My spa research is endlessly fascinating and, sometimes, a bit of a challenge. At the recently launched, state-of-the-art, 14,000 square-foot Fairmont Spa Century Plaza, I met Leonora, an esthetician who introduced me to my first, high-tech Bio-hacking service.
Bio-hacking is a broad term, and when I read about the range of variations which in some way manipulate your brain and body in order to optimize performance, outside the realm of traditional medicine, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. In some instances, people perform science experiments on yeast or other organisms; in others, they track sleep and diet or even pump a younger person’s blood into veins, with hopes of fighting aging. Who knew?
Being willing to experience something totally new and unknown makes me as anxious as I am curious; so, when I discovered that I’d be wearing unusual paraphernalia while attached to a machine, I was a bit nervous. But, every once in a while, in the confines of a treatment room, where two people meet for an hour’s service, a bit of magic takes place. There’s an immediate connection with someone, who was a stranger, until minutes before. Although I realize that I’m probably not the only person on a spa treatment table with claustrophobia—or with other issues–I’m well aware that for me, at least, connecting with a provider is essential. Alone, in this particularly lovely treatment room, with its extraordinarily high ceilings and serene décor, I completely trusted Leonora, who reminded me that estheticians, like others who choose careers that nurture, come from very special stock. I recalled something my grandmother used to say: “She has hands—and a heart—of gold.”
Every once in a while, in the confines of a treatment room, where two people meet for an hour’s service, a bit of magic takes place.
The Neuroacoustic Power Nap
Here, while settled into a very comfortable, adjustable lounge-table, the Biohacking service felt like a Power Nap, which is what it is called on the spa menu. Established through an exclusive partnership with bio-hacking expert, Dr. Oz Garcia, it was far more comfortable to experience than I supposed; in fact, it’s a relaxation treatment which, understandably, has become popular with busy people, who register for regular, repeated sessions. The service uses infrared technology, for which I wore a NuCalm LED eye and face mask, and it incorporates NuCalm neuroacoustics—electronic sound waves —as an attempt to improve sleep and resolve stress. One aspect of the service includes a 20-minute session wearing Normatec recovery air-compression pants, which inflate and deflate in regular intervals. They are similar, albeit nicer, to those that I’ve used in other spas to stimulate circulation.
On this late afternoon, it was particularly lovely to spend a second hour with Leonora receiving a hands-on Amazonian Hydration facial which used LilFox botanicals, plus hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. It was very calming, and effective, because she chose each ingredient from her cache, individually, that she considered beneficial for my skin.
A 1966 Gem Reimagined
I had originally visited the newly revamped (to the tune of $2.5 billion) Fairmont Century Plaza last September, and toured the Accor luxury property, the new flagship for the Fairmont brand. I had stayed here several times in its previous incarnation, which opened in 1966, on land formerly used as 20th Century Studios’ backlot—footsteps from the newly redone Westfield Century City shopping center. I brunched at Lumière, the all-day, French-inspired restaurant, where I ordered house-made smoked salmon with little swirls of crème fraiche, and tasted my friend’s delicious signature Lumière Breakfast (ham, eggs, and Gruyère cheese atop a crispy-edged crèpe).
At the spa, I was offered a cold sparkling water topped with Matcha green tea, as a welcome drink, before a tour of the facilities. I followed my host through high, curved corridors to the ladies’ lounge, showers and services, a beauty/hair salon and art-filled lounges. There are nine treatment rooms and Technogym fitness facilities, too, but I dilly-dallied in the enormous wet area, checking out the experiential rain showers, the sanarium, the aromatherapy steam room, the hammam (which will be used for private treatments), and the Himalayan salt room, where I had a long conversation with another guest. Finally, Leonora fetched me from the co-ed lounge.
The Spa Menu includes lots of tempting treatments, some use Ultraceuticals and others are based upon the medical esthetic techniques of world-renowned cosmetic medicine practitioner Dr. Rita Rakus, who revolutionized cosmetic and wellness treatments treating an A-List clientele in the UK and Dubai with cutting-edge techniques using non-invasive procedures to defy aging. The award-winning doctor launched the Dr. Rita Rakus Clinic at Fairmont Spa Century Plaza, her first U.S. Clinic, here; it’s the only clinic in California to offer a facial that employs the customized Universkin S-TEP Program, an advanced AI technology. The S-TEP program is unique in that the individualized products are delivered by a cutting-edge micro-needling delivery system requiring absolutely no downtime. The Rita Rakus Clinic menu also features an Award-Winning Red-Carpet Facial, which includes Dr. Rita’s exclusive HydraFacial technique, and The Ultimate Royal Ascot English Rose, which utilizes the HydraFacial with the S-TEP program by Universkin paired with the Dr. Rita Jetlift by Jetpeel and a new, exclusive Avenue Of The Stars “Super Power” Facial developed by Dr. Rita for those who are looking for maximum results in the minimal amount of time.
After leaving the spa, I felt radiant and utterly refreshed when I met my eldest granddaughter, Emma, who now lives in LA. We sipped Champagne in the expansive, light-toned lobby before dinner, while admiring the music-themed cocktail menu at a table next to giant, window walls that retract into the floor. Then, we strolled through giant doors salvaged from a French chateau to Lumière, into a traditional brasserie as interpreted by EDG Design. We walked on penny-tile patterned floors, past an authentic Maitre d’ desk, by an open kitchen with a wood-fired hearth and a repurposed, antique pastry case. We dined on French fare created by Executive Chef Ramon Bojorquez. It was my first French meal since traveling to France six months earlier: Chicken liver mousse with olive oil jam, authentic onion soup, roasted eggplant with shaved winter squash, charred baby tomato on a cashew cream, duck confit served on beans with grilled cabbage leaves and a rare steak with pommes frites.
It was a Francophile finish to a lovely spa day.
Editor’s Note: The hotel is offering a Summer Getaway Package: From now through September 5th, 2022, those who book a guest room will receive a $500 hotel credit, and those who book a suite will receive $1000 hotel credit to experience all that the hotel has to offer from dining at French Brasserie, Lumière, to luxurious spa treatments, biohacking, rooftop pool amenities, and more.