Soul Temple – A definitive bathhouse experience. Find refuge in steam, heat, scent and touch with this restorative four-step hamam ritual. Melt as your therapist washes down your every curve in the Scrub Room with a purifying mint salt wash and lemon-coffee-blossom-olive stone scrub. Then completely relax during a 60-minute cardamom amber oil massage. Afterwards, back in the Hamam, you’ll detoxify with a clay polish, and then finish in a luscious neroli cypress bath soak. 120 minutes
The day started out by leaving my car with the valet and walking into the lobby. Valet is the only real option for parking. If you are visiting the spa, you can get a discount for parking. For my 1/2 day experience I spent $19.00 for parking and $5.00 for tip.
While walking to the spa, I came across a Taro Card reader. It seemed like a good time to take advantage of the options that the Standard had to offer. The reader, Chanel, did pick up on several different personality traits that I have and several different life paths I could take. She was very encouraging that no matter the path I chose, it will lead to the same place, love and happiness. A full card reading was $50.00 and I left a $10.00 tip.
After the delightful message, I headed up to the spa to check in. I was handed a cotton robe, a key for a locker, and an invitation to enjoy the Hamam room. The receptionist also informed me that the bath was co-ed and she suggested that I wear a bathing suit. When I booked the reservation, I was told the same thing so I was prepared. I put on a bikini and hide myself in the robe.
The Hamam room was a dark hot room with dim lighting, marble slabs to lay on, and metal tubs. There was ice water and drinking cups in the middle of the room with brown towels to use. Soft music was playing and the lights moved gently from dim to very dim. While I was soaking in the ambiance, the Massage Therapist, Mirabel, came in and greeted me.
She had several towels laid out on the marble slab to start the first part of the treatment, the scrub. I did not realize that most of the treatment would take place in the co-ed bathing room. It took about thirty second for me to lose my discomfort and relax. Before she started the treatment, she poured warm water from my legs to chest. She then started the scrub. While using the scrub she used light pressure – which is advisable since some scrubs can irritate the skin. When pouring the water, she never got it in my eyes or on my face – this shows her good skill. She then finished, by putting an iced cloth over my face and letting me relax before directing me to the Blue Room. This room is a large shower with many different shower heads. The water is cold and it pours out like a waterfall. After the cold shower, she took me to the treatment room.
Before we started the massage, Mirabel asked if I had any pain or areas that I wanted to work out. I suggested the shoulder but that was all that I admitted. A good Massage Therapist will be able to touch a person’s body and know where their pain centers are. She focused on my hips and added a few different techniques that help me to release the tightness in that region. I give her major bonus points for this. She also had perfect pressure. She did ask what kind of pressure that I enjoy – A question that is often pointless for some therapist. Often a therapist gets trapped into a particular style and it is hard for them to break the habit. Mirabel was able to adjust the pressure to my liking. Another reason that she was a great Massage Therapist was her ability to make me feel like I was there for hours. She also did my scalp and my face, which is always a added treat to any massage experience.
After the massage, we went back into the Hamam room for the third and fourth step of the ritual. There was a couple that was talking and the echo made me think Mirabel was talking to me. I did find the present of the other people a bit disturbing. I would have preferred to have the treatments in a private room. The third step was a yellow clay from my feet to my chest. Mirabel noticed that I had dry skin around my nose and cheeks, so she advised against using the clay above my neck. She did not want the clay to dry out my face. After the clay, she placed me in the bath. Once again, I felt self-conscious sitting in a bath tub in the middle of several different groups. This awkwardness is only my personal issue. If I had a different bathing suit on I would not have cared. I just don’t usually walk around in a bikini and I felt alittle exposed. Once I was in the tub, Mirabel gave me a lotion in a plastic tub and directions to apply it. She said her good bye and offered me some ice water while I soaked in the bath.
Eventually I got up from the tub and revisited the Blue Room, followed by the sauna. I then moved on to enjoy other areas of the property at the Standard. I got lunch from the restaurant on the patio. The view is fun because million dollar boats drive by and the weather is always enjoyable in South Florida.
I had been to the restaurant during the summer and I was unimpressed with the service. I thought it was only fair to try it once more. However, it appears that poor service is always to be expected. It could be in part to the mandatory 18% gratuity that is added to every table that allows the server to scuttle off and never return. She did not even say hello before she just jumped to, “What are you ordering?” I asked about the specials and the happy hour that was advertised on the hostess stand. She just said, “No special, no happy hour” and looked at me.
For lunch, I ordered the Egyptian pasta with chicken, garlic, basil, tomatoes, and no flavor. When my chicken pasta arrived missing the chicken I started to hunt down my server. This was not the first time the chicken went missing on my plate at this restaurant. At least they are consistent with their mistakes.
It took nearly ten minutes and my head spinning like I was possessed before anyone noticed something was wrong. I was two minutes way from bring my food to the hostess and walking out. Furthermore, I was a bit jealous that all of the tables were served hummus and pita but my table. Maybe it was because I was alone? For a drink, I sipped on a Mojito that was made from scratch and not with a pre-made mix. The Mojito was enjoyable, but a bit too small. Since my server never came back, I poured water into my empty cup to keep enjoying the mint. After all was said and done, lunch for one was more then $44.00 – next time I will go to MacDonald’s and have more enjoyment. Food here is a Fail – again!
After lunch I sat in one of the gardens that had several swing chairs. I did not have time to hit the pool or stay for SIN. I would have enjoyed their Monday night SIN. Despite the name, they have many games to play including, Twister, Table Top Tennis, Scrabble, ect. They also have a big focus in their “Culture” with artist ranging from music, photographers, DJ’s, and painters. This is the edge that I find very attractive. This place is not just the standard spa. It is very divers and appeals to a wide range of life styles. Why not spend the day relaxing and then hit the bar and games all night. Maybe next time I can book a room and get a 24 hour experience…. I will pack spam sandwiches.
Please visit their web site at http://www.standardhotels.com/miami/
Have a great day!