Unwind at These Top Connecticut Spas

Let the best the state has to offer pamper and relax you from head to toe this summer.
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Location, location, location makes Connecticut an ideal quick-getaway destination for residents of the Northeast corridor.

No matter what time of year, the Nutmeg State's spas are a relaxing destination for stressed city folks looking to soothe their jangled nerves. Frazzled New Yorkers and Bostonians -- as well any summer road-trip visitors -- will find they have an abundance of relaxing and revitalizing options, all within easy reach.

The famed Mayflower Spa is one of the state's best examples; however, it can only accommodate 28 guests at a time. But don't despair if you're not among those currently holding reservations -- there are plenty of other stellar places where you can go to unwind.

Ditch the Dress Code


The Spa at Norwich Inn, there's never a reason to change out of a robe and slippers. Guests can relax on the complex's 42 beautifully landscaped acres, lounge in the inn's lobby or beside the indoor and outdoor pools and lunch on Amaretto shrimp, Caesar salad and molten chocolate cake, all in terry-cloth-clad splendor.

A variety of massages and facials, hand and foot therapies, wraps, body polishes and hydrotherapy are offered in the spa's 30 treatment rooms.

New treatments are added regularly, such as Rain Drop Therapy, which is not a massage in the classic sense but is marvelously relaxing nevertheless.

Here, the recipient is swaddled in sheets and blankets on a heated treatment table, while warm, fragrant essential oils are dribbled on the legs and back and smoothed in with long, soothing strokes. Next, a row of hot stones are arranged along the spine. After the heat has had time to penetrate, the stones are used to rub the back in a circular pattern; a gentle warm-oil massage on shoulders, neck, scalp and face completes the treatment.

Besides à la carte treatments, the spa offers packages such as Healthy Pleasures, which includes four nights' lodging, meals, six spa services, three fitness classes, two spa workshops and a mindful cooking class ($1,565 per person, double occupancy).

Other overnight packages include spa and golf (from $644 per person), Building Bridges, a two-night program for mothers and their teenage daughters (from $396 per person) and Personal Escapes (from $318 per person). There are also day packages for men ($210), women ($300) and teens ($175).

Group fitness activities such as belly-dancing and line-dancing classes, yoga, meditation and Pilates are available each day, as are one-on-one sessions including a fitness assessment and a take-home personal training regimen.

Lodging options range from quaint to contemporary. The recently upgraded and refurbished rooms in the historic inn, which was built in 1929, retain a cozy New England feel, with floral-print comforters on pencil-post beds. The inn, which is connected to the spa, contains standard rooms and suites, as well as a bar and restaurant.

The other option, townhouse-style units known as the Villas, are a short walk away. These have comfortable modern decor, featuring fireplaces, balconies and galley kitchens.

And for those who don't mind changing out of their robes, the Norwich Inn's concierge can arrange off-premise activities, including golf, horseback riding and dinner reservations.

Home Sweet Spa

At a time when it seems as if grandeur and glitz are becoming a de rigueur part of the spa experience, the

Spa at Grand Lake stands out for its gracious simplicity. The 80-plus-acre facility's welcoming attitude and laid-back atmosphere have made repeat guests out of happy campers from points near and far, some of whom have been Grand Lake regulars for years.

Daily rates, ranging from $216 to $354 per person, include accommodations, meals, a half-hour massage and a bevy of daily activities, such as heated yoga, woodland trail walks, meditation, tai chi, Nia and aqua fitness. Also included is use of the tennis courts, whirlpool, sauna, indoor and outdoor pools, and well-equipped gym, which has a Pilates reformer.

Evening activities, too, are part of the deal: Memoir writing, dance lessons, nutrition seminars, singing and entertainment have been on the after-dinner lineup recently.

The healthy multicourse meals are structured around fresh ingredients and are low in fat, sugar and salt. The chefs will also accommodate requests for reduced-calorie meals for anyone following a weight-loss program.

There's also a choice of treatments to add on to the daily agenda.

Reiki sessions, chakra balancing, mineral baths, ayurvedic facials and detoxing body wraps are just a few of the possibilities.

A Sure Bet


Foxwoods Grand Salon and Spa was designed to be a "little oasis of quiet and calm" in the Foxwoods Resort and Casino complex, according to spa manager Cathy Ormsby. "The goal was that people would not be able to hear the slot machines, not feel that they're in a casino," she says.

The space, decorated in restful, creamy hues, contains a pool, gym, treatment rooms, a salon and an outdoor terrace and sun deck. Hotel guests who have scheduled a treatment don't have to pay a fee to use the facilities; others must buy a $25 day pass.

The Raw Earth Stone Pedicure is the spa's signature treatment: The 80-minute experience includes a raw-sugar rub, a volcanic-clay mask, a hot-stone massage and a final application of therapeutic oils.

A deep-cleansing seaweed body peel, a Moroccan mud wrap and an anti-free radical detoxifying facial are also among the spa's more-unusual offerings.

Likewise, the

Elemis Spa at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino is like a resort within a resort. Guests can swim laps in the pool's Olympic-length lanes, enjoy the view from the wrap-around deck or order from the poolside cafe's extensive food and drink menu.

Order up a multistep "ritual" treatment from the spa menu, such as the Trail of Life, which includes an eye treatment, flower bath, manicure, pedicure, scalp treatment, reflexology and more. Or perhaps join the war against cellulite with the Cellutox Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap, consisting of a seaweed body mask with juniper and essential oils, a foil wrap and a face and scalp massage, topped off with a Swedish massage.

The spa keeps hours befitting a 24-hour casino -- it's open till 11 p.m., Friday through Sunday, and till 10 other nights.

In addition to the usual relaxing spa fare, Elemis has a variety of services ideal for a quick pick-me-up before returning to the action on the gaming floor. For example, try a 20-minute nap in a pod in the fitness center, which is said to be as restful as three hours of sleep, followed by a new hairstyle and makeup application in the salon. You might just feel refreshed enough to try your luck in the casino once again.

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Elzy Kolb is a freelance writer living in White Plains, N.Y. In addition to writing the monthly JazzWomen! column in Hot House magazine, her articles on the arts, travel, interior design and other topics have appeared in the New York Times, Interior Design magazine and The Stamford Advocate.