, before she applied Elemis rose capsules, which are rich in antioxidants and help to break down harmful skin-clogging toxins. Application of a papaya enzyme peel, a non-abrasive exfoliator, which gently removed dead skin cells for a radiant glow followed; which was then followed by a resurfacing serum combined with the resurfacing cooling gel mask, which helps to encourage natural cell renewal, and helps with fine lines and uneven skin texture.
The therapist also made use of red and blue light therapy during the facial. The red light assists cell growth and encourages increased lymphatic glow, while the blue light offered a calming and anti-irritant effect and is useful in killing bacteria.
To complete my facial, Munnings made use of oxygen therapy, which helps to visibly plump out lines and increase firmness and topped it off with Elemis resurfacing serum and Elemis resurfacing spf30 day cream. When she was done, I had a stunningly smooth complexion.
As far as Munnings was concerned, her mission was accomplished. She had given me exactly what I love – glowing, radiant skin.
I had managed to escape the world for a few hours and allowed time to stand still as I was beautified from head to toe, and left feeling as if my soul had been soothed.
The massage therapist and esthetician recommends people visit a spa once a month for a facial; people with low to moderate stress level she added should have a massage at least once or twice a month and for those with high stress levels a massage is recommended on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Deveaux said education through engagement is paramount at Mandara Spa Atlantis.
“We proudly train our staff to properly explain the skin, each individual’s skin needs, and translate it into an everyday language in which they can understand that daily care and maintenance is essential in achieving a healthy and glowing skin. We pride ourselves in our at-home care and the regimens we create for each guest to help them to understand and take care of their skin long after they leave the [spa],” said the regional vice president, Bahamas.
She said they take pride in Mandara Spa Atlantis being a celebration of Balinese heritage and tradition melded into local culture, creating a brand that captures the essence of natural beauty; a warmth of hospitality; an authenticity of service; and an awareness of inner peace and tranquility that is readily available in the East and sought after so passionately in the West.
The name Mandara comes from an ancient Sanskrit legend about the gods’ quest to find the elixir of immortality and eternal youth. Mandara Spa she said has embraced this legend with unique and exotic spa treatments and rituals that reflect the beauty, spirit and traditions of ancient, mystical times.
Deveaux noted that Mandara Spa proudly offers Elemis, a leading British skincare brand, with a strict product ethos, banning 2000-plus potentially harmful ingredients that can cause unnecessary irritation and dryness, including parabens, SLS, SLES, DEA, artificial colors, talc, triclosan and mineral oils. She said it’s a line that is formulated with respect and that Elemis has been against the use of animals to test beauty products since the company’s inception more than 30 years ago.
“They do not test products, active ingredients or raw materials on animals at any point in the product development or manufacturing process, and they require all suppliers to fully respect the same rigorous standards. Elemis’ number one priority is the health and safety of our guests. All product formulations have therefore been tested extensively over time through alternative methods, including product safety tests and user/clinical trials,” said Deveaux.
And in the COVID-19 era, Deveaux describes Mandara as a safe spa that has elevated its protocols, ensuring staff adhere to health and wellness standards.
“Following the unprecedented events of COVID-19, our awareness is heightened, but our rigorous safety and sanitization standards are still in place. Our staff will continue to follow personal hygiene habits and policies to ensure a healthy environment.”
She maintains that staff follow United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and United States public health guidelines as a standard practice.
“Work areas are wiped down and cleaned after each service and prior to the start of the next one. Any single-use items are replenished with new ones. Our spas are consistently cleaned. Prior to each service, all linens are washed and the equipment and products used during service are thoroughly sanitized, and employees follow a strict protocol at the spa that includes washing and sanitizing their hands during their shift and before, during and after each service.”