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BFF Getaways: Let’s Go Spa, Girls!
As soon as we hear the first “Marco Polo” ringing out from the pool area, we are in a “get-us-out-of-here” mode. One of us dials for travel reservations for some much needed respite before the onslaught of summer. Before we have to deal with home lunches, screaming, messes, and chauffeuring, we need some “me time” with our girlfriends.
Here are some unusual value options on the West Coast that offer beautiful locales and signature treatments that won’t break the summer vacation bank either.
Bonneville Hot Springs, Bonneville, Washington
Only a few minutes from the Portland Airport, you can cross the wide and mighty Columbia and head along the river to Bonneville. Known for its huge electricity producing dam, there is also a lesser-known wellness spa that is centered on the volcanic heated waters rising up from the ground.
A well-priced, full-service spa is the crowning glory of Bonneville Hot Springs, situated among the trees and natural beauty of the Columbia Gorge. Hot springs have, since the time of the ancients, been known for their healing properties. Bonneville presents the waters in their purest form for you to soak in or drink whenever possible.
Gal pals can rent a large suite, complete with private hot tub fed by natural hot springs or opt for the “Girlfriend Getaway” package. The package includes spa treatments, overnight accommodations, opulent breakfast in the beautiful dining room, and the fabulous relaxing Bath Wrap in old-fashioned, claw-footed tubs in the large sparkling spa.
After your bath, you are wrapped tightly in heated linens and left in a darkened room on a comfy bed to melt away any remaining tension. Private label bubbly and chocolate truffles help to soothe the soul, too. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” package rates begin at $249 per girlfriend.
The Resort at The Mountain, Welches, Oregon
Near iconic Mount Hood, the Resort is a golfer’s paradise, a hiker’s dream, and a spa lover’s delight. The newly remodeled resort still maintains its mountainside charm and is a perfect base camp for exploring the National Forest or Timberline Lodge nearby. But if you’ve come for the Spa, you are looking for its signature services.
In summer, try the seasonal special Berry Blitz Facial. Welcome summer with Dr. Alkaitis’ proprietary Organic Blended Anti-aging Treatment that sloughs old skin to reveal a rejuvenated you. The Cellular Repair Mask regenerates and fortifies aging skin, using active enzymes of raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, and bilberry. Sounds good enough to eat!
Guests can order from seasonal menus prepared by The Resort’s executive chef, Paul Bosch, to have served in the spa. Quiet mini-parties on the aspen-lined patio are encouraged. Boot camp can be arranged with Nate Seifert, a certified personal trainer, either indoors or as part of a nature walk, hike, or run.
The hotel rooms are large and well-suited for a BFF celebration with wet bars, large bathrooms, and hip décor. Chef Bosch and staff can create some very imaginative hors d’oeuvres for you to enjoy at the Altitude bar or have delivered to your room. Call Joan Southern, executive director of the Spa at The Resort, to create your own all-inclusive BFF package.
The Spa Central Coast, Avila Lighthouse Suites, Avila Beach, California
Spa owner Kitty Arosteguy’s mission statement is in part to “offer a place of tranquility, rejuvenation . . .with extraordinary care.” Indeed, she does this on so many levels.
Her spa, at the charming, board-and-batten detailed oceanfront Avila Lighthouse Suites, is a scaled down version of her spacious spa in Atascadero. With a short ride, you can also visit her in Atascadero at The Spa Central Coast, offering the same gracious service, relaxing space, and beautiful vibe.
You will adore Kitty. Her “Kitty Signature Facial” is the most comprehensive facial, massage, and light therapy combo we have ever experienced and loved! This full service is available at her main spa and special services are at the beachside spa. At either location, any visit with her personally selected and trained therapists is a not-to-miss event.
Next…Party at the Haven Wine Bistro
BFF Getaways: Let’s Go Spa, Girls!
Party at the Haven Wine Bistro patio behind the spa at the Atascadero location for some extra fun with your friends! Pop over between glasses to Tuesdays Jewels next door. The creative owner will make you a custom necklace or you can select from something she has on display—very unique and affordable.
At Avila Lighthouse Suites, owned by Martin Resorts, request the Owner’s Suite, the largest of the all-suite rooms. Arrange massages and treatments at the spa downstairs. Tasteful and well-appointed, Avila Lighthouse Suites is a definite girlfriend stop, as its proximity to the beach is unparalleled.
Cambria Pines Lodge and Therapy by the Sea
Midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Cambria Pines features five acres of lush, themed gardens to wander. Walk under clematis-covered arches, stroll formal rose gardens, and delight in the “flower bed” in the Flower Bed Garden.
This includes a flower-filled bed frame, night stand, and mirror of water, viewed on your way from your stand-alone cottage suite to the complementary full breakfast. On Thursday evenings, it seems as if the entire village comes to sing karaoke here along with guests. Don’t miss this for an evening of pure fun.
To complement your stay in this beach-y, artsy, and very walkable town, Therapy by the Sea can arrange for signature massages in your room. In addition to some of the best bodywork we have ever had, try the healing and balancing Warm Stone Massage, in which they use smooth warm stones from the Cambria Coast.
Breakfast or lunch at Linn’s of Cambria should include a sample of olalliberry fruit syrup or fruit butter on anything. Food quality and consistency are the bases for Linn’s successful two- generation business. Vegetables and fruit are raised on their nearby farm. Don’t forget to take home their mail order catalogue or check them out online.
The Resort at The Mountain, www.theresort.com
Avila Lighthouse Suites, www.MartinResorts.com
The Spa Central Coast, www.thespacentralcoast.com
Haven Wine Bistro, www.havenwinebar.net
Cambria Pines Lodge, www.Cambriapineslodge.com
Linn’s of Cambria, www.linnsfruitbin.com
The Black Cat, www.blackcatbistro.com
Dinner in Cambria has to be at The Black Cat on Main Street. Chef/owner Deborah Scarborough knows exactly what she is doing, both in the kitchen and the front of the house. From the yummy eye-candy waiters to the scrumptious and perfectly prepared entrées, Deborah proves that she has been cooking a long time with many stints in France to boot.
Ask your waiter to offer a different Central Coast wine by the glass, to pair with your courses. This will help you appreciate nuances of the localized menu, together with the integrity of local winemakers and their terroire. We suggest beginning with her tender local Cayucos Ocean Rose Abalone and a bubbly. Deborah also sings a mean “Tequila” at the karaoke night, we are told.
So what are you waiting for? Grab some sanity before summer fully hits you and get going with your own BFF Getaway.
This article is written by the team of Michelle M. Winner, the Culinary Traveler, and Maralyn D. Hill, the Epicurean Explorer.