Is this heaven?
Those words literally passed through my mind as I first entered the spa house at Connecticut’s Mayflower Grace Inn & Spa.
My momentary lapse in sane cognition was less surprising than you’d think: Inside, the airy space was all whiteness and bright light. An undefinable but intoxicating scent permeated: Lavender? Rose? Even the women at the reception desk looked at once sedate and refined enough to be angelic gatekeepers.
Full-disclosure, I was in the throes of my first official vacation alone with my husband since our toddler daughter was born. So, yes, I felt particularly open to quiet time and relaxation.
I’ve heard amazing buzz about the entire Mayflower Grace property for years and have long hoped to experience it myself—particularly the lauded spa. Let’s just say that, even so, from the get-go, it exceeded expectations.
After years of writing about beauty, wellness and pampering, I’ve concluded that what separates a good or nice spa from a truly extraordinary one is attention to detail: softer robes, thoughtful bathroom amenities, welcome rituals. The spa house has those special elements in spades: More often than not, a relaxation room is pretty but dull—the kind of area where you might realistically spend five minutes eating an apple before getting bored and opting to continue with your day. Here, the space is enormous and bright with plush white furniture that faces mile-high, floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the property’s own pond. I noticed other spa-goers not only lolling around for long periods of time reading magazines and books from a large selection, but also actually dozing under soft throw blankets. Even the drink selection was exceptional: There was cucumber, lemon and rosemary water.
But the snack situation was most notable. At most spas, at best, a peckish client is lucky to come across an apple or banana or perhaps a bowl of nuts. At Mayflower Grace, though, the options were not only more interesting, but also directly connected to the spa’s new Elemental Wellness program.
Essentially, this approach is based on the assumption that we all have unique biochemical makeups and constitutions, and should be treated as such. The Elemental Wellness body treatments are customized for detoxification and nutrition using Earth Matters Apothecary blends of everything from marine algae to medicinal clay to wild herbs and essential oils. But, even spa-goers who are experiencing other treatments, are encouraged to take a quick quiz to determine their “type” of constitution and, thus, which snack mix offers the minerals and nutrients they need most. Questions range from personality-based (are you an optimist or idealist?) to physical (are you curvy or long and lean?) to behavioral (are you a light or heavy sleeper?).
Ultimately, the test determines whether you’re more of an Ectomorph (observant, analytical and sensitive), an Endomorph (social, easy-going and creative) or a Mesomorph (dynamic, competitive, enthusiastic). I was mostly an Endomorph, but I tried all three combinations and they were all equally delicious with components like coconut and dried papaya.
Over that weekend, I had a fantastic facial (also sometimes hard to come by at a more pampering-focused spa), soaked in hot tubs, hiked the property, drank enough rosemary water to quench an army and even attended very respectable yoga and barre classes.
At Mayflower Grace, maybe, technically, I wasn’t actually hanging in the clouds. But I can’t think of a more heavenly getaway.