Travel » Features

Spring Forward at 4 Off-the-Beaten-Path Spas

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Long, smooth, massaging strokes penetrating deep into tired flesh. The skin of the face and body made supple and soft with exfoliation and hydration performed by the finest practioners. Immersion in mineral baths, soothing intervals in saunas and stream rooms. All of it experienced in an opulent environment bereft of a single stressor. Is there anything better than a fabulous spa? Frankly, no, according to figures released last year by the International Spa Association.

According to the ISA's 2013 U.S. Spa Industry Study, spa industry revenue reached a record high of $14 billion in 2012 and the total number of spa visits is estimated to have risen to 160 million, a return to levels not seen since the recession began. Clearly, Americans love nothing more than being pampered. With that in mind, EDGE offers four of the country's greatest off-the-beaten-path spas, places where location is part of the pleasure.

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation Spa in Central Georgia

Ritz-Carlton spas are famed for their unparalleled luxury and the Lodge at Reynolds Plantation Spa is no exception. There is also a uniquely relaxed feel to it, which jibes perfectly with its setting on Lake Oconee. The d├ęcor utilizes dark, warm woods, imparting the look of the world’s most lavish summer camp. According to Spa Director Sherrie Huebner, "Our southern hospitality also makes us different. I have an amazing team who are more relaxed than you find at big-city spas, and people enjoy that."

People also enjoy top-notch treatments made with local ingredients like the Georgia (80 minutes; $235), which features a peach body scrub, red clay body mask and a massage with shea butter infused with magnolia essence. To wipe away years in minutes, order up an Illuminating Facial (50 minutes; $195), with alpha and beta hydroxy acids. "Skin just glows after that one," enthuses Huebner.

Spa at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe, California

The treatments at the Spa at Squaw Creek are among the best in the business - in particular, their Skin Specific Facial (50 minutes; $150), customized to address each client’s individual skin concerns, which performs miracles on dry, stressed visages. Just as dazzling is the spa’s setting: iconic Lake Tahoe.

It’s hard to beat hanging out by the resort’s immense pool, gazing up at the snowcapped Sierras as Sinatra and Darin croon over the sound system. For a glamorous glimmer even the Rat Pack would envy, opt for the Detox Salt Glow (50 minutes; $150). Featuring a full body exfoliation followed by a massage with key essential oils to promote circulation, encourage detoxification and ease water retention, it’s the perfect treatment to rejuvenate dull winter skin and buff up for spring.

Aspira Spa at the Osthoff Resort in Eastern Wisconsin

You might not expect a spa in Wisconsin to offer innovative holistic therapies, but then Aspira isn’t a typical Midwestern spa. Located on idyllic Elkhart Lake, it boasts a candle-lit, circular Meditation Sanctuary where water gurgles peacefully over an exquisite natural stone wall and treatments that utilize plants harvested locally, such as chamomile and cedar. The latter is used in the signature Purifying Cedar Treatment (50 minutes; $130), which features the application of a cleansing body shampoo, an exfoliating cedar scrub and a hydrating body milk.

Among the more singular treatments on the menu is chromatherapy, or healing light therapy. "Using different colored lights on different areas of the body, therapists can assist in balancing the chakras of the guests’ bodies," explains spa director Shannan Roeh. "In doing this, the guest will leave with a sense of harmony throughout the mind, body and spirit."

Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Central New York

Owned and operated by the Oneida Nation, Skana - which means peace in the Oneida language - is infused with the spirit and sensibility of these ancient peoples. Native American culture is referenced in the stunning architecture of the welcome area, which recalls a traditional arched longhouse, and in the use of cherished healing herbs like sage, sweetgrass and cedar.

Among the standout treatments at Skana is the They Work Together Poultice Massage (80 minutes; $165), in which a steamed aromatic plant poultice is used in a fluid, flowing massage to eradicate tension. Be sure to arrive early to experience the Balancing Waters Ritual, an immersive circuit through the spa’s sumptuous sauna, mineral pool and showers. Designed to increase circulation and detoxify the body, it’s also a nod to the Oneida belief in water’s importance as a powerful life force.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.


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