Not that we really need much of a break from drinking wine, but one should rid the body of toxins now and then, don’t you think? (We still can’t imagine anything that tastes as wonderful as wine does being classified as a ‘toxin,’ but so say the dozens of spa managers and therapists we’ve interviewed over the years for this site.
So, while staying at Chetola Resort for the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival in Blowing Rock, we were delighted to discover their new spa.
We love the spa logo of a swan since, upon entering the resort’s gates, you immediately pass by Chetola Lake and chances are you’ll see a swan there.
The two oldest swans in the lake are Moses and Bertha, named after Moses Cone was his wife. The 3,600-acre Moses Cone Memorial Park surrounds Chetola and the Moses Cone Estate Home, which overlooks Chetola above Bass Lake, is clearly visible from Chetola. The estate was known as Flat Top Manor and is one of the most recognized sites on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
So not only does the swan logo greet us we approach the spa, but so do a pair of wire sculpted swans.
Once inside, we pass the huge heated pool (which we understand is being made available at non-busy times for some of the youth from area churches - great idea). The spa reception is a small desk just past two comfy-looking spa pedicure chairs.
After being greeted and taken into the spa waiting area, we both had the same reaction: It seemed mighty small for a property that’s mighty large. (Chetola not only features Chetola Lodge, but also the upscale Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola and a large array of private homes and condos.) Later, we were told the decision was made to use existing space to create the new spa, and, existing space was at a premium.
While the spa's small, the eight treatment rooms are surprisingly large, well-furnished with comfortable, wide tables and are well lit. We applaud putting the emphasis on comfort where you need it most: where you're getting your treatments.
The ladies' locker area has one shower, one toilet and seven small locker stalls. We did love the custom flooring of small rocks but with a flat service.
A couple of minor changes here could elevate this new spa:
We’d love to see the beautiful spa logo on the now plain, but perfectly comfortable, spa robes.
Instead of the so-boring disposable plastic cups - which are not in keeping with the Green movement - how about some nice acrylic tumblers that can be sanitized and reused?
Instead of a run-of-the-mill brand of pump hand soap that can be literally be bought at any Target, how about a nice spa brand?
We'd love some sprucing up at the sole makeup table in the locker room with some toiletries that are a staple in spas today: Q-tips, deodorant, hairspray, mousse, disposable razors, all the niceties regular spa-goers have been spoiled to expect, us included.
However, we are the first to admit that small can still mean good, and that was the case with our Spa Sampler Package that included a 45-minute signature facial and 30-minute signature Swedish massage.
Maki, who performed our facials, had different recommendations for our two different skin types, therefore she customized each of our facial treatments. She's a big believer, too, in the spa’s link of skin care products: Osmosis. (So, again, have some small samples of these in the men’s and ladies’ locker rooms so the guests get hooked.)
The new spa offers Swedish, deep tissue and stone massage, facials, manicures and pedicures including the “The Swan Signature” Nail Treatment, makeup application and even teeth whitening. A one-day spa pass for full access to the Fitness Center, sauna, hot tub and pool is $20 in addition to the cost of a spa service. We like it when the spa provides such access complimentary with a treatment but understand more and more spas have embraced this approach since those amenities are expensive to maintain. We knew that only so much could be done in 45 minutes, especially with a split treatment, but found that both Maki and Tori, who performed our massages, did a thorough job of using each of those minutes to maximize our relaxation. Kudos, ladies. For spa reservations, call 800-243-8652 or 828-295-5531. For more on the wine festival, visit www.blueridgewinefestival.com.