I sit in a stone nook inside a very warm, dimly-lit room. In my nook, I’m secluded as I stare, transfixed, at the glittering walls that surround me.
Blue mosaics sparkle as tiny overhead lights slowly change from white, to blue, to green. The scent of lavender dances all around me, pulling me deeper and deeper into a trance of tranquility.
Here in this otherworldly place, the mood is set for contemplation. Lucky for me, the room’s three other nooks are unoccupied. I have the entire room to myself.
My recollection sounds like something out of a fantasy novel, but I assure you that this room is real. It’s called the Herbal Laconium, and it’s part of the brand-new Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Last weekend, I spent a night at the Omni Homestead, and the time I spent in the SpaClub was one of the highlights of my stay.
Spas have always held a special allure for me. The idea of sipping cucumber water and pondering life’s biggest questions inside steam rooms and saunas is just such a decadent thought.
Canyon Ranch is one of the most prestigious and high-end spa brands in the U.S., with destination spas in Arizona and Massachusetts, and SpaClubs in Miami, Las Vegas, several cruise ships and, most recently, Virginia… So, they know how to do it right.
At the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Omni Homestead, the menu of spa treatments is extensive. In addition to signature Canyon Ranch treatments, some specialty treatments have been developed for the Homestead that embrace the region’s natural draws like the “Mineral Springs Mud Wrap” or the “Mineral Euphoria” soak using water from the resort’s natural hot springs.
But, personally, my favorite way to enjoy nice spas is by forgoing the pricey spa treatments (which here can run upwards of $150 per treatment) and opting instead to purchase a day pass to enjoy the spa’s facilities. $40 buys you access to their Aquavana “aquatic oasis” and the outdoor Spa Garden for the entire day.
I would have been happy to spend the day in indulgent relaxation, but I’m a busy gal! I only had two hours to enjoy the SpaClub, but still had an amazing time… here are some of my favorite experiences.
Aquavana (separated into men’s and women’s facilities):
This indoor retreat features a handful of rooms that you can wander throughout at your leisure. It’s incredibly tranquil and I had a lot of fun exploring and discovering which rooms were my favorites.
- Herbal Laconium: I’ve already established that this room was out of this world. If only I could have one of these rooms installed in my condo…
- Experiential Rains: If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to get stuck in a Caribbean downpour, this is the shower for you. Hot, warm and cool streams of water are integrated with light and audio to create multi-sensory experiences replicating an Atlantic Storm, a Caribbean Storm, and Arctic Mist. On one hand, it’s a shower. On the other, it’s one of the most interesting showers I’ve ever experienced and I spent a good 10 minutes testing out the different options over and over again.
- Aromatic Steam: This steam room is swelteringly hot, yet oddly refreshing due to the eucalyptus scent that dominates the senses. I felt all of the toxins from the previous day’s brewery tour disappear!
- The Chill: I have a low tolerance for very hot environments, so when the hot Aromatic Steam room became too much to handle, the Chill was my most immediate cool-down option. I opted to cool off using freshly-shaved ice flakes, but the brave can let cool mist rain on their steamy skin.
- Thermal Heated Lounges: These heated loungers overlooking scenes of dramatic waterfalls was a relaxing spot to zone out. But I didn’t spend too much time relaxing here, because I wanted to have plenty of time to enjoy the outdoor Spa Garden.
Spa Garden (a co-ed, adults-only environment):
The outdoor Spa Garden is luxury to the max. It’s a beautiful space and has all of the comforts expected of a world-class spa.
The deck and pools are heated year-round, but on this perfect summer day, I was thrilled to get to sunbathe in one of the comfortable mesh loungers, with views of the hotel. Besides the pool, whirlpool and loungers, I enjoyed a few other special features…
- A Hot Spring!!: My primary goal for the weekend was soaking in a real hot spring. The Spa Garden was built around one, and its rustic feel has been preserved for posterity’s sake. I was a little surprised to see that the old stone floor was covered in algae. It’s clear that the hot spring hasn’t been polished up to fit with the rest of the new spa. I feel like it’s been that way for centuries… and I absolutely loved it!
- Geothermal Reflexology River Walk: This was a really unique feature that used stones prettily arranged along a stretch of hot spring-fed water to focus on foot reflexology. It was fun, felt good on my feet and I did it a number of times!
My all-to-brief experience at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub gave me a little taste of the luxe life. Weaving together modern spa facilities, natural hot springs and extravagant elegance I could have easily spent a whole day (or more!) enjoying the experience. And while it’s not exactly close to D.C., I can see myself returning for special occasions and when I’m in need of some R&R.
I think that’s my new motto… Will travel for Canyon Ranch spa time.