By Barbara Penny Angelakis
Photography by Manos Angelakis and courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
Anytime of the year is Spa time! Summer, winter, fall and spring are all perfect times to experience the sheer pampering delights that a Spa offers. I have been relaxed out-of-body into an alternative state of peace and harmony and called back to earth by the elements of sun, cold, rain and snow, joining me in nature. I have sat in centuries old mosaic decorated natural hot spring pools in a magnificent vaulted-ceiling building and outdoors by a lake in the pouring rain. I have sat in a heated mineral pool in a natural forest setting in frigid temperatures during a snow storm, and in a glass enclosed massive bubble above the Arctic Circle. I have experienced being massaged at the waters edge on a beach in the Caribbean, and in a fabric-draped construct on a ledge overlooking a rain forest. Regardless of the circumstances - and often enhanced by them – the experience has always been enriching. And no more so than at the Spa at Mohonk Mountain House.
The 30,000 foot multi-level Spa structure is the most recent addition to the resort, carved out of the natural glacier-formed stone bluff overlooking the lake. Of the 1,700 tons of quartz conglomerate stone excavated from the site, 600 tons were recycled into its stone walls and fireplaces. An innovative geothermal system relies on the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool the building and many other green systems were incorporated into the Spa’s construction. The 60’ by 30’ indoor heated swimming pool has an underwater sound system, and a glass enclosed view of the surrounding countryside effectively encircles you in a comfortable environment during all seasons, but visually places you in the “outdoors”. The Fitness Center is set-up with the latest in cardio, strength and free-weight equipment and daily classes are offered in various forms of exercise, meditation, and water modalities. The Spa menu consists of more than 50 therapeutic services many of which are signature treatments and use the fine quartz grains quarried from the Shawangunk cliffs as well as indigenous botanicals and quartz stones. Long luxurious sex-specific waiting rooms, and a unisex après-treatment room complete with roaring fireplace, are set-up with full-length windows, allowing one to relax while looking-out into the surrounding wooded areas with the Catskill Mountains in the near distance.
In celebration of the 140th anniversary of the resort, two new signature treatments were introduced; The Mohonk Eco-Sampler and The Indigo Herbal Poultice Massage. The Eco-Sampler is a 50 minute feel-good tip to toe indulgence. The treatment begins with a foot scrub with Shawangunk Grit and a witchhazel spritz, and continues with Mohonk Signature oil aromatherapy, and a back, neck, and shoulder massage with the same aromatic oil. Next comes a coneflower eye treatment with rose quartz eye massage to sooth away those stress lines and the Eco-Sampler ended with a soothing evening primrose eye cream, guided meditation and power nap. Kelly, my therapist, explained each step of the procedure so that I could give myself over to the experience without wondering what was going on or what was coming next. Surprises are never relaxing and Kelly was right on target with her explanation and her technique.
Afterwards, I felt wonderful and slipped into my bathing suit for a session in the sauna. I learned about sauna etiquette during visits to Finland and decided to try a little “fire and ice” therapy since it was snowing and the spa features a heated outdoor mineral pool. After 15 minutes in the sauna I felt toasty enough to attempt the outdoor sprint to the pool in the 20 degree mountain weather. Once ensconced in the warm steamy water, the snow hats the other hearty souls in the pool were wearing were literally an icebreaker and half an hour flew by while I was engrossed in pleasant conversation. Getting out of the now cozy pool was even harder then getting in but laughing helped and after a hot shower snuggling in the terry robe by the fireplace and watching evening fall was a perfect end to a perfect spa experience. Tomorrow: The Indigo Herbal Poultice Massage.
Snow had fallen all night and the fluffy white carpet outside made sitting in the spa all the more special. Today’s treat is an 80-minute combination deep heat, aromatherapy, and Royal Thai massage. Shiloh was my therapist and as with Kelly, I was impressed by her professional demeanor and gentle but knowing hands. The Indigo Herbal Poultice treatment was specifically designed for Mohonk and was inspired by the Indigo plant grown on Mohonk’s property. A combination of other essential oils, aromatic plants, spices, and healing herbs are gathered into a muslin pouch (which you are presented with at the end of the session so you can continue to enjoy its beneficial properties at home). The pouch is heated and applied in rapid movements along the body’s meridian points to ease tension, loosen sore muscles, and increase circulation. Afterwards Shiloh performed a Royal Thai Massage - which is somewhat similar to Shiatsu but which uses a different set of meridian points - along with acupressure, to relieve the body’s aches and pains and promote a sense of well-being. The session ended with a guided meditation and Shiloh had to literally peal me off the table, I was so relaxed.
I spent the weekend and enjoyed two out of the dozens of treatments available. There were a number of couples also dedicated to spa indulgences but there is so much to occupy your time at Mohonk that if your spouse is more into sports they will find much to do. Day trips to the spa are also available. For information on all services and rates visit www.mohonk.com or call 845.255.1000. To reach the Spa directly, dial 877.877.2664.
© February 2009 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.