Beer and I have been long-time adversaries. I don’t like it, and it doesn’t like me. My college days at the University of Florida underlined that message well. I’ve always been jealous of my friends who could gulp down beer like a parched marathoner devouring water at mile marker 22. My friend Ed is 6’3”, maybe 175 lb, and can down a 12-pack of Heineken in a couple of hours and come out looking like he only drank water. I was even in Ireland last year for about a week and could only force myself to have one pint of Guinness that entire trip. Freshman year everybody said “You’ll grow to like beer.” Bull crap.
So it’s all the more amusing I decided to soak myself in it, wash my body and hair with it, and exfoliate with beer (not in that order) this past Friday. I was allowed to enjoy St. Patty’s Day, a holiday I rarely celebrate due to my adversarial relationship with beer, a little early with a – get this – spa beer treatment. I indulged in an uber-unique, uber-luxurious and uber-relaxing beer treatment at, believe it or not, a five-star spa. Surprised as I was that a joint like the Spa Atlantic is drenching its chic guests with beer? I mean, not even drenching their guest, bathing them in beer. Literally.
Located inside the swanky boutique hotel, The Atlantic Resort & Spa, I was face-to-face with my foe, my nemesis: beer. With the spa undergoing a bit of a revamp with new spa director Kim DeOrsey (who’s transformed spas like PGA National Resort & Spa, the Westin Diplomat and Mar-a-Lago) at its helm since November, ideas like enjoying a beer bath came rather organically. Introduced in September 2010, DeOrsey said the spa averages about five of these beer treatments a week.
The spa offered two beer treatments, the Citrus Suds Body Treatment and the Better Beer Cocoon (both $222 for 80 minutes). I was indulged with the latter.
Gwen, a spa professional with more than 25 years being a licensed therapist and aesthetician, was my therapist and was well versed in the benefits of beer beyond its use during Super Bowl parties.
“It’s been used for years in Turkey, Russian and South America,” she said. “The antioxidant qualities in beer are good for the skin and hair.”
So there I was, me and beer. Like a clever marketing ploy that gets kids to eat cereal with a cartoon Tony the Tiger smiling on it, the beer she was using even had a friendly looking cartoon bee buzzing on its label, welcoming me to enjoy it. Gwen used a brand called Orange Blossom Beer, a beer native to Florida, in my spa treatment (“It’s not like it’s a Bud Light we’re using,” she joked.).
She laced the exfoliating scrub with beer and then wrapped me in a heated cocoon for about 10 minutes. While I was wrapped up, Gwen mixed more beer with a hair conditioner, ultimately leaving my hair super-shiny. I then soaked myself in a tub filled with beer, water and citrus slices. After lying in the stainless-steel tub for about 10 minutes, I got out, patted myself dry, and Gwen proceeded to lather me up with a beautiful citrus body butter. Oh, and if you’re wondering, Orange Blossom Beer has an an alcohol by volume of 5.5%.
The overall experience was magnificent and well worth me facing my adversary. But I really didn’t expect anything except magnificence at the Spa Atlantic, easily one of my favorite spas in the Fort Lauderdale area. It was such a unique experience that I doubt too many other spas can execute this procedure that well yet still highlight the essence of beer itself.
But did it get me to convert to being a beer drinker? Jury’s still out on that one.