It was the peaceful aura that first soothed me. And then there were Audra’s calming hands as she began The Allison’s signature spa treatment, the Grape Seed Body Wrap. She followed a dry brushing with a scrub of grape seed, grape seed oil, lavender and sugar. Adding organic milk powder, lavender buds, essential oil, honey and wine to the blend, she next painted me with it before wrapping me in seven layers of hot towels, a thermal blanket and a top layer of plastic. The table I lay on was heated. The lights were low. Cool stones were placed on my face, and for 20 minutes, I floated into another space while Audra massaged my neck and my feet.
I was deep in Oregon wine country, in one of The Allison Inn & Spa’s 12 treatment rooms; and whenever I emerged from my dream-like state back to reality, I mused about the contrast between my resting here in such utter luxury and leisure and my first visit to Oregon wine country.
That was the early 1990s, when Oregon wine was still in its pioneer years. The region was a beautiful, rugged, untrammeled land with small, exciting start-up wineries and vineyards — and not much else. Certainly, it offered no luxurious accommodations, no fine dining. And spas? I doubt if anyone ever gave them a single thought. On the contrary, at that time I stayed in a modest motel and ate a modest meal in a modest restaurant. There were no other choices; that was it. Today, some 40 years after David Lett planted the state’s first Pinot Noir vine, Oregon wine country is still beautiful, still unspoiled. But now, the best of those small start-up wineries are well-established. Oregon is widely recognized as the producer of this country’s most notable Pinot Noir wines. And now the region offers luxury lodging, fine dining and a spa that pays homage to both the glorious countryside and to the state’s Pinot Noir grape. And they can all be found at The Allison.
Spas in wine country settings often include the local product in their treatments. Vinotherapy, they call it. The Allison gets more specific. It offers “Pinotherapy,” based on the grape that accounts for the state’s best-known red wine. But while it may first seem like undue pride in a grape, its Pinotherapy goes beyond pride. Medical tests have shown the Pinot Noir grape is especially rich in the powerful anti-oxidant resveratrol; its seeds, stems and skins containing up to four times more than other grapes.
Pinot Noir’s seed extract also helps maintain and stimulate collagen production, and by creating a barrier, it helps keep skin’s moisture level high. It also helps protect the elasticity and collagen fibers of the skin. And it fights free radicals. Pinot Noir, it turns out, is the rare product that both tastes good and does good.
After my body wrap, a shower and a shea butter moisturizing rub, I was ready for lunch, settled in a comfortable chair, feet up, in a lounge of soft greens and yellows, earth tones and ivory. My chicken salad was delicious although too big to finish. But I easily finished my beverage, a blend of berries, bananas, pomegranate, yogurt and flax.
And then to my facial with Nika. As I relaxed in another treatment room, she began with a lemon-based cleanser followed by a scented spray. She next applied an exfoliating masque of rosehip and maize, diluted with a few drops of herbal tea, and followed that with Mimosa Champagne Tonique. Now I was ready for a hydrating masque of Tokay ice wine made with fresh pulp of grapes and apples and then a massage with a grape antioxidant serum of concentrated grape extracts and Vitamin P. “This is the most potent of all our treatments,” Nika said. She finished with Rich Black Perlette, a super-hydrating moisturizer of grape extracts.
As well as the seeds, pulp and skin of Pinot Noir, The Allison’s beauty treatments also incorporate fruits, flowers, herbs and nuts grown in Oregon — among them chamomile, hazelnuts, lavender, berries, roses and more, all organic, all nourishing to the skin.
The Allison opened in 2009, the first luxury resort in Oregon wine country, its design and materials blending in comfortably with the rugged outdoors. I arrived at the stone and wood edifice and walked into a large, open reception with a back wall of glass. Like the outdoors, much of The Allison’s main floor is open space, with the reception flowing into a comfortable, cozy living room with a fireplace. That’s where I curled up to read and sip a glass of wine before dinner. The living room in turn flows into the Jory Restaurant and its long bar. The Allison’s 85 guestrooms are sumptuous and inviting; and, like much of the resort, the décor echoes the outdoors with shades of earth and ivory and soft gold, all sybaritic and restful. And featured throughout the guestrooms and public spaces are works by Oregon artists.
My treatments completed and feeling smooth and silken, I dressed, thinking about other treatments The Allison offers. What would I like to have on another visit? I’d opt for the soy paraffin treatment for hands and feet. I would follow that with a Pinot pedicure and a mimosa manicure. And I would happily surrender to another Grape Seed Body Wrap and a facial. I left the spa filled with a sweet serenity; and as I walked past The Allison’s indoor swimming pool, I had a momentary thought. I love to swim, and the pool looked so inviting. But no, I decided, not this time. I could not imagine diving down into water while I was still walking on air.
The Allison Inn & Spa
2525 Allison Lane
Newberg, OR 97132
tel 503 554 2525
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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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