On May 28 I attended the 2015 West Coast ISPA Media Event held at the Montage in Beverly Hills. This was my first time at a media event (Spa Guru went to one in NYC last year) and I wasn’t really sure what to expect, so I just trekked up to Beverly Hills with an open mind and a spa appointment scheduled afterwards.
There were only 12 brands present (plus the Montage Beverly Hills) and about 100 spa and media professionals, much fewer than I thought would be there. Some brands treated guests to mini-treatments or consultations and products. The two head-scratchers in my opinion were Aspira The Spa and Kohler Waters Spa, who are both located in Wisconsin. When I walked by their booth, I wasn’t even sure what Kohler Waters was, because there was nothing about their look and feel that said “destination spa resort.” Their website makes it more clear what they do, but it’s not immediately evident where they are. And when I finally figured out that they were in Wisconsin (I had to search for that info on their site), the question then became, “Why would I want to visit here?” I guess the big draw is their golf courses, which hosted PGA Championships and other golf Opens. No one from Kohler Waters tried to draw me into their booth or attempted to chat with me about their spa so I didn’t bother trying to find out more.
The rep from Aspira was warm and friendly and took some time to explain the Chakra Balancing Massage that was being performed at their booth and a bit about their location in the Osthoff Resort on Elkhart Lake. I appreciated the time she took to tell me about their spa, but I don’t see us going to Wisconsin any time soon.
Miraval has been on both of our bucket lists of spas to visit for a while now. They truly embody everything we believe about spas as a place of balance and healing. The Miraval booth featured a new service offering that involves Tibetan singing bowls. According to Tibetan oral tradition, singing bowls produce sounds which invoke a deep state of relaxation, which helps with meditation and ultimately, enlightenment. In addition to helping with deep relaxation, they are also used for stress reduction, holistic healing, Reiki, chakra balancing and music. Apparently many people find that they rich blend of harmonic overtones produced by the different bowls have a direct effect on their chakras.
This is what the folks at Miraval were demonstrating at the event. In their main demo room, master healer Pam Lancaster performed a modified version of the Himalayan Sound Bath offered at Miraval. I was invited to try another version of the sound bath that involved standing barefoot in one singing bowl, and having another placed upside-down on my head. The bowls were then rung like a gong, producing sound vibrations that ran up and down and around my body. This ceremonial treatment is supposed to re-tune your body into its natural state, and create mental and physical balance. It was a bit hard to achieve that standing in the middle of a press event, but I imagine doing this in the middle of the High Sonoran desert would be a little magical.
The folks from the Oaks at Ojai were featuring products and handmade dark chocolate bark using local Ojai Pixie tangerines, which are grown in the Ojai Valley by a dedicated group of farmers on small family farms. Their dark chocolate bark loaded with Ojai Pixies and pistachios was excellent (I may have had more than one piece to make sure the quality was decent) and then I got to make my own lovely-smelling Pixie Tangerine Body Scrub, which also used pink Himalayan salt.
At the end of the event, I left with a Feed tote bag filled with goodies and press materials from all the brands in attendance. Overall this media event was just okay — next year I’ll be sure to book my mini-treatments in advance so I can check out more of the brands, and hopefully there will be a few more brands attending.