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When I entered my private spa suite at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, an American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property, I quickly concluded that I would’ve been perfectly fine just hanging out in the suite—nothing more—for the three hours that I was booked for treatments. My room overlooked palm trees just outside, and beyond that, the sparkling, turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay. I was set to have a 90-minute therapeutic massage and a 90-minute advanced facial called Le Lift Parisienne ($425). As someone relatively inexperienced when it comes to facial treatments, I was curious about what exactly my esthetician would be doing to my face for an hour and a half. How good could it really be?
Spoiler: really, really good, is the answer. After the hour-and-a-half treatment, I spent a solid five minutes in front of the mirror, gently pressing on the skin of my cheeks and forehead (which were now, by some wonderful twist of fate, firm yet springy, luminous, and contoured). I quickly took to my iPhone to share the news with my friends and snap several glowy-skin selfies: “no, it’s not a filter, and yes, these are the best results I’ve ever seen from a spa treatment.”
Now, to be clear, this isn’t the only spa in the world where you can book a Le Lift Parisienne treatment. A handful of spas around the globe (like Rescue Spa, in the U.S.) include the 90-minute facial on their treatment menu; however the experience at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami is decidedly worth traveling to the property for. Here’s why:
What sets the facial apart from your standard treatment, aside from the fact that it’s 90 minutes of pure bliss, is that the Le Lift Parisienne uses solely Biologique Recherche products. More on that below. In terms of what actually happens, the brand describes the process as “a purifying ritual that redefines facial contours and firms the oval of the face.” I had sort of assumed (and accepted) that at this point in my life—I’m 26—my face shape is what it is. However, following the portion of treatment wherein the esthetician used a remodeling machine, I noticed all sorts of lifts and contours around my cheeks and jawline that hadn’t been there an hour and a half before.
The facial consists of a steaming, cleansing, gentle extraction, a mild microdermabrasion, a microcurrent treatment (using the remodeling machine), and then, application of a series of toners, serums, and moisturizers. The remodeling part—definitely the coolest and oddest portion of the treatment—involved the esthetician moving foam pads (that were hooked up to the machine) around my face, which felt tingly, and I could taste a metallic flavor in my mouth (this is totally normal and not harmful). The remodeling machine portion of the treatment is where the lifting happens: these foam pads transfer an electric current to the skin, which stimulates, lifts, firms, and contours. And then voila. Baby-soft, plump, glowing skin.
Le Lift Parisienne uses only Biologique Recherche products. The French brand, lauded as the creme de la creme of companies in the skincare industry for the past 40-plus years, is all about using the rawest, most concentrated ingredients to yield extremely effective skincare products (hence the hefty price tag and the funky smells) that leave skin transformed and glowing. The most popular product, by far, is the P50 1970 toner (often nicknamed “a facial in a bottle”), which balances the skin’s pH level, while moisturizing, exfoliating (thanks to lactic acid), and brightening. This is a main component of the treatment at Mandarin Oriental.
The Spa Suite
The aforementioned spa suite where I received my treatment may as well have been my bedroom. The room featured a deep, ceramic bathtub, built into the ground and right in front of a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked the bay. There was a plush lounge chair next to the bath (where I relaxed and enjoyed a glass of champagne before and after the treatment—fresh herbal tea was also an option), candles were burning all around, and there were light essential oil fragrances in the air. My esthetician was extremely knowledgeable; each step of the way she explained exactly what she was doing, why, and which products were used for the process.
Located in the bustling neighborhood of Brickell, hugging Biscayne Bay, the Mandarin Oriental Miami is one of the city’s top luxury hotels. While I’d say the top-floor spa is the property’s main draw, the accommodations are very comfortable, and the bay-facing rooms have exquisite views. I had an unforgettable meal at the main restaurant, La Mar by Gastón Acurio, which serves elevated Peruvian cuisine. I recommend heading straight there after your spa treatment, grabbing a table on the porch for a view of the Miami skyline, and ordering the Nikkei Noodles or any of the fresh ceviche dishes.