By Catherine Wayland
Hello everyone! How are you? I’m wonderful, let me tell you why. My visit to the Benjamin Hotel and their Affinia Wellness Spa was scheduled prenatally for September 8. Brodhir Wayland Hoffman, “Brody” had other plans for me. I was to be sleeping in Roosevelt Hospital next to my beautiful new babe. That’s right, Brody decided to come early, the little angel.
I awoke peacefully at 3:00 A.M. on the morning of September 7. At 5:00 A.M. I knew that I was in labor. Brody arrived sweetly and gently at 12:30 PM, weighing 7.9 ozs (3 weeks early!). Today, on his scheduled due date, September 28, he is over 9 lbs, the healthy little piggy. God bless him. I will not go into details on the birth and delivery, you will hate me. Suffice it to say, the epidural worked wonders on my body. I relaxed right into it. The Benjamin Hotel visit came a few days late, but ooohh sooooo perfectly timed for my postnatal need to be pampered and coddled.
The Benjamin Hotel is an oasis of kindness and well being in this fast paced island of Manhattan. I am a Midwesterner by birth and genes and I can smell a fake a Finger Lake away. The Benjamin Hotel is the genuine article. I was greeted at the Benjamin’s Affinia Wellness Spa by a gentle and soft-spoken woman at the front desk. She told me that Leah, my massage therapist would be with me momentarily. Leah was equally sweet, but thorough and masterful in her skills. As my feet soaked in a pebbled lined, warm water bowl, nearby candles flickered against a warm-toned wall. Leah asked me questions to understand my needs. We were going to work on my labor-aching back with a myofascial massage (working the muscle and fascia/connective tissue). Leah, prenatal and postnatal certified, spent an hour with me. At the end of the session, all the aches were gone. I felt swaddled and cared for, the same way I cared for little Brody that morning.
Next, I met with Christy Griffin, she’s the Spa Director. We talked about the philosophy behind the spa and the products that are offered there. At the heart of the Benjamin Hotel lies the Spa. This is what the Benjamin and its Spa is all about. Their philosophies are not about fancy packaging, they’re about the inside stuff. The Spa was designed by a Feng Shui practitioner who utilized the calming and stimulating elements of warmth and fire. You are offered a Yoga Elixir to drink and a soft, pretty robe to wear. Lulling music flows through speakers while you sit beside glowing candles waiting for your treatments. There is no rush. Atypical to the rest of Manhattan’s frenetic energies and services, treatments are scheduled with 15 minutes extra, so there is time enough to really enjoy them. Treatments offered at the Wellness Spa include various massage therapies, skin care treatments, body rituals (i.e., urban detox wrap), spirit enhancers (i.e. scalp, hand treatments), personal touches (i.e., waxing), and day retreats. For a complete list of services, visit http://www.thebenjamin.com.
The treatments at the Affinia Wellness Spa are all about getting your chi flowing. They use Dr. Hauschka’s products in their skin care treatments. Dr. Hauschka’s line is “where science and spirit meet.” The skin care products embrace nature’s healing forces with ingredients like plant essences, extracts and oils. Using biodynamic methods, the WALA Heilmittel garden in Southern Germany maintains over 150 healing plants for the Dr. Hauschka products. A facial treatment with the Dr. Hauschka line is all about working with the natural rhythmic processes of the body. It stimulates cell renewal as it releases the toxins. This holistic skin care philosophy and product line of Dr. Hauschka is a signature of the Wellness Spa at the Benjamin.
The Benjamin Hotel has its own signature. The tipping Fedora. The original owner, Benjamin Denihan, who founded the hotel in 1964, tipped his fedora hat to clients when he greeted them at the door. The hotel is still family owned, and their entire line, the Affinia Hospitality Line of Hotels is known for its friendliness. It’s a very genuine, helpful, patient and old-fashioned type of friendly-ness. In a world where time is bargained out in high speed on the internet, I drank it up like a warm glass of milk for my tired bones.
I was invited back for a night of sleep at the Benjamin. Why would I want to leave my own bed on 42nd Street and travel across town to sleep in a strange room in a strange bed? Because the Benjamin Hotel is home to the world’s first Sleep Concierge. Her name is Eileen McGill. After much research on sleep and pillows, Eileen is the expert.
When you enter your room , you’ll notice a “Sound Sleep Pillow Menu.” There are 11 pillows to choose from. Perhaps your husband snores? Order up the “Snore-No-More” pillow, which reduces snoring to promote a deeper, more restful sleep. Maybe you are stressed? Order up the “Magnetic Therapy” pillow that reduces swelling and discomfort, relieving insomnia and fatigue. If you are a busy professional running around town all day, you can order the Benjamin Hotel’s “Executive Nap.” In-between the daytime grind and the nighttime schmooze; someone will turn down your bed and deliver a tray of chamomile tea, a sleep mask, and lavender oil. A wake-up call will arouse you an hour later. Wow! It’s almost like going home to your mama!
Well everyone, get to the Benjamin Hotel and their Wellness Spa for a visit for your own well being. Remember if you get the inside stuff right; the outside package will look beautiful. I walked in a 10-day post partum, sleep deprived mama with a soft squishy tummy, and I came out a beautiful, voluptuous, well-rested goddess!