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With work, a family to take care of, or school classes to attend, finding some time for yourself — to relax, go to the gym, or even to just watch TV — is often easier said than done. At Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami, a series of "mini-experiences" has been launched to target people who are in need of a break but who find it hard to take longer periods of time off for a vacation. The two- to three-day packages are all focused around different health themes, including weight loss, relaxation, bone health, and detox. Now, two new relationship-focused packages have been added: the "Couples Mini Intimacy Experience" and the "Couples Mini Babymoon."
"The existing packages have been extremely well received by guests, who have reported that by setting aside just two or three days, they are moving forward on a path to wellness," says Karen Koffler, M.D., medical director for Canyon Ranch Miami Beach. "They are realizing that wellness doesn't have to be a dramatic, time-consuming process, just a small step in the right direction. The same can be said for maintaining a healthy and loving relationship."
The two new packages range from $750 to $1,200 per person for a two-night stay. "Couples Mini Intimacy Experience" includes a 125-minute treatment inspired by a purifying ceremony given to Indonesian royalty, including full body scrubs, a massage, and a "Rasul ceremony," in which couples apply purifying muds to each other and relax surrounded by herbal steam. Couples taking advantage of the package will also get to attend different couples sessions, including a 50-minute session with Canyon Ranch’s sex, passion, and intimacy therapist.
The "Couples Mini Babymoon" is aimed at couples expecting a baby, and focuses on "relaxing and becoming centered," with an 80-minute prenatal massage for the expectant mother and a Canyon Ranch 80-minute signature massage for their partner, as well as a 50-minute breathing and meditation session. Nutrition consultation and a life management session will also be included in the package, as well as a "Babymoon Gift Basket" with gifts for the couple and their new baby.
Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach is the nation’s first luxury boutique hotel devoted to wellness. The relationship-focused packages are the hotel's newest addition to the five existing mini-experience treatments, all focusing on different aspects of health and nutrition.
You Like a Hotel, It Likes You Back
These days it seems easier to get travel perks from Twitter and Instagram than from hotel and airline loyalty programs. Travelers active on social networks have scored airport lounge passes, deals on hotel rooms, free drinks and late checkouts. And a new hotel-booking site is aiming to go even further: Hotelied.com promises customized deals for travelers who join the site and link their various social media accounts.
With hotel listings in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and more cities on the way, Hotelied is perhaps the most ambitious addition to the growing number of opportunities targeting travelers with social network followings. In 2011 the Radisson Blu Edwardian brand gave guests of its Manchester and London hotels late checkouts if they checked in on Facebook or Foursquare. Last year American Airlines offered one-day lounge passes to travelers with a score of 55 or higher on Klout.com, which measures people’s digital influence (the average score is around 40). This summer, InterContinental Hotels Group asked travelers to use Instagram and hashtags to try to win a trip to New York City. And the perks continue to proliferate. With social media now as much a part of the vacation experience as sunscreen, freebies and discounts are also being offered through networks such as Instagram and Pinterest.
The more followers you have, the more robust your social media presence, the more alluring you are to hospitality brands. But the truth is that you don’t need to have legions of followers to be eligible for many of the perks being dangled today. However, you do need to consider whether you want to do what’s required to receive those benefits. Often it means sacrificing privacy not only by broadcasting where you are or sharing a photo of yourself, but also by allowing a third-party site like Hotelied to have access to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Also, be careful how frequently you’re posting content in exchange for a perk, or risk alienating followers who might begin to think of you as a brand’s mouthpiece. And one last caveat: It takes time to tweet and check-in frequently enough to earn significant rewards. Do you have that time to spare?
The answer may not be yes, but for many people, points and perks are an irresistible game. If you love to play, here’s a guide to some of the latest offerings.
The best hotels in Miami
Let’s start this gay Miami travel guide with a roundup of the best hotels in Miami. Many of Miami’s most stylish and luxurious hotels are located in the heart of Miami Beach, where you’ll have easy access to white sand beaches, iconic nightlife, and top-rated restaurants. One of our favourites is Hotel Gaythering , Miami’s “hetero-friendly” hotel with the catchy motto: “Why stay at a gay-friendly hotel when you can stay at a friendly gay hotel?” Hotel Gaythering is sexy, masculine, and adults-only. The rooms are chic and comfortable, but what truly sets the hotel apart is its buzzing communal spaces, ideal for meeting and mingling with other gay travellers. After a long day of sightseeing, don’t forgo Gaythering’s on-site, clothing optional, self-service sauna. For another adults-only hotel ideally located in South Beach, try Blanc Kara . The luxury boutique hotel offers 25 well-equipped and elegant studios, ideal for those who want to forgo paying for extra amenities in favour of a personal kitchen and spacious suite just a block from the beach.
Go green without sacrificing any luxury at 1 Hotel South Beach , a hotel seamlessly merging wellness, eco-consciousness and sophisticated style. The decor takes clear inspiration from Mother Nature, with lots of reclaimed, upcycled wood, and in-room filtered tap water means you can ditch the plastic bottles. Detox from a night on the town with a private yoga session or a meal at the on-site restaurant Plnthouse, featuring plant-based, organic cuisine. There’s even complimentary Tesla car service available within a 10-mile radius of Miami Beach.
Of course, South Beach isn’t the only place to stay. Brickell Neighborhood is often dubbed Miami’s best-kept-secret, and at EAST , you’ll be right in the centre of it. This luxurious lifestyle hotel is North America’s first iteration for the famous Hong Kong-based Swire Hotel. Here, East-meets-West design nods to the brand’s Chinese roots—without forgoing a bit of Latino flair. The on-site Quinto La Huella Uruguayan restaurant is of particular note. The restaurant is rustic but stylish, with a leafy patio ideal for sipping on one of La Huella’s signature craft cocktails. The true highlight though is the grill room, which features the restaurant’s signature wood fire parilla request a seat here to watch the grillmaster in action.
Finally, the storied history behind the ultra-luxurious Villa Casa Casuarina makes it a must-visit in its own right. The building dates back to 1930 when it was commissioned by Alden Freeman, Mayflower descendent and heir to the Standard Oil company. It then served a stint as a run-down three-story apartment building before famed Italian designer Gianni Versace purchased the villa and transformed it into his personal mansion in the 90s. He spared no detail or dollar in the renovations. (The iconic pool boasts thousands of glimmering 24-karat gold tiles.) Versace was tragically murdered on the steps of his mansion five years later. Today, Villa Casa Casuarina is a luxury boutique hotel, restaurant, and bar that retains its original opulence, while offering a glimpse into Versace’s fascinating life and home.
The Villa Casa Casuarina
Miami Beach’s most exceptional experience waits for you at The Villa Casa Casuarina, inside the former Versace Mansion, where top service and style are sure to please the most discerning travellers.
Located in Miami Beach, this adult-only boutique hotel is just 3 minutes’ walk from the beach. A fully equipped kitchenette comes standard in each studio at Blanc Kara.
Located in the Lincoln Road shopping district, this gay-friendly Miami Beach boutique hotel features a complimentary men-only self-service spa including a steam room, dry sauna, and hot tub.
Located in Brickell City Centre, EAST, Miami offers premium retail shops, a movie theatre, restaurants & bars, spas, 4 pools, an on-site restaurant, and a 24-hour fitness centre.
1 Hotel South Beach
This historic oceanfront hotel features a private beach area and on-site dining options. There are 2 swimming pools, including an adult-exclusive rooftop pool, available at 1 Hotel South Beach.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
The oceanfront Faena Hotel is situated in Miami Beach, Florida and features an outdoor pool and a spa. The fitness centre with an ocean view offers daily indoor and outdoor classes.
The Standard Miami
Featuring a full-service spa, this adult-only Miami Beach hotel also boasts rooms with a view of the garden, Intracoastal Waterway, or outdoor pool.
The Shepley Hotel
Experience the glamour of 1930s-era art deco style at The Shepley Hotel in Miami Beach. Built in 1938, the hotel serves a daily complimentary breakfast.
For a look at one of the world’s largest privately owned art collections, head to The Rubell Family Collection
The rise of the ➯ternoon delight' hotel booking
Paris, as everyone knows, is the city of love, the place where most people say they would like to have a romantic affair. Well, out of Paris comes a new development in the hotel trade that's calculated to help lovers in their quest for time alone - a website that helps couples book daytime hotel rooms.
Until very recently if you wanted to use a Paris hotel room for a couple of hours in the daytime - whatever your purposes - then you had a choice.
Either you paid top whack to keep the room for the night as well, even though you didn't plan to use it.
Or you went to a sleazy dive in a street like the Faubourg St Denis, near the Gare du Nord - the sort of place that used to be referred to familiarly in English as a "knocking shop".
But lovers of the world rejoice! Times have changed.
Not for the first time, liberal economics have joined forces with liberal sexuality, this time to popularise the "afternoon delight".
French website Dayuse.com is even now ushering in daytime guests to crisp-sheeted bedrooms, complete with trouser-press and kettle, from Sao Paolo to Singapore - and of course in Paris.
The business case is obvious.
The greatest asset for a hotel is its rooms - but most of the time (i.e. in daylight hours) most of them are empty.
In many of the world's big cities, hotels have been hard hit by home-share sites like Airbnb. In Paris there are now more Airbnb rooms on offer than hotel rooms.
Every device to recoup lost income is welcome - so what better way than to sell your rooms twice over?
"We are offering hotels the chance to boost income by 10%," says Lorenzo Sciotti, Dayuse's business development manager in London.
"And for customers - they get a hotel room for a few hours at a fraction of the price they would pay for a full day."
Clicking on the Dayuse page, you see a variety of offers. A typical Paris experience might be a hotel in the Latin Quarter charging 80 euros (£62) for a morning booking (0900 - 1300), and 95 (£73) for the afternoon.
Night-time prices would be double that.
Interestingly, Dayuse makes it very clear that no credit cards are needed in order to book. Is this a hint of the target clientele? After all, as everyone knows, rogue receipts are the worst enemy of the undercover Lothario.
Not a bit of it, says Sciotti.
"Our primary market is business-people - people who need a rest between flights, or a place for interviews or meetings.
"After that we are targeting people who want to use hotel facilities in the day-time, like spas and swimming-pools.
"Of course, there are couples who use Dayuse - and we welcome them. But they are not our priority."
With no breakdown of the figures, it is impossible to know how many of Dayuse's estimated 320,000 users fall into each category.
But it is safe to say that, coyness apart, publicity about the lover-potential does Dayuse no harm at all.
After all the moral opprobrium that used to attach to afternoon assignations has largely disappeared - at least in the liberal West.
In Paris - a city whose morals were once looked on with envious horror by foreigners - the institution of the cinq-a-sept (the five-to-seven, ie 5pm to 7pm) allowed faithless spouses to be back home in time for dinner.
To carry it off, wealthy men maintained a separate apartment, or garconniere, where lovers could be entertained. Everyone else resorted to knocking shops, or bordellos.
Today checking into a decent hotel for a few hours of daytime intimacy may invite remarks of the nudge-nudge kind, but little more.
"Of course couples come here in the afternoon, and everyone knows what it is for. But we regard it all as perfectly normal. Don't you?" says Joan Chaussey, manager of the Eugene en Ville hotel in central Paris.
"I wouldn't say it is part of any particular Paris tradition. I would just say it is part of life."
For Elise (not her real name), who often uses daytime hotels with her boyfriend, the system is tailor-made for the modern twenty-or-thirtysomething.
"My boyfriend and I have busy, stressful lives. We often work late and at weekends. It's very important to find time together when and where we can," she says.
"This way we can have a couple of hours of intimacy in the middle of Paris, maybe with a bottle of champagne. The whole thing becomes sexier, because we are in a hotel in the middle of the day!"
The explosion of online dating agencies has presumably provided a rich source of daytime customers, and it is hard to see how hotels can be sure some are not call-girls.
But there is no gainsaying the demand. Last month Dayuse announced that it has raised 15 million euros (£12m) in venture capital to continue its international expansion.
As Dooley Wilson sang, the world will always welcome lovers.
And as time goes by, it finds ever more profitable ways of opening the door.
Indulge in These Sensual Couples Spa Treatments on Valentine’s Day
Nothing says “I love you” (or “I lust for you”) better than an intimate couples massage, hey? Here are best indulgent, sensual spa treatments the couple who truly loves to relax will find in Los Angeles and Orange County the this Valentine’s Day.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills Spa
Duet Harmony Massage at The Peninsula Beverly Hills Journey through blissful “we-time” with a signature massage utilizing aroma infused oils, side-by-side in our luxurious Harmony Suite. Customize your relaxed escape and request additional treatments that can also be performed in tandem. The treatment is available for 60 minutes at $350, and 90 minutes at $500.
The Ultimate Lux Couples Package at the Beverly Wilshire Pamper a loved one and oneself by enjoying a combination of The Spa’s most luxurious services, including the Diamond Magnetic Body Treatment, Diamond Life Infusion and Diamond Manicure & Pedicure. The 1,990 per couple treatment includes a complimentary glass of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.
Sugar Therapy at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles For a sugar sweet day of pampering, the Ritz-Carlton spa features the decadent “Sweet On You” couples’ package, complete with side-by-side Hot Chocolate Stone massages, a luxurious champagne bath, and house-made sweet treats to enjoy within the intimacy of a candlelit, rose petal-adorned Couple’s Suite. The treatment is available for $400 per couple.
Sweetheart’s Renewal at Mr. C Beverly Hills This couples’ beauty day includes a 30 minute luxury couples aromatherapy steam session, two glasses of Prosecco, a fruit plate, and iced hand towels, and ESPA products to sample followed by a 60 minute ESPA personalized aromatherapy massage for $315.
Romance Package for Two at the Spa Montage Reconnect and renew with a champagne welcome followed by two luxuriating spa treatments including the Beverly Bliss Massage or the Beverly Body Rescue Massage, along with a special parting gift. The Romance Package for two begins at $695.
The Ultimate Getaway Package at the Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie Get whisked away to the La Prairie Spa at the Hotel Bel-Air by car service, who will both pick you up and drop you off at home, a bubble bath for two in the spa’s private suite, two 90-minute Caviar Massages, two 90-minute Swiss Ice Crystal Facials, lunch for two on the suite’s private patio and a complimentary full-size Caviar Luxe Souffle Body Cream. The price for four hours of bliss: $5,000.
Love Potion Massage at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Let the tension drift away as you are enveloped into a beautiful bouquet of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel’s signature Love Potion oil. Ylang ylang, bergamot, and clary sage seamlessly blend together to relax the muscles and quiet the mind while a boost of anti-oxidant rich cocoa butter heals the skin. Enjoy this loving journey together for $450.
Seductive Luscious Secrets at Ciel Spa at the SLS Beverly Hills Indulge in an organic scrub self-applied by your Valentine in Ciel Spa’s Experience Shower before you transition to a side by side full body couples massage using an antioxidant and mineral rich oil with acai, babassu and passion fruit for $525 per couple, which includes a complimentary Valentine’s Day gift.
5 best vibrators you can buy at Lovehoney
Check out the GHI's tried and tested sex toys available at the UK's biggest online adult retailer.
If you're interested in investing in a vibrator, then you're certainly not alone with Good Housekeeping research revealing that the sex toy is no longer considered taboo. In fact, nearly half of couples now choose to use vibrators to enhance their sex lives.
As the UK's biggest online adult retailer, Lovehoney offers options to suit all needs and budgets &ndash and its vibrators performed well in the Good Housekeeping Institute's latest sex toy test.
Here, we run through 5 of the best vibrators and sex toys you can buy now from Lovehoney, all tried and tested by the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
Whether you are looking for a bullet vibrator, a clitoral vibrator, a massage wand vibrator or a couples' vibrator, here are the best sex toys to order online at Lovehoney now.
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Despite lacking discretion in its appearance, this vibrator was a top scorer in the GHI test, as a result of its impressive performance. Every tester found it pleasurable to use and it scored the highest overall satisfaction rating, with an average of 9.3/10.
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Despite its compact and travel-friendly design, Lovehoney's Deluxe USB Rechargeable Mini Massage Wand still delivers in performance. Although half of testers did not achieve orgasm quicker than usual, three-quarters did have a more intense orgasm. With an average rating of 8.3/10 for overall satisfaction, it's safe to say this vibrator won't disappoint.
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While it's not the most discreet of designs, Lovehoney's Mantric Rechargeable Rabbit Vibrator impressed testers. It scored high marks across the board, particularly for its performance, and achieved an impressive overall average satisfaction rating of 7.6/10.
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Testers found the presentation of this vibrator gave it a luxurious feel, and that the supplied knickers were a nice touch. They were pleasantly surprised with the results. However, one tester mentioned that they found it difficult to adjust them into the best position, but that when it was securely placed it was stimulating and satisfying. The overall satisfaction level was 8/10, while 86% would recommend it and 43% would buy it.
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This vibrator features a very user-friendly and discreet design. Despite the impressive variety of speeds and patterns it offers, it is straightforward to operate and easy to conceal, thanks to the handy storage case. Some did find it too noisy in use, however its performance did not disappoint testers.
A couples massage allows partners to experience massage together in the same area as one therapist works on each person. Some spas turn this into a romantic event that can leave guests starry-eyed, setting the treatment in a special room or suite large enough for two, beachside underneath the stars, or in the couple’s guest room at a hotel or resort. For an extra-special touch, rooms reserved for side-by-side massage treatments may feature cozy spa fixtures such as fireplaces, shower facilities, Jacuzzis, and dual soaking tubs, and some spas offer irresistible amenities like champagne and strawberries as a sumptuous treat. Many spas offer treatments à deux so spa-goers can share a pampering experience with a significant other, but a couples massage isn’t just for romantics. Mother-daughter duos and best friends may also enjoy side-by-side services. For couples, this form of massage can offer a double dose of benefits. The tandem treatment invites couples to get a bit closer and reconnect, and it can enhance intimacy and teach each partner how to take care of the other.
Plus, select spas allow lovebirds to get in sync by offering sessions that teach massage techniques. Pampering and rejuvenating facials, massages, and other treatments in half- or full-day increments can make up a whole spa package for couples. Learn more about couples massage in Spafinder’s Guide to Couple’s Massage. To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder’s guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.
Sexy Weekend Getaways
Turn your sparks to full-blown flames with these 5 romantic trips.
1. Islamorada, Florida
Photo by: Cheeca Lodge & Spa
Islamorada's postcard-perfect beaches, turquoise waters and sultry sunsets have long attracted honeymooners and destination-wedding seekers to its shores. Still, any couple could fall prey to Islamorada's charms, making it an excellent romance-fueled weekend getaway. Part of the northern Florida Keys (it’s located just below the wilderness of the Everglades), Islamorada actually comprises 6 tiny islands, earning it the nickname Village of Islands. There's no shortage of stunning accommodations on Islamorada, though the Cheeca Lodge & Spa offers particularly exceptional luxury amenities. The hotel's 212 rooms are set in buildings scattered across a large property adjacent to a golf course, and the main lodge's airy decor and open-air restaurant are especially alluring.
Couples should book the "Romantic Getaway in the Florida Keys" package, which includes 2 nights’ accommodation an artful, in-room presentation of champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and scattered rose petals a generous resort dining credit a half-day pool-side cabana rental, and 2 60-minute massage treatments at the spa. Enjoy swimming in the main pool which overlooks the sea, and in the adults-only pool, or take a dip in the property's saltwater lagoon. You can also simply head to the beach.
When hunger strikes, use your dining credits at the fabulous Atlantic's Edge restaurant, where the catch-of-the-day is always a delight. After dinner, wander to the water and grab a pair of lounge chairs, listening to the waves quietly lap near your feet, and watching the sky for shooting stars.
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