Pampered Pleasure


People travel for all sorts of reasons. I don’t think pleasure is necessarily a reason people would cite off the top of their heads, but the more I thought of it the more spa kept popping to mind.

It’s a pleasure but it’s more than that. It helps you re-focus, re-center, re-connect. It’s an essential part, for me, of the mind-body wholeness that I think you can forget in your day to day but a good vacation can help you re-capture.

I’ve had plenty of spa experiences in my life at hotels and resorts the world over, including AmanResorts, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, and other high-end spots where pampering and pleasure has risen to an art form. But I consider myself an opportunistic dilettante when it comes to spa vacations.

if one is offered to me as part of a media visit, sure I’ll take it. But I’ve never sought out a spa getaway experience. For that I’ve turned to an expert friend, Melisse Gelula (pictured above), the out, gay co-founder of the newly launched WellandGoodNYC blog. Melisse is the former editor-in-chief of, spa beauty editor at Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, and travel editor at Fodor’s Travel Publications. She knows from spa treatments.

I asked Melisse to send me her thoughts about the benefits and pleasures of a spa vacation. And boy did she!Here’s a selection of her comments. Great food for thought (and body). Catch her every day on her terrific new blog, WellandGoodNYC.

In Melisse’s words:

• I spent a week at Rancho La Puerta last year with my girlfriend, right after I got laid off of my role as editor in chief at, when I was totally depleted. I did about four fitness or yoga classes a day, ate really clean vegetarian meals, and sat on our terrace and read. An actual novel. I wasn’t being coated with organic salves and massaged by a swat team of bodyworkers day in and out (though I’ve been to those places around the world, too). I came away being reminded of my inner life (without attending lecture on it) and of my body (I’d kinda forgotten to prioritize working out over working at my desk). And by the end, I felt the kind of pleasure that comes from being revivified and reconnected. Me, with an upgrade.
• Spas started out as a health cure (salus per aquam) and they’ve got a totally pampering reputation here in North America. But in the rest of the world they’re linked to health, prevention, self-care.
• A lot of the writing I do about spas for Well+Good and my freelance outlets is actually about providing a smart, clever, and critical perspective on what spas claim to do and what they can actually do. I see a lot of New Age or no context everything’s-wonderful-and-will-save-your-life kind of faux journalism on my beat. Pleasure over substance or investigation.
• I’m kind of like a dining critic of wellness: I know what experiences should taste like if they call themselves Thai, Ayurvedic, or holistic, and when they don’t—and I take a lot of pleasure in this kind of reporting.

About The Author

In dot 429's words: "dot429's Travel writer, Ed Salvato, is highly regarded as a journalist and LGBT travel guru. Salvato's work has been published by some of the most important LGBT media outlets, including Out Traveler, The Advocate, Out Magazine, OUT & ABOUT,,, and Ed's also the on-air call-in travel expert for the Derek & Romaine Show on Sirius/XM OutQ and Proud FM Toronto. Recently Salvato joined OutThink Partners, a communications and marketing firm, where he is excited to focus on travel, tourism, and the LGBT market." "Salvato is dedicated to connecting LGBT travelers with unique, interesting, and exciting experiences offered by hotels, resorts, and attractions that invite and welcome their business. Salvato is an active member of the dot429 professional network and editorial community." I've also been developing an expertise in social media. I have managed two large social media campaigns this year. One was for a $10M 3-week-long arts festival in Philadelphia (PIFA; ; the other for Philly's 11-day Independence Day festivities (Welcome America;

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