Spa consultant Bonnie Baker of Satteva Spa & Wellness Concepts has created a spa based on Rene Descartes’ Cartesian Method for a boutique hotel in Puebla, Mexico.
Much as the Cartesian Coordinate System became the basis for the practice of map-making, the spa at Hotel Cartesiano invites guests to delve within themselves, using a personal compass to create their own map to wellness.
Located on the top floor of the hotel – which is operated by Hamak Hotels and set in three buildings originally built between the 16th and 18th centuries – the spa has views out over the town and its cathedral.
“It’s very white, clean, sinewy, with views of the cathedral, and it’s like you’re up in the clouds on the cupola of the church,” said Baker.
It has just four treatment rooms, and Baker said her aim was to pair the simplicity of the spa with an extensive menu. The treatment menu is based on four quadrants – Retreat (destress), Restoration (balance), Release (cleanse) and Revitalise (clarify) – and encourages the guest to embark on an exploration of their inner territory and to understand the connection between the mind, body and emotions.
Integral Wellbeing Rituals include the Cartesian Coordinates Ritual, which aims to help guests connect the relationship between past and future. The ritual begins with an energetic cleansing with sound vibration and a rosemary-infused salt scrub, followed by a stress-relieving massage and a specialised head and shoulders treatment to clear the mind.
The Northern Alignment Ritual is designed to help guests find their own “magnetic north” by focusing on expanding the breath, releasing physical and emotional blockages, and connecting with the subconscious mind. The ritual begins with a foot cleanse and energetic alignment, followed by a massage with rhythmic movements and acupressure points designed to create space and bring inner awareness and a feeling of expansion in the body.
“We tend to get a little bit stuck in our approach to life, and forget about the infinite possibilities in front of us,” said Baker. “This is a place where people can connect with where they are, but see the possibilities in front of them – honouring the past, but moving forward into the future.”
Baker also wanted to both honour the past and look forward into the future by "looking to create an integral and intimate reunion of nature and self". Because so much of Cartesian philosophy focuses on reason – and the separation of mind and body – Baker wanted the spa to look beyond that, and return guests to a place where they could better understand their own mind/body dualism. She also wanted to create a spa that had a strong connection to the natural world, and selected Naturopathica as a skincare partner.
Facilities at the spa, which was designed by Felix Blanco, include an ice fountain, steam room, experience shower, whirlpool, terrace and tea lounge. The spa also features a BioWell machine, which assesses energy levels, meridien systems and chakras. It also offers high-tech options for aesthetic concerns to complement the holistic spa rituals.
The hotel itself includes 78 bedrooms spread between historical and modern buildings, and guest rooms represent both past and present with touches of Mexican art and architectural features.