I adore the Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms Resort, and you will, too if you like pampering, luxury, and an ultimate escape from the craziness of your normal routine. This spa stands out in Arizona, a state known for outstanding spas, because of the their exceptional staff, ambiance, and one of a kind location. If you find yourself traveling to Phoenix or Scottsdale, the Alvadora Spa should be at the top of your list.
When in Arizona, you must spa! Phoenix and Scottsdale are a spa mecca. So when in Rome–or in this case, Arizona, a spa treatment (or two) makes sense. Fortunately, I received a special invitation from the Royal Palms Resort to check out the Alvadora Spa. Rated #1 in Phoenix spas by USA Today, this enchanting spa welcomes you and makes you never want to leave!
The Royal Palms Resort
The Royal Palms Resort is a stunner from the moment you set foot on the grounds. I literally gasped when I drove into the courtyard entrance onto the cobblestone driveway and was promptly greeted by the valet. Yep, I knew I was in good hands. The resort is a Spanish Colonial masterpiece. Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, this 65 acre oasis was originally the winter home of the Cooke family. Now home to the Royal Palms Resort featuring 119 accommodations, fine dining at T.Cook’s restaurant, an amazing location, and one heck of a spa!
The Alvadora Spa
The Alvadora Spa, added in 2002, so seamlessly blends with the resort that you would have no idea it was not original to the property. As its own enclave, the spa is tucked behind the pool and beckons you with a Mediterranean aesthetic and ivy-covered walls. I’ve had my share of spa experiences, and I can say that this one earns top marks for relaxation and tranquility.
The name Alvadora pays homage to the Mediterranean influences that inspired Delos Cooke, the original owner of the mansion that became Royal Palms. A lover of world travel, Cooke was incredibly intrigued by the Mediterranean region and its people. This culture “used the therapeutic qualities of the natural environment to rejuvenate the body and spirit, and believed each new dawn brings a golden opportunity to naturally improve your well being. The ancients called it Alvadora.”
A story behind the name-I love it! Plus, I think Mr. Cooke was a kindred spirit in his zest for world travel.
How to Choose Your Treatment
Go with what jumps out at you, what service you need the most, or what the spa is known for. The menu of spa services is so abundant and tantalizing, you may have trouble deciding on just one! With 8 treatment rooms, many of them set up for couples, the possibilities are endless. Sign up for the treatment that knocks your socks off! Ranging from massages, facials, wraps, manicures, and pedicures, here are some of the favorites with descriptions:
This aquatic therapeutic treatment incorporates rocking, cradling, and stretching techniques in a heated pool to facilitate deep relaxation. This treatment is also perfect for those “Mothers-to-be.” Swimsuits are required for this treatment.
This treatment is like a facial for the body. Utilizing the essences of the Mediterranean, it begins with an exfoliation followed by a mineral mud mask. While you are cocooned, your therapist will perform your choice of a scalp or foot massage. This treatment concludes with a moisturizing lotion application.
-Orange Blossom Body Buff
Using our signature scent of Neroli, this full body exfoliation softens and renews the skin. The treatment is completed with a lotion application scented with orange blossom.
-Alvadora Citrus Grove Facial
Our signature facial is based on the use of products with antioxidants to combat premature aging and provide skin with a healthy glow. Your experience will include a luxurious facial massage, a warm hydrating hand & foot treatment, and the uplifting essence of orange blossom.
The Citrus Ritual: Orange Heaven!
I chose the Citrus Ritual, the spa’s signature treatment. Described as a “full body exfoliation and gentle massage followed by a relaxing soak and shower in our indoor-outdoor private patio, and a moisturizing citrus lotion application.” The spa’s Acqua Dolce Suite has stone walls, side-by-side custom stone heated treatment tables with Vichy showers, an oversized soaking tub, an outdoor Watsu pool (being repaired during my visit), an 8-foot waterfall shower, an outdoor raindrop shower, a private garden patio, and a Italian villa-style fireplace. Sounded like heaven to me! I couldn’t wait to reap the benefits of exfoliation and massage.
After a grand tour of the suite and taking photos, I was ready to get my relaxation on. Water is the common thread throughout this invigorating treatment. Three Vichy showers constantly cascade water while you are exfoliated with scrub and loofah. The next part of this 80 minute treatment is to rinse off under the waterfall shower, then soak your cares away in the soaking tub.
Side note: As a violinist, one of the best songs we played in my high school orchestra was “The Orange Blossom Special”–this treatment made me think of this tune because of all the orange blossom notes throughout my experience. I was embraced by the scents and color of orange: from the flickering fire in the outdoor fireplace outside the dressing room, to the orange tree overflowing with fruit in my private terrace outside my treatment room, to the orange blossom moisturizing lotion applied as part of the Citrus Ritual. The original Royal Palms, a private estate, was built in 1929 in the middle of a citrus grove, so it makes sense to have orange trees still gracing the property.
I had my choice of not one, but TWO outdoor showers, a waterfall shower and raindrop shower.
The Citrus Ritual is a truly zen experience that forces you to slow down. At first, I thought, there is no way I am going to be able to chill out for 20 minutes in between the exfoliation and the moisturizing sessions. Boy, was I wrong! Laying on the chaise lounge in front of the roaring fire underneath an abundant orange tree, I was blissed out! The other remarkable thing was the total privacy and tranquility. I was at total peace, which as a mom of two busy kids hardly EVER happens!
Tips for Your Spa Experience
-Allow plenty of time before and after to enjoy the facilities and the resort itself. Your treatment is but one component of your spa experience. Take full advantage of the facilities! The Alvadora Spa amenities include: Eucalyptus steam room, relaxation room, outdoor spa hot tub, fitness centre, wellness and fitness classes. Additionally, you have access to the Resort pool, hot tub, and Cabana Cafe.
-Drink in the atmosphere. Allow ample time before and after. My appointment time was 4pm. I arrived at 3pm, allowing time to enjoy the spa’s facilities. Plus, nothing gets you more in the frame of mind to “sp-AAH” than relaxing ahead of time.
-Come prepared to lounge and relax and escape from the rush of everyday life. I met a mother and daughter pair that were awaiting facials to celebrate the daughter’s completion of the Arizona Bar exam–something I could relate to! (I recall being totally brain dead after my 3 day Bar exam.) I would imagine a spa treatment would have brought me back to life!
-Ask questions about the treatment and the products. It’s a wonderful education. My therapist, Lisa was a wealth of knowledge. She is passionate about the products being used in the spa as certified organic and free of artificial fragrances, phthalates, and petrochemicals. I loved this philosophy and the Lotus Wei products so much that I bought some to take home with me. A spritz of them in the air and I feel like I’m back at the Alvadora Spa all over again!
So if you’re fortunate enough to find yourself in the Phoenix, Scottsdale area, you must make every effort to immerse yourself in the Mediterranean inspired, orange blossom scented oasis of the Alvadora Spa.
Thank you to Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms Resort for hosting me and giving me the opportunity to experience your spa. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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