December 24, 2012

TSA PreCheck Offered to Canadians Enrolled in NEXUS

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for TSA PreCheck™, an initiative that allows eligible passengers to qualify for expedited screening at participating U.S. airports.
Canadian citizens who are traveling domestically in the United States who are members of NEXUS are now qualified to participate in TSA PreCheck™.

If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening through TSA PreCheck™, information is imbedded in the barcode of the passenger's boarding pass. TSA reads the barcode at the designated checkpoint and passengers may be referred to the TSA PreCheck™ lane where they will undergo expedited screening, which could include being able to leave their shoes, light outerwear and belt on, allowing them to keep their laptops in their cases and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bags in their carry-ons.
Passengers do not need to show their CBP Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS cards) to use a TSA PreCheck™ lane. Members interested in participating in TSA PreCheck™ through their NEXUS membership must enter their PASS ID into the ‘Known Traveler’ field when booking a flight reservation or saving their PASS ID to their airline’s frequent flyer profile. Members can find their PASS ID either online through their GOES account or on the back of their membership card in the top-left corner.

When traveling on one of the TSA PreCheck™ participating airlines, CBP Trusted Traveler members should remember to provide the airline with their full name, date of birth and PASS ID exactly as it appears in their CBP Trusted Traveler program online account (NEXUS card) to ensure they are properly considered for TSA PreCheck™.

To learn more, visit

December 1, 2012

Mirbeau Inn & Spa looks to New England for second location

Upstate New York's Mirbeau Inn & Spa has announced the development of its second location in the United States, and its first foray into New England, with an $18 million, six-acre project in the heart of The Pinehills Village Green.

The original Mirbeau Inn & Spa is located in New York’s Finger Lakes region and is renowned for its gracious hospitality, award-winning dining, and world-class spa services. “Mirbeau is a true retreat,” says Gary Dower, managing director for Mirbeau. “It provides an escape -- a chance to exhale, an opportunity to get away from ‘the everyday,’ to stop, take a breath and just immerse oneself in relaxation.”

Mirbeau at The Pinehills will be joining the growing number of businesses and professional services within The Pinehills Village Green, which is located just 45 miles from Boston and eight miles from Cape Cod.

Architecture for the Inn is reminiscent of an old manor house in the countryside of France, complete with Monet- inspired gardens. The Inn will include 50 rooms, a fine-dining restaurant, wine bar and bistro, world-class spa, fitness area, and accommodations for weddings, corporate meetings, and other social functions. Guest rooms and massage rooms in the spa will all feature warm and inviting fireplaces.

Nestled on top of a knoll, Mirbeau at The Pinehills will overlook spectacular gardens, the Village Green, and Pinehills Golf Club, with the only two five-star public courses in New England designed by Nicklaus Design and Rees Jones.

Mirbeau Inn & Spa at The Pinehills
is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2014.

November 15, 2012

Win a Scandinave Spa Experience

Win a Scandinave Spa Experience
Award-winning Scandinave Spa and the spa-travel website Spas of America are giving spa and wellness enthusiasts from around the world the chance to experience a truly Canadian hydrotherapy experience at one of Scandinave Spa’s four Canadian locations.
Win a Scandinave Spa Experience

“We are very excited to showcase all four of our unique Canadian spa experiences to Spas of America’s global spa and wellness audience,” says Caroline Fleury, V-P Marketing for Scandinave Spa. “Since launching our distinctive spa brand in 1999 we’ve attracted a loyal following of spa and wellness customers from Canada, the United States and abroad.”

“Keeping their product simple and authentic, Scandinave Spa has refined the 2,000-year-old thermal tradition with their cutting-edge facilities set in a contemporary design or integrated with nature,” says Spas of America president Craig Oliver. “At their one urban setting in the heart of Old Montreal and their three resort settings in Ontario, Quebec and B.C—Scandinave Spa offers a truly unique spa and wellness escape.”

Entering the Win a Scandinave Spa Experience contest is free and easy, plus everyone who enters receives a special invitation from Scandinave Spas and Spas of America. A total of 12 prizes are available to be won, including four grand prizes:

Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal
Grand Prize for two includes a 90-minute Swedish Massage treatment, access to the baths, 2 bathrobes (gift), a $40 food + beverage credit, and a one-night stay at Gault Hotel in one of their deluxe Lofts, including 2 breakfasts, 2 DVDs + popcorn, and a late checkout. Value: $860

Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant
Grand Prize for two includes a 90-minute Swedish Massage treatment, access to the baths, 2 bathrobes (gift), a $40 food + beverage credit, and a one-night stay at Côté Nord Tremblant in a suite-condo. Value: $755

Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
Grand Prize for two includes a 60-minute Swedish Massage treatment, access to the baths, two bathrobe rentals, lunch at the Spa Bistro, a gift bag, and an overnight stay (including breakfast) at Pretty River Valley Country Inn (Finest Inns of Ontario member). Value: $544

Scandinave Spa Whistler
Grand Prize for two includes the Serenity package: a 60-minute Swedish Massage, access to the baths, a healthy light lunch, stainless steel water bottles (gift), and a one-night stay at the Crystal Lodge & Suites in a deluxe studio. Value: $698

About Scandinave Spa
The tremendous growth of adventure and spa tourism in North America was the starting point of the Scandinave Spa concept over 14 years ago. A small group of investors, including former NHL hockey stars Vincent Damphousse and Eric Desjardins, opened the first Scandinave Spa in Mont-Tremblant, QC, in December 1999. Since then, the group, now called Gestion Rivière du Diable (GRD), has expanded to offer its services as a consultant for the Scandinave Spa brand development, which includes both franchise and corporately owned opportunities. The first franchise opened at Blue Mountain / Collingwood, ON, in December 2006. The operation is co-owned and operated by three residents of the Town of the Blue Mountains. Additionally, the Blue Mountain group of investors includes recently retired NHL hockey player Scott Thornton. An urban-style thermal spa, Scandinave Les Bains (corporately owned) opened in Old Montreal, QC, in January 2009; and the most recent spa location, in Whistler, BC, opened in February 2010. It is also corporately owned by the GRD group.

Enter Win a Scandinave Spa Experience

May 22, 2012

Making the Best Better ~ Miraval Arizona

Despite not having the biggest, most updated spa, Miraval in Tuscon has consistently been rated one of the top destination spas in the world. On May 19th the resort revealed a new 16,000 square foot spa, that easily solidifies Miraval’s stamp as one of the best spas in the world.

The spa design captures the feelings that Miraval creates in its guest—a sense of peace, serenity and tranquility. While Miraval and its spa are high-end, it’s done in an unpretencious way that manages to be luxurious and down-to-earth at the same time.

“Miraval creates experiences that make life more enjoyable,” said Miraval Chairman Philippe Bourguignon at the grand opening ceremony. “You can hear yourself here like nowhere else.”

And you’ll no doubt be thinking that the three years it took from conception to creation for the Life in Balance Spa with Clarins was worth it. The spa also represents a strong partnership between Miraval and top European skin care line, Clarins. The two companies worked in tandem to develop 40 new treatments that are exclusive to the spa including offerings like the Anti-Aging facial, Mountain Berry Clay Renewal Ritual or the Deep Moisture Rich massage.

Inside the spa you’ll find a space awash in neutral colors, tones and textures that have incorporated sustainability and take a cue from the natural desert surroundings in its design. Envisioned by Clodagh Design out of New York it brings to life the mantra “Life Enhancing Minimalism”.

While the design may be minimal, the spa is lacking for nothing. There are 23 treatment rooms (6 outdoors) and a VIP Spa Suite that features a two-way fireplace visible from the couples treatment area and the private garden terrace and Jacuzzi. Other amenities include saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs and a private outdoor patio off of the women’s locker room.

~ Dena Roché, Spas of America

April 12, 2012

Santé Spa to Open at Calgary’s Boutique Hôtel Le Germain

Calgary's Santé Spa, with three locations in Western Canada will open its fourth location on the 13th floor of Hôtel Le Germain Calgary, Calgary’s newest boutique spa and ultimate urban sanctuary.

Santé Spa at Hôtel Le Germain Calgary provides the perfect balance to the adrenaline fueled pace of modern life in downtown Calgary. Designed specifically with travelers and urban dwellers in mind, the spa provides urbanites, travelers and couples with specialized treatment paths/programming to help restore mind, body and spirit.  Using monochromatic tones and modern functional design, Santé Spa has created an inviting atmosphere to explore the restorative powers of spa.

Santé Spa is known in Calgary for its commitment to quality, and the Spa at Hôtel Le Germain Calgary is no exception.  Hand crafted rugs and local art in an inspired setting designed by local architects Mckinley Burkart combine with eco-friendly and luxury products make treatments distinct to Calgary and to the Le Germain brand.

“Santé Spas offer an atmosphere of luxury and tranquility, featuring exclusive amenities selected for upmost comfort and relaxation. We are thrilled our guests will now have the privilege of experiencing Santé Spa’s urban sanctuary, without having to step foot out of Hôtel Le Germain Calgary. Moreover, we are very excited to be collaborating with Santé Spa whose service philosophy and values are so inline with our own” said Groupe Germain Co-President Mme. Christiane Germain.

“We’re very pleased to be partnered with Calgary’s top boutique hotel.  Spa-goers can look forward to the quality experience they expect at Santé Spa, combined with the warm ambiance and comfort of Hôtel Le Germain,” said Kent MacIntyre, CEO of Santé Spa. “The look and feel of the hotel are a great match for our spa brand; we’re looking forward to serving Calgarians and Hôtel Le Germain guests in the year ahead.”

Sante Spa's additional locations include: Sante Spa, Victoria, British Columbia; Sante Spa, Calgary, Alberta; and The Spa Ritual, Calgary, Alberta.

Sante Spa Calgary, Le Germain Hotel


April 2, 2012

Spa Khakara, Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii

Located in the heart of Honolulu's Sheraton Waikiki, Spa Khakara, translated from Sanskrit means excellence, provides superior quality, natural treatments, intuitive service and luxurious organic products.

Spa Khakara's high quality, natural treatments, intuitive service and luxurious products are delivered in a relaxing setting. This serene and soothing space includes men's and women's steam rooms, eight treatment rooms including four private couple's treatment rooms and a relaxation lounge. Spa Khakara offers pampering body treatments, facials and massages - pure relaxation with personalized touches. The spa is the exclusive spa for Amala spa treatments and products in Oahu. They are of 100% natural origin, and are free of synthetic ingredients, petrochemicals, parabens and genetically modified ingredients.

Experience Spa Khakara's Nature’s Most Pure Facial. Enjoy the benefits of one of the purest, most natural facial available. Infuse and replenish your skin with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids derived from wild-crafted flowers and healing plants of Eastern Asia. The result is a noticeably healthy, pure complexion. Available in a 50 minute or 80 minute service.

Of all Waikiki Beach hotels, one towers above the rest... the Sheraton Waikiki is a modern monument to traditional Hawaiian hospitality. This Oahu hotel is perfect for families seeking Hawaii activities, couples in search of romance, or weary travelers seeking a rejuvenating escape. The hotel offers a wide variety of dining options including Rum Fire, Ingredients and The Edge of Waikiki pool bar and grill. Sheraton Waikiki is your gateway to Hawaii's favorite playground, Waikiki Beach. The hotel is walking distance to fabulous shopping, Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head, surfing, swimming and sailing.

Spa Khakara, Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii

2255 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Oahu, HI
96815 United States
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March 20, 2012

Vincent van Gogh's 'Still life with meadow flowers and roses'

A still life once thought to be by Vincent van Gogh but later downgraded to the work of an anonymous artist because of doubts about its authenticity is indeed by the tormented Dutch impressionist, researchers said Tuesday.

The process leading to the confirmation reads like a cold case detective story, with a new X-ray technique helping experts re-examine what they already knew about the painting and draw on a growing pool of scholarly Van Gogh research.

A detailed X-ray of an underlying painting of two wrestlers and knowledge of the painter's period at a Belgian art academy combined to lead a team of researchers to conclude that "Still life with meadow flowers and roses" really is by Van Gogh.

The painting is owned by the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in the central Netherlands and was being hung there Tuesday among its other Van Gogh works. There was no real eureka moment for the team of experts studying the still life and the underlying image of wrestlers, said Louis van Tilborgh, a senior researcher at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum who took part in the confirmation process.

"All the pieces just fell into place," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
The painting, on a 100 centimeter by 80 centimeter (40x31 inch) canvas, was bought by the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in 1974 as a Van Gogh. The work was thought to come from the artist's period living with his brother Theo in Paris from late 1886.

"But when they hung it (in the museum), doubts crept in" about its authenticity, said Van Tilborgh.
Experts thought the canvas was too large for that period, the depiction of a vase brimming over with flowers and yet more flowers lying on a table in the foreground was too exuberant, too busy. The signature was in an unusual position for Van Gogh — the top right hand corner.

With the doubts piling up, the museum in 2003 decided to attribute the painting to an anonymous artist instead of to Van Gogh.

But the detective work did not end there.

An X-ray taken five years earlier had already revealed an indistinct image of the wrestlers and continued to interest researchers.

Now, a new more detailed X-ray has shown the wrestlers in more detail, along with the brush strokes and pigments used. They all pointed back to Van Gogh.

"You can see the wrestlers more clearly and the fact that they are wearing loin cloths," said Van Tilborgh.

Having models pose half naked was a defining characteristic of the Antwerp academy where Van Gogh studied in early 1886. So was the size of the canvas, the Kroeller-Mueller Museum said in a statement.
Vincent wrote to his brother about needing the large canvas, new brushes and paint. Theo helped the penniless artist buy the materials and a week later Van Gogh wrote back that he was delighted with the painting of two wrestlers.

Van Tilborgh said the brush strokes and pigments in the wrestlers painting also corresponded with what experts now know about Van Gogh's work in Antwerp.

The wrestlers also help explain the "uncharacteristic exuberance" of the floral still life, the Kroeller-Mueller Museum statement said — Van Gogh had to cover up all of the old image with his new work.
The detective work is described in a new publication by the Van Gogh Museum titled "Rehabilitation of a flower still life in the Kroeller-Mueller Museum and a lost Antwerp painting by Van Gogh."

Welkom bij het Kröller-Müller Museum

February 15, 2012

Win a Vancouver Island Spa Escape

Discover a truly spectacular Spa & Wellness destination—British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Our romantic boutique ocean getaways make Vancouver Island a very special place…
  • Voted Best North American Island eight years in a row by readers of Condé Nast Traveler
  • Voted Best Island in Continental U.S. and Canada by readers of Travel + Leisure
Here’s your chance to win one of three Vancouver Island Spa Escapes for two, from Blackrock Oceanfront Resort, Brentwood Bay Resort and Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort.

Win one of three exceptional two-person, two night prize packages:

Drift Spa ~ Couples Massage

Enjoy a two-night stay in a panoramic ocean-view one-bedroom suite complete with king-size bed, spacious living room with gas fireplace and your own kitchen. Retreat to Blackrock’s Drift Spa for your 60-minute Couples Massage, with a Facial Fresh and an amenity set from Seaflora and BeeKind. Finally, enjoy a $50 food and beverage credit at the Fetch restaurant or Float bar and lounge.
Essence of Life Spa ~ Two Hearts Massage

Experience two nights at Brentwood Resort & Spa in a luxurious and spacious OceanSuite, including a king-size bed, private ocean-view balcony, fireplace and spa-like bathroom. In the morning, enjoy Breakfast on the Bay at the Seagrille restaurant. Relax at the Spa—Essence of Life, where you’ll experience a couples 60-minute Two Hearts Massage and then surrender to relaxation at the Spa.
Grotto Spa ~ Love on the West Coast

Stay two nights in a deluxe ocean-view room featuring a jetted tub and water views. At Tigh-Na-Mara’s Grotto Spa, you’ll experience the signature couples package Love on the West Coast, which includes a copper soaking tub for two with custom blended bath salts and oils; Grotto Signature massage for two; fireside glass of wine, cheese and fruit plate; a custom one-hour facial; and an Éminence organic skin care gift basket.

January 2, 2012

Make 2012 Your Healthiest Yet With 10 Easy Steps

The Biggest Loser Resort and Spas of America offer the following 10 simple steps anyone can take to make 2012 their healthiest year yet:

  1. Schedule Your Sleep. There is no way around this - either you get quality sleep (and enough of it) or your body will eventually work against you when trying to lose weight. Sleep is a precious time for your body to repair and rejuvenate. Lack of quality sleep can increase stress hormones which then store fat around your trunk/belly. On average, the body needs seven to eight hours of sleep at night so aim for that as much as possible. Quick tips - try to be in bed before 11 pm and avoid any active stimulation 30-45 minutes before bed.

  2. Eat Your Carbs. Yes, we said carbs. Your body needs the right kind of them. A simple tip to selecting healthy carbs is this: If you can pick, grow, or harvest the carb, you are on the right track. This definitely includes eating all vegetables - eating vegetables helps you feel full while simultaneously giving your body some of the best nutrients for your body in the world!

  3. Pick A Pattern. Your metabolism needs to be told what to do - you cannot think yourself thin! You can increase your weight loss by eating real food that your body recognizes - at the right times. For most people, the ideal pattern is to eat three meals and one snack per day. Quick tips - don't ever skip breakfast and keep dinner your smallest meal of the day.

  4. Portion Control. Let's admit it, most people eat too much food. The reality is that your body does not require excessive portions. Work with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian to figure out what your individual body needs each day to run optimally. Eating smaller portions of real, unprocessed food will give you the nutrients your body needs and satisfy you throughout the day so you don't overeat.

  5. Work It Out. Exercise is important and the combination of cardio and resistance training is ideal. Do an interval-based cardio workout that includes resistance training three to five times per week for a total of 60 minutes per session. If you only have 30 minutes per day, alternate cardio and resistance training days. Interval cardio workouts can be done on a stair stepper, doing sprints outside or simply on a treadmill. Resistance training can include using free weights, yoga, Pilates or just use your own body weight through pushups, pull-ups and sit ups.

  6. Water Rules. Hydration is key to weight loss – drink approximately two to three liters per day. Quick tip - drinking most of your water between meals and very little during meals helps your body digest properly and enhances your body's ability to extract all the nutrients it craves from the food you just ate!

  7. A Sunny Outlook.  Get outside and absorb some Vitamin D from the sun for at least 15-20 minutes per day. Ideally without SPF (okay to cover your face) for that brief time so you can soak in the Vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about this and have your Vitamin D levels checked annually or consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. This can change your life in more ways than you realize!

  8. Sooth By Spa.  Take care of yourself in 2012. According to a survey of 1,000 people by the International Spa Association, 39 percent of the population visited a spa in the past 12 months and 86 percent of those customers said that visiting a spa has had a positive impact on their lives. Taking time out for you and your health allows you to focus, reduce stress in your life, reset what is important to you and helps you gain a clearer understanding of your priorities.

  9. Quiet Time.  In this era of technology and instant contact, it is vital to carve out some time for you. Try to take a break every day to relax, clear your mind and collect your thoughts and regroup. The constant, frantic pace of life can be damaging to your health - remember to give yourself some peace when you can - even if for only a moment.

  10. Camaraderie Counts. Surround yourself with people and activities that inspire, motivate and support you in achieving your goals. This year, find what you enjoy and love doing and go for it! If you want to lose weight and keep active, join an exercise class, fitness group or 'meet-up' in your area. If you're looking for a wellness getaway to get the fire of inspiration burning, consider a visit to The Biggest Loser Resorts!
The Biggest Loser Resort, Fitness Ridge, Utah
The Biggest Loser Resort, Malibu, California