Healthy Living: Connecticut Destination Spas Offer Much-Needed Rest and Rejuvenation

The sauna at G Spa at the MGM Grand.

The sauna at G Spa at the MGM Grand.

Scott Frances

The mood is relaxed in the pristine locker room at G Spa, as the din from the MGM Grand casino a few floors down fades away. Even the chitchat of six twentysomethings who are there for a bachelorette weekend becomes white noise as you slip into a robe, sip lemon-infused water and settle into a chaise in the waiting (no, strike that), the anticipation area.

The massage that follows—expertly executed with oils, fragrance and warm stones placed gingerly down the spine—exceeds all expectations. And afterward, your room, with its downy bed and incomparably fluffy pillows, is a mere elevator button away. Therein lies the beauty of the destination-spa experience.

Not surprisingly, spas like this one (as well as its sisters of the “day” variety) are trending. Spa visits, dollars spent per visit and overall revenue all increased in the U.S. in 2012, according to survey results released by the International Spa Association, marking the first time since pre-recession 2008 that all three figures were up.

In Connecticut at least, we can vouch that it’s with good reason. And a sampling of our destination spas—by definition a place for lodging where the primary draw is the spa and the focus is on wellness—proves you don’t have to go far to experience a “staycation” of the very best kind.

Herewith, our favorites:

Far from the frenetic casino, G Spa is a true sanctuary, a smoke- and stress-free place to recharge during a visit to the lively hotel.
Signature Service: The G Spa Signature Facial, which includes a consultation and skin analysis, is an ideal primer for anyone who has not had many (or any) previous skin treatments (50 minutes/$130).
Body: An array of services, from deep tissue to the Momma prenatal massage—and the Hot Rocks Therapy, guaranteed to de-stress even the most wired client.
Beauty: Game-changing facials include Glow, featuring triple exfoliation, a peel and collagen mask.
Beyond Tranquility: Before or after visiting the spa you can swim, steam, soak and work out—and later, there’s always gaming, dining, shopping and taking in a show.
Bed Rest: Just like your odds in the casino, accommodations in the MGM Grand (and Foxwoods proper) vary widely. There are lovely standard rooms, plush suites and everything in between. $$
Go: G Spa is located in the MGM Grand hotel at Foxwoods in Mashantucket. To schedule a treatment, call (860) 312-4772. For more information, visit

At the heart of the Mayflower Inn is the Spa House, a dedicated 20,000-square-foot facility that provides the ideal ambience for body-and-spirit rejuvenation.
Signature Service: The Classic Mayflower Massage, a custom combination of blended oils and rhythmic massage techniques.
Body: Treatments include massages, scrubs, rubs and soaks, the most tantalizing of which is the Midnight Honey Body Buzz, with warm honey massage. Sounds sticky; is divine. Also offered: numerous activities from yoga to Zumba.
Beauty: The hydrating facial is not to be missed, as are the nourishing mani and pedi treatments that smooth you with a scented salt scrub.
Beyond Tranquility: The Mayflower offers many classes and workshops—from journaling and mindful eating to flower arranging and watercolor painting.
Bed Rest: Rooms in the main house and cottages are beautifully appointed with the finest furnishings and fixtures, in traditional New England style. $$$$
Go: The Mayflower Inn & Spa is on Woodbury Road in Washington. To reserve a spa appointment, call (860) 868-9466. For more information, visit

Overflowing with Connecticut charm in a woodland setting, this award-winning spa and country inn sits on 42 postcard-worthy acres.
Signature Service: The spa offers both a Luminous Signature Facial (50 minutes/$150), a two-masque resurfacing treatment, and the firm, full-body Norwich Signature Massage (50 minutes/$125; 80 minutes/$200).
Body: This was the most extensive menu of body treatments we found at any spa; offerings range from Swedish, deep-tissue and site-specific massage to various wraps and polish treatments, including one for sensitive skin. Classic Ayurvedic treatments are also available.
Beauty: Manicures and pedicures with delicious-sounding names feature the smoothing properties of apricot, citrus, sweet almond and milk & honey.
Beyond Tranquility: Fitness classes and training opportunities include assessments, one-on-one workouts, belly dancing, hiking, Pilates, tennis and Rhythms, a dance-inspired routine. Tarot card readings are also available.
Bed Rest: Country-style accommodations include villas, suites and 49 guestrooms. $$$$
Go: The inn is located on West Thames Street in Norwich. To reserve a spa appointment, call (860) 425-3500. For more information, visit

From the Latin for “to heal” or “make sound,” Sanno is a gem tucked away in a charming shoreline inn; the spa menu pays homage to the restorative properties of water.
Signature Service: The Kate, a signature ritual named for the Inn’s longtime neighbor Katharine Hepburn, includes a polish, rinse and  body wrap (50 minutes/$118).
Body: Custom massages are the order of the day: Choose pressure, heat, stones or oils.
Beauty: Facials, manis, pedis … they’re all offered here, but we’re especially fond of Sole Sisters, a side-by-side pedicure for two (with wine); your toes will never look lovelier.
Beyond Tranquility: Personalized training sessions and nutrition consultations are available.
Bed Rest: Options range from small rooms to full suites and villas. A favorite: The Lighthouse Suite located on the main dock, with unobstructed water views. $$
Go: The spa is located on the water in Old Saybrook. To reserve a spa appointment, call (860) 395-3245. For more information, visit

A private hideaway in the midst of a sprawling resort, this luxury spa’s services celebrate body, soul and the beauty of the seasons.  
Signature Service: The Water’s Edge Signature Hot Stone Massage promises the ultimate in relaxation, soothing the body while calming the mind and spirit (50 minutes/$120; 80 minutes/$160).
Body: All manner of massages, body wraps and polishes, plus Reiki therapy and reflexology.
Beauty: Facials range from a delicate treatment recommended for sensitive skin, to stimulating anti-aging therapy that purifies, firms and hydrates, using a magnet to stimulate circulation. There are more manicure options than you can shake a finger at, including one called Chocolate Peppermint Twist.
Beyond Tranquility: Work out in the complete fitness center; swim in the indoor and outdoor pools; shop at the nearby outlets.
Bed Rest: Accommodations run from cozy standard rooms to roomy villas (with kitchenette and fireplace), all steps from the hotel’s private beach. $$
Go: The spa is located inside the Water’s Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook. To schedule a treatment, call (860) 399-5901. For more information, visit

Thanks to Winvian’s ultra-luxury cottages, the atmosphere here radiates romance; the spa menu is rich with creative offerings, and the service first-rate.
Signature Service: The Signature Aromatherapy Massage is a full-body treatment using cedarwood and juniper oils to relieve tension and improve circulation (50 minutes/$160; 80 minutes/$210).
Body: Features all of the usual treatments with a few notable exceptions, including the Hydrotherapy Tub Treatment, an underwater extra that can be added onto massages and body scrubs.
Beauty: Known for their anti-aging properties, facials focus on firming, smoothing and rehydration.
Beyond Tranquility: Private yoga sessions focus on an individual’s needs and skill level.
Bed Rest: It’s no secret that many people come for the cottages—18 themed getaways, each with its own special charms. $$$$
Go: The spa is located on Alain White Road in Morris. To schedule a treatment, call (860) 567-9600. For more information, visit

As peaceful and relaxing as the casino floor is jam-packed with energy, the Norwich Spa offers excellent service, making it a treasured part of the Foxwoods experience.
Signature Service: Select your own essential oils for detoxifying Aromatherapy Signature Body Work, which includes lymphatic drainage and energy balancing (50 minutes/$110, 80 minutes/$190 weekdays; $125 and $215 weekends).
Body: An unusual selection of body treatments features a Jasmine Java Hydrating Wrap (among its ingredients is an exfoliant made of finely milled espresso beans) and Thalassotherapy, a thermal algae body masque.
Beauty: While mani/pedi services are top-notch, and hydrating, anti-aging facials are plentiful, there’s nothing quite like the Pevonia Myoxy-Caviar Signature Facial, designed to smooth fine lines and improve elasticity.
Beyond Tranquility: A luxurious indoor pool and cutting-edge fitness center provide lots of opportunities to move.
Bed Rest: Four hotels within the Foxwoods complex offer accommodations of all kinds, at many price points. $$
Go: The spa is located inside the Grand Pequot Tower at Foxwoods in Mashantucket. To schedule a treatment, call (860) 312-4901. For more information, visit


Healthy Living: Connecticut Destination Spas Offer Much-Needed Rest and Rejuvenation

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