Story and photos by Barbara and Manos Angelakis
Spa photos courtesy Exhale Spa
A recent short trip to Boston’s Battery Wharf Hotel - a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World - included experiencing the wellness therapies at Exhale Spa, dining at Aragosta Bar+ Bistro, a lobster harvesting boat ride and lobster bake al fresco... all good fun.
Located at Boston’s waterfront renewal development on the Italian North End, the harbor restoration has infused the area with upscale accommodations and fine dining opportunities right on the water, which by the way is clean and fresh smelling.
The Battery Wharf Hotel is a unique complex of buildings set on their own dock overlooking the harbor; a boutique 5* hotel with condo residences on the upper floors; Executive Gold building with complimentary breakfast and nightly buffet, a perfect home away from home for the business traveler or for extended stays; the Aragosta Bar + Bistro; and the Exhale Spa. All buildings have harbor views and walks for sitting, strolling, biking, running and generally enjoying the fresh air and landscaped pathways.
Our bedroom was spacious and well-appointed with amenities that included shoe shinning service; Nespresso Coffee Maker; well-stocked mini-bar; a closet that opened both from the entrance hall and in the bathroom with plenty of hangers; in-suite safe; high end electronics and WF with plenty of outlets for charging devices. The marble bathroom had an opaque glass enclosed commode, walk-in shower with rainforest head shower, lighted shaving/makeup mirror, pamplemousse (French for grapefruit) scented amenities, monogrammed bathrobes and slippers and huge thick fluffy towels.
There is nightly turndown service with hand-made chocolate bonbons left on the pillow along with an inspirational thought for the day. Staff is friendly and helpful and the room was refreshed periodically during the day, a service provided only at the finest hotels.
Aragosta is Italian for lobster, and at the hotel’s Aragosta Bar + Bistro we had a lovely lobster-bake with lobsters we caught when we went out in the morning on the Two Buoys Lobster boat with father and son team, Fred and Wes Penney. The Aragosta chef came on board when we returned and took our entire catch. In the evening, sitting at the outside terrace at tables with a fire pit i.e. an urban campfire, the lobster-bake - deliciously fresh lobster, clams, chorizo and corn -- was great fun and a quintessential Boston meal (yes, we used lobster bibs and claw crackers that evening). We ended the evening by roasting s’mores!
Another possibility, and we saw the table next to ours take advantage of it, is making a cheese fondue. Aragosta will provide all the appropriate implements as well as a very nice Vermont cheddar fondue-cheese spiked with hard cider, chunks of chiabatta bread, and seasonal vegetables.
Aragosta is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the kitchen makes excellent Eggs Benedict for breakfast, and exceptional terrines and pâtés as well as authentic Italian pasta dishes for lunch and dinner.
The bar is very well stocked and the barperson or to use the current vernacular “the mixologist” was well versed in the art of cocktail making and had a number of unusual concoctions that were definitely interesting.
The Exhale Spa is located in its own building with easy access for both hotel guests and day spa visitors. A sweeping staircase, or an elevator, takes you to the reception area where you are graciously greeted and escorted into the male or female changing quarters; a large handsome area segmented into locker room, toilet facilities, shower rooms and make-up stations with complimentary accessories for fresh-up aprÃ¨s treatments or classes.
The spa has segregated steam and sauna rooms where a towel is sufficient coverage but a bathing suit is suggested for the co-ed hammam, a highly recommended detoxing environment. The waiting room is softly lit and offers the usual complimentary citrus flavored water or hot tea selections. Exhale Spa is a total health facility offering a full range of Core Fusion and Yoga classes along with the popular Barre classes, Body Fitness programming and a complete menu of spa therapies that combine ancient and new world practices to rebalance the body and restore well-being. All cosmetic services are available for one-stop beautifying.
My personal experience at Exhale was more than satisfying. I found their trained expert technicians and cosmetologists to be completely dedicated to their art.Â My first treatment was a Power Facial, with Grace as my cosmetologist. Exhales Spa offers an impressive series of facial treatments to choose from but I left that decision up to Grace once she had examined my face and determined the best service for my skin.
Grace began with an exfoliating mask to prepare my skin for extraction and detoxification. After which she performed a fabulous massage and concluded with a Cool Beam healing light which focuses on removing fine lines, sun spots and deep irritation. The Cool Beam is an antibacterial light that encourages the production of collagen and reduces inflammation while hydrating the skin. And while products and machines serve a positive effect, in my opinion nothing replaces a penetrating hand massage that Grace so beautifully performed.
I have noticed in the last several years that therapists tend to rely more heavily on products and state-of-the-art machines and less on the time consuming hands-on kneading that reshapes and restores the face and neck to eliminate the damaging effects of time. Years ago I had a cosmetologist that insisted that the monthly facials I had with her would insure my never having to have a face-lift to counter aging... and she was right. All my friends that had her facials look years younger than their contemporaries and I count that as a testament to her magical hands. Grace also has magical hands.
Thinking that Grace was a one-of-a-kind I was disappointed when I was told Nora would be doing my body massage. To my utter delight Nora was as good on body work as Grace was on the face. Nora performed the Exhale Flow massage, a deep tissue massage without the pain associated with digging in to open locked and knotted muscles. Nora’s touch was so gentle and soothing that I was sure little was being accomplished but I was wrong! The waves of hand movements on the Flow massage are choreographed to open and free energy blocks and relieve tension. The Flow massage incorporates lymphatic drainage in its gentle movements and I find that to be very helpful in eliminating fluids that have become blocked and weight you down.
The massage begins with choosing one of three scented essential body oils that will be used during the treatment. After adjusting the table to my comfort level, Nora began dancing with my body; working each muscle group from beginning to end to reduce knots and increase oxygen flow. I tried to remain awake but the movements were so soothing that I slipped into la la land until Nora whispered in my ear that she was done. She reminded me to drink plenty of water to flush out toxins released during the massage and delivered me to the hammam until I was ready to face leaving the spa.
Exhale offers fitness programs and classes at all levels along with spa and beauty services, making it a one-stop mind, body, and fitness facility for locals and hotel visitors alike.
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