Ocean Inspired

Taking inspiration from the ocean, Renew the Spa at The James Royal Palm (Miami) is quickly proving to be worth its salt. Integral to the menu, amenities, and other elements of the spa is salt, which has been proven to heal and reinvigorate the body. “Salt is the ultimate natural ingredient for balance and holistic living,” says nutritionist Oz Garcia, Ph.D., the hotel’s wellness consultant.

Among the spa’s salty solutions is the outdoor salt bar and shower, an experience developed as a post-treatment exfoliation and reinvigoration. Guests also receive a salt footbath prior to their services using a signature mixture that was created exclusively for the spa. “The blend is also used in the salt water soaks and healing baths,” says spa manager Vivian Villamizar. Additionally, Himalayan salt lamps, which help the body release negative ions, are used throughout the spa and specifically beneath treatment tables. “In most spas, when you are facing down during your massage, you have to be looking at the floor or the therapist’s shoes. This feels distracting to me, interrupting the relaxation time of the massage,” says Villamizar. “This way, guests are not only receiving all the benefits of the massage but also the amazing benefits from Himalayan salts.”

The ocean itself, known for its curative properties, makes a significant impact on the 6,750-square-foot, six-treatment-room spa. “Inspired by the ocean, which is right in our backyard, the decor features driftwood accents, soft lighting, river rock walls, sand-textured wallpaper, and great aromas that relax our guests as soon as they walk through our fourth-floor hallways,” says Villamizar. Pre- and post-treatment, guests are also invited to enjoy the benefits of a warm sea breeze outdoors on the spa’s spacious terrace, which offers spectacular ocean views. “My favorite time to go out there is at sunrise,” says Villamizar. “You can see the horizon while the sun comes up, and it paints the most amazing sunrise colors.”

The sea and the planet in general are also vital to the spa menu, with a variety of natural lines being used in treatments. Among them is Privai, the spa’s main product line and a South Beach exclusive, which uses results-driven, botanically based, paraben-free skincare products housed in earth-friendly packaging. Other lines used at the spa are Intelligent Nutrients, created by the late environmentalist Horst M. Rechelbacher; Seaflora; SpaRitual; and Sapone di Bronte, a local artisan line, originating in Sicily and handmade in America, consisting of natural and plant-based ingredients. “Being environmentally conscious is part of The James’s brand ethos,” says Villamizar. “It is what our guests are seeking. All of our products used during treatments, and the products in our retail are inspired by and created with natural ingredients. They are environmentally friendly and, most importantly, results-oriented.”

Guests are also seeking the Renew Signature Massage ($155, 60 minutes), the spa’s most popular service, which can be customized to include up to three different modalities, including acupressure, bamboo, deep-tissue, hot stone, reflexology, stretching, and Swedish massage. “Instead of thinking which type of services you should receive today, therapists are seamlessly combining all into one perfect, luxurious, and unforgettable massage experience,” says Villamizar.

The spa is also making waves thanks to a variety of unique Whole Being Spa offerings. Among the highlights is the Mindful Waves ($75, 25 minutes), which was originally developed as a relaxation and centering exercise for Olympic athletes. It connects guests to a device that monitors brainwaves and displays inspirational images. A therapist guides guests through activities that signal relaxation by opening a virtual lotus flower, a representation of mental prowess. “This helps with focus and concentration but also with breathing control, which helps with stress management,” says Villamizar. “This relaxation can be paired with a customized massage for a mind-body release.” Other Whole Being options include breathing awareness offerings, a service that incorporates flower essences, and a guided visualization session called Power Animal Discovery ($130, 50 minutes) that helps guests discover their personal power animal that can be called upon for inspiration, creativity, and support. Garcia is available for wellness consultations, and he has also created a series of multivitamin drip treatments that focus on immunity, jet lag, detox, and balance. Other distinctive offerings include an intimate nailcare area with Zero-Gravity chairs with extra padding, full recline options, and Bose headsets. “Guests can literally take a nap in these chairs while having one of our signature pedicures,” says Villamizar.

All of these offerings and more are attracting clients to the six-treatment-room spa, where a staff of 15 can perform 32 spa treatments, 14 nailcare treatments, and six hair services daily. To further entice clients and educate them about various items on the menu, the spa features a “Spa Treatment of the Month.” Other marketing moves include partnerships with local wellness-related businesses and twice-monthly Wellness Weekends, where guests can enjoy complimentary yoga sessions and mini spa treatments, fresh juices, and refreshments after class. No matter what service they select, Garcia says, “the spa’s unique treatments, impeccable design, and bespoke products are all created to give guests a renewed sense of physical and mental self.” And that’s a concept that can certainly be taken without a grain of salt.

Owner: Denihan Hospitality Group

Regional Spa Director: Laura D. Kain

Spa Manager: Vivian Villamizar

Opened: December 2012



75% female  

25% male     



6,750 square feet; 6 treatment rooms



aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, hydrotherapy, LED therapy, makeup application, massage, microdermabrasion, nailcare, naturopathic medicine, outdoor treatments, prenatal services, reflexology, salon services,
waxing, yoga



Renew Signature Massage ($155, 60 minutes)



IN Bliss ($475, 1 hour 45 minutes), a couples’ service that includes a full-body exfoliation, a massage, and an aromatherapy bath



Bella Donna, Intelligent Nutrients, Lotus Wei, Luxury Therapeutics, Moroccanoil, NuFace, Privai, Sapone Di Bronte, Seaflora, SpaRitual, Wei of Chocolate



Boca Terry, Gharieni, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­LifeFitness, Millennium Systems International, NuFace, Oakworks, Oka B.



Lauren Rottet (multiple locations)



Ilana Alberico and Christina Stratton, Innovative Spa Management (ISM) (Asheville, NC)