After yoga, we headed to a private villa where Executive Banquet Chef Mark Gaylord treated us to a healthy cooking demonstration. He showed us how simple it is to cook tiger shrimp on a slab of Pink Himalayan sea salt and used the shrimp to garnish a spicy gazpacho. Our entrée was a grilled salmon fillet with balsamic marinated veggies, including an impossibly sweet squash.
Now, it was spa time, so Shelly and I headed to get facials. The WELL Spa incorporates the samePink Himalayan sea salt that Chef Mark was cooking with in its whirlpool, sauna and steam room for detoxifying properties. Himalayan sea salt lamps are even sprinkled throughout the resort. My esthetician, Dawn Kimball, was great, addressing my concerns about hyperpigmentation and moisture, while giving me such a soothing facial, complete with arm and shoulder massage that I did not want to get up at the end.
Later that afternoon, we had a tasty pastry class where we made coconut cream pie tartlets, a cheesecake and chocolate ganache parfait, and a chocolate covered strawberry. It was tough eating all those desserts right before heading to the steakhouse for dinner, but somehow we managed. Dinner at Geneva Chophouse was standard steakhouse fare, although the carrot cake stood out. The waiter calls it a “petite” carrot cake, maybe because it is slightly smaller than I am. It’s very good though, incredibly moist and generously studded with raisins and walnuts, so do save room for dessert.
Perhaps the best part of the entire day though was bonding with some of the women we had just met at the Embers Terrace fireside lounge after dinner. Chatting about boyfriends, favorite restaurants, yoga and puppies while sipping wine in sundresses and heels is the perfect way to end the night. And even after the sun had set and the cool of the night set in, the smokeless fire pit filled with glittering glass crystals kept us toasty and didn’t leave our hair smelling like smoke.
With the short drive from Chicago, I have the feeling that I’ll be back this summer to go
Author Amber Gibson is a Food/Travel Writer, Model & Actress from Chicago. To find out more about Amber, visit www.ambergibson.me.