Buy a Home During Mercury Retrograde? Not in This Universe.
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Buy a Home During Mercury Retrograde? Not in This Universe.

These two buyers found the perfect home, but the stars hadn’t yet realigned

By AMY GAMERMAN
Wed, Sep 21, 2022 8:37amGrey Clock 3 min
Has astrology ever affected a sale?

Joanne Greene, associate broker, Brown Harris Stevens in New York City

I ran into the wife of an old client of mine. They were deciding, “Should we renovate or should we move?”

So we go out, we start looking at things. It was really about seeing what was out there, as opposed to doing a renovation. We found something that was way out of their price range, $12.5 million, on the Upper East Side. But I knew these people, and it was a perfect apartment for them.

The wife was going on a hiking trip in Northern California, but at the very last minute the trip was canceled because of the mudslides there. So we decided to go back and look at this apartment again. They said, “You know what, we love it, we really want to do it. We’ll have to sell our apartment.” Then they said, “But Mercury is entering into retrograde, so everything has to be done beforehand.”

They explained to me that they don’t make decisions during the time Mercury is in retrograde. It affected when they got engaged, when they got married, all their purchasing decisions. It had gotten to the point where now they don’t travel when Mercury is in retrograde. They’ve converted their travel agent over to the stars.

Usually people aren’t in such a rush. But as a broker, I was like, “Great! Let’s do it sooner rather than later!” It all took like a week. We put in an offer. We did share with the sellers that the buyers wouldn’t sign any documents while Mercury was in retrograde so we’d have to get the contract signed quickly. We also had to sign an exclusive on their apartment to list it.

By the way, I’d never heard about any of this before, but if that’s what they wanted, I’m completely onboard.

It was all good karma for everyone. Every transaction worked out so well and so smoothly. It’s very rare to have that happen when you’re handling both the purchasing and the selling; there are a lot of moving parts.

I’m not superstitious, but I’ve had clients who don’t want 4s in a contract, or who want 8s. I say, “If you want all 8s in it, that’s fine!” I had a rabbi who wanted everything to add up to 18, because that’s good luck. That’s fine, too.

Wendy Arriz, associate broker, Sotheby’s International Realty in New York City

I was representing a seller of a home downtown—an off-market listing priced north of $10 million. The buyer was a past client of mine. When I described the property, this buyer got super-interested. They came and saw it and made an offer. But it was made clear that this person wasn’t going to be in a position to sign a contract right then because, as a rule of thumb, this person never made any serious decisions or did contract signings while Mercury is in retrograde. They said, “No, no, no, things can really go awry; it’s just not done.”

At first, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “Really?” But you know, I also want to be respectful. So that was a term of the deal—a verbal understanding, there was nothing in writing. I passed it along to the seller. There was a bit of a giggle, but it wasn’t an issue. This was a downtown seller. Someone on the Upper East Side might not have processed it as well.

There was a lot of Google searching to figure out the dates. I did the deal sheet and organized the specifics. The attorneys were doing the due diligence; a home inspection was involved. It was all going like a normal transaction would, with the understanding that nothing was going to get signed till Mercury was no longer in retrograde.

Then the stars were clear. The contract could be signed. I contacted my buyer about whether they wanted to move forward now that the coast was clear—and they didn’t. The buyer was having an issue.

I hadn’t had any deals fall apart in the 14 years I’ve been selling real estate. I try to just steer the course and do the right thing and if things are meant to be, they’re meant to be. This deal fell apart, but it wasn’t because Mercury was in retrograde.

Or was it?



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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.

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