After my fantastic facial at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans spa, I had the pleasure to sit down with Spa Director Daisye Suduran. In between discussing how to apply tea bags on the eyes and Vichy tables, I got the chance to learn more about their indigenous services and how much the spa is changing and growing.
Jessica Tupper: When someone is visiting from out of town, what services would you recommend?
Daisye Suduran: We have some indigenous services that are a lot of fun. New Orleans is a city you don’t come to and just go to your average places – you learn the history of New Orleans almost anywhere you go. So, we have the Marie Laveau Voodoo Love Massage. We found a perfumerie called Bourbon French that’s been in business for 164 years. They use an oil that’s a recreation of one Marie Laveau created for her favored clients when they were wishing for love. We purchase our oil from there and give our guests a little vial of the oil after the service to make a cross on their wrists and behind their ear and wish for love. And we have essence of magnolia, our state flower, so we have some scented bath oil, massage oil, and we also have a sugar scrub. Kind of like how when you go to the beach you almost want to smell like coconuts, it’s that smell that can remind you of New Orleans. I can give you a little taste of the city and the culture that we have in addition to enjoying a great and luxurious spa treatment.
JT: Say I didn’t have time or interest in getting a full treatment, what recommendations would you have for items to do a spa-cation at home?
DS: Every service that we offer in the spa we offer a retail element to go with it. There’s the facial products – a simple cleanser, a scrub; we have the daily peels, those are all at-home care that you can do. For the summer we offer a beautiful line of tanning products by St. Tropez. And when you take time and do that for yourself it’s almost like a massage. Honestly I feel like anything you purchase in a spa, whether it’s a lotion, a bubble bath, whatever the product, I feel like the ingredients are going to give you a benefit. But taking the time to use it and to give that time to yourself is also a big part of it.
Sugar scrubs are simply sugar and oil. You can take regular sugar at home that you would put in your coffee and blend it with an oil. As you’re stirring it, check on the consistency – if you’ve got very sensitive skin, you’re going to want to add more oil. If you want a more aggressive scrub, just use enough oil to wet the sugar and it’ll be almost like sand. You can add any essential oils, you can throw some lavender in there, a few drops of rose, geranium, or citrus is great. If you’re doing it fresh you could even squeeze an orange or lemon in it. These are things you can make at home and it’s going to give your body a nice, healthy polished glow. And just about everybody has oil and sugar at home.
You can also take sugar and some bath or shower gel and blend to make a scrub. We actually do that now in the spa – we’ve got a great big canister of sugar and little cups beside it and you can just mix it with our spa fresh shower gel so you can get a nice exfoliation in the shower.
Also, cucumbers or tea bags on the eyes. Wet your tea bags, squeeze the excess water out, and chill them in the fridge, then lay back and relax. It’s gonna be a win-win – you’re going to get a few minutes of calm, it’s gonna tighten skin around the eyes, and help reduce under eye circles if you’re tired. If you just need to re-energize it’s a perfect little at home treatment.
JT: I have a lot of skin sensitivities and allergies. Any recommendations besides telling someone over the phone when I book an appointment?
DS: The number one thing is to communicate it when you book your appointment. Also, some people have nut allergies, and nut oils are very popular. The last thing you want to do is get on the table and right as your massage is about to start say, “Hey, it doesn’t contain nuts in it, does it?” At that point we’ve put it in a special bottle that we can heat it, and it doesn’t have the ingredient label on it.
Don’t be shy or hold back on what you’re most comfortable with. People that are in this industry want to please you. So just be honest with them about what’s most comfortable for you.
JT: Is there anything else Crave Local readers should know about?
DS: We’re really looking forward to taking care of all of the guests that come into town for the Super Bowl. We’re creating some special services geared towards their activities going on around the city. That’s a really big thing on the agenda.
The hotel and spa are on a constant mission for improving and being better than we’ve ever been before. We’ve just done a room renovation, the rooms are absolutely beautiful. Something we recently added was instead of having a regular Vichy table, we custom-built a marble table so we could offer Hammam themed treatments, and that’s coming very soon.
And the city’s in a wonderful place right now. For so long, it was in a recovery mode, and now it’s beyond that – we have all these triumphs. From winning the Super Bowl to now hosting the Super Bowl, we’ve got so many things to be proud of as a city and as a community. I think the hotel’s growth and development is right in line with that.