They make you look classy, but did you know that precious gems like diamonds, jade, amethyst and amber have natural healing powers, too? So say the body-repair experts at the new Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Gem Spa in Cancun, a $6 million project labeled "the first gem-inspired spa in Latin America."
Your journey to sheer bliss starts off with a 10-step "Hydrotherapy Ritual" aimed at loosening you up for the main event later on. The hot-cold-hot-cold conditioning circuit, which lasts for a couple of hours, goes like this:
First comes a sit-down in a steam room where "your tensions melt away as you breath in the soothing scents of eucalyptus." From there you cool off in a multi-jet "invigoration shower" before getting all steamed up again, this time in mists of burning clay, clay said to be a natural detoxifier that stimulates your skin.
After that you chill out in an "ice room," and then pop into a sauna to get your temps back up. Next comes -- you guessed it -- a cool-down under a "rain shower," after which there's some bubbly time in a hot jacuzzi. From there you take a dip in a "polar pool" where "fresh and warm waters combine to create a sensory-driven experience." After that comes a walk on pebbles amid water cascades to put the final loosening touches on your legs and feet.
At last, you're ready for the main event: massage treatments using the healing elements of gem stones from three regions of the world: eastern Mexico's Riviera Maya, the South Pacific and Asia, and the Baltic area.
The 40,000-square-foot spa's crown jewel comes in one of 26 treatment rooms, where for the next 50 to 80 minutes magic fingers work you over, kneading, sliding, rubbing, swirling, patting, stroking and probing, all in worlds of different gem stones, aromas, oils and lotions.
Perhaps you opted for the "Mayan Jade" four-hand massage, or the "Taino Sacred Obsidian" hot-stone massage, or the "Oriental Express" exfoliation experience, or the "Diamond Perfection" luxury facial, or maybe a traditional Russian massage with malachite stones. There's even a Mayan "Na-Yaah" maternity massage among the spa's dozens of treatments.
By the time your treatment ends, your body is something like a limp noodle and there's not a care in the world on your mind.
But the Gem Spa isn't done with you yet. Your state of bliss continues on an overstuffed couch in a relaxation lounge where you can nod off to a piped-in symphony of soothing flutes, wind chimes and whispers of elevator tunes.
Paying the piper: You'll walk away from the spa feeling light enough to float up to Cloud Nine. Your pocketbook will be a couple of hundred dollars lighter, too.
About the hotel: The Fiesta American Grand Coral Beach is an AAA Five Diamond luxury resort edging the powdery Caribbean sands of eastern Mexico's Cancun Island. Guests stay in 602 suites with private terraces overlooking the ocean and can dine in six restaurants at the resort.
All four images by Bob Schulman