In a pre-emptive strike at duck fat season, I check myself into Serenity Spa in Pamana City Beach, Fla. The Peppermint Treat Holiday promises the trifecta of a polished body, refreshed face and "gift-wrapped" toes. After sipping a welcome mimosa in the lounge, I settle into a wet room for the first of three steps, a peppermint body exfoliation. With brisk action, the therapist cups dollops of peppermint-oil infused sugar between her hands and rubs me down like a peppercorn tenderloin. She then swings the Vichy shower - fully loaded with six directional heads - over the length of my body, expertly adjusting the spigots to target shoulders, back and calves. With a perky new peppermint stick posture, I'm primed for the holiday bright resurfacing facial. The aesthetician focuses on balancing over-reactive skin, often the result of air travel, too much mulled wine and winter dryness. Thumbs meet metatarsal in the delicious peppermint pedicure capper, a Babes in Toyland-tribute to toe-tingling pleasure.
Peppermint's curative properties help restore healthy digestive function after gravy-induced holiday obstructions. This natural immunity booster also aids the respiratory tract, relieving stuffy nose symptoms and calming aggravating coughs.
Overlooking the pristine, protected waters of St. Andrew's Bay, the Serenity Spa is framed by a grove of palm trees and an 1,100-acre wildlife sanctuary. Drawn by the understated charm of this immaculate sugar-white stretch of Florida's Gulf Coast, this is a sweet haven for spa-goers who like their coddling with a side of common sense: Now it's easier for Canadians to explore Florida's spectacular Emerald Coast beaches. Earlier this year, Panama City Beach opened the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.
Bay Point Marriott Golf Resort and Spa at 4200 Marriott Dr.; 1-800-874-4025; www.marriottbaypoint.com; 140 minutes; $185.
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