Restore : The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples

The tri-level world class Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples is an elegant oasis, designed to relax your mind, revitalize your spirit, and restore your soul in a welcoming environs surrounded with (and pampered by) nature. The Spa facilities include locker rooms (stocked with fluffy robes, towels, sandals, and every grooming item imaginable, just in case), aqua lounges, an outdoor mineral pool, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and relaxation areas (stocked with water – sparkling or flavored still, coffee, teas – both hot & iced, and small snacks including nuts). Offering treatments including massage, facials, micro-dermabrasion, eyebrow shaping, reflexology, yoga, reiki, body wraps, personal training, and more.

Mineral Pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples

We checked into the Spa early to change into our robes and enjoy a soak in the warm whirlpool within the aqua lounge before heading to the salon for our scheduled services. The aqua lounge also houses hot and cold plunge pools, a steam room and sauna in addition to the whirlpool, which offers an inviting bowl of iced cucumbers to soothe your eyelids, if you so desire. Just prior to your appointment, a host will find and escort you to the proper treatment area, so you won’t have to worry about a thing, including time.

Our time arrived and we were escorted to the salon for our services: one Ritz-Carlton Signature Manicure and one seasonal Citrus Summer Manicure and Pedicure Combo

The salon personnel were very welcoming (and accommodating) as we mulled over which polishes to choose, desired nail length and shape. After choosing our lacquers, we were seated in plush manicure stations beside one another.

Completed manicures, modeling Danialli Rings, available in The Gallery

One FOTF opted for the Ritz-Carlton Signature Manicure which includes exfoliation, a deep therapy mask applied then hands encased in warm mitts, completed with a nourishing moisturizer. After perusing the polish options she chose the vibrant Big Apple Red from OPI.

I chose the Citrus Summer Manicure and Pedicure Combo, a softening treatment for the hands and feet using citrus scrubs, available as a seasonal special. Starting with the manicure, my nails were expertly unpolished, shaped, filed, and buffed to a glossy sheen. Then my cuticles were fixed, the scrub applied, and my skin softened and repaired from oils of the Kukui coconut. I chose a traditional french manicure with polish in a soft pink hue by essie. Once my nails were completed, picture perfect and sealed with a quick dry shellac, I was whisked off to the pedicure area. Their pedicure stations are complete with state-of-the-art massage chairs by True Touch with a multitude of options, ranging from zones, pressure, style, and speed. My feet experienced the same expert treatment as my hands, while I played with the options on my chair, and were topped off with a coat of Midnight in Moscow, a deep purple hue by OPI.

While waiting for the polishes to fully set we headed upstairs to the mineral pool to soak up some Vitamin D before lunch. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative and we had just settled in when the sky opened up to a torrential downpour. Heading inside for cover, we decided it was time to taste test the Spa restaurant =H20+.

=H20+ offers an array of healthy, creative all natural items for a light lunch, including: made -to-order salads, sandwiches, wraps, and smoothies. We chose to modify the House Smokey Turkey  Salad and Spinach Salad.

Upon being seated you are served a crispy crackle bread and assorted sauces including hummus, and a roasted red pepper in addition to a diced vegetable. Until we sat down to eat, I didn’t realize what a hunger I had amassed. I noshed on the cracker-like bread until our fresh heaping salads arrived.

Turkey Salad at =h20+

The House Smokey Turkey  Salad we modified contained a mix of candied squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, large pieces of smoked turkey and broccoli, atop arugula and paired with a maple vinaigrette. This robust salad balanced the smoky flavor of the turkey against the sweetness of the candied squash and vinaigrette. The walnuts imparted a distinct crunch, while the cranberries were slightly chewy resulting in an array of different textures to delight the mouth.

Spinach Salad at =h20+

The Spinach Salad we modified to include diced tomatoes, roasted pears, and marcona almonds atop fresh spinach leaves, paired with a honey mustard vinaigrette. This salad satisfied our sweet tooth while also introducing a copious amount of nutrients. The roasted pears were yielding and decadent, a nice accompaniment to the crisp marcona almonds. The dressing on this, house-made honey mustard was the perfect consistency and just sweet enough, but not too much so. After we headed home, I ended up wishing I had asked if it was available for purchase.

This small restaurant fills up quickly, especially in the rain, but their service is quick and efficient. On better (non-monsoon) days outdoor dining is also an option.

Finishing up our meal we headed downstairs to spend time in the relaxation area before heading back to the aqua lounge where we blissfully reclined until closing time. The Spa was tranquil with a handful of other patrons cycling through throughout the day, as it is only available to guests and members of the Ritz-Carlton. If you are in search of a elegant private oasis, look no further.
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The Ritz-Carlton is now offering a summer Spa-Cation package until September 30,2011. You are invited to relax and restore your senses with their unparalleled service coupled with rejuvenating treatments at the Spa.

The package includes: Overnight accommodations in a coastal view room, a $200 Spa Credit per night, and Lunch for Two in the Spa’s new =H20+ wellness eatery (per night).

Click here for information on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Spa-Cation deal.

Click here for the previous post about Resort Activities at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The Ritz-Carlton Naples
280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.,
Naples, FL 34108 USA
Phone:  (239) 598-3300
www.ritzcarlton.com

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Rocco’s Tacos – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

After an unsuccessful trip to Miami to track down the food trucks on Friday, Foodies on the Fly headed north to Ft. Lauderdale. Our new destination, Rocco’s Tacos-1313 East Las Olas Blvd (954-524-9550), the recently opened Mexican restaurant and Tequila bar on Las Olas. After two hours in the car we couldn’t wait to try the infamous eatery.

We arrived around 2pm, were quickly seated, and started our order with Tableside Guacamole ($12). Unfortunately ours was prepared out of sight, a disappointment but overlooked once we started dipping the lightly seasoned tortilla chips into the wonderfully prepared creation. (Side Note: Rocco’s guacamole and chips make everything better!)

The two items ordered included the Spinach Salad with Honey Lime Chicken and the Durango Combination entrée. Two very different options, picked since they were something we haven’t tried at the other two locations.

The Contenders!
Durango Combination ($14) BBQ pork tostada, crispy tortilla bottom layered with a mound of juicy, smoked pulled BBQ pork, topped with a light dash of sour cream sauce and pickled red onions. Skirt steak taco, soft tortilla filled with grilled skirt steak, lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, pickled red onions & cotija cheese (This cheese is so good!). Quesadilla con queso, tortilla filled with chihuahua cheese and grilled. Very delicious on its own, but top it with some guacamole and BBQ pork YUM!

Spinach Salad with Honey Lime Chicken ($12) Cabarales Blue Cheese, crispy bacon, thinly sliced green apples, watercress, red onion and red chile vinaigrette. The creamy blue cheese, crisp apples and tender honey lime chicken was a flavorful combination and definitely recommended if you are looking for a lighter option for lunch.

The verdict:
Rocco’s tableside guacamole and chips alone are reason enough to visit, but their pork is hands down, the best in South Florida. It is so moist, flavorful, and delicious. Aside from our picks, Rocco’s serves tacos, burritos, hamburgers, and much more. A must try if you are looking for a casual Mexican restaurant with a fun atmosphere in Ft. Lauderdale. For more information, check out their website!

 

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