The story of Absolute Nirvana and our family of inns started when I moved to Santa Fe, NM, from Paris, France, in 1987. I opened my first inn the following year, naming it for my young son, Alexander.
Shortly after the birth of twins in 1996 I purchased two additional properties. Following the tradition of naming the inns after my children, Hacienda Nicholas and The Madeleine were born.
I never imagined I would own three inns, much less a spa. However, after two trips to Bali I was so taken by the beauty of the island and its people that I felt compelled to try to bring some of that experience home with me.
Bali is a feast for the senses and the people are so full of grace. I loved the fact that most spa treatments in Indonesia use traditional remedies based on plants, herbs, and spices for health and beauty care.
I came home and got busy recreating the atmosphere of Bali: one of beauty, elegance, and grace, where the client is treated with reverence and respect. The intention was to feed all the senses with fabulous tastes, heavenly aromas, beautiful sights, soothing sounds, and wonderful textures. Within a year Absolute Nirvana came to life.
I feel so blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to put together this family of inns, and to watch them grow and evolve, much as I have watched my own family grow and evolve. I believe passionately that putting care and attention into what we do matters, and I hope this personal commitment is apparent to every guest who visits us.
~Carolyn Lee, founder
Natural Health & Beauty Tips
Natural Hair Growth Serum
To promote healthy hair growth, mix up this natural elixir and spray on hair roots each evening at bedtime.
1 cup distilled water
2 Tablespoons Dried Nettle Leaf
2 Tablespoons Horsetail Leaf (optional)
2 Tablespoons Natural Aloe Vera Gel
10 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil
10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
Boil the distilled water and add the dried nettle leaf and horsetail leaf.
Let the herbs sit in the water for at least 10 minutes or until water cools.
Strain the herbs out and pour the herb infused liquid in to a spray bottle.
Add the aloe vera and essential oils and shake well.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 months and shake well before us.
Homemade Lotion Bars
Combine the following in a one quart mason jar:
1/3 cup beef tallow (find a healthy source at your local Farmer's Market)
1/3 cup shea or cocoa butter
2-3 T. beeswax
Place jar in a small saucepan of water on the stove and simmer until ingredients are melted and smooth. Then remove from heat and add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil, or leave plain. Pour into molds (silicone baking molds work well, or you could use a plastic ice cube tray) and let harden. Remove from mold when completely cool. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Make your Own Sugar Scrub
Why pay a small fortune for exfoliating sugar scrubs when you can make a yummy scrub at home for mere pennies? This recipe makes enough for several applications:
Mix 2 cups of organic brown sugar with 1 cup oil (almond, olive or coconut). Then add 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil along with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Jasmine for Bliss
Our signature Javanese Lulur Treatment, developed in the palaces of Java in the 17th century for brides-to-be, incorporates the sweet fragrance of jasmine oil, which symbolizes the sweetness of a woman. The heavenly scent of jasmine also acts to uplift the soul and bring a sense of euphoria. In addition, it will relieve pre-menstrual mood swings and pains as well as labor pains when used in a compress. Lastly, it acts to soften skin and reduce stretch marks. If you can't get in to Absolute Nirvana Spa for a jasmine oil massage, try using the oil in a burner or add a few drops to your bath.
Parsley to Rejuvenate Tired Eyes
As we get get older, the skin under our eyes begins to thin, and the exposed blood vessels give the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. To ameliorate this condition, put a small bunch of fresh parsley in a mini food processor with 2 tablespoons of plain, organic yogurt. Pulse until you have a smooth paste. Apply this mixture to your under-eye area and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. The abundance of Vitamin K found in parsley will reduce blood flow to the eye area, thus reducing the appearance of blue rings under the eyes.
Clove Oil - Good for What Ails You
Clove oil has a myriad of healthful uses. A drop applied to the gums around a sore tooth will alleviate the pain. Relieve stomach pain and diarrhea by massaging the oil on your abdomen. Suck on a clove to reduce feelings of stress, or use it in an infuser to brighten your spirits.
Thai Body Scrub
Slough off dry winter skin with this Oriental Body Glow:
1. Mix together 1 cup of runny honey, 1/2 cup sesame seeds and a sprinkling of dried herbs (lavender leaf or mint work well).
2. Rub this paste over your body as vigorously as you can handle to exfoliate and buff your skin.
3. Shower off and enjoy your smooth, sweet-smelling skin.
Absolute Nirvana Gets Rave Reviews
"Finding Your Bliss" - Santa Fean Magazine
"The Ultimate Stress-Buster"
by Amy Hegarty
Since Carolyn Lee opened her downtown getaway in 2005, Absolute Nirvana, which centers on Balinese health and beauty rituals, has been ranking at the top of superlative spa lists. As the name of this particular massage indicates, The Ultimate Stres-Buster was designed to remedy the pernicious effects of stress, from sore muscles to overall tension and anxiety. A full-body massage at heart, the treatment, which senior therapist Lauren Janson began with deep stretches of my arms and upper body, pays particular attention to the neck and shoulers. A powerfully-penetrating white-flower analgesic - which alleviates ailments from arthritius to muscle strain - was mixed with a warm oil base and massaged all over my body. Vapors from the mixture applied to my neck, chest, and shoulders eased sinus pressure, as did a warm towel draped across my face. When the massage itself ended, I retreated to a private steam room, where the analgesic waas able to penetrate even further.
"The Greenest Spas Reveal their Secrets" - Day Spa Magazine
By Tracy Morin
The Southwest is known for its natural lack of water, and that's why Nirvana Spa & Gardens owner Carolyn Lee is especially proud of her facility's UV water treatment system. "Instead of going down the drain, our water is reused," she explains. "We even recycle the water used in our washing machines to irrigate our gardens." The efficiency doesn't stop there. Besides saving thousands of gallons of water per month, the system of reuse and recirculation allows the water to serve as a heating element, warmed to 102 degrees and radiating heat from within granite tubs in treatment rooms.
Eighty percent of the electricity used at the spa is wind-generated; cleaning and laundry products are natural, organic and chemical-free; low-flow toilets conserve water; compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, and solar and motion-detector lights, cut energy expenditure; appliances are energy-efficient models; and printed materials are produced on recycled stationery with soy-based inks.
Lee has a simple tip for other spa owners who want to get greener: "Every time you make a choice, ask yourself,'What is the most environmentally responsible route we can afford?" After six months or a year, you'll find that you've incorporated a long list of sustainable practices."
"Pamper Me" - Local Flavor Magazine
By Kelly Koepke
One of winter's nastier leavings is the itchy, dry skin that has been hiding under clothing layers and socks. Give your body a good once-over with this Bali-inspired treatment from Absolute Nirvana Spa and Gardens. The Lemongrass and Coconut Indulgence, as owner Carolyn Lee describes it, "starts with a ritual foot cleansing to ground and center you. Then a full body massage using lemongrass oil transports you away. Next, we use a natural, organic coconut and raw cane sugar scrub for added exfoliation. A masque of warm, organic, virgin cold-pressed coconut oil moisturizes the entire body. A short stay in a private steam room allows pores to open and the oil to penetrate more deeply. After you rinse, your therapist leads you to a hand-carved granite tub sprinkled with rose petals..." (Tropical fruits, handmade truffles and Javanese ginger tea are served tub-side.) OMG! At $250, you can't NOT afford this.
"Serene and Soothing" - Spa Treatments Banish Winter Woes - Santa Fe New Mexican, Winterlife Magazi
By Ungelbah Daniel-Davila
Healing water, healing oil, healing hands - all necessary ingredients for keeping the skin and body in top shape over a long winter.
During the colder months, Santa Fe is a hot spot for rejuvenation and relaxation. As diverse and unique as the city itself, spa treatments in and around Santa Fe reflect the holistic and multicultural atmosphere that makes it the City Different.
Whether you are looking to enjoy an exotic afternoon of pampering to ease your seasonal blues, or need a little extra help fighting off winter bugs and relieving aches and pains after a long day on the slopes, there is a spa designed to meet your needs.
Absolute Nirvana is a green Balinese Spa that boasts a chemical-free philosophy for everything from its chocolaty facials to its cleaning products. Each treatment room is self-contained with its own changing room and marble bathtub, where clients are able to take the spa's signature rose petal bath. The spa is based on the lulur treatment, which is a two-hour balinese treatment that princesses receive before their wedding day. For skin winterization, Absolute Nirvana recommends its two new treatments, the Coconut Lemongrass and the Brown Sugar Papaya. The treatments are two hours and include the ritual foot cleansing, a massage, a body mask, a rose petal bath and more.
2010 CMUS Talk of the Town Award for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Absolute Nirvana Spa Earned a 4 Star Rating
Presented by: Celebration Media U.S. (CMUS) and Talk of the Town News
Congratulations! Only the very best businesses have been chosen to receive the 2010 CMUS Talk of the Town Award for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction. The award was created to showcase companies that excel in serving their customers and getting their high marks. Customers of Absolute Nirvana Spa have spoken, scoring some of the highest ratings possible.
US Commerce Association Best Santa Fe Spa Award
Absolute Nirvana Receives 2010 Best of Santa Fe Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
NEW YORK, NY, July 8, 2010 -- For the second consecutive year, Absolute Nirvana has been selected for the 2010 Best of Santa Fe Award in the Spas category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Nationwide, only 1 in 70 (1.4%) 2010 Award recipients qualified as two-time Award Winners. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2010 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.
The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
"The Top Day Spas in 56 Cities & on Five Continents" - Allure Magazine - Spa Issue
Most Relaxing Treatment: Javanese Lulur, including a footbath, hot-oil massage, yogurt-and-honey mask, brown-rice-turmeric-and-sandalwood scrub, steam shower, and warm rose-petal bath. $250.
Top Pros: Janis Gordon for face, Lauren Janson for body.
Best Amenity: Each treatment suite has a fireplace, granite bathtub, and steam and shower.
Allure Magazine, Spa - The Beauty Expert 2009