While the destination-spa scene out West has exploded over the past twenty years, the Northeast’s only option for sybaritic treatments and gourmet starvation in luxurious surroundings has been the sprawling, patrician Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires. Finally, there’s some competition. The cushy, patrician Mayflower Inn in Washington, Connecticut, has acquired fifteen more acres of hikeable woodland, built a shiny new high-tech spa facility, and rebranded itself the Mayflower Destination Spa. So how does the newcomer stack up against the Old Guard?
118 Woodbury Rd. Washington Conn. mayflowerinn.com ; 860-9466 Canyon Ranch
165 Kemble St. Lenox, Mass. canyonranch.com ; 413-637-4400 30 rooms, 58 acres, 20,000-square-foot spa. Size 126 rooms, 120 acres, 100,000-square-foot spa. $6,700 per person for a five-night stay. Price tag $3,840 per person for a single room, for five nights, between March 15 and July 1. (Rates go up after that.) About 90 minutes. Proximity to New York A little over three hours. Soft-core stuff like river kayaking and mountain biking. Optional Ruggedness Near-death excursions like ice climbing and high-ropes challenges. “Singing bowls”—making music by rubbing sticks on crystal bowls. New Agey Thing Walking the stone labyrinth is said to foster a sense of wholeness. Sweet Surrender (a customizable combination of various techniques). Treatment to book Anything Ayurvedic (Bindi-Shirodhara, Herbal Rejuvenation) The six rooms closest to the spa are the newest. (The flip side is they’re the farthest from the dining room.) Room to request East Wing (closer to activities and the spa). You can drink (okay, one three-ounce glass of wine) with dinner. Sinful Indulgence Unlimited chocolate-chip cookies (but you have to ask). Cute drawstring pants and matching jacket, a nicely fitting white tee, a preloaded MP3 player. (You have to give it all back.) Welcome Swag Plastic spa slippers, a canvas tote, a water bottle, a pen. (You get to keep it all.) Workshops on sexual health. Evening Entertainment A movie, with (air-popped) popcorn. Everything. Want two massages a day? How about three? What’s included A $670 credit toward spa services, or about five basic massages. Therapists and aestheticians trained in-house. Staff bios Board-certified physicians and experts in the health and well-being fields, from acupuncture to neuromuscular therapy. Photographs: Courtesy of Mayflower Destination Spa and Canyon Ranch