Idyllic Indulgences

Four well-designed spa getaways.



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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

The Emerson Inn spa has an exotic Asian ambience.

Emerson Resort and Spa
Mount Tremper, NY
(877) 688-2828
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
(401) 635-2222
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.
—NLC