HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

October 2016

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HEALTHY TRAVELER

 

A Spa Grows in Texas Hill Country

 


Maggy Dunphy is awestruck by the intense open skies of Texas, whose every shape-shifting cloud and brilliant brushstroke of rich color touches another part of her soul. So it was only natural that Dunphy, executive director for spa and wellness operations at the Destination Hotels collection, would want the Texas skies to figure prominently in the design of Loma de Vida, the gorgeous spa complex that just opened at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, in Texas Hill Country.

It is their ever-changing yet soothing dynamics that endear the Texas skies to Dunphy and shape her style. She wants clients of the aptly named Loma de Vida—“Hill of Life”—to have choices, from robes in various colors and lengths to outdoor spaces featuring yoga at one moment, Tai Chi at another. Artists, authors and acoustic balladeers will rotate through the spa complex’s Gathering Place, an outdoor deck area with a fireplace and inspiring views, helping to give visitors, as Dunphy says, “so many more touchpoints” beyond simply being walked to and from a treatment.

Indeed, Dunphy and La Cantera have created an exemplary spa that dispenses with the lifeless mood of a monastery yet remains meditative, restful and restorative.

Though Loma de Vida has highly skilled massage therapists, the bland model of making treatments the sole star would squander the magnificent beauty of the 25,000-square foot spa complex, nearly a third of which is outdoors. Carved into a hillside separate from the resort, the secluded Loma de Vida features 15 treatment rooms, among them suites with private decks, gardens and private treatment space for up to six people.

On a recent visit, we settled into an outdoor cabana and were lulled into a recuperative daydream by a gentle rain that fell upon the wooded bluffs and lush green fairways of one of La Cantera’s two award-winning 18-hole golf courses in front of us. Loma de Vida, with stimulating views throughout, has also succeeded in bringing the outdoors inside.

For Dunphy, nature is not just for visual appeal. Saline pools, like the private pool in the spa’s Grotto garden area, as well as the use of enamel-free nail polishes in the salon, speak to her expanding drive to give clients as near an organic experience as possible.

Loma de Vida may be the most serene spot on property to view the beautiful Hill Country skies and landscape, but it is not the only one as La Cantera benefits from sitting atop high ground.

The views are priceless from the adults-only area with well-stocked cabanas and a lovely infinity pool, for instance. The pool is one of five in La Cantera’s vast multi-level pool complex, most of which are designed in curves that mimic nature. A family-friendly pool with slides is cleverly set lower than and out of view of the other pools, giving adults a sense of privacy.

The priority that La Cantera places on diversity is evident in the resort’s excellent restaurants—the Primero Tex-Mex eatery and, our favorite, SweetFire Kitchen, whose menu lists a dozen local farms from which it sources fresh ingredients. House-made cheeses, butter and more, as well as an on-site chefs garden, highlight the importance La Cantera places on farm-to-table dining. And guests now have more choices with the spa complex’s new Quenche Juicery & Barista Bar and the arrival this fall of award-winning chef Andrew Weissman’s Signature restaurant, with a focus on classic French and Texas-inspired dishes.

La Cantera was a gem before the arrival of Loma de Vida; now it’s a diamond with significantly enhanced value and new luster. Visit DestinationHotels.com.

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Disturbed Sleep May

Raise Diabetes Risk

 

 

Chronic sleep disturbances can not only leave you irritable and tired during the day but may also promote potentially serious health problems.

Case in point: diabetes. Researchers at Japan’s Okayama University and Dentistry followed 2,649 Japanese men with no history of chronic disease for at least eight years. All the participants filled out questionnaires regarding their sleep habits and were checked once a year for the presence of type 2 diabetes, in which glucose, or blood sugar, levels rise because the body’s insulin supply cannot control glucose properly.

Participants “who experienced a high frequency of difficulty initiating sleep had a significantly higher” risk of developing diabetes even after the researchers took other risk factors, such as physical activity and body fat levels, into account. Results were published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Just as lack of sleep can increase diabetes risk, having diabetes can cause sleep problems stemming from increased thirst and urination, which can cause nighttime wakefulness. What’s more, people who have diabetes are also prone to sleep apnea, in which respiration repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night; obesity is a risk factor for both disorders.
Severe, sustained sleep problems should be brought to the attention of a sleep specialist. However, there are simple ways to get a better night’s rest.

Go to bed and get up on a consistent schedule, including weekends. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages at night as well as vigorous exercise sessions, which interfere with sleep by raising body temperature. A fan or white noise generator can help mask sounds from the outside but avoid the stimulating light produced by cell phones, e-readers and similar devices.

You can also consider supplementing with melatonin, a hormone that promotes healthy sleep-wake cycles. Some formulations dissolve rapidly and don’t require water, making them more convenient for travel.

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