You flip the calendar into May and realize the month will sail by in the breeze of graduations, Mother’s Day and wedding showers. But the pressure is on as you spot Memorial Day lurking down on that last week. You know what I’m talking about, right? Memorial Day means Bathing Suit Season!!! So the big question is: how best to prepare? Certainly, you can pull out your old Weight Watcher’s points guide or your South Beach three week plan, and you can return to your gym regime or walk with the office crew at lunch, but I want to remind you of another consideration in your bathing suit preparation: caring for your skin!
I must admit I consider myself a spa connoisseur or at least a spa devotee, and have explored treatments from the mountain region around Santa Fe, at the glorious Ten Thousand Waves, to various Ryokans along Japan’s Pacific coast. In my travels I have observed that being clean is an art; and shedding the old skin and reviving the new is the perfect spring ritual.
Now, I know what you are thinking: spas are pricey and therefore left in the luxury category of your financial priorities. There is no question, this is the truth, but I have found a way to indulge in the spa experience two or three times a year and not have it break my bank. How? you ask. I have discovered “off-season” rates. Now while it is true not everyone lives right on top of a seasonal vacation destination, just about every area of our county has a need for locals to take advantage of their facilities, and will do what they must to draw folks, specifically by offering lower rates during their slower months.
Case in point, is the Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vermont. The AAA Four Diamond Resort is twenty minutes from my door when the mountain road is open, and offers a plethora of skin, hair and body services guaranteed to transport one back to their 20-something self. For all of April and May as well as the first half of June, this resort spa offers a two-for-one sale as well as mid-week specials, and specific discount days for local residents; in my experience I found this practice quite common during off-season. Stowe, not a town known for bargain anything, boasts several hotel spas, each with pools and saunas and sanctuaries filled with lush robes and abundant amenities, and all competing to fill their appointment book during the months when skiers are vacationing elsewhere. Call around to any of the luxury hotels near you and find what specials they offer.
Every spa that I have encountered encourages you to make use of their facility before and after your treatment. Locations vary, so be discerning as you search, as in weight training or cardiovascular or aerobic studios, indoor or outdoor pools, or healthy food offerings. During my day at the spa, I took advantage of a practically private yoga class, read in the spring sunshine before taking a few laps in the pool, and spent delicious minutes in the women’s only sauna. Another perk was the discounted lunch offered upon my arrival, and brought to me poolside. Yes practically free, yet still made by the house chef!
Once you locate the best spa deal, your next dilemma will be how to choose from the exhaustive list of offerings. My best advice: start with their signature services. All over the world, spas are making use of their local talents and local products to create unique experiences for their clients. I booked such a treatment, called the “Mount Mansfield Saucha” which starts with a sea salt exfoliation to remove the tired skin, then a wrap in hot linens soaked in a detoxifying blend of Vermont herbs and flowers before a full-body massage with revitalizing essential oils. Seriously, can you say, RENEW ME any better than that???
For my second treatment, I focused on my face; after a long winter who doesn’t feel the need for a facial? My chosen spa, (again, I find this to be common practice), offers a customized facial. My skilled therapist conducted a skin analysis and then proposed a procedure to leaving my face, neck and hands balanced, hydrated and revitalized. Like all the practitioners I have encountered at this resort spa (which is the reason I come back), this therapist was highly skilled. I felt pampered and literally glowed after her competent attention.
Convinced you can’t do without such an experience? Perhaps I should also mention the complimentary array of teas and fresh fruit, the seating areas nestled around fireplaces, the chaise chairs clustered around the pool, the team of extraordinary people ensuring your perfect day… and yes, all at a reduced price! Grab your best friend, schedule a date with your daughter, surprise your mother, or head off for a day of solitude: no matter how you manage it, book a day of renewal. Your skin and your spirit will thank you during the upcoming summer months!