Gideon Putnam Resort, located on the grounds of the spectacular Saratoga Springs State Park, recently launched a new healthy getaway package during National Wellness Week and I was fortunate to be one of the first to experience it.
After the relaxing drive upstate, we checked in and headed down to a welcome reception of Bellinis and munchies while reviewing the dinner menu of healthy, locally grown ingredients. Executive Chef Brian Sterner has partnered with local, certified organic farmers to ensure the freshest, healthiest offerings. He also has plans for future on-site gardens that will yield fresh herbs and seasonal produce.
The next day began early with a continental breakfast of feel-good options like fruit and oatmeal, followed by a tour of the striking Georgian Revival-style hotel. This historic national landmark opened in 1935 and the 120 guestrooms were recently refurbished and updated, but still retain the charm of that era. The resort is continuing to improve the buildings and grounds, which hold its famed mineral springs. This grand hotel has hosted renowned guests since it opened, including the likes of Fred Astaire and Cary Grant, to Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews.
Kim Rossi is the Roosevelt Baths and Spa Director, as well as an ayurvedic consultant and certified in numerous disciplines of yoga. Kim led us on a 10-minute walk to see the natural mineral springs geyser, explaining the mineral and salt rich water is low in sulfur, so it doesn’t have that “rotten egg” scent that can be so off-putting.
After the walk we participated in Kim’s Kundalini yoga class. She said Kundalini is known as the “yoga of awareness” and explained, “Kundalini Yoga consists of active and passive kriyas [completed actions], pranayama [extension and control of breath] and meditations that target the whole body system [nervous system, glands, mental faculties, chakras] to develop awareness, consciousness and spiritual strength.” I found this combination of specific, intense movements and breathwork the most satisfying and transformative form of yoga I’d ever tried.
Lunch was another tasty, fresh and healthy meal. While we ate Kim presented a slide show explaining the science and benefits of the ayurvedic lifestyle. Ayurveda, which originated in India, is considered the oldest system of natural medicine and a sister science to yoga.
Fueled by lunch and new insights to ponder, I took a brief shuttle to Roosevelt Baths and Spa, named for Franklin Delano. As governor, Roosevelt established the Saratoga Springs Commission to manage the spa’s development in 1930. Stepping into this building I could imagine myself surrounded by characters from those bygone times “taking the waters,” as it has long been called.
Once I checked in and changed into my robe, Donna led me to a facial room. The 30-minute Petite Facial did not include a mask or extractions, but it was nearly as relaxing and just as beneficial. She used GM Collin, a high-end cosmeceutical line derived from natural plant and marine extracts. These award-winning products and Donna’s expertise provided excellent results.
I had time after my facial to relax in the waiting room, which had a falling water feature, comfortable lounges and a more modern ambience. I was nearly nodding off when the bath attendant collected me and led me to my treatment room. Along with the massage table, there was a tub in the room filled with the famous local mineral water.
According to Kim, the mineral water contains high amounts of negative ions, which help promote feelings of physical and psychological wellbeing and naturally increases blood circulation and cell oxygenation. This increased blood flow eliminates toxins from the body and also nourishes the tissues and vital organs. Body metabolism increases by stimulating the intestinal secretions and helps improve digestion. Soothing and relieving to skin irritations such as dermatitis, psoriasis and fungal infections, it also aids in the healing of cuts and wounds.
The tub was four feet deep and perfect for soaking comfortably right up to my neck in the naturally effervescent water. Every slight movement collected tiny bubbles that lazily drifted along my skin. It was easy to understand why the Mohawk and Iroquois tribes revered the mineral waters as healing. I could also see why by the mid-1800s, several bathhouses had sprung up in the area and their popularity continues to grow.
The bath attendant returned with a warmed towel and after I dried off, I settled on the table. Peter, my massage therapist, came in and proceeded to give me a vigorous Swedish massage with Judith Jackson aromatherapy oils. Peter was very skilled and careful to make sure his pressure was comfortable for me.
The day of healing and pampering in this historic spa resulted in an unplanned afternoon nap back in my room before dinner. Choosing to leave the group and explore the area on our own that evening, my husband and I drove downtown to find it hopping with a lively nightlife. We eventually found ourselves at the nearby Saratoga Casino and Raceway, where we had a delicious dinner overlooking the track.
Saratoga Springs is one of my favorite getaway destinations, with its history, healing and horses. Gideon Putnam plans to offer their special Wellness Week packages each spring and fall, but you don’t have to wait until the next one to “take the waters.” The hotel is open all year round, along with those amazing baths and spa.