An editorial review from the CraveLocal team, as they were in town for Tales of the Cocktail.
“I came to the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans Spa exhausted. I had been shipped from Seattle to New York City for a conference, then over to New Orleans. When we were on the third flight delay, I stopped counting. ‘Bouncy ball’ was how I was describing the number of flights in that 24-hour time period. So I was beyond excited for a change of pace when I walked into the spa for a facial.
I first walked in to the spa store, then whisked up a flight of stairs and given a quick tour of the spa’s common areas. A large locker area, showers, a ridiculously spacious counter space for styling and freshening up with products ranging from hot irons to mouthwash. I was led into a relaxation room, with couches, comfy chairs, and tons of plush pillows, then shown how to use the lockers and left to myself. I changed into a spa robe and comfy slippers, then took residence on a chair with a glass of sweet tea. After mimosas and champagne were brought out, I struck up a conversation with a fellow patron about Seattle and travel. Then, with mimosa in hand, I was taken to my room.
My aesthetician, Beth, first talked to me briefly about the Ritz-Carlton Signature Facial and the process, but reminded me to relax and enjoy. And so I did – through cleansing, a hydrating mask chosen for my skin type and sensitivities, steaming, and even a brief arm and shoulder massage. Soft music played, but I was so relaxed I nearly fell asleep several times while under Beth’s care.
I left feeling still blasted by the New Orleans heat, but far more functional than I did walking in. Next time I’d love to take some of the products with me so I can continue that feeling of relaxation at the hotel room, because travelling for work takes its toll.”
“Let me first say, this is not my first trip to New Orleans, nor my first Tales of the Cocktail. We came into town, knowing what to expect, but having previously obtained a serious back sprain while covering Food Network South Beach, the thought of walking, sitting through seminars, and then lugging products back and forth to our hotel, was not a pleasant thought.
As someone who has had many, many massages over the years, primarily for pain relief and flexibility, I hesitate when I’m invited to review a spa. The idea of a ‘fluff and buff’, as its well known in the industry, generally wreaks havoc on my muscles, and is the last thing you need during a week of alcohol-induced networking.
My experience at the Ritz-Carton, New Orleans spa was probably one of the best experiences, both in massage, and customer service, I’ve had in quite some time.
I arrived at the spa for the last appointment of the day. Star, my personal spa guide, whisked me upstairs to change, and offered me champagne, which I declined, given what our week had been like. I was greeted by Eric June, my table Thai therapist. Table Thai massage, for those of you not familiar, involves a lot of stretching, and long massage strokes to flush out built up lactic acid in the muscles. It combines traditional massage techniques with traditional Thai massage, which will twist you into ‘Gumby-like’ positions you never knew you were capable of. The result: you feel grounded, refreshed, and taller when you’re done.
Eric has been a massage therapist for over 7 years, and as a therapist with Ritz, he gets a benefit few of us can experience: a massage twice a week. The Ritz-Carlton, he said, feels very strongly that their staff should learn from each other, praise each other, and give each other assistance and tips that will help their skills set grow. “Getting regular treatments helps us provide our clients with a better experience,” said Eric. He was right-he certainly knew his craft. We talked about local food and wine throughout the massage, and my session included an aromatherapy treatment (I chose lavender oil) that was such a nice break from the smell of liquor and humidity that we’d been experiencing all week.
Eric is an example of the truly great customer service that the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans exemplifies. At the end of the session, he told me that, when he found out our team was coming in, he wanted to bring something special. He presented a menu from a local New Orleans wine bar, Bouche, told me about the owner, the great food there, and to give his name so they’d know to treat us right.
Next time I’m at the Ritz, I want to try the Apothecary scrub bar, or the Vichy table.
If you stop by the Ritz-Carlton spa, be sure to ask for Star, Eric, and Beth. And tell Eric that Cassandra from CraveLocal sent you. ”
The Ritz-Carlton Spa New Orleans can be found at 921 Canal Street, New Orleans. Appointments are highly recommended, and can be made by phone at (504) 670-2929. Louisiana residents get an extra 20% off, Monday through Thursday.