With the weather outside quite frightful, doesn’t lolling around sipping jasmine tea while snuggled up in a velvety throw before the fire as you wait for your hot-stone massage sound positively divine? If so, ditch the to-do list, toss some Lululemon wear in a weekender, and steal away to one of these nearby sanctuaries where even a day or two’s stay is sure to cure the most stubborn case of the winter blahs.
HUDSON VALLEY HAVEN
Transport yourself far, far away at this Asian-inspired refuge in the nearby Catskill Mountains.
Photo courtesy of Emerson Resort & Spa
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The Emerson Inn spa has an exotic Asian ambience.
Emerson Resort and Spa
Mount Tremper, NY
Two hours from White Plains
Don’t let the locale deter you. There’s nothing remotely kitschy or Borscht Belt-like about this elegant destination spa. When the original Emerson Inn suffered a devastating fire in 2005, it was totally rebuilt and re-launched in 2007. Having literally risen from the ashes—after all, its restaurant is called The Phoenix—the new Emerson is more enchanting than ever.
Design: Overlooking the lazy Esopus Creek with a view of majestic Mount Tremper, the Emerson with its unassuming exterior reveals little of the exotic ambience that awaits within. A décor rich in Asian artifacts, sumptuous furnishings, and majestic violets, blues, and reds immediately whisks one away from the kitsch of the Catskills to the mysteries of the Far East. The adults-only Inn houses 26 handsome, richly appointed suites with gas fireplaces, private decks, and oversized whirlpool tubs—and the spa, which you enter through a magnificent pair of 17th-century Rajasthan palace doors.
To Do: Indulge in a Bindi herbal body treatment, including botanical exfoliation, warm towel wrap, and facial; cozy up in a warm mud wrap; zone out in the sauna; and treat yourself and your honey to a romantic couple’s massage with warm herb- and ginseng-infused oils. Hit the 1,500-square-foot Nautilus fitness center, take a plunge in the resistance pool, and practice your downward-facing dog in the light-filled yoga studio. Or simply snuggle up with a good, thick read by the huge stone fireplace in the inn’s rustic great room.
Dining: Lighter, healthy fare—custom-made veggie and fruit juices, yummy smoothies, crisp salads, and homemade soups—can be enjoyed at the Spa Café for breakfast and lunch. For fine dining in the evening, enjoy modern American cuisine showcasing local Hudson Valley produce and ingredients at the sophisticated Phoenix Restaurant. And for the ride home, be sure to pick up some homemade gourmet goodies such as maple syrup, fudge, and honey at the Emerson’s Country Store, housed in an adjoining 19th-century barn.
A SEASIDE HIDEAWAY
Cozy up to a fire, drink in the views of Rhode Island Sound, and indulge in utterly hedonistic spa treatments in this Southeastern Rhode Island retreat amid vineyards and orchards.
Photo courtesy of The Stone House Inn.
Modern furnishings are a delightful counterpart to the rustic exterior and period detail of The Stone House Inn.
The Stone House Inn
Little Compton, RI
Three hours from White Plains
This circa 1854 inn, registered in the National Registry of Historic Properties, reopened last July with 13 sophisticated suites featuring fireplaces, deep tubs, and ocean or pond views. There are wraparound porches, a wide lawn sloping down to a private beach, a 59-foot Hinckley sailboat for sunset cruises along Narragansett Bay, a full service spa, and two restaurants headed up by star chef Paul Wade.
Design: After a multimillion-dollar restoration, this Italianate villa and barn feature a delightful mix of old new: original fireplace mantles with 19th-century scrollwork detailing, sleek Japanese soaking tubs lit up like movie sets, and platform beds topped with organic cotton sheets and the plushest featherbeds imaginable. The original cupola, lost in a hurricane, has been meticulously restored and now tops off a suite with panoramic ocean views. Old-growth yellow pine timbers salvaged from the barn were repurposed into tables and bar tops, and the ornate plaster ceiling in the parlor was restored to its original glory. Not only was the property historically preserved, but done so in the greenest of manners with a geothermal heating and cooling system, solar panels that provide for 100 percent of the lighting, and generous use of recycled slate, lumber, tumbled glass, and shells.
To Do: Of course, you have to stroll along the lovely little beaches, and bike around Sakonnet Point. But what you really want to do is spend lots of time in the spa. Opt for one of the “ceremonies” rituals, which starts with a meditative walk along a stone labyrinth, followed by an herbal foot bath, a soak in a deep tub, and a choice of massages, facials, wraps, and scrubs; choose 130 minutes ($330), 180 ($400), or 210 ($510).
Dining: A former speakeasy during Prohibition,1854 is a casual eatery located in the old tap room and has an enormous open hearth and loads of rustic charm. The prices are reasonable (entrées run from $12 for the Maine blue mussels to $31 for the grass-fed beef ribeye), the food delicious (the slow-roasted Hill Farms pork with mac and cheese and maple-infused apples gives new meaning to the term “comfort food”). Save room for the platter of handcrafted chocolate fudge for dessert. For a more formal experience (with prices to match: $21 for the short rib ravioli to $42 for the Wolf’s Neck Farms beef), try Pietra, which serves Tuscan-inspired cuisine. Both restaurants use locally grown ingredients from within a 25-mile radius of the property.
A STYLISH TRIBAL RETREAT
Indulge in an ultra-luxe spa experience in the countryside of upstate New York.
Photo courtesy of Skana Spa.
A whirlpool bath at the Native American-inspired Skana Spa.
Skaná Spa at Turning Stone Resort & Casino
Four hours from White Plains
The dazzling crown jewels of the Oneida Indian Nation’s 1,200-acre Turning Stone Resort & Casino are its spectacular Skaná Spa and adjoining Lodge, which together were recognized as the “Most Excellent Resort in the USA and Canada” by Condé Nast Johansens Luxury Travel Guide. Sure, you could try your luck at blackjack or catch a concert elsewhere on the sprawling property, but why would you want to ever emerge from this cocoon of coddling?
Design: The Lodge’s contemporary Adirondack design, accented with traditional Native American art and furnishings, makes it an especially relaxing refuge from PDA-dominated everyday life. The centerpiece of this all-suite boutique hotel is a soaring great room, an elegant interpretation of the traditional arched Oneida longhouse complete with fireplace with suspended flue, 10-foot-high ceilings, and oversized windows that afford sweeping views of the countryside. The spa itself also features such longhouse-reminiscent architectural elements as a 20-foot arched ceiling, rounded fieldstone walls, and a massive circular fireplace, as well as Native American-inspired decor such as tables fashioned from decorative drums, tree-root chairs, and buffalo-skin floor coverings.
To Do: Native American cultures recognized early on the therapeutic properties of all-natural flower-, herb-, plant-, and mineral-based ingredients. So do experience such traditionally inspired healing treatments as mineral-rich mud wraps, warm-stone massage, and revitalizing scrubs and soaks infused with such ingredients prized by the Oneida peoples as sweetgrass, sunflower, lavender, sage, and white pine. De-stress with the Balancing Waters Ritual, a self-guided procedure that alternates the use of hot and cool water with steam and dry inhalation. (And while the property’s American Indian sweat lodge is closed during the winter, participating in one of its interpretive ceremonies—a blend of drumming, chanting, storytelling, and lots of good old perspiration—is a must for any warm-weather visit.)
Dining: Dine on Continental cuisine that features fresh, local ingredients and a seasonal menu that includes Oneida beef at Wildflowers, the lovely on-site restaurant. Don’t wish to amble downstairs? Wildflowers also offers in-room dining.
AN OPULENT OASIS
Pamper yourself patrician-style at this exclusive Relais & Château retreat in Connecticut’s posh Litchfield Hills.
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Inn.
The Garden Room in the ethereal Mayflower Inn's Spa House.
75 minutes from White Plains
Long acclaimed for its elegant ambience and outstanding cuisine—some county residents drive up for the evening, just to dine—this fabulous, 58-acre historic country estate became even more fabulous three years ago, with the addition of an ultra-luxe, guests-only, 20,000-square-foot spa. Set on a hillside overlooking a tranquil pond, it made it into the coveted top spot of Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the best 50 spas in the country just six months after it debuted. Always an unabashedly romantic retreat, the Mayflower is now a just-about-perfect destination at which to rediscover one’s self, rekindle a relationship—or both.
Design: Thirty exquisitely appointed guest quarters—15 in the manor house and the remainder in smaller outbuildings, such as the just-steps-away-from-the-spa Allerton Cottage—showcase oriental rugs, antique four-poster canopy beds, walls papered in Regency stripes or Empire petit fleur, handsome fireplaces, and marble bathing chambers with mahogany wainscoting. Radiant heated floor tiles throughout contribute to the inviting ambience of the Spa House. Centerpiece of this ethereal space is the light-filled Garden Room, whose white-and-cream color scheme, accented by hints of sky-blue and silver, brings all the beauty—and none of the frigid temps—of winter indoors. The tranquil view from this chamber’s 16-foot-high windows rivals that of its art collection, including an original Willem de Kooning and venetian and mercury glass.
To Do: Soak in the mosaic-domed whirlpool; de-stress in the unique Thermal Sanctuary (a warming room using warm moisture in conjunction with light, scent, and sound therapies); swim laps in an indoor pool purified by natural ozone; join a guided hike through the countryside (snow shoes available); or pick up some hip-hop dance moves.
Dining: Savor a sophisticated dining experience in the elegant main dining room or the more casual Tap Room. Outstanding offerings feature fresh, organic ingredients—many grown in an on-site greenhouse—as well as naturally raised meat and poultry and local seafood.
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