Tag Archive | "spa"

SpaWatch: Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, Arizona

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The incredible pool at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, Arizona

By Mary Alice Kellogg

SpaWatcher has a soft spot for the Sonoran desert of Southeastern Arizona, which happens to be where she was born and raised. Recently she hopped the next plane to check out the newest spa contender in the region that gave us Canyon Ranch and Miraval.

The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain resort, nestled into the Tortolita Mountains northeast of Tucson, has a glorious desert setting, with stately multi-armed sahuaro cacti standing sentinel and all the resort bells and whistles one could wish (including 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus-designed golf).

But the 17,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa here is a destination in itself, with 14 indoor-outdoor treatment rooms, cozy spaces for relaxing, and an ever-blue sky above (the region averages 300 days of sunshine per year).  I was immediately impressed by the lounges: separate and ample ones for men and women, each with its own outdoor whirlpools and fireplaces, all with a relaxing, Son of the Shiek oasis feel. A full menu of traditional and new treatments is on tap, using organic desert botanical products … as it should be.

 

I chose the “Embracing Your Elements-Balance” treatment, an 80-minute indulgence incorporating all the things I love: exfoliation (a full half-hour of skin-soothing bliss), a warm tub soak with mineral salts/essential oils and massaging underwater jets, and a full-body hot stone massage to top it off. This treatment, specifically created for Dove Mountain, will be rolled out in other Ritz-Carlton spas soon.

“Elements” means just what it says: be it Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal or Water, we all connect with each at one time or another. With therapist Jenn, I discovered that at the moment I was feeling … metal (this was based on birthdate and interview at the beginning of the treatment). As a result, all the oils and unguents and massage therapy went toward bringing out the best of that element and balancing the rest. The beauty of this treatment is that it changes each time you have it – as you do – and is so individualized that you can be confident that all the elements are in line at the moment. I could come back for Embracing Your Elements in a month or two and the treatment would be completely different.

The fact that this all took place in a huge suite with kiva fireplace, private outdoor patio and tub overlooking the mountains was a bonus. At the end of it all I contemplated demanding to stay in the suite all day, but, being too relaxed, could only whimper softly as I left. (Yes, you can book it for a whole day, and order lunch in. Bring a friend for couples or pal’s treatments, too.)

I repaired to the Spa’s main (co-ed) pool, one of the best I’ve experienced, a secluded pond with whirlpool, waterfall wall, outdoor firepits, tented day beds … and a most particular view. Hills with large rocks behind the spa bear ancient petroglyphs inscribed by the Hohokam people a thousand years ago. This long-disappeared tribe certainly knew the value of location.

Waiting for a spa lunch to be delivered poolside, I contemplated the fact that the Hohokam probably invented their own potions from local cactus and plants to recover from a hot day of putting art on rocks. I toasted them, their art … and the particular spirit of this desert spa, which brought SpaWatcher home.

THE RITZ-CARLTON SPA, DOVE MOUNTAIN

www.ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain

15000 North Secret Springs Drive

Marana, AZ 85658

 

 Mary Alice Kellogg, a New York-based writer and editor, is a recipient of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for Consumer Reporting. A contributor to many national publications, including Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit and GQ, she has reported from 120 countries and five of the seven seas to date… and counting.Visit MaryAlicekellogg.com

Stein Eriksen Lodge

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Stein Eriksen Lodge, an idyllic location in the equally idyllic Deer Valley

By Gerrie Summers

As much as I loathe freezing temperatures and only enjoy the sight of snow from the interior of a very warm building, Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah, is one of a short list of places that could inspire me to take a winter vacation in a cold destination!

Stein Eriksen Lodge is the award-winning luxury ski resort of Norwegian skier and Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen, and is Utah’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond property. Located slopeside at mid-mountain at 8,200 feet in Deer Valley, Park City, Utah it’s a short 45-minute drive from the Salt Lake City airport.  The property has 180 rooms in four categories (Deluxe Bedrooms, Luxury Bedrooms, Luxury Suites and Grand Suites).  Each room is unique in architecture, room design and décor. The luxury suites feature gourmet kitchens, a living room and a master bedroom with stone fireplaces, oversized jetted tubs and hot tubs on the deck.  You won’t want to leave—trust me.

The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge

Award-Winning Spa

I was in Utah for an open house for the lodge’s spa. The spa has had a recent expansion to 20,000 square feet, including renovation of the pool deck, fitness center and locker room.  It now has 16 treatment rooms, including two couples treatment rooms and two wet treatment rooms.  The rooms are warmed and detoxified by handcrafted salt lamps.

The spa treatments incorporate indigenous ingredients such as cedar, sage and salts.  Signature treatments like The Great Salt Stone Therapy, Pigment Balancing Facial and Skier Boot Therapy (Hiker Boot Therapy in the summer season) are unique to the resort.   I tried the Hiker Boot Therapy after a hike of Wasatch Mountains (and my first chairlift ride!), that and the Signature Stein Massage helped with a surprising bout of altitude sickness.  (The spa also sells oxygen packs).

In November, the spa completed and opened the 3, 000 square foot Verdani wellness center.  The wellness center offers cardio sculpt; mat Pilates and yoga classes, as well as pre-ski stretch and after-ski stretch sessions.   Also that month, the spa was awarded the Forbes Five Star Award, making it the first spa in Utah to receive the industry’s highest designation, joining 30 leading spas in the world.

WHAT TO DO BESIDES SKI

Dine at the award-winning Glitretind restaurant, which features a classic and elegant dining experience, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner menu created by Executive Chef Zane Holmquist. There are private wine seminars with Sommelier Cara Schwindt, offered in the 10,000-bottle wine cellar. Or have lunch at Royal Street Cafe, which features  comfort food and signature libations like the Blue Mojito and Holly Berry Martini.

Park City

Ten minutes away is Park City, and you can visit boutiques and galleries along Park City’s quaint historic Main Street. Pay a visit to the Park City Museum with exhibits on Park City’s history, including The Dungeon, located in the original territorial jail in the basement of the historic City Hall.  It has an interesting touch screen exhibit of the city’s bad guys, featuring actors portraying jail cell inhabitants—pretty spooky, really.  Must be a great draw at Halloween!

Located conveniently at the bottom of Quittin’ Time Ski Run, High West is the world’s only ski-in gastro-distillery. Proprietor David Perkins gives a spirited (pun intended) tour of the High West Distillery & Saloon.  Tours are free.  Sigh, the whiskey is not.

For more information on Stein Eriksen Lodge, visit www.steinlodge.com.

 

  Gerrie Summers has been writing professionally for over 30 years in the areas of entertainment, beauty, lifestyle, travel and wellness. A New York-based writer, she has been the Travel Adventures columnist for Today’s Black Woman and now writes the blogs Summers Retreat and The Tranquil Traveler.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Vermont Spas

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The rap on Vermont skiing was that the ski resorts were based in historic New England towns that lacked the modern amenities of the resorts out West. Not any longer. The Woodstock Inn (above), close to the skiing at Killington and Suicide Six, just unveiled their $10 million spa in September and it’s a beauty. Two well known Vermont artisans, glassmaker Simon Pearce and furniture maker Charles Shackleton create the hanging lamps and chaise lounge chairs in the Great Room waiting area, where floors are made of soft Vermont white oak. Just outside in the courtyard is a large outdoor hot tub and sauna, with heated stone floors to keep those tootsies warm in the winter months. That’s in addition to the eucalyptus steam rooms found in both the men and women’s changing area. Woodstock Inn’s state-of-the-facility comes on the heels of Stowe Mountain Lodge’s spa, the first offshoot of the highly regarded Cooper Wellness spa in Dallas. The new space features every treatment imaginable, including music, water, and aromatherapy, nutritional and fitness counseling, and seminars on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

SpaWatch: Skaná Spa

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By Mary Alice Kellogg

Normally SpaWatcher is skeptical about the spa-casino combo. She has frequented many a casino resort spa – for research, of course – and too often found that exiting a massage only to run into a giant gaming floor does damage to her alpha state. Can relaxation and roulette happily co-exist?

You betcha, if the Turning Stone Resort and Spa in the farmland of central New York State is any indication. Owned by the Oneida Nation, the complex has the requisite contemporary hotel tower, show room, gaming, entertainment venues, nightclubs and surprisingly sophisticated fine-dining.

But it is the locale of the resort’s Skaná Spa that surprises… not to mention the world-class spa itself. Connected to the low-rise VIP hotel wing, The Lodge, filled with historic and contemporary Native American art and sculpture, all glass, stone and rich woods, surrounded by fountains, gardens and fields, it is a world away from the sleek goings-on nearby. Goodbye big city buzz, hello elegant serenity.

The two-story spa has a relaxing décor of stone and light wood against a light-green color palate, with murals, fountains, buffalo skin rugs, an indoor herb garden, separate men/women relaxation rooms and a warming fire pit in the reception lobby. Sculpture and art throughout – even in the treatment rooms — reflect a singular, soothing Native American vibe.

What dazzles – quietly – even more is the treatment menu. There are the requisite massages and wraps, of course, with most incorporating a true spirit of place, using herbs, essential oils and traditions reflecting the spa’s location and Oneida heritage. I chose the 110-minute Oneida Journey, given in the spa’s private VIP Suite. This expansive space with its own private steam, sauna, bath, treatment and relaxation rooms and garden, would be a wonderful place to live in, period.

A 20-minute soak in a huge tub filled with warm water, Evergreen Essential Oil and fresh rose petals in a sun-drenched room was just the beginning. Next: a full-body exfoliation with an Indian Sasparilla and black clay concoction, left on the skin as I was wrapped in warm towels for the full detox/relax effect. After a shower, it was time for a thorough revitalizing massage with White Pine and Bergamot oils. Overall, I felt my skin, muscles, and spirit had benefitted from a week in a private spa. Bliss is too bland a word to describe the feeling – which, by the way, lasted for days – but I was too darned content to think of another one.

If all casino-based spas – or most spas in general — followed Skaná’s approach and attention to detail, what a fab world this would be. I had indeed taken a unique journey and emerged the better for it. As a treatment souvenir, my therapist gave me a small handcrafted “dreamcatcher” sculpture to take home. This bit of spirit now hangs in my apartment, a physical expression of Oneida “sanuhtunyuheke,” or peace of mind.

Of course I could have tried my luck at the casino that night, but after the Oneida Journey, I had already hit the jackpot.

SKANÁ THE SPA AT TURNING STONE RESORT AND CASINO Verona, NY; 1-800-771-7711

MARY ALICE KELLOGG, a New York-based writer and editor, is a recipient of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for Consumer Reporting. A contributor to many national publications, including Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit and GQ, she has reported from 120 countries and five of the seven seas to date… and counting.Visit MaryAlicekellogg.com

SPA AND THE CITY II: SWEATIN’ WITH IVANKA

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By Mary Alice Kellogg

SpaWatcher looked forward to The Spa at Trump SoHo opening, particularly since the buzz promised a heady Moroccan ambiance. Could this newest entry in the Manhattan relaxation sweepstakes revive memories of  SpaWatcher's  weekend taking the waters with Rick and Isla in Casablanca?

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Spa Watch: Spa and the City — Spa Merge

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By Mary Alice Kellogg

SpaWatcher is pleased to note that two new — and radically different –  spas have bloomed in New York this spring. One is an intimate oasis, the other an opulent  blockbuster we'll explore in Part Two of Spa and The City.

The first to open is Spa Merge on West 57th Street. A sleek yet cozy model of the ideal urban day spa, its minimalist, tranquil decor contrasts mightily with the Midtown bustle outside. Particularly impressive here is the absence of shared public changing rooms; each of Merge's 9 treatment rooms is self-contained with its own locker/safe, massage table, mirrored vanity, and private bathroom with shower for maximum privacy. Celebrities and CEOs take note.

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SpaWatch: Colonial Williamsburg – Let’s Spa Like it’s 1776!

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18century
By Mary Alice Kellogg

For those who think that the American Revolution and contemporary exfoliation are clashing concepts, SpaWatcher is here to say they are not. A visit to the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg proves the point.

Colonial Williamsburg — 301 landmarked acres encompassing 88 original and 500 reconstructed historic buildings — takes history seriously. So, when the decision was made to open a 3-story, 20,000-square-foot Spa two years ago, attention was paid to spirit of place, from decor to treatments. All signature treatments, in fact, are based on five centuries of meticulously researched Colonial, African and American Indian relaxation and healing practices.

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Atlantic City: An Affordable Winter Escape by the Sea

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The Chelsea Hotel, Atlantic City, NJ.

By Shari Hartford

       
The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is not exactly a winter wonderland. On a good day it's peppered with hearty folks out for some sea air intermingling with street-wise locals looking to make a few bucks. But when the winds are howling and the temps are plummeting, everyone is hunkered down at the craps tables.

But not me. I recently spent a tranquil weekend with my BFF at the Chelsea Hotel — the only hotel on the Boardwalk without a casino. This boutique property now boasts a sea spa that is just right for a mid-winter pick-me-up.

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SpaWatch: Sturebadet, Stockholm

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By Mary Alice Kellogg

Like many of us, SpaWatcher thinks "sauna" and "Sweden" are words joined at the hip. But after a visit to Stockholm's sleek Sturebadet, she now thinks Sweden and "Sami Zen" is an even better match.

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SpaWatch: Mohonk Mountain House

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Carriageride

By Mary Alice Kellogg

SpaWatcher has been fond of Mohonk Mountain House for years, and she's not alone. This venerable National Historic Landmark hostelry a scant two hours from Manhattan has attracted guests since 1869 with Catskill Mountain views on one side and a glorious glacial lake framed by giant boulders on the other.

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