Free bluberry pedicure at the Cliff House

Book a three- or four-night package at the Cliff House Resort & Spa, in Ogunquit, and get a free Maine blueberry pedicure.

The 50-minute pedicure, valued at $70, combines the antioxidant benefits of blueberries with the deep moisturizing properties of the resort’s blueberry smoothie mask. The treatment also includes a warm seashell massage, and grooming and polish.

Do schedule it as soon as you book your package, as the treatment is subject to availability. Offer is valid through Labor Day.


July 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment

Sea therapies at the Inn by the Sea

Inn By The SeaThe ocean’s roar is always present at The Inn by the Sea, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Any hour of the day, no matter the tide, you can hear waves breaking on distant ledges and against the sand shores of Cresecent Beach. And while the rooms in its new spa don’t have water views, the sense of the sea is still present.

One year ago the inn reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation that included the addition of the state’s first spa built with a LEEDS consultant. It’s a small spa, an intimate space that’s cozy and inviting. Separate facilities (called sanctuaries) for men and women include small waiting lounge, steamroom, and experience (multi-head) shower. The six treatment rooms include one for couples, but many treatments can be done in guest rooms, and the inn’s spa suites are designed to comfortably accommodate two massage beds. Most treatments honor the inn’s sense of place and have a marine theme.

Spa Couple's RoomSure, there are the usual massages, body therapies, and facials, but the spa’s three, 90-minute signature treatments ($225-245) are worth a special nod. Most intriguing is the Sea Waves Massage, performed on a surround sound massage table. The therapist matches long synchronizes gentle strokes to the rythem of waves, which fills the room and vibrates through the table. The sensual experience is enhanced by ocean scents. Just imagine: 90 minutes of oceanic bliss, your body gently rocking with the waves.

Craving something calmer, consider the Deep Sea Soother, designed to induce sleep. Take that as a warning and book this for late in the afternoon or early evening. It begins with a full body exfoliation then progresses to a relaxation massage that’s designed to slow your breathing and lull you into la-la land. It ends with an aromatherapy wrap that’s complemented by soothing music. The downside of this treatment is that unless you were smart enough to book it as an inroom service, you have to wake up and pad back to your room. But wait! You get to return with a sleep CD and Deep Rest Aromatherapy Lotion, so returning to that state of grace shouldn’t be too difficult.

The third signature treatment is the Ocean and Oxygen Facial, which combines liquid oxygen with ocean nutrients, stimulates circulation, and utilizes exfoliation and  lymphatic drainage techniques, masks, and massage. It’s a multi-step process enhanced by neck and shoulder, arm and hand, and scalp massages. Suffice it to say that after 90 minutes of intense face time, you’re glowing, radiant, and look mahvelous dahling, simply mahvelous.

And afterward, admire through the inn’s butterfly gardens, mosey down the boardwalk to the beach, or simply return to your room, sit on the porch or deck, and listen to the waves roll and break.

One more thing: The Inn by the Sea is a pet friendly property, and the spa extends a welcoming paw to pooches with a doggie massage.


June 19, 2009 at 2:46 am Leave a comment

Relaxed, restored, and balanced in Bermuda

img_9380_2When I think of Bermuda, I dream in blue. And pink. Which fits the Fairmont Southampton to a T.

The pink-hued, six-story  resort hotel crowns a hill on the island’s western side. Its rooms offer sweeping views over the marine blue Atlantic and those famed pink sand beaches to the south and across the turquoise waters of the sound, extending from the Dockyard to Hamilton and beyond, to the north.

The calmness instilled by location and views is echoed in the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa. img_9402Enter and whatever troubles you might have carried with you to this Atlantic island begin to fade. Although not as grand as the spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs, it has all the bells and whistles one expects from a Willow Springs. A locker room with steam room and aromatherapy sauna; comfy lounges; a large indoor pool with separate waterfall showers; outdoor hot tubs; and an extensive selection of treatments.

img_9405All that’s nice, but it’s the views that won me over. Whether relaxing in a window seat or reclining in a chaise outside, my views were colored in shades of blue and green, sky and sea, golf course and trees. Peppering it were the pastel shades of homes in the distance, the white tower of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, and the reds, oranges, pinks, and yellows of flowering plants.

I selected the Balance Body, a 90-minute treatment ($249) that made good on its promise of total relaxation.The treatment began with a food soak, which took place in the co-ed lounge (okay, the location was kinda strange, but from my seat I could gaze out to the Atlantic, nice!). Next, we moved to a wet treatment room for an exfoliating scrub comprising oatmeal, honey, and cornmeal. It ended with a massage.

img_9218I loved  the aroma of the products used, a blend of vetiver, cypress, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, and spikenard designed to balance spirit, body, and mind. And I loved the heated table, soft sheets, down comforter, and therapist’s gentle care. And I appreciated the seashell resting on the sheets when I entered the room; a nice touch.

I went in tired and taxed, I emerged invigorated yet calm, that all-too-rare sensation that all is right with the world and all was right with me. Settling back into a chaise afterward, I watched as the blue sky of day began to give way to the rosy pink of evening.

—Hilary Nangle

May 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm Leave a comment

Ski and spa at Sunday River

I would return to the Spa at the Jordan Grand Resort if for not other reason than to have another massage with Rose. That woman’s got the magic touch.

But there are other reasons to visit, especially if you’re a skier or snowboarder. The Jordan Grand is at the base of Sunday River’s Jordan Bowl, one of eight connected peaks at the Bethel, Maine, resort. I met my friend Wende there, and we fired four or five runs down Lollapalooza, Excaliber, and Rogue Angel, then skied right back to the hotel, and practically into the spa.

Now let me make it clear. Although the spa offers a number of services and has a small lounge, it’s part of the hotel’s health club. We visited early in the afternoon, while most folks were still on the slopes, so it was quiet. But I’ve visited other times when it’s been a bit noisy—no surprise, since some of the massage rooms open off the fitness area and are near the locker rooms and the entrance to the outdoor pool. So, book early, before the kids hit the water.

My one-hour deep-tissue massage ($95) was extremely relaxing, and Rose managed to kill what was left of a migraine. Always a good sign. My friend Wende had the anit-aging facial ($105), and she was glowing afterwards. I could really see a difference in her, and I could feel a difference in me. Afterwards, we moseyed over to the cafe for tea and muffins, perhaps not the healthiest lunch, but a good one.

Sunday River plans to build a new, full-service spa adjacent to the Jordan Grand, and may break ground as early as this summer for that. Stay tuned, because that would solve the noise problems and likely make this more of a destination spa.


April 2, 2009 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

Relief from skier face burn at Killington Grand Spa

My entire body involuntary twitched when Brandi slathered on my face some kind of cold goo. Eyes clamped shut, I was expecting something a little warmer for my first facial experience.

“Sorry ’bout that,” I mumbled as Brandi’s deft hands glided over my cheekbones and down my cheeks. “No problem,” she said while energetically working the mixture into my chin.

I was reclining in a very comfy chair in a treatment room at Killington Grand Spa, at the base of the Vermont ski resort. I was totally relaxed while enjoying every second of the attention my weather-beaten face was receiving.

Brandi Henderson-Savoy, a licensed esthetician at the spa, was administering a hydrating facial and explained why such treatments are beneficial for skiers and riders who often brave harsh weather while pursuing their sport.

“The cold temperatures and constant wind draws moisture out of the skin, especially from the face because that is the most exposed part of your body when you’re skiing,” she said. The treatment included a scrub that exfoliated my skin, steam that opened pores and drove out ingrained impurities, a gentle massage of the prominent facial muscles, and the soothing gel that added moisture to the skin.

It worked. I walked into the spa with a face chapped and stinging from the cold and wind. Hours after the treatment my face still felt cool and smooth and all facial irritation was gone.

The hydrating facial was part of a package of three skier-specific treatments I received at the Killington Grand Spa. The package included the facial, a green tea mini-pedicure and a focused therapeutic massage to my neck, shoulders and back.

Sweet feet

Nail technician Nan Puchalski trimmed my toe nails, plunged my feet in a hot, bubbling bath and scrubbed, exfoliated, massaged and stimulated my feet and lower legs during the pedicure session.

“Skiers like pedicures because keeping the toe nails short and trimmed prevent the toes from being jammed inside the boots,” said Puchalski. The foot massage is very therapeutic for beginning skiers and snowboarders who tend tense foot muscles when they try to grip the snow with their toes, she explained.

No more pain in the neck

The focused, deep sports massage from lead massage therapist Linda Canepari dispelled a nagging pain that ran down the left side of my neck onto the top of my shoulder. She also traced the edges of my shoulder blades and applied sustained pressure to trigger points that were the source of pain in my upper and lower back.

The full-service spa, in the lower level of the Killington Grand Hotel, has an overwhelming menu of services including acupressure; reflexology; stone, scalp and deep tissue massages; various body wraps; skin treatments for adults and teens; waxing services; manicures; and make-up services. Three-, four- and five-hour packages combine a variety of services for the client who wants to spend her day in the spa rather than on the slopes.

Prices were comparable to other, full service spas at winter resorts. The classic, 50-minute Swedish relaxation massage is $115 and a 25-minute focused massage on the neck, shoulders and back comes in at $85.

Energy work, such as Craniosacral, reiki, acupressure or reflexology, ranged in price for $100 to $125 for a 50-minute session.

The body wraps and treatments started at $110 for the green tea body glow and went to $165 for a detoxifying seaweed wrap. An exceptional feature at the Killington Grand Spa is a Vichy shower which uses water to bring relaxation and therapeutic healing to aching muscles.

In addition to feeling great, pampered and pain free, my afternoon at the Killington Grand Spa convinced me that I will take advantage of any spa services available during future ski trips.

—Bill Clapper

Bill Clapper has experienced scant on-snow time this winter because of a heavy schedule of spa treatments.

March 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Spa special at the Mount Washington

Need an escape from March Mudness? Through April 30, The spa at the Mount Washington Grand Hotel, in Bretton Woods, N.H., is having a grand opening special.

Stay Sunday through Thursday in a Superior room (that’s the standard, not fancy, but not bad, either) for $115 per person and you’ll also receive one 50-minute spa service per person, per day. Since a 50-minute service alone is $105, that’s a decent deal. And, by the way, the ski slopes are still open with excellent conditions.

Small print: A two-night stay may be required; deep tissue and inr00m massage are an additional $20; applies to new reservations only; 8% tax, resort fee, and gratuities not included.

March 12, 2009 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Ayurvedic ‘spring-cleaning’ spa special at the Stoweflake

Out with the old, in with the new, that’s the philosophy behind the new Ayurvedic Wellness Spring Cleanse Retreat” at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, in Stowe, Vt. During this five-day cleanse, offered April 26 – May 1 and May 17 – May 22, a certified Ayurvedic consultant guides participants through a program of detoxification, rejuvenation, and renewal designed to restore balance, in accordance with Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life and wellness.

Included in the retreat price are: a private two-hour Ayurvedic consultation, an 80-minute Ayurvedic massage, organic Ayurvedic meals, daily lectures on healthy dieting and lifestyle ,and classes including yoga, breathing, meditation, and cooking. Participants will learn tools to clear out the excesses accumulated over the winter and take a look at individual routines and habits in order to promote positive health and balance in every aspect of life.

The Ayurvedic Wellness Spring Cleanse Retreat is $2,049 per person, including tuition and accommodations; rate is based on double occupancy. Single occupancy rates begin at $2,395. Retreat tuition without accommodations is $1,700 per person.

February 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

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