Naples' Salt Therapy Grotto + Spa: Sorta Like Glamping For An Hour
After too many SNOs (short for "Sisters Nights Out") revolving around happy hour festivities, I asked my Seven Sisters of SWFL gal pals if anyone would join me on a healthy outing instead.
After researching affordable options and treatments not-yet-tried, we opted for a date at Naples’ Salt Therapy Grotto & Spa. As a small group (3), we scored a budget-friendly $20 per person rate.
Prior to going, Yours Truly did a little Googling on what to wear in a salt cave to max its benefits like skin issues (acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and drying up scratches, as my meow-meow MeeMeeTuTu is prone to biting me), calorie burning, increased metabolism and — HELL YES - improved appearance of cellulite.
A little history from the spa’s site: the first recorded mention of the therapeutic use of salt caves occurred in Poland (where the owner happens to hail from) at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in 1843 when physician Felix Boczkowski discovered that men working there suffered fewer respiratory problems than the general population.
After signing in and filling out the required health info, we took turns changing in the luxuriously appointed one-person loo. Mary opted for a cute loose-fitting dress, Jacqui a flowy tunic.
Wanting to expose my skin as much as possible to soak up the benefits, I donned my J. Crew tank suit and white anklets and met the ladies at the desk.
Owner Magdalena Bykowska gave me the hurting-eye look up and down, requesting that I change back into my long-sleeved tee and shorts, thinking I might catch a chill as the temperature inside was set between 70-72.
"Sure Magdalena," I thought, mentally cocking an eyebrow in skepticism. Post-meno, it takes a lot to cool me down, so sorta doubting that was the reason for requesting the wardrobe change…just a hunch.
She provided booties and bottled water too.
Next, she toured us around the immaculately clean spa which also features an infrared sauna (did that already) plus a collagen stimulator that touts “non-invasive rejuvenation” using UV-free red-light technology for boosting skin’s radiance, moisture, evening pigmentation, toning and firming, plus reducing scars, wrinkles and fine lines (def my next visit).
She noted that her two caves were built “with tens of tons of salt from thirteen places around the world. The base is Himalayan salt and salt from Poland. Other salts come from Jordan (Dead Sea), Morocco, France, Peru, India, Cyprus, Portugal, Hawaii, Japan, England, and a sweet Jurassic salt from Utah.” You’ll spot a triptych of these international salts in the waiting room, and see the differences in colors and textures.
She then led us into the cave, pointing out the zero-gravity chairs and how to operate them, fleece blankets in case we got cold, plus what to expect from what’s known as halotherapy, the official name for salt cave therapy. Peppered around the cave were ionic lamps with yep, more salt. The ceiling mimicked a nighttime sky full of twinkling lights. It all reminded me of camping under the stars - but the movie version, which is the only kind I'm interested in. We were also instructed not to raise our arms upwards to avoid knocking out the stalactites (aka the pointy things descending from the ceiling.)
We kicked back — er rather, we propped the chairs into the ergo-friendliest position — and chatted for quite a while. Thirty minutes in, I felt super relaxed, my red-tide inflamed nasal passages clearing. But nothing was really happening to my skin - the main reason I was there.
Jacqui said that the blanket was the way to go as it was full of salt, acting like a therapeutic wrap, shaking it out as proof. Tempting as it was to remove my top, I burrowed my legs beneath the blanket so they’d at least get a better dose.
The time passed rather slowly, in a really good way, so Jacqui checked her watch and noted that we’d been in there for a good 20 minutes past the allotted time.
Just when I almost fell asleep, Magadalena came in, as she had new people ready to get their salt on.
Dear Reader, while I didn’t see any noticeable difference in my skin, I have to say that Mary and Jacqui were glowing (perhaps it was the blanket). My hair transformed from fried-frizz to shiny intact curls. Much like acupuncture, HOCATT and BEMER, I was relaxed AF that upon arriving home, I slept for three hours.
What To Know
If You Go
- There are quite a few salt caves popping up around Florida and prices vary widely.
- Call to schedule your appointment rather than making it online so if you have questions, you get the right answer. Like you might need to bring your own anklets.
- Next time, I’ll wear my swimsuit underneath a tunic and remove it when Magdalena’s not looking, then burrow myself under the blanket for a great nap.
And I’m saving my pennies for those divine chairs.