My Spa Day At The Worst Airport In The World

LaGuardia Airport hasn’t always gotten the best rep. It’s known for being outdated, impossible to get to and its lack of food (or any amenity for that matter) options. There’s a reason it topped Condé Nast Travelers reader's choice awards 2014 list for the worst airport in the country. So, when someone invited me to enjoy a spa day at the less-than-stellar transport hub I was skeptical.
 
How would I feel relaxed and pampered in a place that could be described as its “own circle of hell?” Would my spa treatments include an involuntary shower courtesy of the leaky roof? Would my blowout be done in the shoe shine chair? I had to find out.

Checking in at Laguardia Airport.

Checking in at Laguardia Airport.


The day started out just as it would for most trips to the spa, in an Uber, except the driver was confused as to why I was requesting to go to the airport with literally no luggage in hand. Once at the Delta’s terminal C, it started to sink that this was no ordinary spa experience as I had to go through security. (Side note: if you have to go through security at your spa, you might want to reconsider another option).
 
I handed over my license and non-boarding pass boarding pass to the officer. “Are you picking someone up at the gate,” asked the TSA agent. “No, I’m here for a spa day,” I replied. I’m pretty sure I’m on some crazy watch list now, but nonetheless I was let through.
 
To kick-off the afternoon of relaxation, I was greeted by servers with sparkling rose and tapas at Wibar. For a restaurant in the middle of terminal, the drinks and food were surprisingly delicious (they have 101 premium wines by the glass by the way). No one wants to chow down on a McDonald’s burger before getting a massage, so the light dishes of baby local beets and gazpacho andalouse were a perfect healthy set up. And just how you’d get fruit infused water at the day spa, so too was I offered fresh pressed watermelon water. Yum!

Who knew this was an airport meal?

Who knew this was an airport meal?


Before lunch I was treated to a tour of Terminal C Food Hall where retail partner OTG has curated a market-like experience instead of your typical grab-n-go situation. I actually found myself enjoying browsing through the variety of unique beauty products and tasting things like vegan beef jerky and chips made from cricket powder. I’m already going to the spa at the airport, why not be adventurous and eat some bugs?

My quick shopping trip was followed by spa-inspired lunch prepared by Cotto's executive chef, where I indulged dishes like tuna carpaccio and olive oil poached halibut (yes, I’m still at LaGuardia). Finally, it was on to the actual pampering treatments at Warren Tricomi Salon (yes, like the famous one in the city) and XpresSpa where I opted for my go-to services: a massage and blow-out.  

Yup, this is happening in an airport.

Yup, this is happening in an airport.


I explained my back problems to the therapist and rather than just giving me the standard chair massage, he actually took me to a back room with a legit massage table to work out the kinks. The only thing that differed between this experience and one at a top-rated spa in the city is the fact that the there was an echo of flight numbers and gate changes being called instead of some Enya track playing.

The blowout was equally delightful in the pop up salon that I found out also does trims, deep conditioning treatments, and scalp massages.

By the end of the three-hour experience, I was amazingly relaxed and refreshed. So much so, it made going through baggage claim and getting on the Grand Central Parkway only mildly irritating instead of downright excruciating.

Moral of the story? Say "yes" to new experiences. You never know how things might turn out.

Is St. Lucia Home to the Fountain of Youth?

St. Lucia is one of those incredible Caribbean islands that draws you in with its stunning beaches, tropical weather and unspoiled landscape. That was the reason I took a recent trip there and upon my arrival it was everything I expected. But, there was one thing I kept noticing over and over that I didn’t expect on my travels. During my stay at Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina everyone I came in contact with me looked 10 to 20 years younger than their actual age. Could St. Lucia be home to the Fountain of Youth? I had to find out their secrets.
 
My first taste of this strange phenomenon came when I took a body scrub making class with spa specialist Freda Baptiste. As she was carefully explaining the ingredients to mix, I couldn’t help but notice her flawless skin. Thinking she was in her 20’s, I asked her skin secrets and came to learn she was in fact 39! How did she seemingly defy the effects of age? “I use different herbs on my skin,” Freda told me. “For instance, we use neem, which is an anti aging, antibacterial, and anti viral herb, and we do have all of those plants growing around the property. We use everything natural to create all the products from scratch, and we don’t use any parabens, silicones, fillers, or fragrances. I use plant extracts, and natural oils, to help the skin work from the inside out.”

And it wasn’t just the beauty expert that seemed to turn back the clocks; the onsite rum expert Denis shocked me when he said he’d been working in the industry for 30 years. “I basically eat salad and only local grown food which is very healthy,” he told me. “That’s all! Then you’re going to look as beautiful and thin as me and still drink rum."

In fact, upon talking to more locals this eating style and use of natural products is standard practice across the island. Doctors are rarely visited and the natural remedies are almost overnight fixes putting you back up by the next day.
The trend for the past 100’s of years has been to juice all fruits into a health smoothie and add local cashew nuts to it for that boost of energy. And if they're feeling run down, locals run straight for a freshly chopped coconut and revive themselves by drinking the water and eating the soft jelly interior.
 
So, while I learned there's no spring filled with magical water to keep you young, the St. Lucians prove that a relaxed way of life, homeopathic remedies and all-natural cooking are the secrets to looking half your age. Perhaps we should all try to live a little more on island time.


DIY Anti-Aging Body Scrub:
It's super easy to make your own at-home anti-aging body scrub like the one I learned to make! 

  • Add 3 TBSP of sugar into a bowl. (Sugar exfoliates)
  • Empty a bag of your favorite tea into the bowl. (Teas like green tea have anti-oxidant properties)
  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the mix. (Lemon helps fade away dark spots and scars. The Vitamin C helps fight wrinkles)
  • Add 1 TBSP of coconut oil and 1 TBSP of olive oil. (Both oils are moisturizing)
  • Check consistency and add more if desired.