If destination spas have you thinking girlfriend getaways or mother-daughter retreats, it’s time to put down the mouse and pick up the chakra bowl. Destination spas, with their contemplative ambiance and tucked-away setting, are perfect for smaller groups that want to really get away from it all and get to know one another better. “We are ideal for groups who want to concentrate on their goals,” says Brooke Jennings Roe, director of marketing and public relations at The Lodge at Woodloch. Pennsylvania just so happens to be home to several award-winning spas. The Lodge at Woodloch has been voted No. 3 destination spa in the world by Travel + Leisure, while Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is a Forbes Four-Star spa and was counted among the Top 100 U.S. Resort Spas by Condé Nast Traveler. Go ahead and get your Zen on at the following resort spas.
The Hotel Hershey
Those with a sweet tooth will find that chocolate isn’t just for nibbling at The Hotel Hershey and its delicious spa, The Spa at Hotel Hershey, where treatments include whipped cocoa baths, chocolate fondue wraps, cocoa massages and cocoa facials. The 40,000-square-foot facility has 54 treatment areas, four relaxation lounges, steam room, indoor pool and fitness center. “Groups of five or more guests are directed to spa group sales and our group sales team serves as a personal concierge to each group, covering all necessary details,” says Robynn Cyr, spa sales manager. “We find that groups visit The Spa year after year, seeking to relive the memories that they have created here. They feel a personal connection to our facility, our team members and Mr. Hershey’s legacy and look forward to sharing the experience with their friends and co-workers. We offer a number of services meant to encourage a social spa experience perfect for team-building, including lunch in our Oasis restaurant, group manicure and pedicure treatments and private access to our full-service salon.”
The Lodge at Woodloch
Set in the tranquil Pocono Mountains, The Lodge at Woodloch has an intimate ambiance with just 57 guest rooms. “The nature all around us really guides the resort. You feel it the moment you walk through the door,” says Brooke Jennings Roe, director of marketing and public relations. While some spas focus on strict regimes, The Lodge at Woodloch “cultivates choice,” according to Jennings Roe, who adds, “wine is fine here.”
Groups may participate in The Lodge’s many daily planned activities, ranging from art classes and journaling to meditation, yoga, guided hikes, cooking demonstrations and more. Set on over 400 acres, guests really feel away from it all, making it ideal for brainstorming sessions, retreats and other goal-oriented events or meetings. The resort’s three meeting rooms feel more luxurious lodge than typical boardroom, and the fitness studios (with walls of glass overlooking the woods) even double as breakout rooms. In addition to spa treatments, groups are encouraged to take part in the resort’s plentiful team-building opportunities, including boat building and treasure hunt-style geocaching. Dining is included in the package and if you’re expecting a few sprouts, think again. This menu may feature gluten-free and vegan selections, but there’s nothing Spartan about this gourmet dining.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
With 32,000 square feet and 56 total treatment rooms (including manicure/pedicure stations and hair care stations), Nemacolin Woodlands Resort’s spa is certainly ready to accommodate groups, but this awardwinning spa really charms guests with its personalized service. “We really try to read guests and deliver the services based on that individual’s needs,” says Miranda Henning, guest services and group manager.
The spa is set just across from the main lodge and can be a perfect reward for hardworking groups or can simply serve as a mini break. “If time is limited, we’ll suggest chair massages as breaks,” Henning says, while those with blocks of time have plenty of ways to unwind and de-stress. From group meditation and group acupuncture in the resort’s Holistic Center (separate from the spa) to fitness classes and yoga, Nemacolin focuses on groups that want to spend some downtime together. “Even if guests are getting individual treatments, we try to make sure the breaks are timed so guests can bond together,” says Henning. The indoor pool or relaxation spaces are ideal for getting to know colleagues a bit better.
Omni Bedford Springs
Omni Bedford Springs has been a destination for rejuvenation for over 200 years. This resort began as a place of healing, recognized for its seven springs, all with different minerals and curative properties. Today, you’ll find yourself in a 30,000-square-foot spa facility dedicated to wellness at this historic resort, but the healing properties of water still figure largely in the experience. “It’s all about water here,” says Pamela Wolff, director of sales and marketing, who cites the spring-fed water in the indoor pool and the spa’s Bedford Baths water ritual that features hot and cold plunge pools and a mineral deluge. “We are finding that planners want attendees to leave not just with information, but inspiration. People are realizing that time spent away from the office is well spent and it really comes down to an experience.”
Omni Bedford Springs works with planners from the beginning to ensure that spa time is woven into the schedule, rather than booked as an afterthought. “We have planners blocking spa time when they book their meeting rooms,” says Wolff. The 20,000 square feet of meeting space and 216 guest rooms ensure plenty of room for groups, though “60-100 rooms is our sweet spot,” says Wolff.
The Rittenhouse’s newly revamped spa is proof positive that getting away from it all doesn’t mean driving a long distance. Set within the posh Rittenhouse hotel, the spa echoes the resort’s signature elegance with its well-planned details. From the stunning white leather walls and glass imported from Spain down to the English hooks in the treatment rooms, everything was given serious thought. “We wanted to keep that classic feel that The Rittenhouse is known for,” says Kelly Gasspari, spa director.
This spa really customizes its services to groups, from 10-minute yoga breaks, guided meditation or chair massages offered as breakout sessions to the healthy breaks that feature spa-style cuisine (e.g. homemade granola, fresh juices). Whether groups have full-day blocks for spa treatments or have a small window, “we accommodate treatments to the groups’ schedule,” says Gasspari. “We are focused on wellness here. We’re geared to the person who is looking to feel better from the inside out.”
Customized wellness programs include private fitness classes and even a 3-mile run through the city. All of the treatments are exclusive to The Rittenhouse and driven by leading health and beauty brands (Tata Harper, Natura Bisse, etc.). The quartet massage, performed by two therapists, is “heaven on a table,” says Gasspari. The Rittenhouse’s ballrooms and boardrooms accommodate up to 500 guests.