When I first scheduled my appointment for a massage at Kuo Spa (a part of Costa Rica Marriott San Jose), I did so idly. “When isn’t a full body massage a good idea?”, I asked myself. I also answered myself: massages are always a good idea. Always. Except for when you have a full body sunburn hot enough to fry a…frittata on.
I’d been out white water rafting the previous day with Exploradores/Swiss Travel. Though normally diligent beyond reason about lathering myself with 50+ sun-block (ear lobes and toes too, I can’t help it, I’m a beaming 5’7 worth of white on white), there’s something about the crashing water of Class IV and V rapids that just wipes that stuff right off. I surrendered to The Pacuare River and baked myself all afternoon. I still don’t regret it. I had a blast.
But did I want someone rubbing me up and down the next day when I could hardly pull on my sheer cotton tee without wincing? No. I did not.
I walked into Kuo spa–a sad sight I’m sure. Frowning, I showed the man working at the front desk my hands. They were blotched with some kind of burn that looked more like I’d spilled boiling coffee all over my hands than been out rafting. I’m not that great at Spanish and he wasn’t that great at English, but the cherry red streaks across my body said it all and this man called in my masseuse.
Speaking in Spanish, they looked at me, exchanged ideas, nodded, and then told me they were going to craft a special “Sunburn Treatment” for me on the spot.
My masseuse used more (all natural) products on me than I can even remember. His hands, which I’d bet are normally strong and forceful on muscle, were like feathers. Fresh aloe. Soothing music. Really good smelling stuff. I half expected the red to have disappeared by the time I hovered, glowing, out of this 60 minute treatment.
My point: The Kuo Spa at this hotel is amazing. If burnt by the vengeful equator sun in the San Jose area, you’ll be hard pressed to find another spa so resourceful with their products and flexible with their menu as to whip you up a customized post-burn treatment. Remember I said this. Take this knowledge with you to Costa Rica. Thank me later.
By: Elizabeth Seward