Yes, they are natural banana leaves. But don’t expect them to look just picked from a banana tree. The leaves arrive at your feet in compressed olive green sheets the size of floor tiles. The sheets are flexible, soft and warm. But what happens before receiving a Sukapao Thai Foot Ritual at Mario’s International Spa and Hotel is just as important.
The exotic, sensual and invigorating foot therapy begins with a whirlpool foot soak. Next, feet are placed in the caring hands of a therapist, who cleanses, exfoliates, rubs and cradles toes. A hydrating mask is spread over your lower legs and feet, smoothed on with a wooden applicator and massaged into the skin. Scents tease the nose: tangerine, orange, lemongrass, peppermint, papaya and aloe vera.
“Everything smells good here,” says Gabriella Boda, a Hungarian-born therapist with Mario’s for more than 20 years. “The banana leaves warm up the skin, helping the nutrients in the mask go into the skin.”
Then lean back, sip ice water (or something more festive) and wait for the heat and tingling sensations to transport you to a tropical paradise. We’re not sure how this works, but some swear their feet feel lighter and could float away in their banana leaf cocoons. Afterward, toenails are buffed and polished.
Sukapao (“healthy foot” in Thai) is just one of several hand and foot and body therapies and wraps offered at Mario’s, where one should spend an hour or a day or two pampering oneself.
35 E. Garfield Road, Aurora, 330-562-0171, marios-spa.com