For four years, I have traveled solo to vacation and "spa it" at a woman friendly Hotel Spa Ixtapan & Golf Resort, in the little town of Ixtapan de la Sal, 65 miles from Mexico City. Hotel Ixtapan was founded 60 years ago and is managed by the third generation of the San Roman Family. A friend told me about it in 1994; she and her girlfriends have gone annually for the past nine years. I have been four times, making me a novice.
The hotel, in the foothills of the Sierra Madres Mountains, is in an affluent mountain village, famous since 1850 for its healing mineral springs. Due to the 5,400 ft altitude, summer and winter temperatures are 60-80. The village has charming Mexican craft stores and street markets with unique and handcrafted items, ranging from silver, linen, pewter, ceramics, vanilla and more. Check out Rossy's Farmacia for mystery creams and potions plus natural soaps.
At the hotel, the 220 rooms feature 1960's decor. The rooms, spa and indoor areas are spotlessly clean. The open airy lobby is surrounded by tropical gardens, large pools, lighted tennis courts, the gym, exercise room, silver shop, computer center and movie theater.
Ixtapan Spa is between European beautification and North American 'feel the burn'. In 1948 The first guests who enjoyed the mineral waters and spa "took the waters".
The hotel and spa are casually elegant. Exercise is relaxed, easy. The new five-star Spa Holistico offers the latest treatments, from a firming facial to a 100 minute Balinese hot clay treatment. Standard Spa Holistico Body Treatments include (most are 80-minutes long): Deep Massage, Triple Aromatherapy, Oriental Thai Massage, Mystic Hot Stone Massage, plus a dozen facial treatments.
Cuisine is mild and calorie controlled in the spa restaurants. My favorite meal last trip was grilled shrimp brochette, cactus soup, pink grapefruit sherbet. The resort staff also arranges excursions to Taxco, Cuernavaca, local markets and archeological sites.
A seven-night spa package is around $1299 double, $1537 single with all meals, taxes, 21 personal services, golf and tennis lessons, fitness classes plus yoga, pilates and other fitness classes.
Group and mother and daughter discounts are available as are golf packages. For reservations: 1-800-638-7950 www.spamexico.com.
Phyllis Stoller, guest author