The Mandara Spa at the Loews Portofino at Universal Orlando provides a wonderful respite from theme park crowds during a family vacation here. Like all Mandara Spas found at high-end hotels and resorts in North America, Indan and Balinese treatments are provided in a classic East-West atmosphere. At the Universal Orlando location, a 12,300-square-foot full-service spa includes 14 treatment rooms, co-ed whirlpool, men’s and women’s saunas, a salon, and a fitness center.
Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Treatments
The saunas, for men and women, are a lovely start to a vacation treat. It really began my stint at the spa off beautifully, anyway! There is very faint mood music throughout the spa; this is not so loud as to be distracting, and from what I could tell, all instrumental (no sung words while I was there). The lighting is dimmed, with flickering lanterns lighting the corridors.
There are three signature services at the Mandara Spa: The Elemis Stone Massage is the familiar warm smooth rocks placed at key energy points, the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial is billed as an anti-aging treatment, that sloughs off old skin and improves uneven skin tone, and the Ceremony of the Hands and Feet is basically an indulgent manicure-pedicure, with all the cleansing, exfoliating, and massaging of one’s hands and feet one would expect before nail polish is applied.
However, what I most recommend is the Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap with Massage. This body treatment has a delicate aroma, with sea salts for softening and warmed towels for the wrap. Each massage therapist-is different, of course, but the professional massage that follows should be both relaxing and invigorating.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Accommodations
Anyone can make an appointment at this Mandara Spa, but most of the clientele are staying in the luxury hotel. Architecturally designed to look like the real city of Portofino in Italy, guest rooms and restaurants look over a harbor, garden area, and pools. A piazza around the harbor creates a large, open area for children to run in, and for couples to take a romantic stroll. Free transportation by boat takes travelers to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and City Walk. Mandara Spa doesn’t fit in with the Italianate design of the hotel, but both work together to create a lovely space that feels far (far!) removed from the theme-park capital of the world.
Bottom Line: Parents staying at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel during a theme park–based family vacation may find the need for a spa treatment. Certainly, a full day at Universal Studios Orlando will leave even the hardiest parent enervated. The Mandara Spa provides an on-site space to relax and rejuvenate for those tired travelers.
– Review by Jennifer Miner, who visited April 2010
Photos courtesy Mandara Spa, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.