'Cherry Capital' is coming of age

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- In the not-too-distant past, a trip to this town in northwest Michigan's Grand Traverse resort region meant roughing it in a log cabin.

But today's visitors are more likely to be found soaking in a hot mineral bath, enjoying a cherry-scented paraffin manicure or having oils massaged into their winter-dry skin with oven-warmed Lake Michigan stones.

Traverse City, whose visitor center opened in 1996, boasts a growing number of luxury spas and salons.

The most recent is the Great Wolf Lodge, a 281-suite North Woods-style resort that opened in 2003. Known for its rustic decor and 38,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, the lodge is also home to Elements, an Aveda concept spa and hair salon.

Spa specials for guests only include the Great Getaway, which features a one-hour aromatherapy massage and a salon wash and style for $180 per person, and the Mother-Daughter Escape, a one-hour aromatherapy facial and manicure and pedicure for both for $310. The salon is open seven days a week.

Great Wolf Lodge is featuring a Slide Into Summer plan, valid April 19 to June 9. Rates range from $159 per night for a family suite with balcony to $179 for a Wolf Den or KidKamp suite. The package, good for up to four people, includes passes to the indoor waterpark. The plan is for Sundays through Thursdays only, and callers must mention the offer when booking.

For spa reservations, call (231) 935-1650. For reservations or more information about Great Wolf Lodge, call (866) GR8-WOLF or visit http://tc.greatwolflodge.com.

Another big player in the Traverse City spa business is the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

With 660 rooms, suites and condos and three championship golf courses, the resort already had established itself as the area's largest lodging property when its owners decided to add a 100,000-square-foot spa complex.

Capitalizing on Traverse City's reputation as the "Cherry Capital of the World," the Grand Traverse spa features cherry scents and essences in its treatments.

From April 23 to June 10, Grand Traverse is featuring a Golf and Spa package that includes two nights' accommodations, two breakfasts per person, one round of golf per person and a choice of one spa treatment per person.

For reservations, call (800) 236-1577 or visit www.grandtraverseresort.com.

Both resorts pay 10% commission on lodging packages.

For information about the area, call the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) TRAVERS or visit www.mytraversecity.com.

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