By Eileen Ogintz
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic (Last Day) — My bath ritual at home is a quick shower in the morning and another after a work out.
Truth be told, I couldn’t really have a “bathing ritual” as I don’t even have a bathtub, just a shower.
But a resort is a different experience—especially when the beautiful Vassa Spa at the new Nickelodeon Hotel & Resort in Punta Cana has an 11-step “ritual hydrotherapy “program that comes with a spa treatment, complete with a “spa butler” to help you figure it out and on and off with your robe—kind of like Downton Abbey, Caribbean resort style.
As this is a co-ed facility, though I didn’t see any guys, bathing suits are required. I start in “mist shower,” sprayed with different temperature water from all kinds of nozzles. Then it’s into the sauna. Then the cold mist shower — with nozzles that feel wonderful spritzing me all over, the eucalyptus scented “vapor” steam and an icy cold plunge — nothing after taking off my boots to cross an icy cold river on a recent hiking trip. Then it’s on to the Jacuzzi — but not just an Jacuzzi. There are different stations that massage different parts of your body — your hips, your feet, your hands, your legs, your neck. I just know it all feels great and it’s not super hot. At the end, I stand under a pulsating waterfall and then another pipe pouring water all over me.
I’ve got to say it was more pleasant than the “sliming” at the Nick Aqua Park later in the afternoon. To be fair, the “slime” really just feels like green water and a private sliming—at $70 for a family—is a hot ticket here. “Definitely what I’m telling my friends about,” said Alexis Hochgertel, 12, a Nick fan from New Jersey. Your other options for sliming — putting your name in the lottery for a morning session or being in the Aqua Nick pool for the designated afternoon session when everyone gets slimed. “It was really cool,” said Ainsley Hochgertel, 9.
“The kids really looked forward to getting slimed,” said Melanie Samoska, mom of five and seven year olds.
“Like green water,” reported Lindsey Samoska, 7, who added that the pool foam party was a high point too. “I don’t know which was my favorite,” she said.
As for the spa, my hydrotherapy was just the beginning. When I got out of the pools, I was instructed to rub my arms and legs with ice. I can’t remember why but it felt good. Then I was directed to a private “relaxation” room with a hot towel around my neck. I would have been a happy camper if it had ended there (and you can book just that for $39, though it is included with a treatment), but there was more to come – a massage and a facial. Such indulgence!
I had wanted my massage outdoors in the bucolic garden complete with waterfall but it was too hot mid day. Instead, I was pounded and stretched in an air conditioned treatment room. Afterward, I indulged in an anti aging facial. I don’t know if it will make me look any younger but it sure was relaxing!
The Spa, by the way, has treatments for teens as well as for kids but the hydrotherapy is for those 16 and older.
Afterward, I had a chicken burger at the restaurant with an indoor food truck where kids can “drive” while their food is being readied. “It’s no problem entertaining them here,” said Melanie Samoska. “We don’t need the iPads.”
And that is always a good thing on vacation, of course.