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 It’s known for being outdated, impossible to get to and its lack of food (or any amenity for that matter) options.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.

Bermuda's Secret To A Stress-Free Life

Taking a walk along Horseshoe Bay.

Taking a walk along Horseshoe Bay.

“Everything will happen eventually.” That’s what my driver, Larry, told me when I touched down in Bermuda a little over a week ago frantic that I still had a ton of work on my plate. His words seemed unreasonable in the moment as I was trying to make everything happen immediately despite being on vacation. And that got me thinking: how much of our lives is filled with wanting everything to happen NOW?

I am certainly guilty of that behavior. Living in a city and working in a fast-paced business breeds this idea of getting as much done as possible on the fastest timeline. How many times have you refreshed your phone waiting for an email response to a message you sent five minutes earlier? How many times have you checked your recent date’s Instagram to see what he or she is up to since they haven’t texted in 24 hours? All of these things don’t make us more efficient or fulfilled. If you’re anything like me, they leave you feeling exhausted.

So, when my lovely tour guide in Bermuda casually said those four words, it didn’t resonate at first. I had an interview and an article to write and a deadline…the list could have gone on. I got all of my “stuff” done in my way and by that evening I just wanted to go to bed. You realize that’s nuts considering I was in one of the most beautiful places in the world right? That’s why I started to replay those words over and over in my head: “Everything will happen eventually.”

If you want to know more about Bermuda check this out: The Best Beaches and Things to do in Bermuda 

Checked off a bucket list item of riding a horse to the beach.

Checked off a bucket list item of riding a horse to the beach.

I promised myself for the rest of the trip I wouldn’t do any work and focus on just going with the flow. Everyone in Bermuda was ok with it, so why couldn’t I? As I relaxed and stopped focusing on everything that had to get done, time seemed to do something funny: slow down. While I often find myself saying “there’s not enough hours in the day,” on this tiny 20-square-mile island the days seemed longer and a good night’s sleep took on a new meaning. What would happen if we all slowed down a bit and adopted this Bermudian advice?

I understand we live in a world with actual deadlines and appointments, but what about all of the other “stuff” that can happen eventually? Do you really need to spend your Saturday running errands, or can it wait? Do you need to plan a work dinner multiple nights a week, or can you spread them out a bit more?

I challenge you over the next month to focus on clearing your plate. Keep your must-have deadlines and to-do lists to a minimum, and stop worrying about immediate responses. Instead, start to try and enjoy all of your newfound time and headspace because all of that other “stuff” will happen eventually.

6 Places to Go for Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the true dangers of stress and take the time to decompress and refocus. What better way to do so than with a relaxing getaway? In honor of giving yourself a little self-love this month, I've decided to round up some great places to go to get centered and pampered.

 Scottsdale, Arizona
Arizona has often been known for its healing natural environments and top-notch spa services. The JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in the heart of the Sonoran desert offers a variety of ways to decompress and de-stress. Looking for some good eats? Indulge in guacamole made tableside at Rita’s Kitchen. Want to connect with nature? Take a stroll through one of many botanical gardens throughout the resort. Hiking is also offered on the nearby Mummy Mountain, a positive way to release tension while enjoying breathtaking views and the warm Arizona sunshine.

 New York, New York
Getting centered in Manhattan seems impossible, but one hotel offers a way to achieve that in the center of it all. The Gansevoort Meatpacking offers its "Get Centered" package that encourages guests to leave the stress (and their phones!) at home and just focus on their health. Included in the package is a complimentary exhale mind body spa fusion class for guests to get centered as well as a complimentary in-room “health basket” full of kale chips, Juice Press detox juices, and other healthy goodies.

 San Diego, California
Westin Hotels & Resorts revealed the next phase of its year-long Well-being Movement with the announcement of Westin Wellness Escapes, the brand’s first-ever series of wellness retreats that are a turnkey getaway option for both fitness novices and experts to improve/maintain well-being.  The on-going series will be hosted at properties around the world with themes such as mindfulness meditation, nutrition, yoga, running and more.

 St. Lucia
“Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind,” promises The BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia’s premier health and wellness resort. The all-inclusive resort, founded on the key pillars of relaxation, restorative beauty, exercise and a good diet, enables guests to unwind, reconnect with their goals, and learn tools for maintaining a stress-free life through a completely customizable vacation. Guests at The BodyHoliday receive daily inclusive spa treatments, and can participate in activities such as meditation, Spoga (spinning + yoga) in the property’s glass Tree House spin studio, tai chi, water sports and golf among many others.  Additionally, guests can sign up for the Stress Buster program, in a three, five or seven day experience, which includes a lifestyle and nutrition consultation, yoga classes, various spa treatments, personal training, and personalized tips to bring home.

 Turks and Caicos
In recognition of April’s National Stress Awareness Month, travelers are invited to Gansevoort Turks + Caicos to get pampered from top to bottom with the hotel’s "Head To Toe" Package. Massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and more help melt away any stress and sends visitors back home feeling restored + rejuvenated. 

 Lake Como, Italy
With the Euro at the lowest exchange rate in over a decade, the time is now to experience the beautiful Lake Como, Italy. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the snow-covered Rhaetian Alps, the blue waters of Lake Como, and flourishing gardens, the Sheraton Lake Como Hotel has over 116 guest rooms and suites that have everything guests need for an enchanting stay in Italy’s northern region. Guests can combat stress by enjoying the great outdoors while sunbathing, jogging or picnicking in a lush green park.

 

Where do you want to go to de-stress? Write in the comments below!