Spas: Virginia Is for Spa Lovers
At the new Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Omni Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Va., guests may spend more time wandering through the Aquavana thermal suite than lying facedown on a massage table. Throughout the hot-and-cold oasis, spa-goers shuffle between the Herbal Laconium, where the thick scent of lavender wafts through steamy cocoon-like niches; the Experiential Rain Room, home to shower blasts with names such as Arctic Mist and Caribbean Storm; and the Chill Room, where they can cool down by rubbing ice flakes onto their bodies.
The 60,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch facility, which opened at the Homestead in June, is a novelty in Virginia. Despite a landscape of rolling foothills and bubbling hot springs, the state is generally devoid of the kinds of holistic spas and wellness centers found in Arizona and California. But with the opening of the Homestead’s spa and, more recently, the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia is emerging as a fitting destination for a curative retreat.
Natural hot springs provided the impetus for the spa at the Homestead, a historic resort that sits on 2,000 acres within the Allegheny Mountains. Canyon Ranch, which opened its first destination spa in 1979 in Tucson, Ariz., incorporated features such as a garden with mineral-water baths, spring-fed deluge showers, and a geothermal pool. Treatments including the Mineral Springs Mud Wrap—which uses warm mud from the local springs—take advantage of the area’s natural resources. Water served as a design inspiration as well, with the 28 treatment rooms and public spaces awash in soothing shades of turquoise, aquamarine, and blue.
As with its counterparts in Tucson and elsewhere, Virginia’s Canyon Ranch offers extensive wellness programs ranging from heart-rate analysis to weight-loss management, led by exercise physiologists, dietitians, and fitness instructors. Cuisine is typically wholesome, although unlike the brand’s Arizona location, the Canyon Ranch spa in Virginia allows for the occasional tipple, serving local organic wine and craft beer.
Roughly 175 miles northeast of the Homestead, in the equestrian town of Middleburg, the new Salamander Resort and Spa also emphasizes its idyllic surroundings. The 340-acre estate, which opened in August in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, features a 23,500-square-foot spa with an expansive stone courtyard where fire pits, private cabanas, whirlpools, and an infinity-edge pool overlook the forested hills. Inside, the spa is a warm, contemporary sanctuary where guests can relax on overstuffed loungers with a glass of Viognier. In the separate men’s and women’s retreat areas, thermal circuits include a tepidarium, steam rooms, and a vitality pool with hydrotherapy jets.
The spa menu at the Salamander is as long as it is diverse, with treatments hailing from the Philippines (the Lava Shell Massage uses oils blended with tiger-striped clamshells), Morocco, and India. The Salamander’s signature therapy, however, is unquestionably Virginian: The 50- and 80-minute Rider’s Relief massages are the perfect respite after a long day on horseback—and they can be combined with an Equine Massage specially designed for guests’ trusty steeds.