2.20.2018

The Spa at Ballantyne Reveals the One Thing You Should Do Weekly?

Charlotte, N.C has a jewel in the heart of the city. It's close to every major tourist attraction. Think Carowinds, the Discovery Place, the Whitewater Rafting Center, and the Panthers stadium, but yet when you check into this luxury resort, you escape the hustle and bustle of tourism. It's peaceful at this resort. There is a resort pool, a championship golf course, and a luxury spa. It has everything you could ask for and more. 


The Ballantyne Hotel and Spa in Charlotte, N.C.


Starwood's Luxury Collection, The Ballantyne Hotel and Spa, is a destination in Charlotte all of its own and it's ok to come here and never leave the property if you want. That's a play from my own playbook.  I did that this Spring with a girlfriend and guess what folks....we never left the grounds. Not once. And we loved every minute of it. 


Ballantyne Selfie with Kim Prejs, editor of Living Young and Healthy

The Spa at Ballantyne-The Carolina Lavender Treatment 


The Spa at Ballantyne Features the Carolina Lavender Treatment


The Ballantyne is about a two and half hour drive from Raleigh. A relaxing spa weekend away from kids was the goal. My friend chose a facial. I chose a treatment from the Carolina Lavender Collection. This spa series is exclusive the to the Ballantyne, and the spa uses fresh grown lavender grown in York, S.C. 

In aromatherapy, Lavender has many healing effects on the body. When compounded down to essential oil, it's one of the most versatile oils sold on the market. Some call it the "Swiss Army Knife of the Essential Oil World." 

In this exclusive treatment series, I chose The Carolina Lavender Body Wrap where the body is exfoliated with a lavender body scrub, followed by a lavender shea butter body mask. While wrapped in warm linens, you enjoy an invigorating foot and scalp massage. You end your treatment with the softest skin ever, more relaxed and with a cup of lavender tea and lavender infused dark chocolate, all made and created by La Bastide des Lavandes. 


Why Exfoliation is Essential for your Body Weekly 


Relaxing Spa Tips for Use at Home by the Ballantyne Hotel and Spa

When I go to these spas, I do relax, but I am typically on assignment, too. That means I'm finding news that you can use in your daily lives. The number one spa tip I learned on this trip is the importance of body exfoliation. We all should be doing this weekly at home.

Yes, that's right. I said weekly.  

Unless you are Bill Gates, and can afford a $135 treatment weekly at a spa like the Ballantyne, most people need to exfoliate at home with a sugar scrub. Pick a day and do it. 

You can buy a sugar scrub, but make sure it is all-natural. Many products on the market have artificial fragrances and other chemicals that will absorb right into your skin. The label may say natural, but that is not entirely true. The Beautycounter line that I endorse has a citrus and brown sugar scrub that is luxurious and moisturizing and has an EWG rating of a safe green.  Do your homework. Look at the EWG database for product safety. 

For example, this popular spa product didn't score well based on its ingredients nor did this one by Tree Hut, both of these products are sold at big beauty stores. 

But again, don't be fooled on what you think is natural even  brands like the popular Burt's Bees, well-known for being natural sometimes don't always score well because of a few ingredients, mainly artificial fragrances. It's the biggie no-no that gets most personal care products and because the U.S. personal care laws have not changed since 1938, beauty companies are protected by chemist trade secrets and they do not have to be revealed to the consumer. 

How to Exfoliate Correctly


It's best if you do not wet your skin before exfoliating


But, when you exfoliate, you need to do it correctly and according to the Ballantyne, this is key to the product working correctly. 

The product does not work as well when your skin is wet. It does not have the same impact as it does on the body dry. 

It's best to get in the shower, use the product all over your skin when it is dry and then scrub off. 

Also, do not use soap except on key parts of your body when needed. Let the oils penetrate and do their job. 

Follow up with a good lotion. 

Best Hotel Bets for Pampering Yourself at the Ballantyne Spa in Charlotte, N.C. 


The Spa at Ballantyne Reveals Anti-Aging Secrets


The Ballantyne offers several day spa and overnight packages for the spa. The Girl's Getaway Package is a great bet with a $200 spa credit per night, a cocktail flight for tasting in the Gallery Bar. 

The Ballantyne also offers a great spa lunch just for spa guests. And if you are traveling with your family, you can purchase Carowinds tickets at the hotel plus take advantage of the Summer Getaway package.  (Sunday-Thursday stays). This includes a $50 resort credit and rates begin at $229. 

The Spa at Ballantyne, a luxury spa in Charlotte, NC, reveals the one thing that everyone should be doing weekly for their skin.


Disclosure: Affiliate links are in this post. Media rates not availble to the public were part of this visit. 

2.14.2018

Why You Should Have Afternoon Tea at the Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is known as the Queen City so it is only fitting that The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, a member of Starwood's Luxury Hotel Collection, serves afternoon tea fit for a queen. The Ballantyne, a resort hotel with a top-rate spa and championship golf course, offers a different type of tee-time for the public on Wednesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It's traditional afternoon tea delights with a local culinary twist. 

Here are some of my reasons as to why you should have afternoon tea at the Ballantyne Hotel


1. It's fun to take a break in the afternoon and catch up with a friend


#OutaboutNC: Afternoon Tea at the Ballantyne Hotel

2.  Tea is an antioxidant that is good for you

Served in the hotel's cozy lobby, this special reserved tea time at the Ballantyne is in a picturesque setting and was a highlight of my time spent at the hotel. The hotel features a variety of loose leaf teas from Harney & Sons.


Afternoon Tea is served in the cozy lobby






















3. Afternoon tea at the Ballantyne is very traditional tea service and they have a great combination of savory and sweets.

The Ballantyne’s creative culinary team pairs sandwiches, savory treats, and confectioneries to complement the tea selection. Signature menu items include black forest ham with local, cheddar cheese, sliced English cucumber with dill cream cheese and free range egg salad as well as sweets such as Chantilly swans, chocolate bonbons, and fruit tarts. My favorites were the sliced cucumber dill sandwiches and the scones, of course. Nothing is better than a freshly made scone with jam and clotted cream.

The menu is under the direction of the hotel's Gallery Restaurant and its distinguished chefs.

4. The Ballantyne Hotel also has theme-inspired teas.

In addition to regular tea service, the hotel serves themed-inspired teas as well throughout the year.  The annual Mother's Day tea is always a highlight. This summer, the hotel will host a summer-themed tea with a slight notch away from tradition. The Queen-City will celebrate Queen Elizabeth's birthday with a special tea.

Book the Ballantyne Hotel today from the Starwood Website.

And of family interest, the Ballantyne is close to uptown Charlotte and the Carowinds Amusement park. 

Learn more about Charlotte, N.C at Charlottesgotalot.com.

If spending the night at this luxury hotel is not in your budget, the Ballantyne area offers several other accommodation options including a Staybridge Suites, which I  also experienced with friends several years ago, an Aloft property, and the Courtyard by Marriott property.

North Carolina Travel: Afternoon Tea at the Ballanytne Hotel in Charlotte, NC



This post contains affiliate links. 

2.08.2018

Men's Spa Treatments: It is on the Rise, but are Men Taking Advantage?

As I sip on my perfectly chilled cucumber water in a lounge chair at the Spa at Pinehurst,  I take notice of who is around me in this beautiful co-ed luxury lounge space.

The Spa at Pinehurst. Men Spa Treatments are on the Rise
The Spa at Pinehurst Co-Ed Relaxation Lounge/Lap Pool


Eight women are together celebrating a birthday milestone. I happily take a group photo of them before embarking on my signature Pinehurst facial that came with my overnight package.

I wave to another woman who I had met the night before with her fiance in the hotel. Her fiance was playing golf in a tournament. She, like me, was having a spa day.  My friend sat beside me relaxing like one should in a spa and she was probably doing her best to ignore the annoying journalistic curiosity questions I posed to her.

Across from me, I notice a married gentleman sitting in a  monogrammed spa robe and browsing through the latest Robb Report magazine.

On this particular occasion, he was the lone man in the spa common areas. There may have been ten other men in the gentleman's private lounge areas talking about their putter, but from what I could see, this well-coiffed man was the lone spa ranger without his mask.

The Spa at Pinehurst, surrounded by PGA-played golf courses in the Sandhills region of North Carolina, offers a wide variety of male spa treatments. If a man enjoys going to the spa then this spa ranks number one for men in North Carolina.

This male spa guest intrigued me. To me, he is the polar opposite of my husband who has never set foot in a spa. I have told Will that he should go to the spa sometime because it would be good for his skin.  When I give this speech, he gives me a look as if that will not be an expense that he will actively seek out on his own.

Will is 51. I believe many men born around my husband's generation are not used to going to the spa. The idea is foreign to him. I think many men, born before 1975 especially in the South, characterize going to the spa as "something women do." I know Will never thinks about the spa in terms of therapeutic wellness.  He would almost need a doctor's note to go to a spa in my mind.

The Poll: Are Men Taking Advantage?


After my spa visit,  I took a quick poll among a Facebook group in the Apex/Cary area near my hometown of Raleigh. Both of these towns have an average household income of around $90k, which is well above the North Carolina average of $47,830. If men in these zip codes want to go to the spa then most could afford the expense. My research proves that my well-bred college husband is not alone as a man who has never been to the spa.


Does your Man go to the Spa? Men going to the Spa is slowly on the Rise according this NC-based spa insight trend. Luxury Hotels share what they are seeing when it comes to male spa treatments.



The results of this poll are not surprising. Out of 381 Cary and Apex residents who took the time to answer my poll, only 12 percent of men go to the spa. The gentlemen who regularly book appointments at a spa compared to the men who have never stepped foot in a spa is low. However, the bigger picture now is that the trend of men going to a spa is certainly on the rise from previous generations.

Pinehurst Spa Director Brandon Fein confirms this rise.

"We have indeed seen an uptick in recent months in Spa services used by men. Pinehurst continues to evolve in many areas, including in its golf offerings. An example would be our new short course, The Cradle, which has been praised by mainstream media nationwide, and been a very busy place since it opened in October. We’re seeing a lot of usage there, too, by our Pinehurst Country Club membership, which could help explain more men coming more regularly to the Spa, especially for innovative and timely services like full-body Cyrotherapy," said Fein. 

Another interesting piece of information in this equation is those who commented in my Facebook survey responded their significant other who went to the spa without them were under the age of 45. The man who was in the lounge with me on my Pinehurst spa outing fits that age description.

The Rise of Male Spa Treatments in Luxury Hotels 


Luxury hotel spas are embracing this rise in male clientele.  The Ritz-Carlton in Toronto told me that its' spa saw a 25 percent increase in male clients in 2017. The spa even dubbed the month of January of this year as "Manuary" and offered special services tailored for me at the hotel's well-ranked Spa My Blend by Clarins.    


The Ritz-Carlton Toronto dubbed January as "Manuary" and specially promoted spa treatments for men.
Ritz-Carlton Sp My Blend by Clarins Male Treatments in Toronto 

At this Ritz-Carlton spa,  men can choose spa treatments such as the Gentlemen's Power Hour or the Blokes & Beer treatment, a 2.5-hour service with a Man-E-Cure hand treatment, personalized facial, and full body massage.  There is also a huge large screen television in the Gentleman's Relaxation Lounge for men to enjoy. 


Kingsmill Resort Spa in Virgnia
Kingsmill Resort  Spa in Williamsburg, Virginia 


The Kingsmill Resort, a four-diamond condo resort in Williamsburg, Virginia which overlooks the James River is a haven for both family-fun and relaxation.  With a million-dollar spa on property and separate relaxation rooms for men and women, Spa Director, Jessica Nichols believes wellness education can take credit for new generations embracing the spa.

"We have seen an increase in appointments for men.  I think wellness, fitness, and overall better care of your body is a priority now," remarked Nichols. "It is also no longer frowned upon for men to have spa services of any kind.  Research shows the benefits of massage are great and have been known to relieve stress, neurological issues, digestive disorders, soft tissue and sports injuries, and more.  Spa treatments are no longer just for special occasions but considered therapy."

Despite an increase in luxury hotel spas offering spa treatments for males, men are still the minority client as we expected. The luxury resort, Four Seasons Orlando, located within the gates of Walt Disney World, says that men make up about 30 percent of its' overall spa business. 


The luxury hotel on property at Walt Disney World.
The  Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World 


That figure has remained steady since the hotel's opening almost four years ago. Four Seasons Orlando's luxury spa offers four couple treatment rooms on site.  Based on my survey results, the "couples spa appointment" route is the first point of entry into a spa for most men. Like Pinehurst, the hotel does confirm that it does see an increase in male treatments when there is a big male-oriented event on the property such as a golf tournament. 


Our Male Youth: What will the Future Hold? 


Awareness, education and personal experiences certainly can create change. As for today's male youth, will they be more open to seeking spa treatments as they grow into adulthood?

Exposure to the spa at a younger age may have an impact on that. The Kingsmill Resort spa offers a teen program for spa services for 12 to 16-year-olds.  My own daughter, who is now 8, was exposed to a luxury spa for a toe and nail polish at the age of 5. My son has never been exposed.

Children's Manicure at the Primland Resort Spa
Photo by Leigh Powell Hines

Liza now jumps at the chance any time she is given a spa opportunity now.  As they say, the apple doe does not fall too far from the tree. The Primland Resort, also in Virginia, like the Kingsmill Resort offers both children and teen services.  The Primland is where Liza was first introduced to the spa world. When I visited the property, highlighting children's spa treatment for a magazine, my son was still too young for any service other than nail services. At that time, he had no interest in doing that service.

How would my son feel now about the spa?  I think he would go for it and not think twice about it being something that girls normally do.

His Dad? Well, I would need to make that appointment for him. But, I know once he had the service, he would see the benefit in spa treatments. Education and awareness have the power to cause change for the better.  Like the other day, Will told me that he read that lentils help reduce belly fat. Y'all, I've had lentils on the menu for years. I guess now, he'll take another serving.

For more information on vacation options at the hotels listed in this post, visit the following:
Ritz-Carlton Toronto
The Kingsmill Resort
Four Seasons Orlando
The Primland
The Pinehurst Resort 




Luxury hotels are offering more spa treatments for men, but are men taking advantage. A look at the spa industry and attracting male spa guests. #spatravel




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