By Sharon Marcus
Ever wish you could slow down time, just long enough to escape from Manhattan and all the madness that goes with it? I dreamt of a true escape within driving distance of the city that would allow me to take a deep, luxurious breath and return a recharged version of myself.
I apparently dreamt of the Spa at Glenmere Mansion, a brand new 8,000 square foot gem nestled within the historic, Tuscan-inspired mansion grounds in Chester, NY. Less than a 50 mile drive from the city, the co-owners of this mansion have lovingly restored the property to its former grandeur while imparting a modernity and design aesthetic that makes it feel current, clean, and simply exquisite.
The Spa at this Relais & Chateaux property is at once luxurious, yet comfortable and unassuming. The private rooms are thoughtfully designed, as are the treatments. Having a massage? You can customize what aromatic oils are used for your desired scent. Having a manicure? A mini bottle of your polish choice is gifted for touch-ups. Having a treatment at the wet spa? An exfoliating towel comes home with you. Little souvenirs of a relaxing day’s sojourn.
To make your trip truly blissful, opt for a Hammam treatment, as they are rarely offered in the New York area and Glenmere’s wet spa is unrivaled for this cleansing and purifying ritual. During my visit, I was treated to a Turkish Soap Massage ($195 for 60 minutes), which was unlike any treatment I had ever had.
After a visit to the eucalyptus-infused steam room, I was asked to lie down on the warm marble stone tablet where the bathing ritual began. Since the wet spa was private, there was no reason to feel modest (though my two piece suit was not frowned upon). The combination of the heated stone bed and the rhythmic wash of warm water being hand poured over the body from metal bowls transported me to a relaxed state. A kese mitt made of bamboo and cotton was used to gently exfoliate the body and then the water pouring ritual resumed. Next was a castile soap-based bubble massage, which is the most unique part of the experience. A torba (similar to a sheer pillowcase) was soaked in soap and tossed to fill with bubbles, which were then cascaded over the body; this is performed repeatedly until you feel covered by what can only be described as a weightless duvet blanket of bubbles, followed by massage. By the time the bubbles were washed away, I had become one with the stone. I visited the sauna room to dry and then returned to the heated stone for a brief rose oil massage to lock in all the moisture.
Sitting in the relaxation room afterwards with some organic tea and fresh strawberries, I felt refreshed, renewed and a million miles from home. If only I could have checked into the resort and napped for a few hours! But how nice that I was able to return home to kiss and hug my toddler in half that time.
It goes without saying that a trip to Glenmere is an indulgence, but there is nothing else in the Tri-State area that compares. Considering how much I saved on airfare, I’d venture to say it’s a deal.
The Spa at Glenmere
634 Pine Hill Road
Chester, New York 10918
845-469-1939 (open Wed.-Sun.)