Spring is a great time of year to re-energize with a spa weekend. On your next relaxing retreat, stay at one of these five eco-friendly spas—be it in a city, by the sea, by a lake or in a quaint village—without the hassle, expense and environmental hazards of driving. Check out our list of spa getaways near NYC for ideas.
1. Gideon Putnam Resort & Roosevelt Baths and Spa, Saratoga Springs, NY |
The Best Bath You’ve Ever Had
Located within Saratoga Spa State Park’s beautiful grounds, the Gideon Putnam Spa Resort is a few minutes walk from the Roosevelt Baths and Spa. Bike, jog or hike the 2,000-acre State Park’s lush trails or play a round of golf on the championship 18-hole course. In winter, you can rent snowshoes and mosey on over to your Mineral Bath. In summer, take a dip in the spacious Victoria Pool, a popular way to cool off. The hotel has a free shuttle that will take you anywhere that you want to go in town. Don’t miss dinner and an evening stroll down Broadway in this preppy–meets- hippie locale. Breakfast is a no-brainer, as Saratoga is home to Mrs. London’s, whose fair-trade coffees and organic baguettes draw a large local crowd. Tear yourself away from the town’s main drag and explore the quirky shops and galleries along Beekman Street for added local flavor. You may just join the many who love Saratoga year-round, not just during its six-week racing season.
The Roosevelt Baths and Spa is an everyman’s spa, no snobby airs of exclusivity here. Its proletariat aesthetic features original black and white tiles from 1935 covering the hospital-like long corridors. Don’t let the clinical look of the place deter you, because this is the real deal. In the European tradition, you come to Saratoga not only to take the water, but to drink the water. Fountains of the mineral springs’ waters are not to everyone’s taste, but they are known for their health benefits. The signature treatment here is an egalitarian-priced 40-minute Mineral Bath. Plunge in to the original cast iron tub, deep and full of lukewarm water. The water’s high level of natural carbonation causes delicate effervescent bubbles that make you feel as if you are bathing in champagne. And for a mere $25, it’s cheaper than purchasing a bottle of bubbly. A sparse candle and soothing music help the minutes pass quickly, and before you know it your attendant is back to hand you a hot towel. The Roosevelt is proud to be recognized as a top 10 New York State Green Destination as well as meeting the stringent requirements of being an Eminence Green Spa.
How to get there: Take Amtrak from Penn Station to Saratoga Springs in just over three hours. Or you can visit megabus.com to book your bus ticket. Adirondack Trailways bus serves Saratoga as well. Several hotels, including the Gideon Putnam offer shuttle service, so inquire when you book your room.
2. Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa, New Castle, NH |
History Majors Need TLC Too
When was the last time you received a massage where famous treaties were signed and presidents (Teddy Roosevelt) received a Nobel Peace Prize? This hotel is steeped in history—it played an important role in the Treaty of Portsmouth, which formally ended the Russo-Japanese War in 1905—and retains a sense of old-world grace. The bar and restaurant are noteworthy, and the Sunday brunch draws regulars from Boston, an hour away.
This spa doesn’t let you forget your proximity to the ocean. How about a Warm Stone Massage ($110) using ocean-polished stones found on a nearby beach? Or a soothing Seawater Pearl facial ($115) that utilizes marine-based products? The Wentworth’s full-service capabilities coupled with the gentle sea breeze will prepare you for a fast-paced spring. (No animal tested products are used in any of its spa treatments, a bonus for animal lovers.)
How to get there: Bargain-priced Megabus will bring you right to Boston’s South Station for a smooth connection. To get to Portsmouth, take the C&J Trailways line from Boston’s South Station to the Portsmouth/Pease stop, which takes an hour. From Portsmouth, you can catch a taxi to the Wentworth, or give the hotel a call a few minutes before you are pulling in, and they just may send the hotel van to pick you up.
3. Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, Old Saybrook, CT |
Divas Need Pampering Too
The Saybrook Point Inn is a delightful, family-owned Inn with Long Island Sound views. It is located on a marina so you will be in pole position to envy the gorgeous yachts. Rooms are spacious with seaside terraces. It’s a laid-back sort of place, where guests can swim in the indoor and outdoor salt-water pools before and after their spa services. The Health Club offers lots of exercise classes, both in and out of the pool. The Inn’s restaurant, Terra Mare, promotes Connecticut ingredients in its fresh cuisine and features live music on select evenings.
Katherine Hepburn was a long-time resident of this quaint town, and the spa pays homage to its hometown girl with its signature treatment, The Kate. For 75 minutes, you will be scrubbed, wrapped and moisturized, before showering and moving onto a Thai-inspired massage and foot reflexology. If you are on the fence about which spa service to choose, The Kate, with its mélange of head-to-toe remedies, is sure to please. At $118, the price is right for such decadence. The treatment uses seasonal indigenous ingredients like apricots and blueberries in its products. Every part of you will receive attention, and you can feel like the diva you were born to be. The Spa features a full array of services and is committed to preserving the surrounding environment. Saybrook Point Inn & Spa is proud to be the first Green hotel in Connecticut. Sustainable practices are incorporated into the daily operations of the Spa from protocols to products.
How to get there: Amtrak from Penn Station to Old Saybrook Station in two hours. Taxi from the Station to the Inn in minutes, or if you are travelling light, walk through this charming town’s Main Street, keep going until you hit the Long Island Sound and the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa will be on the right.
4. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA | mandarinoriental.com
Mind, Boston & Soul
The Mandarin Oriental is one of the most luxurious retreats in Boston. If you haven’t been to Beantown in a spell, spring is an idyllic time of year to spend a weekend here. The Public Gardens are blossoming, and you have your choice of great museums, from the quirky Isabella Stewart Gardner to the vast Museum of Fine Arts to the contemporary works and breathtaking waterfront views at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Dining choices are bountiful, like the North 26’s more modern take on local favorites.
Who says a great spa has to be in the boondocks? The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is an oasis of calm in the middle of Boston. This sanctuary of well being offers fabulous therapies that draw from around the world. The heat and water meditative space has an experience shower with four different settings, all with appropriate music to accompany the cascade. (Think of it as a sophisticated amusement park for the body and spirit.) Then it’s on to the Quartz Crystal Steam Room, with its funky embedded crystals deep, then Vitality Pools with jets in all the right places. The list of possible treatments is tempting. Stay local and try the New England Retreat, which incorporates local products in a 1 hour and 50 minute paradise that includes a foot bath, full body exfoliation, massage, moisturizing body mask, and an assisted stretch for the grand finale. It is worth every penny of the $260/weekday, $280/weekend fee.
How to get there: You can take Megabus to South Station, a short ride on the T from the Mandarin Oriental. Take the Red line two stops to Park Street, where you transfer to the Green line, three stops to Copley. Walk up Boylston, past the Public Library, and the hotel will be on the left.
5. Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, Lake Placid, NY
An Adirondack Classic
The tranquil waters of crystal clear Mirror Lake are soothing to behold. The inn is perched on a hill, and offers a private beachfront with kayaks, canoes, and other non-motorized boats for guests. In colder months, skating, ice-fishing or dog- sledding across its tundra-style surface is available. The family-owned inn’s charms are apparent from the moment you arrive, from the wood-paneled library to the home-baked chocolate chip cookies, to the gorgeous rooms and suites.
The vibe is so calm at the Mirror Lake Inn, one might think a spa treatment is redundant. Think again. Try the Seaweed Body Wrap ($135), and for 50-minutes, you will be cocooned in a luscious, emollient seaweed mask, ridding your body of toxins as you float weightlessly in a European Soft Pack water-bed. The Adirondack Maple Sugar Body Scrub ($130) is the treatment of choice for those seeking locally sourced ingredients, as local maple sugar is used to hydrate and exfoliate your skin. The resort is justifiably proud of their conscientious approach towards the environment and lowering their carbon footprint while maintaining luxury and supreme comfort for their guests. The menu at The View, the Inn’s much-lauded fine dining venue, offers nightly specials that feature local ingredients, as well as low-fat options that should keep you feeling light after your spa treatment.
How to get there: Adirondack Trailways from Port Authority to Lake Placid in five hours. You can get everywhere you want on foot in this pedestrian’s paradise of a town.
Allison is a native New Yorker, who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto and Los Angeles. She frequently contributes travel pieces to Family Travel Forum, using her own children as guinea pigs as they travel the globe. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. Her background as an Early Childhood Educator gives her an added understanding of what it takes to travel with kids in tow. She firmly believes that the most important part of education takes place outside of the classroom, on the road, around the world. She never misses a chance to sample local delicacies, as her love for travel goes hand-in-hand with her love for food and wine. Follow Allison at @gourmetrav.