In honor of spa week: Nemacolin Woodlands

Apr 16, 2009 by

In honor of spa week: Nemacolin Woodlands

Ok, some of you may have heard of a little resort out in Western Pennsylvannia called Nemacolin Woodlands.  Those of you who haven’t, you’re welcome.  Think of it as the Greenbrier or the Homestead, but with a cabin or french theme in the country.  They also have Falling Rock, inspiration taken from the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Rock.


So not only is it a really nice resort, it happens to have my all-time favorite spa.  Oh yes, readers, ultimate favorite.  Now there are still a lot of spas in the world I will get to at some point, but I have a pretty long list of visited ones.  If I ever find one that tops this place you will know.

What I love about it:

First off the spa was designed by someone trained in Feng Shui.  I don’t really believe in all that stuff, but it translates to very clean, comfortable design.  The colors are muted and there is a lot of natural wood used.  I like the use of circulating water which makes for a really peaceful sound barrier to noises, and it looks nice too.

The spa is multiple levels, you enter on the top level, saunas and steam rooms are on the middle level, spa pool and deck on the lower level.  Treatment rooms are on the middle and lower level.

On the top level they have a saloon, which for out in the middle of nowhere in between Deep Creek Lake and Pittsburgh the stylist are very nice.  The pedicures and manicures are pretty standard, very much like your normal high end saloon.  I normally get the normal ones, and save my money to get another treatment.

One saloon service I really like is the make-up lesson.  I don’t wear much make-up so I appreciate someone teaching me how to apply it nicely should I want to pump it up a notch.  I can read how to do it all day in a book and screw it up, but show me exactly how to do it once, and I am gold.  They don’t make you look like a tart and they have very nice make-up.  For anyone who is a little unfamiliar with the tips and tricks of good make-up artists I really recommend this, plus you leave looking nice.

Quick tip:  If you get this service with other services make sure you save it to last.

Also on the top floor is a nice workout room, they also have high and low intensity classes.  Nothing like a sweat before the relaxation.

The locker rooms are well-appointed.  I appreciate that they have nice amenities, even spray deodorant, which many spas forget.  They have a whole room of hair dryers and mirrors so you can leave looking nice.  Standard robes and plastic sandals.  Also their waiting room upstairs has very good infused water, fruit and snacks.  You can also order food or champagne, although they don’t tell you this.

The middle floor is segregated by sex, so you feel comfortable in a robe.  The whirlpool on the middle floor is huge, and is the perfect place to gather your thoughts, or talk with friends.  They have water and towels nearby.  The steam room and sauna are appropriately hot to do their job, they are nice and roomy with multiple levels of seating, which is good because the spa is a popular place.

The bottom level spa pool is unisex.  The water is cooler than the outside pool and it is a great place to do laps, as it normally isn’t crowded.  There is a deck for sunning outside, and you can get drinks from the regular pool and bring them back, and no one will bat an eye.  Of course if you are detoxifying, maybe go with a strawberry smoothie.  I like that there are a couple unisex places here: the pool, workout rooms, etc.  When you go on vacation with significant other or spouse and go to the spa sometimes you just don’t see them at all!

Their treatments:  My favorite is the lavender kur, it starts with a lavender scrub that has a good balance of salt and moisture to exfoliate with proper technique, but not leave you dripping in oil.  The exfoliation itself feels like a massage.  The first time I had the service I had a male who even did my armpits, he was the best massage therapist I have ever worked with, I hope he is still there, I should call and see to share his name.  They are good with your privacy but still work your butt and stomach unless you prefer them not too.  You are then put in a lovely lavender bath with many rotating jacuzzis where you relax and rinse.  You then have a massage/lotion application.  The rooms are kept warm so you are never cold, they are appropriately dim and they use eye covers for the massage portion to help you relax. Plus I love the scent of lavender, I find it really relaxing.

Again if you are getting something with an application of moisture, book it for late in the day so you can use the other amenities first.

Their swedish massage is very relaxing, as well.  Because of the reputation of the spa they get very good massage therapists who know proper technique and have just the right touch.  They are very personable and really want to make your stay pleasant.  I have also enjoyed the hot stone massage.  I love the sound the rocks make when they hit together.

They have some hocus pocus treatments, but if you stick with the basics you will be really happy.

Another nice perk?  If you want to use the whirlpool, steam room, sauna and pool without a service you can for just $15.

Their gift shop even has nice products and if you forget something they are likely to have a nice replacement.

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