Luxury spa experience with ocean view in the upscale neighborhood of Condado, Puerto Rico.
I love the complete escape that I experience enclosed in happy spa time. My mind and body relaxes as I prepare for a wellness treatment to sooth my aches, address specific skin concerns (the main concern is that I am getting old), and enjoy a treatment for both mind and body. A good friend suggested, “hey let’s try the Spa at the Condado Vanderbilt” which kicked off a relaxing day in Condado for food, shopping, afternoon cocktails, and finish our day at the spa.
Condado is a neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico known for shopping and fantastic food. After a little retail therapy in the shops across the street, we returned to the hotel to watch the ocean from the Vanderbilt lounge while sipping delightful rum drinks.
Opened in April 2016, VIVO Beach Club is a beach front property in area of Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico with pristine white sand beaches, private pool, world class entertainment, and a variety of dining options.
Located on the outskirts of San Juan, this white sand beach is close to the heart of the city while feeling like you are away from it all! Located mere minutes from the San Juan airport in Isla Verde, guests can enjoy perfect Caribbean water immediately upon arrival to the island. VIVO Is fast becoming a popular destination for locals and visitors.
I have been to the St. Regis Bahia resort Spa several times, but this was our first overnight stay at the property. I booked a 4 day, 3 night reservation over Thanksgiving weekend, which also happens to be our Anniversary. November is still considered off-peak for tourist season, which officially kicks off mid-December through April.
Girls’ weekend seems incomplete without a little spa time. Our adventures included exploring Old San Juan, dining, shopping, scuba/snorkel trip, and plenty of beach time. We headed off to the Waldorf Astoria Spa, located in the lovely El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
My first visit to the El Conquistador resort was last year, but this was my first time for spa treatments. Each previous resort visit included a scuba dive, how had I not thought to follow up with a massage? Hmm.
As I mature (which is a nice way to say, get older), my approach to travelling is changing. In my early 20’s, I had a checklist of places to visit. Before the term bucket list was coined and the creation of Pinterest, I literally had a world map on my wall that I would stick a push-pin into after visiting each city.
I had a magnificent job that sent me to work in the United Kingdom for almost a year, twice! Travel was forever changed for me. Sure, I used London as my home base to travel Europe on the weekends, but the push-pin strategy never satisfied my wanderlust. I collected many pins, but it was not enough.
Even a few days in a city is only long enough for me to decide what I need to do and see on my next visit, and discover the hidden gems from locals. My first visit to Paris was a mere 3 days, barely enough time to see the top 5 tourist attractions (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louve, Notre Dame, and Champs Elysees) and very little else (and there is so much more to see). I felt rushed. I felt like a tacky American tourist – maybe, because I was.
After a few more hurried trips, I realized that break-neck speed of travel is exhausting. I do not want to spend more time in transit than exploring. In the last decade, I started to slow down, put down the guide book, and talk to the locals. Simple curiosity and a good attitude have resulted in invitations to private country estates, weekends in sleepy little villages, multiple wedding receptions around the world, cheering with the fans for local amateur sports teams, and so much more off the beaten path activities. I am simply not satisfied by sheer number of cities visited, I want to connect and savor the destination.
Granted, slow travel is a luxury. Not everyone can spend weeks at a vacation destination. 10 days in Cancun enabled me to complete my Scuba certification start to finish, with a couple extra dives at the end. Weekend trips are focused on a few activities at a destination, and almost always followed up with a longer visit to see more. Continue reading “Benefits of Slow Travel”