Colorado's Broadmoor Features Spa Therapy, Mountain Style

Travel Weekly's assistant manager of editorial production, Dara Diamant, took some time off at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Her report follows:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- When clients embark on a spa journey at the Broadmoor, they should prepare to be pampered. There are the various massages, facials, aromatherapy baths, showers and body wraps; the fruited icewater, herbal teas, heated bathrobes and rubber sandals. And the staff is ready, very willing and very able to provide for guests.

Completed in mid-1994, the Spa and Fitness Center at the Broadmoor occupies two of the four levels of the Spa, Golf and Tennis Club. There are 16 massage rooms, four with private terraces and mountain views; 12 soaking tubs; six facial rooms; four wet treatment rooms with Vichy (horizontal rain) showers; four Broadmoor Falls showers; a co-ed "quiet room"; two aromatherapy inhalation-relaxation rooms; a steam room, and a spa product shop. The Spa and Fitness Center features an indoor swimming pool, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, aerobics room and two workout rooms, which house weight-training and cardiovascular equipment.

The services I participated in were an aromatherapy bath (with 12 fragrances to choose from); the Broadmoor Falls, a combination of Swiss shower and Scotch spray, which varies in temperature and pressure; a 50-minute massage; a fitness evaluation, and the new Karisoftness body treatment (a full-body treatment that exfoliates and hydrates the skin).

The Broadmoor suggests clients arrive 15 minutes before their spa appointments for check-in and changing. In addition, first-time guests are asked to complete a questionnaire. These forms assist the staff in determining individually tailored treatments.

According to Marguerite Lykes, director of the spa, the concentration is on "moderation, not deprivation." Personalized programs can last anywhere from one day to one week.

After check-in, guests are directed to the changing area. The desk attendant provides sandals, a locker key and a heated bathrobe. After changing, guests have a choice of either the aromatherapy room or a more rustic room with fireplace, where they can relax comfortably as they wait to be summoned by a therapist.

For my bath, I chose the fitness bath oil, ostensibly created for soothing tired, aching muscles after exercise. The 10-minute bath was incredibly refreshing, soothing and relaxing.

The Broadmoor attempts to secure organic materials for all the spa's products. According to Lykes, people are "more allergy-sensitive to synthetics than to what grows out of the planet," and "natural ingredients do not cause headaches."

The next treatment was the Broadmoor Falls, designed to stimulate circulation and drain lymph nodes.

The 50-minute massage followed. I was led to one of the rooms with a veranda, where massages can be given in warmer weather. The full-body massage, though not employing any specific discipline, combined aspects of different ones. If clients wish, they can order Swedish, sports or Shiatsu massages.

The following day, an individual fitness and health evaluation was scheduled for me at the Fitness Center. The first part, fitness, measures your body fat, flexibility, blood pressure, biceps strength and working and resting heart rates. The second part, the wellness profile, focuses on how you live your life. A word of warning on the fitness portion: If guests live at a lower altitude, their heart rate and pulse will measure higher here at an elevation of 6,600 feet.

After the fitness evaluation, it was back upstairs to the spa for a Karisoftness skin treatment. This sounds as if the staff is going to cook guests rather than soften them. First, the guest's outermost skin is "peeled," then a honey mixture is applied, after which the guest is "buttered."

The skin peel is a lot more pleasant than it sounds. It uses a citrus-based mixture combined with a substance called shea butter (made from the seeds of the African shea tree). The tacky, saplike mixture adheres to your skin as it dries. It is peeled using friction from rubbing with the hands. Next, a honey and emollient mixture is applied to soften the skin. In addition to honey, ingredients include lavender, more citrus and chamomile. Finally, a layer of softened, pure shea butter is applied over the honey. This insulates the honey moisturizer and acts as a "waterproofer" for the skin.

Because all this needs to sink into your skin, guests are not supposed to shower for several hours. However, since it's so soft and comfortable, you really don't mind. And you do smell good enough to eat.

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