When holing up at a regal country-house hotel in rural Connecticut, stepping onto a stool to slither into a canopied bed for the night is predictable, as is savoring an Old-Fashioned in a nostalgic book-lined library.
While I welcome these rites at The Mayflower Grace, a two-hour retreat from my frenetic New York City life, it is the hushed, airy spa at the property—where shoes are verboten—that leaves me delightfully surprised. The sultry-sounding Midnight Honey Body Buzz with Warm Honey Massage is why I find myself sprawled on a lounger staring out at an expansive almost-spring landscape of woodlands in the white, natural light-flooded Garden Room.
It is here where Stan, the affable Polish man who will be my therapist, greets me. Confession: No matter how many spa treatments I relish, I become a tad shy when discovering a dude will be the one slathering me in oil. Yet Stan instantly puts me at ease and for the hour and a half we are together in a honey-scented room, anxiety is replaced by invigoration.
“Guests love to have this treatment because they get to experience a mix of therapies,” says Mayflower Grace’s spa supervisor, Melissa Smith. Indeed, it’s a multi-faceted ritual that uses Farmaesthetics products. Before a welcoming drizzle of warm honey rains over my winter-marred skin, it’s brightened with Fine Herbal Cleanser. Then, I’m given an exfoliating rubdown with Honey Dust scrub, unearthing soft, vibrant skin I haven’t felt in months.
Washing off the grains in a powerful, hot shower, I am content, but then remember the bliss will not end when I turn off the water: A massage with Midnight Honey Bath & Beauty Oil is the final slice of restoration. Between Stan’s firm pressure and the warmth and aromas that cling to me, all I want to do in my trance-like state is head back to the Garden Room and zone out with a blanket.
Between Stan’s firm pressure and the warmth and aromas that cling to me, all I want to do in my trance-like state is head back to the Garden Room and zone out with a blanket.
But a glass of water later, I head downstairs for the Guided Relaxation Journey, in which I keep the vibe going by laying down and meditating to the mental image of a distant beach and the sound of a steel drum my instructor encourages me conjure.
“This is a time to just be. These journeys help the guest leave everything behind and expand awareness and joyous freedom,” says Smith. “Guests feel balanced and experience increased confidence. It gives them focus on a greater sense of purpose in their lives and helps them to let go and go with the flow of life. It’s a one-hour journey for a day of peace.”
And it is. Sitting in that dark library, comfortable in yoga pants and a greasy ponytail, all negative thoughts fade—at least until dinner.
Time & Cost of Treatment: 60 minutes, $175; 90 minutes, $260