Browsing articles in "spa packages"
Sep 15, 2014
Linda Reed

Arnett benefit scheduled for Sunday

Brad and Leecia Arnett

Courtesy photo Brad and Leecia Arnett will be the recipients of a benefit at the Remington from 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21. Brad is waiting for his second kidney transplant, and has been on the transplant list two years. He has had his first kidney 19 years.

Arnett Benefit auction

Courtesy photo This 18-foot new piperail utility trailer with standup ramps will be auctioned at the benefit for Brad Arnett on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 12 to 6.

Arnett benefit auction items

Courtesy photo One item at the Brad Arnett Benefit Auction will be a choice of an Electric Flip Tarp system or a Manual Side Roll Tarp system from Mountain Tarp. These are for any class 6-8 vehicle. Either will be customized to fit most any truck or trailer request. The purchaser will have this system delivered to their location at no charge.

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014 5:45 pm

Arnett benefit scheduled for Sunday

By Deanna Kirk, Daily Sun

For most, complaining about a bad hair day or getting behind a slow driver on your way to work is normal.

But for Brad and Leecia Arnett, complaining just isn’t what they do.

Challenges, many of them medical, have become their “norm.”

Leecia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004, a disease of the central nervous system. Since stress aggravates the condition, she is on an anti-stress medication, and walks with a cane at times. She also takes a weekly shot to slow the effects of the MS.

At a routine mammography appointment in 2009, it was learned that Leecia had breast cancer, one that was aggressive. She had a chemotherapy port put in May 20, 2009, a lumpectomy May 27, then a total hysterectomy that was already scheduled on June 30. She also had six chemo treatments, and six weeks of radiation, five days a week in Dallas.

“We like to live on the wild side, adventurous,” Leecia joked in 2009. “Don’t want to get too comfortable. We like to keep a little drama going.”

Her most recent challenge was a cataract surgery Sept. 10, 2014. Her arthritis doctor caught it, because it was so advanced it was noticeable to the naked eye. He also believes she now has fibromyalgia.

Through all this, the couple cared for their five canines and raised their niece and nephew, Jordan and Joshua.

Brad has his own kettle of fish. Though he takes care of Leecia and still gets out to earn a living daily at Hunter Excavation, he had to have a kidney transplant in 1995, from a 70-year-old cadaver donor. For the last two years, he has been on the donor list for a new kidney to replace the one that’s been keeping him alive the last 19 years.

Typically, donor kidneys only last about eight years.

“I think this kidney has been pretty good for 19-plus years!” Leecia joked.

In August 2012, Brad was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma, and doctors had to remove nearly all of his ear canal.

“All those years he was driving a truck, riding with the window down, he got sun damage,” Leecia said.

“They took the entire outside part of my ear off, then worked on the ear canal, and put it back on,” Brad said.

Fortunately, Brad made a full recovery from that scare, and now the kidney is the pressing issue. The first time he received a transplant, they had worked to put away money and save up for the time he would be off work, not to mention the medical bills. This time, things are different. Leecia is on disability, after working many years with her health challenges. The company Brad is employed by is small, and switched their insurance to Obamacare. Their prescription drug bills alone average a minimum of $700, and that’s just co-pays. When the “perfect” kidney does appear, Brad will have to be off work for three months. The Arnetts have struggled financially for so long with all the medical expenses, they never seem to recover from one before the next wave hits.

Friends and family will hold a benefit from 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Remington Roadhouse, 122 W. Third Ave. Brad is the son of Barbara Arnett, and the brother of Randall Arnett and Rhonda Barlow.

Tammie McWhorter is organizing this benefit, and said there will be barbecue sandwiches or links with beans, potato salad, cole slaw, condiments, etc.

“Brad’s mom is making her fabulous peach cobbler,” McWhorter said. “I can not wait!”

Ira Bradford and the Bustin’ Loose Band will perform, as will the Courtney Prater Band.

Vernon Songer from This Old House out of Laguna Park/Lake Whitney will serve as auctioneer.

There are some amazing items on the auction list, including a new 18-foot piperail utility trailer with standup ramps, and a tarp system by Mountain Tarp for dump trailers/ rock trucks.

Other items include spa packages, hour massage, fish cooker, smoker, huge clay planter from Rockpile, power tools, wall art, furniture, big screen TV, car battery, tire rotations/balance/ oil change, hair cuts/styles, Scentsy, Vera Bradley items, baked goods from Bittersweet Boutique and Sweet M’s Sweet Treats, and more.

“Anyone can attend,” McWhorter said. “For a $10 donation they get a plate and entertainment, and they don’t have to participate in the auction. Children under 12 are $5 per plate. We will also have to-go plates for those who wish to go that route.

“There will be a break in the music to hold the auction around 3 p.m. or so, with music resuming after the auction.”

There will be a raffle as well, with tickets for $5 each. The five raffle prizes are a Ruger 243 rifle, a Smith/Wesson .22 pistol, spa package, a VISA gift card for $75 and a VISA gift card for $25.

“Raffle items will be announced throughout the event,” McWhorter said.

The Arnetts, who are both members of Mildred Baptist Church, say “Our faith in God is who we are. Daily walk.”

Both Arnetts will turn 50 this year, but say there’s nothing about their lives together they would change. Brad’s kidney transplant could happen tomorrow if the transplant team found the perfect fit, but as of now they are saying it may be next summer.

“Around here, we just get up, put our feet on the ground every morning and go,” Brad said. “We’re made for each other.”


Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer. She may be reached via email at

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Monday, September 15, 2014 5:45 pm.

Sep 14, 2014
Linda Reed

‘Fabulous Fish Fry’ benefit set for Sept. 25

A “Fabulous Fish Fry Fundraiser” is planned for 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Bay Area Community Center, 5002 NASA Parkway.

The event benefits The Crossings Healthy Living Community, which offers independent living and healthcare in the Bay Area.

Entertainment will be provided by Jazz Sunday, a Christian jazz band that will get your toes tapping. A live auction features vacation packages, sports memorabilia and more, while a silent auction includes spa packages, themed gift baskets, jewelry and more.

For tickets, call 281-210-0118 or stop by The Crossings at 2700 Marina Bay Drive in League City.

The event is hosted by The MRC Foundation in connection with Seabrook Methodist Church.

Sep 12, 2014
Linda Reed

Day spa in West Hartford closes with no warning for employees or customers


A thief and a con-artist – that’s what some people are describing a former West Hartford spa owner who they said stole their money.

Elements Day Spa shut their doors without telling customers.

The spa has been undergoing foreclosure proceedings for over a year while still selling gift cards, groupons and spa packages.

And it’s not just the customers who are out money. 

Eyewitness News found court documents that show the spa was being foreclosed on this month and the owner was being evicted.

Eyewitness News ran into some employees on Thursday, who said they haven’t gotten paid in months.

There are the customers who spent hundreds of dollars buying gift cards, and then there are investors who lost one-thousand times as much.

Elements Day Spa, which was known for Connecticut’s only salt cave, shut their doors without notice.

A “for sale” sign was plastered on the front window on Thursday.

Cameras for Eyewitness News went inside the building and the spa was now empty.

“I’ve been trying to call for several days because I have an appointment for a facial and no one was returning my phone call,” said Linda Jennings, of Manchester. “So I thought I’d come by. I saw this for sale sign and now I have all this money that they have already.”

Jennings said she bought a spa package just a month ago.

At that time, court documents show the spa was being foreclosed on.

“A $100 – it’s not a fortune but for me it’s a lot,” Jennings said.

Sarah Howes is the spa’s owner, according to court documents.

The property’s owner told Eyewitness News Howes bought the building for close to $1 million and invested another $600,000.

It was more than $100,000 alone for the salt cave, which many say didn’t work for months.

“There were people sitting in there when it wasn’t working and paying,” investor Bill Maher said.

Maher told Eyewitness News he lost $200,000.

“She paid me for a couple months and bounced the check a few times and never paid me again,” Maher said.

Court documents show the spa was foreclosed on by the property’s owner last September.

The property’s owner told Eyewitness News Howes was behind in the mortgage for well over a year.

During court proceedings, Howes told a judge “she had no experience in operating a spa before purchasing the property.”

“It’s been a nightmare for a long time. It’s not just for me,” Maher said. “The woman who built the salt cave never got paid, she’s furious. Employees that were working here said they never got paid.”

The spa’s website is still up and running and so is its answering machine. On Thursday, their messages were full.

Eyewitness News also found the business was never accredited with the Better Business Bureau and they were only registered with the town of West Hartford, not the state.

Eyewitness News went to Howes’ home on Thursday to get answers, but no one answered the door.

Eyewitness News reached out to her on Facebook and she gave me her number, but never returned the station’s call.

Many people told Eyewitness News they just want their money back.

“Her lawyer just helped her stay in there and continue to steal,” Maher said. “We are still out our money and we will never get it back.”

“I feel taken advantage of,” Jennings said.

Many were also wondering what to do with the Groupons or LivingSocial deals. Those people are advised to call Groupon or LivingSocial. They should be able to reimburse you for what you paid for the coupon.

To get a reimbursement from Groupon, people will need the email they used as well as the name of the business and the address of the location that they visited. They will also need the date and time of the business they visited as well as phone number they called and other indicators that the business has closed such as signs on the door and new business operating there. 

If you bought spa packages or gift cards that will be a little tougher. You’ll have to call the state of Connecticut Consumer Protection line and file a report. That number is 860-713-6100.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Sep 10, 2014
Linda Reed

Feeling Like New Thanks to Spa Blu

Spa Blu, the 10,000-square-foot spa, salon and fitness center, recently made some updates to their spa services. Curious? I bet you are. Want to try before you buy? Then read about the experience that three of the Lady Lifers had as we tested out some of the new spa packages that are offered at Spa Blu.

It’s a tough gig, I know. But we do it for you, readers.

Lady Lifers Natalie Mahlmann, Maureen Davey, and I all made the trek to Blue Chip Casino, Hotel Spa on a Monday afternoon to check out Spa Blu and its offerings. The minute we walked off of the elevator we were met by the sounds of serene music and friendly greetings from the Spa Blu staff. The lobby was clean and modern and had clearly labeled entrances to the fitness center, salon, and spa connected on the south, east, and west walls. 

“We are always looking for better ways to serve our guests. About 30% of our business comes from Blue Chip but 70% comes from the outside,”  Pamela Andreotti, Spa Blu Manager said. “This is a great way to learn about what our guests want and what they don’t want. People like to keep trying different services so we did some updates and added some new services that we are hoping will bring in new clients and continue to satisfy current clients.”

Natalie had arrived before Maureen and I and after getting a tour of the spa, we found Natalie, fully immersed in relaxation, in a white robe with her feet soaking in a huge hot tub. Maureen and I wasted no time and exchanged our sandals and civilian clothes for soft robes and sandals that were provided by the spa. We locked out items in the posh-looking locker room and made our way into a lounge area to wait for our Technicians. In the lounge, guests are able to take part in complimentary snacks and drinks like water, tea, juice, and other beverages. It was all artfully set up to be pleasing to the guest’s eye. 

Our Technicians, Judy and Tara, met us and then the pampering began. 

I got the opportunity to test out the No Birthday Blu-s Package which included the 50 minute Signature Massage and the 50 minute Signature Facial. had a the Signature Massage first. This was the first professional massage that I’ve ever had so I didn’t know what to expect. Judy was a delight. She worked out tension that I carried in my shoulders from hunching over my computer all day, massaged my hands that get their workout everyday from my computer keyboard, and rubbed my road-weary legs and feet. I like to run outdoors so that was especially helpful. 

Besides the Signature Massage, other massages are available at Spa Blu including (but definitely not limited to): the Deep Blu Massage which is a deep tissue massage that works on specific muscle groups or areas of chronic pain, the soothing Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage which uses a traditional Hawaiian massage technique to stimulate lymph flow and circulation, the therapeutic Rock Your Body Massage which uses hot stones to sooth aching muscles and inflamed joints, and many more relaxing massages to choose from.

Following this I met my esthetician, Allison. She showed me to my room and I climbed under the covers of the comfy bed (the beds are heated to your preferred temperature, by the way) and she proceeded to give me my first-ever facial.

It. Was. So. AWESOME! Allison was extremely knowledgeable about her line of work and answered the many questions that I asked. Afterward my skin felt like an invisible veil was lifted off of it. It was clean, fresh, and oh-so-soft. I drifted languidly from that room to the Transformation Suite down the hall and found Natalie and Maureen waiting for me. They had the same relaxed, dreamy look on their faces that was on mine. The Transformation Suite is a special room that is reserved for bridal parties or getting ready for a big girls night out or any other special group event. You can get your hair and makeup done in there, have some fruit and cheese, and relax in a beautiful setting.

Other types of facials that Spa Blu offers are (but aren’t the only ones): Age Defying Facial which helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and leaves skin supple and fresh, the Gentleman’s Facial which is geared toward the hardworking men in our lives who need a little TLC, the Blutiful You Facial which is a lactic acid peel that smooths fine lines and brightens discolorations, and many more lovely facials to choose from.

And there are so many other things that you can do at Spa Blu. You can get your hair and nails done (I personally love a good manicure), waxing, makeup applications, and different body treatments. There are so many ways to treat yourself at Spa Blu. Here is what Maureen and Natalie had to say about their experiences:

“I tried the Fall into Fabulous package, which included a 25 minute massage, a 25 minute express facial, and a 25 minute hand treatment, and I came away completely relaxed and feeling like there was a weight lifted from my shoulders,” Maureen gushed. “After the facial I felt like I could breathe better too, despite the allergies I’d been feeling lately. The hand treatment included a hand massage and having my nails polished, and I love the way they came out.”

Blue Chip Casino, Hotel Spa

777 Blue Chip Drive

Michigan City, IN 46360

(219) 879-7711

Visit Blue Chip Casino’s Website

Visit Blue Chip Casino’s Partner Profile

“My experience at Spa Blu was amazing. Everyone I spoke with was friendly and accommodating. The spa facilities were beautiful and extremely clean, and my techs did a wonderful job. I would definitely go back, Maureen said.

“I got the No Birthday Blu-s package like Cait did and I thoroughly enjoyed the massage and facial. The staff was wonderful and I am already thinking about when I can go back to treat myself again,” Natalie said.

Chris Mahlmann, Natalie’s husband, said of the experience, “From a husband who watches his wife work her tail off everyday, seeing her relaxed is a beautiful thing.”

Click here to see all the services that are offered at Spa Blu!

Caitlin Vanlaningham is a contributing editor for the LIFE network and specializes in community events and entertainment coverage. Visit Cait on or Twitter.

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Sep 9, 2014
Linda Reed

ESPA opens at The Leela Palace Chennai

ESPA opens at The Leela Palace Chennai


Category: Hotel

Created on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 14:34

The spa in Chennai is among the first in the country to elevate the concept of Thermal Suites based on the ancient spa wisdom of Senus Per Aquam or healing through water. The expansive Suites, separate for men and women, feature deep, dynamic vitality pools with lounge beds and body jets, shimmering glass mosaic steam rooms, state-of-the art circular oak-wood saunas, stimulating rain showers and luxurious relaxation areas. The hydrotherapies are recommended to prepare for a spa journey and bring the body to perfect synergy and equilibrium. 

Speaking on the occasion, Madhu Nair, Director, Design and Operations, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said: “The opening of ESPA at The Leela Palace Chennai carries forward the intrinsic Leela spa experience that exudes luxury, the best in wellness, and an unsurpassed sense of style and space. With this opening, we have also expanded our partnership with ESPA to the fifth city in India and we are excited about introducing our guests to a world-class experience in Chennai.” 

Set against the azure blue seas of the Bay of Bengal and lush manicured gardens, the 12-room ESPA, designed by Jeffrey Wilkes of DesignWilkes and Madhu Nair of The Leela, is an urban oasis of tranquility in the heart of a bustling city. The spa is modern and fresh, a meandering sanctuary with secret retreats, dedicated to the beauty of the mind and body.   

Complete with highly skilled ESPA therapists, each experience has been carefully crafted with the world’s most luxurious products. Personalised well-being therapies are offered with a comprehensive treatment menu that fuses the latest scientific research in European wellness with ancient Eastern therapies. Therapists provide top-to-toe treatments for radiance, vitality and purification with spa products from the UK’s ESPA. The products are world-renowned for their botanical extracts and marine actives.  

Susan Harmsworth MBE, CEO and Founder, ESPA said, “We are bringing 30 years of spa heritage, knowledge and a repertoire of treatments that blend East and West with harmony – all delivered with the best technology, treatments and therapists. With the opening of ESPA at The Leela Palace Chennai, our partnership with The Leela Group gets stronger.” 

All spa treatment rooms and come with plush beds, private lifestyle showers, and a curated music menu for personal selection.  The Private Spa Suite is a highlight of the spa which includes a living area with a glass sliding door that opens up to its own terrace overlooking lush gardens, intertwining luxury and nature effortlessly. Guests can easily spend the day discovering their own secret retreats – sleep pods, relaxation areas, and tea lounges which are all designed with plush fabrics in sumptuous textures. A state-of-the-art fitness studio with the latest Technogym equipment and a stunning swimming pool invite guests to continue their ultimate spa experience. 

The spa’s grand design and bespoke furnishings blend in harmoniously with the hand-picked collectible art pieces by celebrated artists – Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, Alex Davies, and Chameli Ramachandran – adorning the walls. Various interpretations of Lotus motifs and gleaming linen drapes complement a sophisticated palette of Turkish marble, natural Travertine stone, crystal glass, upholstered walls, and dark walnut timbers.

Tricia Bannister, Group Spa Manager, said: “Keeping in mind both our members and day spa goers as well as international clientele, we designed a complete menu of services focusing on bringing visible results naturally. Signature treatments include the Balinese massage with warm aromatherapy oils and hot volcanic stones for relaxation, the Abhyanga massage with individually selected essential oils to balance mind and body, the Royal Leela Facial which uses a special marma-points massage and warm herb-filled poultices to tone and firm the skin, and the Rose Princess Facial which uses cooling rose quartz crystals to improve the micro circulation and leave skin smooth and beautiful.”

In addition to a comprehensive menu of results driven body treatments, facials and massages, a selection of treatments have been created especially for men, such as the Purifying Facial and a 60-minute Deep Muscle Massage – which includes a powerful combination of stretches and therapeutic massages. Personal trainers and private yoga sessions are also readily available. 

ESPA at The Leela Palace Chennai is open to both hotel guests and day spa goers from 7 am to 10 pm daily. Treatments can be scheduled between 8 am – 9 pm. Spa, fitness studio and swimming pool memberships and day spa packages are available.

Sep 8, 2014
Linda Reed

Forget wine tours. Now it’s all about the beer

Lael Kassis travels the world for a living. One of the first things he does in almost any new place? Try the beer.

“You can’t really go anywhere without discovering a new local brewery,” said Kassis, who lives in Cambridge. “Every place has its own style. The beer connects with the destination.”

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And Kassis gets to try a lot of it. He’s director of product development at Cambridge-based Go Ahead Tours, which is adding beer excursions to its international walking, safari, and wine-tasting tours — three to Europe for Oktoberfest alone, and a new 12-day “Beers of Belgium and Germany” that will launch next spring and visit breweries, beer gardens, even beer-producing monasteries.

“Wine has influenced travel decisions for many years, and we’ve seen that move to beer,” said Kassis. “If you think about the history of countries, the religious history, the culture — they’re all connected with the beer. Every country has its own beer traditions.”

You don’t have to go to Germany or Belgium to find people showing off the local beer, however. Beer and brewery tours and festivals are now on tap in almost every major US city. There are even local beer-themed spa packages and hotels.

“The craft beer thing has exploded in terms of popularity and the number of breweries that have opened, and people who are drinking it,” said Davis Naczycz, whose Urban Oyster Tours in New York City runs New York brewery and brewed-in-Brooklyn tours, a craft-beer crawl, and a craft-beer harbor cruise.

There are more breweries now in the United States than at any time since the 1870s, the Brewers Association reports. Even as overall beer and import beer sales fell last year, craft beer sales shot up 17 percent.

‘Wherever you go, there’s going to be a beer you’ve never heard of.’

“Craft beer isn’t just about the classic beer nerd any more. It’s gone mainstream,” said Naczycz. And these new beer connoisseurs “want to check out the local beer scene whenever they go somewhere. There’s this air of discovery around beer. Wherever you go, there’s going to be a beer you’ve never heard of.”

Longtime brewing centers like Grand Rapids (Beer City USA 2013) and Milwaukee (it’s what made Milwaukee famous) are pushing “beercations” that include a “Brew-and-Renew” spa treatment at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids hotel, featuring a beer foot bath and massage with local hops and barley that purportedly exfoliate the skin. (How upscale is this trend? The Four Seasons in Vail offers a “beersage” with beer from Vail’s Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, and an amber ale foot soak, black ale wrap, and stout scalp treatment.)


Various drinking glasses with the logo of Oktoberfest 2014.

Milwaukee takes that one wobbly step farther, with a hotel that is completely beer-themed: the Brewhouse Inn Suites, which opened last year in a former Pabst brewery, complete with six original copper brew kettles in the lobby and a stained-glass depiction of King Gambrinus, the legendary embodiment of beer and (the resulting) joviality; it’s across the street from the Pabst visitor center, which has Captain Frederick Pabst’s roll-top desk, and near Forest Home Cemetery, where the beer barons Pabst, Valentin Blatz, and Joseph Schlitz are buried.

Prefer to sample the beer the conventional way — not just soak in it? You can drink while someone else drives you from bar to bar and brewery to brewery in minibuses in Seattle (Road Dogs Brewery Tour, three departures daily starting at 10:30 a.m.), Los Angeles (L.A. Beer Hop, L.A. Craft Beer Tours), Richmond (Richmond Brewery Tours), Cleveland (Cleveland Brew Bus), Phoenix (Arizona Brewery Tours), Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids Beer Tours), Indianapolis (Indy Brew Bus), and, closer to home, New Hampshire (Granite State Growler Tours), southern Maine (Maine Brew Bus), and, of course, Boston (Boston Brew Tours).

“There are all these breweries cropping up, and there wasn’t a good way to get from Point A to Point B, especially if you wanted to enjoy the libations,” said Indy Brew Bus owner Megan Bulla, who said she came up with the idea for the company while on a wine tour in the Napa Valley.

All her drivers are home brewers, Bulla said, “so not only are you tasting the beer, you’re learning about the whole process.”

Milwaukee (Pedal Tavern), Seattle (Cycle Saloon), and Indianapolis (the HandleBar) also have those 16-person, pedal-powered traveling bars you’ve seen and likely gotten stuck behind in college towns, which visit pubs and breweries. Hop Head Beer Tours in Madison takes groups of guests to three local breweries on conventional one-person bicycles — and, yes, they drink at each stop. And Beer Bike Tours combines 1- to 11-day road and mountain-bike trips in the United States, Europe, and Japan, with nightcaps of cold local beers.


Men in traditional Bavarian clothes play instruments during the traditional concert at the 180th Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich in 2013.

Or you could let the brewers come to you, at hugely popular beer festivals, many during the summer, including D.C. Beer Week in Washington and the Seattle International Beer Fest, both in August. The Big Brew New York Beer Festival is in September. So is Septemberfest in Los Angeles. The Great American Beer Festival in Denver follows in October, San Francisco Beer Week and NYC Beer Week share February, the L.A. Beerfest and Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week are in April, and Chicago Craft Beer Week (it actually lasts 11 days) is in May.

Milwaukee’s public parks host traveling German-style beer gardens all summer, with beer poured from trucks — it’s bring-your-own beer stein, or you can rent one for a $5 refundable deposit — plus live music, hot dogs, and bratwurst, in a re-creation of a Sunday custom German immigrants enjoyed there up till Prohibition.

“Beer has always been a social drink,” said Brian Stechschulte, executive director of the San Francisco Brewers Guild. “There’s a certain level of camaraderie that occurs, especially between beer geeks and people who are learning.”

And now it’s gone from being part of a getaway to the reason for one.

“There seems to be more of a sense of designing a vacation completely around going to breweries and meeting brewers,” Stechschulte said. “People want to get in touch with beer. They want to see where it’s made, they want to meet the brewer, they want to ask questions. There are a certain number of people who just want to go to the breweries, but there are a lot of people who really want to learn.”

You can also just enjoy a brew with new best friends forever, said Kassis, back in Cambridge.

Having a pint is, after all, “a way to socialize, to meet the locals,” he said.

Because without that, he asked, what’s the point of going anywhere?

Traveling, like beer, said Kassis, “is about enjoying life.”

Sep 7, 2014
Linda Reed

DOING BUSINESS: Day spa at Mirbeau Inn & Spa offering staycations

By Emily Clark/

Posted Sep. 5, 2014 @ 11:00 am

Sep 6, 2014
Linda Reed

Humane Society’s Ties & Tails fundraiser slated for Oct. 18

The Humane Society of Midland County’s fourth annual Ties Tails Gala fundraiser will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on the Concourse at Dow Diamond.

Jim Fitterling, executive vice president, Feedstocks, Performance Plastics, Supply Chain at The Dow Chemical Co., and Paula Tolliver, corporate vice president, Business Services and Information Systems at Dow, will serve as the honorary chairs.

“Jim and Paula have been generous supporters; their role in chairing this event highlights their commitment to the organization’s mission of finding homes for the lost and abandoned animals of Midland County,” said Neil Wackerle, president of HSoMC.

The Ties Tails Gala is a black-tie optional event where guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and cocktails. Guests will hear music by the Jim Pagel Jazz Trio and experience the magic of award-winning Gene Anderson. As guests arrive, they will have the opportunity to participate in a photo shoot, purchase 50/50 raffle tickets, mingle with other guests and peruse auction items. Canine companions can join in at the event in the Howl-A-Day Dog Spa. As the number of pet guests is limited, guests are advised to purchase their dogs’ spa tickets early.

This year’s live and silent auction will include airline tickets, ski and golf spa packages, personal chefs, wines, photography sessions and more. Visit to view the auction gallery.

The canine evening will be highlighted by the red carpet Pooch Parade, a procession through the gala, while an emcee shares a special note about each dog.

Admission is $80 per person. Tickets are available at the shelter, online at or at Howl-A-Day Pet Resort. Dog Spa tickets are $35 (with a limit of 30 dogs). Sponsorship opportunities are available and auction item donations are still being accepted. Sponsorships and donations can be made at the HSoMC gala website. Proceeds are directed toward operational expenses.

HSoMC has placed more than 8,500 animals since 2011. HSoMC receives no funding from local or state governments.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Kris Dexter at


Friday, September 5, 2014 1:15 pm.

Sep 5, 2014
Linda Reed

MSC introduces amenity packages

MSC Cruises unveiled a new pricing structure that bundles cabin categories, dining choices and onboard amenities in four commissionable packages.

In a Travel Weekly webinar, Ken Muskat, executive vice president of sales, outlined the four options, called Inclusive Experiences, that range from a la carte to all-inclusive. The fare types will be available for sale starting Sept. 23, for cruises departing on or after Oct. 18.

“This is not an add-on package; this is a new pricing that is an all-inclusive or a semi-inclusive experience,” Muskat said.

With the new concept,  Muskat said, agents can direct clients to one of the four options, either by choosing a cabin category, which would identify which experience they’d receive, or, more likely, identifying the client’s desired level of inclusivity, which would then identify the type of cabin.

The Bella Experience, which Muskat said was best for value-conscious clients, is simply the cabin cost, and is available on cabin categories I1, O1 and B1. Cruisers can then add amenities on an a la carte basis.

The Fantastica, which applies to I2, O2 and B2 cabins, includes premium-location cabins, half off fitness classes and personal training, two kids classes and various MSC promotions such as beverage packages (the program will start by offering complimentary sodas, wine, beer and coffee on cruises on Divina cruises through April 11). Muskat said it would cost between $30 and $60 more per person and represent a value of at least $250 per person.

The next-highest category is the Aurea, on cabin categories B3 and S3, which includes unlimited drinks, priority boarding, a spa package and designated areas for My Choice dining. Muskat said it costs about $400 more per person and represents a value of at least $600.

The top package is the Yacht Club package, which is MSC’s ship-within-a-ship luxury experience. Muskat described it as “ultimate, VIP, five-star service.” It includes items like 24-hour butler service and the Yacht Club’s exclusive restaurant, pool, deck and bar.

MSC earlier this summer said it would begin paying 5% commission on cruise add-ons booked prior to the cruise. Muskat emphasized that the policy would remain in place.

“This now allows agents to take it a step further once a client is qualified and suggest an experience that is truly tailored to their vacation desires and their budget,” Muskat said in a follow-up email. “Once an experience is selected, the process is easy, because there are certain stateroom categories assigned to each experience level.

“For instance, a budget-conscious guest will want to choose from interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms within the Bella experience …. the Fantastica experience is designed for the vast majority of cruisers who are willing to pay just slightly more than the intro Bella experience and get the benefit of selecting from the best of the best stateroom locations, priority dining preferences and more.”

Guests who have already booked an interior, oceanview, or B1 or B2 level balcony stateroom will automatically receive the Fantastica experience, excluding the promotional drink package, MSC said.

Guests who have already booked a B3 level balcony stateroom or Aurea suite will automatically receive the Aurea experience.

This report was updated on Sept. 5 with clarifications throughout. 

Sep 4, 2014
Linda Reed

New Spa Treatments & Packages Launch at Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa – hotel

4 September 2014 by

The Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa, promises luxury, sophistication and exclusivity and can be found within The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London’s only 5* all-suite hotel. Providing an essential combination of elegance, comfort and relaxation, the spa has added several NEW luxurious offerings to its treatment menu.

Press Release DistributionOphir PR – 19/08/2014: New spa packages starting from just £30 per person, such as the ‘Cream Tea Spa Day’, the ‘Ultimate Relaxation Package’ where they are offering 3 for the price of 2 on a selection of treatments, or prolong your relaxation with a luxurious overnight spa break for two from only £372.

Louise Coles, Senior Spa Therapist at Blue Harbour Health Club Spa said “The whole concept of this location is that it is a hidden gem, somewhere to enjoy a moment of calm away from the bustle of daily life. Blue Harbour Health Club Spa is at the heart of that and the stunning location allows clients to feel exceptionally relaxed and calm whilst here, a real benefit given we are only a short 4 minute train journey from Clapham Junction”

Selected for their integrity, therapeutic principles and holistic benefits, you can be sure that only the highest quality MONU or Russie Blanche products are used for treatments, leaving you feeling pampered and rejuvenated. In line with the Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa culture of expertise and wellbeing, NEW treatments have been introduced, including:

MONU Massage Candle Treatment (30 or 60 mins) – Available in two beautiful blends (Relax with rose and patchouli or Revive with grapefruit and lemongrass), your therapist will select the candle based upon your specific needs. The heat from the candle melts the warm oils, which are then used during the treatment to help unwind and relax tired muscles. Available from £50 – you can also purchase a travel candle following the treatment so you can relive the treatment again and again at home!

MONU Hot Oil Salt Scrub – This luxurious 60 minute full body treatment is tailored to individual needs leaving the skin feeling smooth, hydrated, fresh and energised. This is the perfect treatment pre or post-holiday or if you are looking to improve the overall texture, tone and balance of the skin. Incorporating aromatic scents and invigorating body-buffing, this cleansing treatment leaves skin feeling refreshed and radiant. Available from £75.

RUSSIE BLANCHE Comfort for Bumps – This unique Russie Blanche treatment is only available at Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa. A cocooning pregnancy massage infused with moisture rich macadamia and jojoba oil to bring comfort and deep relaxation for mums to be, whilst leaving skin silky smooth. The perfect pre-baby treat, £80 for 60 minutes.

Ultimate Relaxation Package – Take some time for you and indulge in the ultimate relaxation package which offers the following 3 incredible treatments for the price of 2 at £120 for 90 minutes. Send your body into a state of complete relaxation with this special offer package which includes a full body coffee and vanilla scrub, and the following facial and relaxing back massage treatment options:

Nourishing Anti-Ageing Facial – A particular benefit for maturing, dry or dehydrated skin.

Detox Environmental Defence Facial – Combats oily, congested and problematic or city skins.

Aromatherapy Massage – Aromatherapy oils gently combined with massage techniques to help relax and rejuvenate.

Seaweed Massage – Specially formulated to tone and firm skin.

De-stress Massage – Combines the powerful properties of aromatherapy oils with stretching and deep tissue work.

Want to surprise a friend or loved one? Try the Ultimate Relaxation for 2 package, a delicious 90 minute long experience including a full body coffee and vanilla scrub, and the above facial and relaxing back massage options for two in a couples treatment room, followed by a glass of champagne in the relaxation lounge after your treatments for only £270.

Overnight Spa Packages – Need a little extra relaxation time? Try an Overnight Spa Package for 2 and take advantage of a 30/60 or 90 minute treatment and an overnight stay in a sumptuous suite at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel. All overnight packages include a tempting breakfast overlooking the harbour in the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie and The Dinner Spa Break for 2 package includes a delectable dinner to the value of £35 per person. Overnight Spa Packages start from £372 inc. VAT with Dinner Spa Break for 2 packages from £444 inc.VAT.

To book or for further details visit or call 0207 300 5011.


For further information, please contact:
Jonathan Williams or Alexandra Delf
Ophir PR
Tel: +44(0)207 381 9808

Millennium Copthorne Hotels ( is a publicly quoted (Lon:MLC) international hotel group with 12,000 staff and over 100 hotels around the world. The group’s European hotels are located in: London, Paris, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dudley, Gatwick, Glasgow, Hannover, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth, Reading, Sheffield and Slough.

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