We are knee-deep in the time of year where the cold winter weather and shorter days have us feeling the effects in a big way. It not only challenges the energy level and makes us fight wanting to do anything that doesn’t involve a fuzzy blanket, glass of Merlot and Netflix, but your body suffers during the winter months as well as your psyche.
Cold and wind wreak havoc on your cuticles, your skin turns to ash no matter how much lotion you apply, and your hair can’t decide if it wants to stand up from static or frizz out from damage.
But we are here to offer you a much-needed ray of light in the form of 10 of the South’s most stellar spa destinations that are amazing even in the dead of winter. Each spa is located at a destination known for getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and embracing your health and wellness. A few days of relaxing and getting pampered is just what the doctor ordered, so grab a girlfriend, pick a favorite from the list below and enjoy a moment of midwinter papering. Your cuticles – and your loved ones – will thank you.
The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm | Walland, TN
Blackberry Farm may not be part of the Ritz-Carlton chain of hotels, or within earshot of an international airport, but those are both reasons this treasure tucked away in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee made our list.
There are also a number of relaxation options for many different personality types. You prefer a massage, a manicure and a foot rub? They’ve got you covered. Or maybe a 75-mile bike ride followed by a hike through the woods and a visit to the juice bar is more your speed – they can make that happen as well.
Any lover of the outdoors will be interested in a journey into the Deep Healing Woods for some forest bathing, activities that are said to increase mental focus, accelerate physical fitness and help reduce stress and fight disease. Find the complete menu of Wellhouse offerings here.
Lake Austin Spa Resort | Austin, TX
The Lake Austin Spa Resort has been voted among the top spas in the country for 10 years running, so they clearly are doing it right. Drawing on the serene setting of the banks of Lake Austin, just outside the hustle and bustle of the busy city, all spa treatments are customized and developed in-house and fuse ancient and modern techniques.
Options range from what you might expect (nail therapy, facials), to a bit of the unexpected, such as a Neroli Blossom Sensory Massage, which uses tension release, energy and breathing techniques to refresh your body, energy and spirit. There are acupuncture therapies drawing from ancient Japanese healing methods and rituals known to balance energy that incorporate Tibetan singing bowls.
The spa also offers aquatic specialties such as floating meditation and has a variety of treatments specifically for men and some recommended for couples.
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Spa | Kiawah Island, SC
If your wintered-out spirit longs for the beach, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island just outside of Charleston, SC, is a perfect choice.
The spa’s menu of services allows you to arrive in sweats and a ponytail and leave looking — and feeling — like a completely new woman. Begin your visit by relaxing in the solarium with a cup of herbal tea before hitting a personal training session. Then work out your muscle soreness with a Sea Essence Fusion massage, which incorporates sea salts, polished seashells and marine extracts to exfoliate, polish and energize the body.
Next, indulge in the Oxygen Infusion Facial, which is described as a “breath of fresh air for your face.” Yes, please. The purifying and revitalizing facial releases oxygen molecules into your skin and is especially beneficial for anyone with dull or dehydrated skin.
Close out your day of bliss with a Sanctuary Makeover, which includes a shampoo and style for your hair and a makeup application. You’ll be so relaxed, exfoliated and moisturized, nobody will recognize you.
The Greenbrier | White Sulphur Springs, WV
While other spas may tout their beachfront location as a top amenity, at The Greenbrier, they are most proud of their water, which they say is known for its healing properties. Since 1778, people have traveled to The Greenbrier specifically to bathe in the white sulphur spring water indigenous to this area of West Virginia.
The spa’s signature service is The Greenbrier Treatment, which starts with a soak in the magical waters of the white sulphur springs, followed by a Swiss Shower and Scotch Spray designed to remove cellular blockage and break up toxins in the body. The treatment is completed with a Swedish massage.
The spa also features a full meditation and healing menu ranging from chakra clearing and guided meditation to yoga and sound healing, all led by a spiritual healer. They have mud wraps, sugar scrubs and salt stone treatments, and of course the standards like nail treatments and facials.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa | Highlands, NC
While The Greenbrier skews more traditional in its décor and presentation, the spa at Old Edwards definitely leans more modern and even exotic in its surroundings and treatments. They, of course, have a full menu of the standards you expect to see at a spa, but sprinkle in unique treatments that often draw from the essence and energy of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Their signature Journey to Bliss facial uses local mountain gemstones to create healing energy customized to your particular needs. Rich gems and minerals such as quartz crystals are mined from the Blue Ridge Mountains and are thought to regenerate cells and rejuvenate the skin, while healing, cleansing, balancing and strengthening energy centers. The Journey to Bliss also consists of a hand and foot massage.
But if you really want to go all in at Old Edwards, pony up for the Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, where massage therapists use their feet, elbows, knees and palms as massage tools. This is known as the deepest massage technique available and is touted as a stress reducer, promoter of well-being, muscle relaxer and immunity booster.
The Spa at Château Élan Winery and Resort | Braselton, GA
Château Élan boasts a mansion, a sparkling lake, tree canopies, lawns and flowers. And guess what else? It’s also a winery, which is never a bad accoutrement to a spa. In fact, here, many of the spa treatments are infused with wine for its antioxidant properties. But you can drink it as well. They even offer a Spa Happy Hour, which includes two treatments from the happy hour menu combined with a glass of bubbly.
Their spa menu also offers the HydraFacial MD, which is a medical-grade resurfacing procedure that cleanses, exfoliates and extracts impurities and dead skin cells while replenishing vital nutrients that help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
At Château Élan’s spa, you can jump into a private yoga class, have lunch, spend the night and have signature treatments such as the Château Winery Ritual, which begins with a wine bath (again, yes, please!) and includes a body scrub and mud wrap, all without leaving the spa.
The Estuary Spa at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina | Mount Pleasant, SC
The Estuary, which is situated inside the Charleston Harbor Resort’s Beach Club waterfront hotel, uses a natural and organic product line throughout its vast menu of services as well as natural elements themselves. Everything from pumice and seaweed to coffee, honey and sea salt are used in various services for their ability to stimulate, exfoliate and moisturize.
You can cherry pick items from the spa menu or allow the staff to customize therapeutic treatments designed to target specific areas. Among the massages, facial treatments, wraps, scrubs and other enhancements available, some are designed to alleviate specific ailments. The Blue Eucalyptus Energizing Massage, for example, is a holistic treatment used to combat adrenal fatigue. The Vitamin C15 Brightening Facial works to reverse the effects of sun damage and premature aging.
So, enjoy a Nirvana Stress Relief Massage and close out your day taking in a sunset and a mint julep from one of the resort’s front porch rockers.
Loma de Vida Spa at La Cantera Resort & Spa | San Antonio, TX
The Loma de Vida Spa views treatments more as “rituals,” and their menu of services offers four Signature Rituals, which include a hand, scalp and foot ritual as well as a full body massage, each with a unique focus and purpose.
The Absolute Texas Ritual, for example, incorporates the surrounding Texas sky into this scrub/wrap/massage with beeswax, honey and lavender. The Uber Detox ensures a sense of deep renewal and purification using Tuscan thermal waters that stimulate energy flow and help alleviate joint problems and muscle tension. The Science/Biorhythm Ritual works to alleviate jet lag or even support a detox or cleanse by removing waste and toxins and restoring the nervous system.
There are myriad massages from deep tissue to stone mineral and holistic intentional healing varieties intended to help you let go, get moving or slow down. Loma de Vida also has a number of “intentional spaces” such as private decks, garden cabanas and a private grotto saline pool where you can enjoy lunch, cocktails or just the cascading waters.
If you’ve never heard of it, the âme Spa offers it. Among some more common offerings such as facials, fitness classes and salon treatments, you can also indulge in Kybella, Shirodhara, Dosha Balancing, Gua Sha or Auriculotherapy.
Okay, so when you read the fine print, these all sound awesome, if not a little bit outside your comfort zone. Auriculotherapy, for example, is a modern acupuncture technique where the ear is stimulated electrically, which is said to effect specific changes within the body. Shirodhara is a full-body and scalp massage using herbal oils and Ayurvedic herbs.
But the spa makes it easy for you to pick from among the hundred or so treatment options, including those provided by the Physician’s Institute of Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery, which has an office on-site. The spa, which promotes modern wellness, has created a menu of color therapies to choose from. For example, red is a revitalizing, energizing package of treatments that promotes vitality and creativity. Blue, on the other hand, is peaceful, cooling, calming, quieting and cleansing.
The âme Spa & Wellness Collective is situated within the Turnberry Isle Miami Resort.
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Spa Minérale at Lansdowne Resort and Spa | Leesburg, VA
Situated along a beautiful stretch of the Potomac River, the Spa Minérale draws its inspiration from the surrounding Virginia wine country. Many of their treatment ingredients are locally inspired and incorporate wine and other items native to the area for their healing qualities.
The Signature Wine Massage uses wine grapes, which are known antioxidants and free radical fighters, as part of the Swedish massage. The Wine Wrap uses wine extracts and comes with the all-important wine pairing.
If a wine wrap isn’t enough, the Cabernet and Caçao Cocoon adds caffeine-rich caçao beans to the mix, which exfoliate, while a “cocoon” of crushed cabernet grapes are painted on. This 80-minute full-body treatment also comes with a wine pairing in case you feel that wine’s antioxidant properties are best ingested.
Enjoy your refreshing escape!
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