A 'night with the girls' is now becoming a luxurious
weekend for the ladies
The modern refrain is so true. There
aren't enough hours in the day. Women, especially, as caretakers of
family and friends, fill their lives with obligations and become starved
for private space and time for reflection and reconnection. It may be
difficult to carve out time in the schedule for telephone conversation
with a best friend a half hour down the road, let alone ones a few
There is good news, though. When smart
women decide they need a bit of rejuvenation, they do so with style.
These accomplished multi-taskers get stress relief while also fulfilling
their social requisites. Travel surveys point to an increase in
vacations, and the International Spa Association has noticed an uptick
in business at resort spas. Anecdotally, spa directors at some of the
Carolinas most luxurious retreats are recognizing, and capitalizing,
on the confluence of trends. Women of all ages are coming together for
a few hours, or a few days, away at some of the premier spa destinations
around. A spa-cation, if you will.
The variations are limitless, says Kim
Huber, director of The Spa at Pinehurst, in North Carolina's piedmont.
The groups are multi-generational; grandmothers with granddaughters,
best girlfriends from work or reunions with gal pals from the past.
"There will be a group of girlfriends
together celebrating a birthday, college friends having a reunion. We
recently had a group of doctors here, because they were all residents
in their final year. We even worked with a group of eight 12-year-old
girls," says Annette Sandford-Lopez, director of the health center
and spa of Charleston Place hotel in Charleston, S.C. The spa not only
caters to hotel guests, but also those visitors drawn to the oasis from
all over the Carolinas. They can enjoy a full spectrum or treatments
during a getaway weekend, or simply a spa lunch by the saltwater pool.
Not surprisingly, these spas are
to offer packages to cater to women in need of a vacation to enhance
their menus of massages, chocolate body scrubs and mountain mint
For instance, the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, N.C.,
has started offering Girlfriends Getaway packages for the ladies while
their slip on their robes and settle in for a heart-to-heart talk, or
just to gossip about the men in their lives.
SIDEBAR: A place for the kids, too
Since first noticing one or two girls
getting their toenails painted bright blue while on a break with mom
or grandma, the spa and salon at Pinehurst has added more kid-friendly
services, too. The KidSpa (for ages 6-11) and TeenSpa (for 12- to
offer special emphasis on self-image and healthy skin practices, Huber
says. Packages include the Mother-Daughter ReTREAT and the Friends Are
Sandford-Lopez thinks she knows why
the spas are such perfect and popular spots for such retreats.
"I believe it's about providing
a safe haven for women and girls," she says. "It's a sanctuary,
a place where you really can relax."
The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa:
A historic, four-diamond resort in Asheville, N.C., overlooking the
Blue Ridge Mountains. Named one of the Top 5 spa resorts in the United
States by Travel + Leisure. The Girlfriends Getaway Package
accommodations, dinner served in room or at the award-winning Blue Ridge
Dining Room, daily breakfast and passes to The Spa at The Grove Park
Inn Resort. (800) 438-5800 or www.groveparkinn.com
Signature Treatment: The
Grove Park Seasonal Facial celebrates the distinct mountain seasons,
wintertime Chocolate & Roses, to Mountain Mint & Rosemary in
spring to the Summer Citrus Delight. At holiday time, it's the
Indulgence, in homage to the resort's annual Gingerbread House
While You're There: Get to downtown Asheville for the creative,
eclectic community, local music and coffee shops. Plan a visit to the
historic Biltmore House or the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. Check out favorite
restaurants, like Laughing Seed Café, Savoy, Tupelo Honey Café or
The Market Place.
Pinehurst: A 2,000-acre property
featuring the Mobil four-star ranked The Spa at Pinehurst, a
facility built in 2002. Services include a menu of 40 services, a
lap pool and cascade whirlpool, as well as a salon with hair, makeup
and nail stations to accommodate 10 guests simultaneously. (800)
Signature Treatments: The
Facial is a 50-minute custom facial with a special warm mitt and foot
massage using a magnolia-blended lotion. The Hot Stone Massage is a
50- or 70-minute treatment using stones combined with massage and
oil blends for deep relaxation.
While You're There: Golf is definitely a highlight here. The
golf courses at Pinehurst have been named among the most beautiful and
are in the Top 50 courses for women. Plan a meal at the four-diamond1895
restaurant in the Holly Inn at the resort and take a side-trip for
to the nearby towns of Aberdeen and Southern Pines.
Charleston Place: An
Hotel located in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, the Health
Club and Spa at Charleston Place features a heated, horizon-edged
pool with retractable roof. (888) 635-2350 or www.charlestonplace.com
Signature Treatments: The
Moroccan Scalp and Neck Treatment incorporates a special oil for
shiny hair and a stress-relieving massage in the areas were tension
is held most. The Ultimate Bliss is a simultaneous 50-minute treatments,
a custom facial with neck and shoulder massage and reflexology foot
While You're There: Stroll
through historic downtown Charleston, first founded in 1670. Plan a
day at the beach at nearby Isle of Palms and tour the oldest landscaped
gardens at Middleton Place. Eat at one of the area's famous restaurants,
such as Slightly North of Broad, 82 Queen, Poogan's Porch or Magnolia's.