Spa Roundup 2012 – The Spa at Cranwell

Cranwell Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts is set on 380 acres with a golf course, outdoor heated pool, glass-encased indoor pool, 96 deluxe guest rooms housed in several buildings and most importantly, the world-class Spa at Cranwell. We stayed in Wyndhurst, the Tudor-style building referred to as “the Mansion,” built in 1884 by John Sloane, a relative of the Vanderbilts. The Mansion houses the resort’s two fine restaurants and eight suites.

When we entered the Mansion, its dark wood paneling and French tapestries immediately swept us back to that sumptuous era between 1880 and 1920 known as the Gilded Age. Our huge and elegant suite, featuring a nearly chest-high king size bed and shoulder-high fireplace, offered a stunning, unfettered view of the Berkshire Mountains.

Once we settled in, we went down the grand staircase to the Wyndhurst dining room for dinner. We enjoyed the decadently grilled salmon and amazing risotto-stuffed portabello mushrooms. We were also glad we redeemed the offer we received when we checked in for a complimentary bottle of the house cabernet, Cranwell’s own label is terrific. A shared apple tart finished our meal, but the real dessert was walking the grounds to marvel at the brilliant stars in the huge night sky.

The next morning, after an excellent breakfast in the Mansion’s Music Room restaurant, my husband set out to explore the area, and I took the short walk over to the spa. I changed into a robe and spa slippers in the locker room and relaxed in the waiting room, which had luxurious lounges facing a fireplace and a station stocked with water, tea and coffee.

imageKim fetched me when it was time for my facial and led me to a room with a soft, comfortably warmed treatment table. The Carita Lagoon Hydration facial merges the highly effective Carita products with exclusive massage techniques, along with Kim’s talent and skill. Her firm but gentle fingers and the quality of the high end Carita products combined for one of the best facials I’ve ever experienced. My face was luminous and very happy.

After a cold spa lunch of my choice and relaxing in the waiting room, Kacie collected me for the Grand Mosaic body treatment, which employs the Decleor line with pure essential oils and floral extracts. This was unlike any other treatment I’ve ever had. First, I had a full body exfoliation. Without washing off the scrub, Kacie applied a masque chosen for my specific skincare needs. Next, I moved over to a special table where she wrapped me in a fleece cocoon and a waterproof covering. When I was completely wrapped up to my neck, I was lowered into warm water, so I experienced a sort of weightlessness. Dry from my cocoon wrapping, I floated in this water for about 20 minutes, which helped increase the absorption of the beneficial masque.

I could have stayed that way for much longer, so comforting and warm as it was. But when it was time to come out, I showered for my massage. Kacie used warmed body balms with essential oils, careful to give special attention to needy areas, for a masterful and healing massage. The entire treatment lasted two hours. If you do nothing else here, this is the treatment you want to try.

This beautiful facility is included in 100 Best Spas of the World, a guide by Pequot Press, and having been to nearly that many spas over the years, I couldn’t agree more. This is a spa well worth the trip.

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When I left for my walk back to the Mansion, I stepped into another world. It was softly snowing and nearly half a foot had already fallen in the four hours I was in the spa. It was spectacular. I was reminded of a line from James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James.” Walking down the cleared pathway, “…the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting.” When I reached my room, I went right to the window and was greeted by the most beautiful view of the frosted mountains.

That evening, we called for a shuttle to bring us across the grounds to Sloane’s Tavern, the resort’s casual pub-style restaurant. We sat at a table near the window and enjoyed a meal—pulled pork for me, and a burger for him—while taking in the beautiful snowscape. It was then that we agreed to put Cranwell on our list of places to revisit, summer for golf and autumn for long, foliage-enveloped walks.

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at toni@lipulse.com.