Ho hum. If you’re not an avid outdoor enthusiast, you might be growing tired of winter by now. The Northeast has been in the grip of mighty cold and snow for the past couple of months and as I write this, half the U.S. is bracing itself for another arctic wallop. Europe has experienced quite the winter as well, particularly in Paris where I hear many fashionistas have gone so far as to trade in their stylish châpeaux for more practical knit hats—mon dieu!
Aside from cozying up on my couch with my kitties, an excellent cup of tea and a good book, I’ve found a trip to a spa to be the best therapy for curing mid-winter doldrums. (That’s, of course, after I’ve had fun in the mountain air.) Pampering and intense relaxation always warm my body and soul, leaving me to feel newly restored and ready to affront the cold or whatever else is thrown my way.
I love how almost no matter where we find ourselves, we can chose a spa experience that will transport us to a new and different healing space sure to transform us on many levels. There’s a spa out there for seemingly every mood and budget; it’s just up to us to seek it out.
When I flew into Denver recently, I experienced a treatment at The Oxford Club Spa just hours after I landed. Now this is how you recover from tiresome travels and acclimate yourself to the high altitude of the Rockies, I thought. I chose a facial that left my skin feeling plumped up, beautifully hydrated and well prepared for exposure to the cold, dry air of the West. Carried out by a fairy-fingered esthetician within a warm, dimly-lighted space, the treatment wrapped me in the same quiet luxury found next door at The Oxford Hotel, one of Denver’s most historic properties. I padded out of there, ambled a few blocks in LoDo (Denver’s Lower Downtown) and promptly fell into a deep state of relaxation within my hotel room. Never had I slept so well the first night at a higher elevation. Maybe next time I’ll even try a workout in their fitness room.
At the other end of the spectrum, travelers may indulge in a terrifically high-end spa experience at the Four Seasons George V in Paris. Unless you’re a die-hard minimalist, you’re going to love the Spa George V. If Marie Antoinette were around today, this is what she’d want her spa to resemble. Festooned in an array of eighteenth-century fabrics and furnishings, and a trompe l’oeil depicting the gardens of Versailles (located behind the indoor pool), yet fresh as the morning dew, the ambiance of this spa wraps you in cosseted luxury. And like at many other spas around the world, you don’t have to be a hotel guest to experience its charms, as long as you come for a treatment. So here’s my tip for transatlantic travelers: Arrive here directly from the airport and plan on spending a few hours to help you become acclimated to Paris. Often due to early morning arrivals people are not able to check into their hotel rooms right away, so leave your bags here, and conquer jet lag with one of the spa’s special massages, and then take a short nap behind a veiled curtain in one of their dreamy resting areas. I guarantee that this plan will change the course of your whole stay.
I think this is a good plan of action for spas all over the country as well, especially since traveling these days leaves us increasingly weary. Dealing with our daily routine can seem like a big expedition as well, especially during these storm-filled winter months. Thank goodness there are spas around the country to promote that ah-haaaa feeling.
The Oxford Club Spa, 1616 Seventeenth Street, Denver, www.TheOxfordHotel.com
Spa George V, 31 av George V, 8th arrondissement Paris, www.FourSeasons.com/Paris