One lesson which I have learned in my years is that you should not wait around for someone else to take care of you…you need to take care of yourself! Following this mantra, I recently decided to treat myself in honor of my birthday (I am officially 36 now). I wanted to treat myself to a day at a fabulous spa…a destination spa seemed to fit the bill; however, I wasn’t prepared to lay down the thousands of dollars normally associated with a trip to a destination spa. Therefore I decided to explore ways in which I could do a destination spa on a day spa budget. In the end, I chose to visit the spa at Mohonk Mountain House. Located just 90 miles north of NYC, this spa is a lovely retreat from the hustle and bustle. Sorry no photos may be taken inside of the spa itself, but I got some lovely pictures of the grounds! Here are some tips for visiting a destination spa near you while keeping to a day spa budget:
- Do your research. After determining the distance which you are willing to travel within a day, look up all of the destination spas within that radius. Once you have identified spas within your chosen area, then you can begin to narrow your search. Some great search options? Spa Finder can be a great resource in addition to traditional search engines.
- Opt for a spa with a lot of ambience…then choose a less expensive service. I have been to the spa at Mohonk Mountain House several times now. One of the really cool things about this spa is that as a spa guest you are allowed access to the rest of Mohonk and its grounds for the day. The spa is very serene; it boasts a heated mineral pool, a eucalyptus steam room, a sauna, a veranda and a solarium with a huge fireplace. While my services have always been very nice, I really feel that a huge portion of my experience is always just spending time at the spa itself. Therefore, I have found it best to opt for a less costly service. This way I get to enjoy a spa service, without breaking the bank, and still spend much of the day luxuriating in the many amenities which are offered at the spa. By the way…generally destination spas do offer a multitude of lovely amenities!
- On that note, be sure to take advantage of ALL of the spas offerings! Many destination spas are located on large grounds. You can plan a full day at the spa by taking advantage of all that the spa has to offer. For example perhaps you will opt to begin your day by checking in, then soaking in the hot tub before your massage. After that you may choose to take a pre-packed picnic lunch (I ALWAYS do this) out onto the grounds. This can be followed with a leisurely stroll prior to your afternoon facial. Another great option? Bring a book to read or a journal to write in. Many destination spas also offer a variety of fitness classes to choose from.
- Look for spa packages or promotions. Often spas will group together a series of services and offer them (at a slight discount) in the form of a package. A number of spas also run seasonal promotions.
- Set yourself up for relaxation. Perhaps you have a friend who you would love to spa with. Maybe you are happy to be blissfully alone. Regardless of your preference, be certain that you plan to keep your day drama-free and to spend it without toxic people who will drain your peaceful state. Remember…your spa day is all about Y-O-U!
***By the way…here is what I did at the spa at Mohonk Mountain House:
- Soaked in the outdoor heated mineral pool.
- Enjoyed the eucalyptus steam room.
- Loved the heat in the sauna.
- Had a delicious 80-minute massage with Sean Thompson (seriously the deepest deep-tissue work I have ever had…if you like really deep work, then he is your LMT).
- Ate a picnic lunch.
- Hiked around the grounds.
- Did some exploration of the main house along with some shopping.
- Lounged by the fire.
- Relaxed on the veranda.
- Enjoyed a generally lovely day!
My final cost (including the pre-included 18% gratuity)? $212.40…for the entire day! Please note that most destination spa stay’s final costs total in the thousands! So why not get creative, spend just a day at a fabulous destination spa and enjoy yourself immensely?! Ahhh!