Chuck Baraw got it right. The CEO and owner of Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa toured far and wide before blending a spa into the landscape of the iconic Vermont resort. The result is an unexpectedly world-class spa experience in the sleepy mountain village of Stowe.
When Baraw and his team added the spa to the family-owned resort in 2003 (Baraw’s parents, Beatrice and Stuart Baraw, laid the foundation for today’s resort when they opened a modest motel on the property back in 1963), they integrated design elements Baraw had witnessed during pre-construction research. One of the simplest yet perhaps most important decisions involved separating the spa from the fitness center; they are located in entirely different wings of the main building. The philosophy? A spa is for relaxation. A fitness center is for exercise. The two are not necessarily complementary, especially when it comes to tone and ambiance.
I arrived at the spa reception desk on a warm but overcast summer day, ready to indulge in a much-touted Ayurvedic treatment. The lobby area and spa shop were about what I expected in a rural spa, but I entered an entirely different world when I rounded the corner into the inner sanctum. A half-dozen spa guests wrapped in plush robes reclined on lounge chairs in a state of pre- and post-treatment bliss. A few flipped through magazines or sipped herbal tea, but the overall atmosphere was hushed and relaxed. I headed for the locker room, where I shed my street clothes and donned a robe before slipping into my own lounge chair to await a call from my therapist.
While the Spa at Stoweflake offers plenty of traditional spa treatments and even a few quirky options based on local products — Vermont Maple Sugar Body Polish and Green Mountain Coffee Body Treatment — it’s the selection of Ayurvedic treatments, first introduced in 2005, that make it stand out from the crowd.
Ayurvedic treatments are based on a 5,000-year-old healing system native to India. The holistic philosophy holds that every living being possesses a unique pattern of energy made up of three elements, or doshas — vata, pitta and kapha — which must be balanced to achieve wellness. Stress, an unhealthy diet, even the weather can skew that balance, leading to discomfort or illness.
I had selected Abhyanga-Garshana. Garshana involves a dry lymphatic massage done with silk gloves. Abhyanaga is a warm herbal oil treatment. The silk glove massage is said to awaken lymphatic flow, optimizing the skin’s ability to absorb the therapeutic effects of the Ayurvedic oils.
Whatever the philosophy, I can honestly say I felt relaxed and balanced following the 80-minute treatment.
Balance is a theme that carries throughout the Spa at Stoweflake. While there may be others, it is the only New England spa I have visited that has an actual labyrinth on site. To be honest, I have a difficult time with labyrinths. I can clear my mind while practicing yoga or meditating, but I have never been able to “let go” while walking a labyrinth. Still, I believe it’s a worthwhile tool for finding inner peace, and I encourage others to give it a try.
For the uninitiated, a labyrinth is a meditative pathway. The labyrinth at Stoweflake is a classic, seven-circuit path, a winding walkway formed by hedgerows, herbs and other plants. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead ends; it’s meant to promote relaxation and clarity, not confusion, as visitors stroll the winding circuits to the center and out again. Dr. Patrick MacManaway, an author, holistic therapist, dowser and practitioner of geomancy (divination by means of lines and figures or by geographic features), designed and maintains the Stoweflake labyrinth, visiting periodically to tune its energy. In other words: Stoweflake takes its labyrinth seriously.
The same holds true for its spa treatments and its general focus on wellness. The Spa at Stoweflake isn’t an afterthought built into the year-round resort to capitalize on the spa market. It’s a destination unto itself created for all the right reasons.
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa
1746 Mountain Road
Stowe, VT 05672
tel 802 253 7355
JetBlue Vacations recently relaunched, offering travelers bundled experiences and allowing them to purchase flights, hotel stays, car rentals and more in one spot for one price. Bundles now include additional benefits, such as free in-flight beverages, earlier flight boarding and no change fees.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Ahead of its 20th anniversary, JetBlue will make several changes to its schedule and routes. This means new flights to Guatemala City, more flights in popular JetBlue markets and routes and adjustments to Caribbean and West Coast flights.
The Westin New Orleans recently completed a massive, $30 million revitalization, touching on every part of the hotel. Major renovations were made to guestrooms, social spaces and meeting and event spaces. New dining establishments and meeting venues were added as well.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Istanbul Airport added 25 sleeping cabins for passengers to nap between flights. The IGA Sleepod rents out cabins for €6 ($6.50) an hour between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and for €9 ($9.70) an hour between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
United Airlines recently announced the approval of 24 additional gates at Denver International Airport. United plans to grow its Denver hub from 500 daily flights to as many as 700 by 2025. The additional gates are part of the airport’s $1.5 billion concourse expansion and are planned for Concourses A and B. United will add a new United Club on Concourse A, as well as expand existing United Clubs at the airport.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.