Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, is a charming, UNESCO World Heritage town on the Rio De La Plata. The 350+ year old city is preserved shockingly well: the cobblestone streets and Portuguese/Spanish architecture have not been compromised. I love "old-world charm," and Colonia is definitely one of Uruguay's best features.

I ended up staying at the Sheraton, the only high-end resort, which opened three years ago. An interesting note about this hotel is that the spa spearheaded the resort's conception. That's right. There was a niche here that Sheraton was the first to address. Most of the thanks goes to the Argentines—Colonia is a hot spot for Argentines as it's a short 45-minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires—who wanted some pampering in and around the old city, the beaches and countryside.

The Real Spa is part of Starwood Spa Collection, so I had high anticipations. The spa used the Orlane line, a high-end spa brand from Paris. Orlane developed a program called B21 that helps address cellular energy the skin needs to retain a youthful appearance. The B21 complex comprises Cerelline II (wheatgerm protein hydrolysate), Raffermine (soybean fiber extract) and Hyaluronate de Sodium (moisturizer).

Because I'm not familiar with the brand, I opted for a men's facial to give Orlane a shot. From the get-go, it was pretty standard.... face wash, toner, scrub.. There was nothing particularly exciting or stimulating about the products until we got to the Orlane Mousse Fluidratante Replenishing Hydration (a mouthful, huh). The product's m.o. is preventing water loss, and the bio-active texture makes moisture available to the skin by reinforcing and activating epidermal water exchanges. The skin, therefore, builds up its own moisture supply. Interesting.

The therapist lathered the foam on my face where it absorbed into my skin. The smell was kind of refreshing and sweet, unlike the previous products (actually, to defend the scrub, it was green-tea based and the scent was equally appealing). After a few minutes, the therapist gently wiped the mask off. Hydration success! My face felt...well, not just un-dry, but also very pleasant. The way it should feel every day (damn you, dry skin). The mousse contains extracts of water plants (bamboo, lotus and water lily) that help retain the moisture and add that "sweet" scent. I actually asked my therapist to forgo the final moisturizer as it was clearly unnecessary. In fact, I did not have to apply moisturizer for the rest of the day (my treatment was at 4pm), so it proved to be strongly hydrating. However, it is quite expensive ($75) and I can think of substitutes that can get the job done but I am impressed with the B21.
www.orlane.fr