Relâche Spa is the destination for relaxation at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, a striking property on a whopping 63 acres of prime Kissimmee, FL, real estate, but the hotel’s soaring 4.5-acre, glass-enclosed atrium is what people are wowed by. It’s Florida under glass, and when outside temperatures are rising and humidity levels border on intolerable, the futuristic concept of cities enclosed by giant domes is being positively tested here just five minutes away from Disney World.
Our stay gave us the chance to sample several spa treatments..
Facials are not my cup of tea. When offered a choice of spa treatments, my first choice is going to be massage, be it with aromatherapy, stone, water, lemongrass or any combination of the above.
I’ve had facials and enjoyed them, especially when a head, neck or scalp massage is included, and if there are warm mitts and footies involved, well that is oddly fun. But the lotions and cleansing and examination and steaming and extraction (not my favorite word in any context) and subsequent pitching of products that come with having a facial generally make me more tense than tantalized.
Yet when the opportunity to sample the Oxygen Facial at Gaylord Palms Relâche Spa, an exclusive new signature treatment, I was intrigued. I’m no chemist, but I do know enough about the periodic table to know that O2 tends to do very important things for us humans, being so elemental and all.
So selecting this treatment was the first deviation from my norm. The second came once Irina, my esthetician, had me situated comfortably on the table. My usual approach is not to talk during the session, but to quietly relax and enjoy. Yet Irina continued to disarm me by asking in a slight Russian accent (that made me think Boris the spy on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show must be lurking about), “Do you want to talk about what I’m doing, or just to relax?”
Was Irina trained in mind-reading as well as making people beautiful?
I was about to find out after I replied, “Tell me everything.”
Little did I know that everything would include hearing about her growing up in Kiev, Ukraine; my discussing how Kathy and I recently visited Odessa (where Irina’s husband is from); anecdotes about Irina’s work experience at Gaylord — she’s been at the spa since it opened as Canyon Ranch eight years ago, before its latest transformation into Relâche — and about the Oxygen Facial that originated in Australia about 10 years ago and now looks to revolutionize the skin-care business. Based on my results, she could be correct about that last part. (Above, I relax post-facial with Kathy in the spa’s Tea Room.)
The Relâche Oxygen Facial is supplied by Intraceuticals, a globally branded skin-care company found in medical and professional skin care clinics. Hyperbaric oxygen is the key to the treatment. If you aren’t up to date on your medical terms, don’t feel left out. Most of us just rely on the results as opposed to the means.
This may help: hyperbaric pertains to gas pressures greater than 1 atmosphere of pressure. It also pertains to solutions that are denser than what they are added to. Hyperbaric comes from Greek roots: "hyper" meaning high or above normal + “baros” meaning weight.
In medicine, hyperbaric oxygen can be administered in a compression chamber to organs and tissues and is used to treat gas gangrene, some soft tissue infections, and other conditions in which high concentrations of oxygen are needed.
In the spa, Intraceuticals uses high pressure therapeutic-grade hyperbaric oxygen to deliver a serum that, when paired with the oxygen, plumps and hydrates the surface of the skin. The result not only feels great, but looks great, with fine lines and wrinkles reduced dramatically. Irina stated during the session that my results would look even better the next day and last longer than most other facials. From our looks — Kathy had the treatment the next day because I raved about it so much — she’s correct.
Irina’s loquacious manner really put me at ease. She told a story about the mother of a bride who was going to schedule an Oxygen Facial the day of the wedding. “I told her to come in two days before the ceremony and that she’d be all set for the occasion.” I imagine the woman may have had only one problem: looking so good she could have taken some of the spotlight from the bride.
For the record, Irina did do a terrific job cleansing my skin, exfoliating with a Clarisonic brush, which felt great, closely checking my skin (luckily I needed no extractions), and afterward, moisturizing my face. The majority of the process, of course, was the time she spent using the “apparatus” very precisely – the oxygen delivery system with a little pipe-like holder for the serum. It resembles an airbrush used in nail salons.
Irina compared her work to that of a tattoo artist. I watched as she performed Kathy’s Oxygen Faciall the next day, and she worked over every centimeter of the face. (See video at right.)
Following our facials, we both were shown the line of revolutionary skin-care products that compliment the treatment, designed to combat free radical attack, replenish the skin’s natural lubricants, supply essential vitamins and restore elasticity.
With approximately 1,000 clinics worldwide and offices in both Australia and the USA, Intraceuticals has established distributors in many major international markets.
Key to the company’s success is the integrity of the products and its people. livepage.apple.comIntraceuticals provides outstanding support to all of its customers with ongoing training, in-store promotions and marketing programs to ensure long-term success.
We loved the success of our first experiences with Oxygen Facials.
Of course, there’s more to this Forbes Travel four-star spa. The first day we enjoyed a spa lunch served on a stone patio just outside Relâche's doors, one of the manmade waterfalls in Gaylord's atrium offering a perfect backdrop.
We also sampled a very well executed Couples’ Massage in the spa’s beautiful couples room. (See at right how relaxed we are.) Our therapists Joey and Dayan were likewise outstanding.
In addition to the Oxygen Facial, there's the Everglades Stone Massage utilizing warm basalt stones strategically placed on different areas of the body; and the Islamorada Glow body treatment inspired by the Florida Keys to name a few. For the latter, tropical coconut milk is massaged into the skin, followed by an application of pure cane sugar and tropical nut oils, revealing a renewed skin glow. The treatment is followed by a hydrating bath to soothe muscles and restore the mind.
We also took full advantage of the offerings at Gaylord Palms’ Relâche Fitness Center by booking a session with Personal Trainer Tony Federico.
“We wanted the new Relâche Spa to reflect the beauty of our Best of Florida environment here at Gaylord Palms Resort,” says Spa Director Arielle Feinberg. “By incorporating the many natural elements found in Florida’s expansive environments with our distinctive spa services, we’re able to do that."
The spa's new look features warm, weathered natural woods, earth-inspired porcelain and vibrant patterned flooring reminiscent of the currents of Florida’s ocean and coastlines. Receptionists greeted us from behind a sparkling granite countertop, (left), with glass accents of cool blues and greens, with accent lighting and water features.
The 25,000-square-foot spa, recognized as a Four-Star Resort Spa by Forbes Magazine, has 25 private treatment rooms, steam and sauna center, a full-service salon for hair and make-up, beauty treatments, manicures and pedicures (at right, the ladies’ lounge.) Among the spa products for sale is the Eminence skin-care line.
If You're Going: Relâche Spa is housed within the Gaylord Palms Resort’s glass atrium located at 6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL. For more info, call 407-586-2552.