Spa Relaxation

Courtesy of The Tides Inn
Courtesy of The Tides Inn

journey spa at the tides inn

Every spa has its own vibe, and the Tides Inn’s Journey Spa is pure Chesapeake. If water is the first and foremost medicine, as an old proverb claims, then Journey celebrates wellness and serenity with the rejuvenating power of the sea.

Intimate like the 106-room resort that houses it, the spa, which recently underwent an $18 million renovation, offers unique treatment customization.

“Journey Spa at the Tides Inn is one of the only spas in the region to offer picturesque views of the water from four of its treatment rooms,” says Carol Baetzel, director of communications for The Enchantment Group, which acquired the Inn in 2001. “This intimate boutique spa only offers six treatment rooms, allowing the staff at Journey Spa to personally tailor or customize the spa experience for each guest.”

Courtesy of The Tides Inn
Courtesy of The Tides Inn

With services for both men and women, the spa reflects the charm and hospitality of the region. A luxurious Spa Signature Package harnesses the healing powers of the ocean and promises to boost both the inner spirit and physical energy. Baetzel says it includes “a full-body scrub using exotic sea salts, a massage with sea algae-infused oils and the signature facial, which leaves you feeling relaxed and hydrated.”

Guests staying at the Inn may choose to book the Spa Tranquility Package, which includes a deluxe room, full breakfast in the restaurant or from room service and an hour-long spa service per guest per night. And, when planning, remember that the Inn is considered a well-kept secret for guests seeking a golfing paradise, a tennis and croquet find and a destination for local Chesapeake delicacies. Be sure to ask for a Wine and Oyster Trail takeaway picnic, whether or not you hit the trail.

The Tides Inn, chosen one of America’s 500 best hotels by Travel & Leisure this year, is a haven for sailors and boaters with the Chesapeake Bay to the east, the Rappahannock to the south and the Potomac to the north. –TM


• Men’s Journey Facial
• Tides of Change Body Treatment
• Ocean Energy Body Treatment
• Ginger Essence Hot Stone Massage
• Wild Jasmine Mist Swedish Massage
• Mother-To-Be Gentle Massage


The Tides Inn
480 King Carter Drive, Irvington, VA 22480; 844-244-9486



Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort
Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort

omni homestead resort and spa

The venerable Homestead, known as America’s first resort, has remained both historic and dynamic since Thomas Jefferson first sipped from its famed spring waters. Did he dip a toe in the springs? We’ll never know, but 21 more presidents have followed him to the Homestead, along with some 250 years of multigenerational guests happy to agree that this might also be America’s very first spa.

How does the place stay dynamic? By responding to guests’ needs. Those who came here as kids often married here, then brought kids, and perhaps grandkids, of their own.

The spa, too, while always renowned, now recognizes new millennium demands, tipping the scales into “super-spa.”

What makes the spa unique, if there has to be one thing, is the Aqua Thermal Suite. It’s an exclusive European-inspired oasis with a complete suite of thermal spa and sense-oriented cabins. They expose the body to a contrast of hot and cold temperatures, all enhanced by a creative play of light, sound and smell.

Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort
Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort

Spa experts suggest beginning with an Experiential Shower, a gentle cascade of water that either heats or cools the body. Then perhaps you might want to add the Herbal Cocoon, a dry-heat room where humidity gently warms the body. Finally, The Chill allows guests to cool down in gentle comfort.

Joyce Owens, director of the spa at the resort, says, “Our spa is unique because of the natural experience our many water features provide. The Octagon Pool and Deluge Showers in the adults-only outdoor Spa Garden and experiential showers in the Aqua Thermal Suite are all supplied by the hot springs on property.”

Guests responses? Happy sighs.

Since The Homestead became an Omni property, the spacious spa and wellness centers have become centerpieces of the resort, taking advantage of the “heal by water” philosophy long inherent in the natural springs approach. An expanded and enhanced workout center adds to the healthy ambiance, as does the local farm-to-table culinary option now available at the resort. –TM


• Aromatherapy
• Couples Massage
• Deep Tissue Massage
• Hydrotherapy
• Anti-Aging Facial
• Acne Deep-Cleansing Facial


Omni Homestead Resort and Spa
1766 Homestead Drive, Hot Springs, VA 24445; 540-839-1766



Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental
Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental

the spa at the mandarin oriental

This 10,500-square-foot spa, rated a four-star winner by Forbes, is arguably one of the area’s finest. Walk through the door and discover its serenity-making secret: Zen.

“Our spa enjoys a Zen-like ambience and is an oasis of holistic therapy for the body, mind and spirit,” says Ashli Kimenker, director of communications at the Mandarin Oriental.

Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental
Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental

The spa’s signature therapies have been designed in consultation with traditional Chinese medicine specialists and master aromatherapists to achieve serenity and harmony. The trademarked Time Rituals urge guests to book time rather than specific treatments, allowing staff to determine the most harmonious approaches.

Previous guests enthusiastically recommend the Bamboo Massage, using heated bamboo rods rather than stones. The Oriental Body Wrap and Cherry Blossom Massage Treatment also are favorites.

“Every spa guest who books a body treatment or facial is invited to relax in our glorious heat and water oasis, soothing muscles and loosening limbs to prepare the body for the deepest therapeutic experience,” adds Kimenker. “The spa facilities include eight treatment rooms, two dedicated beauty suites, heat and water experiences—including vitality pools, experience showers, steam room and sauna—Zen Relaxation rooms and a spa boutique.”

Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental
Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental

Full-day spa sessions include the serene finale of a bento box lunch, which also may be added to any selection of therapies.

Post-spa, guests can enjoy the Empress Lounge overlooking the hotel garden, a place to complete the relaxation process. The Lounge provides handcrafted cocktails, light fare and a wide selection of spirits and beer, as well as afternoon tea service on the weekends. Newly renovated, the Lounge features fire pits, exclusive menu options and alfresco dining on the expanded terrace—consider grilled peaches and goat cheese with peach sangria. –TM


• Oriental Harmony Body Treatment (scrub, massage and foot bath)
• Revitalizing Journey (orange-peel scrub, moisturizing massage with hot stones)
• Thai Journey (meditation, yoga, Thai massage)
• New Life Ritual (for expectant moms after the first trimester; shea butter, exfoliation, foot bath, gentle massage)
• Shiatsu
• Oriental Body Wrap


The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental
1330 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20024; 202-554-8588


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(September 2015)