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Since vacations are all about creating memories, it’s no surprise that many high-end resorts and spas are now adding aromatherapy to their list of guest amenities.
Of all the senses, smell is the one most strongly connected to memory: just think about the smell of your grandmother’s perfume or burgers grilling on the first warm day of spring.
It’s about much more than just smelling nice: aromatherapy uses the beneficial properties of plant essential oils to improve physical or mental well-being. Some scents are naturally relaxing – think lavender-scented pillows — while others have invigorating properties, like eucalyptus.
Aromatherapy-based spa treatments have been around for years. Eucalyptus-infused steam rooms help loosen up the sinuses and sore muscles. Citrus oils like orange and lemon add skin-toning and exfoliating properties to traditional massages. But now aromatherapy is moving out of the spa as resorts aim to provide vacations that please all five senses. For example, Westin Hotels and Resorts has a signature scent that mixes mood-lifting botanicals designed to leave guests feeling both relaxed and invigorated.
Meanwhile, at Live Aqua Cancun, each of the common areas is infused with one of the five special blends available on their in-room aromatherapy menu, including “Aqua,” a refreshing combination of eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint oils. Guests with access to the fifth floor Aqua Club lounge get to enjoy a sixth scent: chocolate.
The in-room aromatherapy menus offered by Live Aqua and other resorts let you match the scent of your room to the mood you’re in—or the mood you’d like to be in. Guests at Azul Sensatori Mexico, by Karisma, can choose from four scents inspired by the elements, from “Air” (a vibrant mix of sandalwood, lotus, ylang ylang and geranium oils) to “Fire” (a warm, energizing mix of cinnamon, orange, myrrh, incense and clove oils).
And there’s no reason you can’t bring the benefits of aromatherapy home with you once your vacation is over. One of the many activities offered at Excellence Resorts in Mexico and Dominican Republic is an aromatherapy class where you can learn the basics of essential oils and how to use them back home.
Three great all-purpose oils for use at home are peppermint, tea tree and lavender. Because peppermint is a stimulant, massaging it into sore muscles will help relive everything from headaches to tired feet. A drop or two of tea tree oil on a warm washcloth works as a natural makeup remover or acne treatment. Both oils also work well in a steam bath to sooth colds and coughs. Meanwhile, lavender will sooth minor burns and insect bites, or help you drift off to sleep at night when rubbed on your temples or on your sheets.
Some of our favorite scents for getting in the vacation frame of mind, even at home:
Resort Favorite: “Water” from Karisma Hotels and Resorts (maracuya, lily, lavender and white tea)
At Home: Lavender, vanilla, white tea, juniper
Resort Favorite: “Romance” from Le Blanc Spa Resort (coconut and jasmine)
At Home: Sandalwood, vanilla, clove, cinnamon, orange, jasmine
Resort Favorite: “Energy” from Live Aqua (Orange, grapefruit, rosemary and ginger)
At Home: Eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, orange
Resort Favorite: Westin White Tea (white tea, geranium, freesia and cedar)
At Home: White tea, ylang-lang, verbena, lemongrass