THE OLD ADAGE GOES, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Perhaps it’s time we rethink the popular saying. The 21st-century spin: “Amethysts are a girl’s best friend.” I learned this firsthand while on a long weekend getaway to Charleston, S.C., with my own best friend, Jill, when we visited The Amethyst Spa & Nail Bar at the über-chic boutique hotel, The Restoration.
The property comprises five buildings updated and modernized for today’s most discerning guests while still boasting the genuine, Lowcountry hospitality for which Charleston is known. Enjoying a prime location on King Street, part of The Restoration’s charisma and appeal comes from its history: The first building, on the corner of King and Wentworth streets, dates to 1940, originally a restaurant, office and apartment building before an additional two stories were added in 1963. At 269 King St., the second building was originally a department store with connections to the Dillard family. Building Three, a classic example of a Charleston elevated row home from 1886 at 73 Wentworth St., now houses the hotel’s Port Mercantile. Dating to 1907, when it was built as an open-floor telephone and telegraph building, 77 Wentworth St. is the complex’s fourth building. The newest addition, 79 Wentworth, is a seven-story structure with 36 guestrooms and other in-house hotel outlets. The varied personalities, charms and historical uses meld today into the cohesive Restoration.
The Restoration prides itself on a strong sense of community, debuting programming and partnerships that engage hotel guests and locals while giving back to the area. Various initiatives include the fair-trade coffee partner Toby’s Estate, amenities partner Beekman 1802 and a local Artist in Residency program. All hotel guestrooms are suites, ranging in size and shape from studio and one-bedroom to two-bedroom balcony and residential rooftop suites. In addition to the spa, our stop for the day, public spaces include The Library, The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits, The Rise Coffee Bar, The Indigo Pool, King Street Rooftop, The Courtyard and The Port Mercantile Retail Store. Private event space is also available.
While it might be difficult to fully capture the essence of the space in words, one step inside the laid-back but charming, warm and inviting space and you instantly feel a level of comfort and calm — slipping us into the perfect mindset for our Amethyst Signature Meridian massages followed by lunch at The Watch.
I wanted to learn more about the healing properties of amethysts, as crystals were to be used in the treatment. The stone’s healing powers are used to help combat physical ailments, particularly of the nervous system; emotional issues; and in energy healing and chakra balance. Amethysts help one find spiritual awareness, inner peace and balance and enhance meditation and stress relief.
The spa itself is small, with just a few treatment rooms, a nail bar, reception area, a small changing space and a two-seat lounge area. The size and intimacy fit with the vibe of the hotel, and it felt as though we were indulging at our own private spa for the afternoon. After we took turns changing, we thumbed through magazines and chatted in the cozy lounge. As a result of a scheduling snafu, only one appointment was confirmed, but the spa staff quickly rectified the error, calling in the other masseuse. She arrived quickly, only throwing off our schedule by maybe 30 minutes. The staff also happily adjusted the other appointment so Jill and I could be on the same timetable and called the restaurant to adjust our lunch reservation. In the end, it was barely a glitch and barely a disruption to our peace.
In addition to amethyst crystals used along energy points and meridians during the treatment, my therapist placed a large rectangular amethyst under the bedding on the treatment table to work in tandem with the other crystals, magnetizing the negative energy from my body. After a brief consultation, my masseuse deduced the best massage techniques to apply on my muscles and used the stones and warm oils charged with amethyst, sapphire and aquamarine to relieve tension and rebalance my energy.
Other services available, in addition to a variety of massages, include body treatments, facials and a full nail bar. Many treatments incorporate precious gems, including the Pearl & Diamond Signature manicure or pedicure, the Sapphire Copper Energy Facial and the Diamond Dust Body Ritual.
Following our treatments, Jill and I convened in the lounge where we started, sipping green tea, savoring our few remaining moments of Zen and appreciating our rebalanced energies as we prepared to continue our exploration of the city of Charleston. But first we visited The Watch to take in the expansive — albeit cloudy — views of the city while enjoying a lobster roll. Grabbing a chai tea latte from The Rise Coffee Bar to warm us against the mid-November chill, we were fully armed to take on the city.
The Amethyst Spa at The Restoration
75 Wentworth St.
Charleston, SC 29401
tel 843 518 5116
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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