STOWE, Vt. — “Strangely enough, I suddenly have a craving for goulash,” Paul Kelley of Beverly quipped, as he climbed out of the womb-like Hungarian mineral soaking pool at the Spa at Stoweflake. We visited the spa, located within Stoweflake Mountain Resort in Stowe because we had a craving, too — for a full-body plunge into warm, salty water, the sound of rushing waterfalls, and deliciously steamy air — stuff we definitely won’t experience in New England for many months.
With more than 120 treatments and 30 treatment rooms, Stoweflake was named one of the top six spas in ski country by SKI Magazine. Guests from other local hotels pop over to sample the combination of Ayurvedic healing treatments and pampering rituals. (The spa is open to resort guests and day visitors.) You’ll walk through the men’s or women’s private lounge, don a spa robe, and shake off Old Man Winter in the sauna, steam room (so eucalyptus-y, it will de-stuff your sinuses in an instant), and Jacuzzi tub.
Take your time — this is a spa, after all. “I’m always surprised when people run in, have a treatment, and rush out the door, without taking time to slow down, relax, and enjoy,” said spa director Surinda Oberai Cavanagh. “I think, ‘Oh! That’s not what I wanted for them!’ ”
Then you walk through a cave-like passage and into the coed aqua solarium, where 97-degree water tumbles from a rocky hydrotherapy waterfall. Here, you can sit, soak, and let the water pound on any sore spots. Or you can sprawl in a nearby lounge chair, close your eyes, and pretend you’re in the tropics.
If you want a taste of the polar bear swim experience, head outside in the frigid air and into the hot tub. Stoweflake, like many ski country hotels, keeps the hot tub bubbling in winter.
Don’t let the lack of bubbles keep you out of the Hungarian mineral pool. Set at 101 degrees, this soaking tub will have you feeling loose and lovely in about a minute. Stay longer, though. “We recommend soaking for 20 or 30 minutes to get the total detoxifying effect,” Cavanagh said. “We store our emotions in our muscles and our bones, and we feel them as pain, so finding ways to release them is really important.”
Or that’s what we think she said. We had zoned out in the mineral pool, feeling warm to the bone and exquisitely relaxed. So much so, we almost missed our paraffin pedicure. That would’ve been tragic. After a couple of months of ski boots and clunky winter footwear, our dogs needed some extra-special love.
Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa 1746 Mountain Road, 800-253-2232, www.stoweflake.com. Room rates from $159. Spa use $20 per guest per day (fee waived if you are having a spa treatment); day guests $40 ($50 on Saturdays and holidays).