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Deep in the heart of the South awaits an unexpected indulgence: a relaxing journey Far East for your mind, body and spirit — without ever having to leave the city of Atlanta. An Oriental cocoon awaits at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta Hotel and Spa. As we kick off the New Year of the Horse, it’s time to welcome the new you with a transformative detox journey, full of authentic Asian intricacies, but with a charming Georgian twist. Here is where the Far East meets the Deep South.

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A hotel like no other

The Mandarin Oriental is ideally situated in the prestigious neighborhood of Buckhead, the heart of all things luxury in Atlanta, making it ideal for both leisure and business. Walk through the doors and you’ll be struck by the seamless and unique combination of Asian elegance and Southern hospitality.

My daughter and I explored this 42-story hotel together. When we checked in, we were offered warm hand towels, hot verbena tea and a beautiful orchid.

This kind of thoughtful attention to detail would weave throughout our entire experience.

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The details make the difference

As we walked toward our room, the long foyer built anticipation for something incredible. It exceeded our expectations: two rooms, a large bathroom, a dressing area with oversized, lined drawers and closets. All rooms were more spacious than US and international standards. The baths in even the simplest rooms here could rival the suites in other hotels.

I decided I could move right in. It’s no wonder the world flocks to the Mandarin Oriental when in town!

The hospitality here is taken to a whole new level, offering not only comfort but also good fortune. A lucky bamboo perches in the bathroom. Even the Shanghai Tang Mandarin Tea scented toiletries had the perfect touch of luxury, but without overpowering. An espresso machine waits in the foyer, along with snacks and complimentary water.

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We also experienced the most luxurious turndown, with orchids on the bed, extra water, a turndown rug and a pair of high-end slippers. However, it was more than a basic turndown.  Aside from cleaning the room, which is expected, they even checked in to make sure we had everything we needed. I felt like I was living in “Downton Abbey.”

They shined my boots for free while I slept, and even touched up a nick in them.

We awoke to a prompt, exquisite breakfast, served in our room on a standard-size cart that transformed into a table, complete with a white table cloth, flowers and silver.

The Mandarin Oriental anticipated all of our needs, and added so many tiny details to show they care.

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A holistic spa journey

Just when we thought our experience could not get any better, we entered the award-winning, 15,000-square-foot spa, offering everything: vitality pools, steam rooms, wet and dry saunas, a mani-pedi facility, fitness center, a relaxation room, outdoor spa lounge, balcony and private yoga studio.

It was a holistic journey that truly transformed my mind, body and spirit — and just as luxurious and unique as the rest of the hotel.

We were greeted with a traditional shoe ceremony. Our shoes were taken on a tray, as shoes do not enter the spa area.

I experienced the Body Detox and Tone Journey, a combination of a body wrap and massage, using specific oils to improve circulation and help eliminate toxins and excess fluid. Following body exfoliation, an algae wrap is applied and the scalp gently massaged.  You receive a full-body massage with detoxifying oil. This is the ideal treatment to help cleanse the body and improve the appearance of the skin.

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It begins with a washing-of-the-feet ceremony and the ringing of bells, then I moved from the chair to the table.

First up: a top-of-the-line ESPA body brush. A natural bristle from a Mexican cactus plant stimulate circulation, eliminate toxins, improve skin tone, and finally helps to banish cellulite and boost cell renewal for smoother, softer, more radiant skin.

Then I enjoyed the ESPA exfoliating body polish with a special touch: apricot kernels infused with spearmint essential oils for an uplifting experience and beautifully radiant skin refinement. Finally, I was covered in detoxifying body oil with a clarifying tonic.

My therapist then wrapped me in a cocoon — and I have never felt so warm and cared for. While bundled up, my therapist applied an award-winning hair and scalp mud treatment, while cradling my head in her hands. This ESPA Pink treatment, using mineral-rich clay, watercress extract and apricot kernel oil, left my hair feeling youthful and lush for days.  The wrap continued to work for days, as well, as it’s designed to help you rid toxins for three days after application.

While in the soothing cocoon of the Mandarin Oriental, I felt my inner caterpillar melt away, leaving behind a beautiful butterfly waiting to emerge.  This was just another tantalizing element of the magic of the Mandarin Oriental.