Playa Xpu-Ha, Mexico (September 16, 2005) Mayan curanderos or healers believe limes are natural purifiers. They use the fragrant, clean-smelling fruit to absorb toxins and muscular aches. Mayans also say that seashells transmit positive energy, and they blow through conch shells to transmit those good vibes to fortunate recipients. Now travelers can participate in such simple, delightful rituals, while enjoying the utmost in pure pampering. Aroma spa opens November 15, 2005 in a tranquil garden setting at Esencia resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

“The Mayans participated in ceremonies and rituals using natural, sweet scents and herbs,” says Cora Cejudo, Aroma’s Spa Director. “Aroma’s
philosophy reflects that ancient culture. With nature as our inspiration, we create a relaxing and spiritual experience just as our ancestors did under the guidance of the curanderos.”

The new organic spa offers an array of face and body treatments and therapeutic baths incorporating pure indigenous ingredients: locally grown plants and flowers; herbs from the spa’s garden; custom-blended essential oils; and banana leaves for body wraps. Even the exterior of the spa was whitewashed with milk of nopales (a type of cactus), rather than paint. Mayan-style domed steamrooms and a Temazcal (Mayan sauna) complete the authentic experience. Yoga and meditation classes take place in the beachside Wind Pavilion.

Organically certified and chemical free ingredients are prepared and custom-mixed while the guest watches. Treatments, which are offered in
open-air cabins, begin with a dry brushing with curative herb branches, a ritual used by the Mayans to dispel bad spirits and negative feelings.

Among Aroma’s signature offerings:
Lime Ritual Considered a natural purifier, a cooling lime is massaged in circular movements over the body to absorb impurities and internal heat and impart a sensation of peace and vitality. The treatment relieves headaches, body aches, and muscle soreness.

Sea Shell Ritual:
Mayans considered seashells as transmitters of positive energy. A conch shell is used to blow on the guest’s front and back. The relaxing experience balances the body’s chakras, or energy centers, and concludes with a deep-tissue massage.

In other treatments, aloe vera cools off the skin in the “Sun Ritual”; and sweet-smelling coco extracts, combined with local herbs chaya and achiote, soften the skin in the “Salt Ritual.” Other spa rituals may incorporate papaya, mint, lemongrass, rosemary, chamomile, or mud to restore wellbeing, relax the muscles and enhance blood circulation and energy.

About Esencia:
A 50-acre boutique resort in Playa Xpu-Ha, 46 miles south of Cancun, Esencia is the essence of simplicity, elegance and beauty. Located on a two-mile stretch of secluded white-sand beach, the boutique resort, which opened in March, has 29 spacious suites and guestrooms with private gardens, solariums, and deep-soaking plunge pools. Sal y Fuego, Esencia’s signature restaurant, specializes in Mesoamerican cooking, a native method in which foods are simmered in banana leaves deep below the earth. Sal y Fuego’s Chef, Alejandro Rojas, comes to the restaurant from Hugo’s and the Four Seasons restaurant, Quattro, both located in Houston, Texas. ProHotel International, which also operates the celebrated Ikal del Mar Villa Resort and Spa on the Riviera Maya, manages the resort. For more information and
reservations call 1-877-528-3490 or 713-528-3490 or visit www.hotelesencia.com.