I don’t know about you, but every few months the stress of life and work starts to catch up with me. I start running on empty and need a serious recharging of my batteries. The best pick me up is a little pampering. Sure, I’ll always try to squeeze in a massage or manicure at the local salons in my neighborhood but there’s nothing like actually getting away from the world, checking into a spa resort for an entire weekend and allowing yourself to turn off your email and phone and completely decompress. I did this for the first time ever just a few weeks ago by heading to the Poconos for a life changing weekend at The Lodge at Woodloch, the most amazing destination spa resort.
I arrived frazzled and overworked and unsure that I was capable of surviving a weekend of peace, quiet and zen. The New Yorker in me was already thinking about all the work and all the meetings I had to prep for in the weeks ahead. Staying present and appreciating the moment has never been one of my strong suits. But once I walked into the Lodge, I just instantly started to transform into a calm, centered person! First of all, I was there the weekend of a snow storm which was just magical. Fireplaces were lit up in every room, the giant picturesque windows overlooked the snow covered woods (and a deer or two poked their head out) and over sized couches seemed to be everywhere you turned, begging to be cuddled on. This was how I felt just from walking in the door. Now, let me tell you the nine reasons that I found The Lodge at Woodloch to be a small slice of zen/heaven on earth after an spending an entire weekend there.
1. Bathrobe Couture. While I was unpacking, I opened the closet and a big fluffy bathrobe was hanging there and calling my name. When I headed into the spa for the first time, I received an over sized, plush white robe. These are the types of robes you never want to take off, the types you wish were PC to wear all the time. Guess what? At Woodloch, the chicest way to dress for dinner is in your robe and slippers. Don’t want to change after your massage? You don’t have to . . . you don’t have to take your robe off the whole weekend if you don’t want to!
2. Amazing Guest Services. Seriously, everyone who works at the spa from the concierge to the instructors are just happy to help you with anything you may need. They truly want you to have the most stress free experience possible. It’s much appreciated knowing everything is taken care of.
3. Choose Your Own Adventure. One of my favorite parts of how the spa operates is that you’re in control of how much (or little) you do during your stay. You’re also in control of the types of activities you want your experience to focus on. When you arrive, you’re handed a schedule of all the classes and experiences being offered during your stay. It’s up to you to create your own itinerary based on your needs and interests. I wanted to find my center and think about what I wanted to achieve in the year ahead. So I took yoga and meditation classes as well as a journaling for self discovery workshop, a collaging course and met with the weekend’s visiting presenter, a wonderful handwriting analyst named Jo Coppola-Griffiths. The visiting presenters and courses are always changing so you can come back and have a completely different experience each time.
4. The Spa Amenities—and Pool! Besides receiving the most comfortable robe ever, the amenities in the spa are nothing short of ah-mazing and available to you whether you book a treatment (which you really really really should) or not. For starters, there’s a fireplace by the lockers to lounge, read a book or close your eyes. There are steam rooms (with a plunge pool next door), cold room (great for your pores) and a HUGE indoor pool that overlooks the snowy outdoors. You have your choice of an indoor jacuzzi or for the very brave who want to run outside in their bathing suit for just a few seconds—there’s an outdoor jacuzzi so you can warm up while the snow falls on you! And once you’re finished, you’re in for a treat because the showers are all PRIVATE. You step into your very own oasis to refresh. And, you can primp at a vanity station with all the products and touch ups you could need.
5. The Dining Experience. You know when you go to a restaurant you really love and you wish you could order everything off the menu—even if just to take a taste of each? Well you’re in luck because The Lodge at Woodloch wants you to keep your tastebuds satisfied. At every meal, you’re given a menu chock full of options that are healthy, balanced and above all delish. But the best part is you can order as many items as you want. I wanted the pumpkin pancakes AND the eggs with bacon and voila—I merged the two entrees into one dream breakfast. Also, the menu for every meal is filled with great options for those of you (like me) who eat gluten free or are vegetarian. And a tip? At dinner time, make sure you save room for dessert!
6. Fitness Your Way. From classes (every kind of yoga, ballet, cardio, spinning and more) to a full gym with weights and cardio machines, you really have no excuse but to get in some physical activity during your stay. A big motivator is you have an excuse to hit the lounge for a stint in the sauna or a cool off in those showers. But the classes are fun—when was the last time you took ballet at the bar and got to bow to your “audience” afterwards? Or when did you combine yoga with meditation and come out feeling fit mentally and physically? Exactly. Working out is part of the relaxation process here, I swear!
7. Cozy Rooms and Comfy Beds. My room had a little patio that overlooked the grounds—and imagine my delight when I saw a deer run by! Little touches like that (plus mint chocolates on your pillow every night) made you feel at home. And the beds? Both nights of my stay I was asleep in an instant—and could barely pull myself out of bed in the morning. Sleeping well is such an important part of staying balanced and healthy so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that The Lodge at Woodloch makes sure you get your beauty rest and then some!
8. Incredible Treatments You don’t think I’m going to tell you all about a destination spa resort and leave out the details of the amazing spa treatments? Of course not. You can get pretty much anything you want from a wide range of massages to facials to mani/pedis—and all are incredible. The spa staff really knows their stuff and help take you to a deeply relaxing place no matter what you opt for. I treated myself to a Chakra Massage which was part Reiki mixed with a massage. Reiki is a Japanese tradition that sends energy to the parts of your body that need it the most. My treatment included aromatherapy that matched each Chakra . . . I felt like a noodle afterwards . . . albeit a stress free noodle with more mental clarity than I had in years.
9. Perfecting the Art of Down Time. The Lodge at Woodloch has many areas with comfy couches next to fireplaces where you can sprawl out with your favorite book, play board games with fellow guests, write in your journal or sip a cup of tea (by the way, there’s always Mighty Leaf Tea on hand which has the best variety of flavors, in my opinion!) while looking outside. There are quite a few areas to choose from and it just depends on the ambiance you’re going for. If you want things super quiet, then head down to the Quiet Room by the treatment rooms where you can’t make a peep as you stretch out in a chaise lounge with a pillow and blanket. Grab a book or better yet, allow yourself to sit quietly with your thoughts!
One more thing worth mentioning—the spa really discourages you from spending too much time on your phone. In fact, they really would prefer if you did not bring it to the dining room at all. I was pretty diligent about only checking once a day and you know what—the world didn’t end during the time I was off the grid! And I have to say, I was only at The Lodge at Woodloch for a weekend but I learned a lot about myself and learned a lot of tools for living a happier and more balanced life that I’ve started implementing into my daily routine!
If you want to plan a weekend getaway to The Lodge at Woodloch, head over to their website now! Then tell us what you most want to experience at The Lodge at Woodloch by leaving a comment below OR tweeting @OKMagazine and me at @LBAuthor.