STOWE, Vt. -- Spa
packages are a staple of the increasingly popular girlfriend
getaway market, a niche thats transmutable to mothers and daughters
when properties welcome youngsters with a menu of treatments all
Resort & Spa does just that, as I discovered on a recent visit
with my 11-year-old daughter, Chloe, and her friend,
To say that the Spa
at Stoweflake and the sports club facility, which together occupy
50,000 square feet, are important components of the property is an
There are so many
treatments available, 120 in all, we had perused the spa menu ahead
of time and prebooked our treatments -- a good idea, we were told,
as appointment times book up quickly.
Although tempted by
the La Stone Therapy -- a $130, 80-minute treatment that uses hot
basalt stones and chilled marble stones to relax tired muscles --
and the $90, 50-minute Chamomile and Rose Soothing Facial with
aromatic masque and compresses for sensitive skin, I settled on the
Vermont Maple Sugar Body Polish for $150.
treatment begins with hot towel compressions, followed by a
full-body maple scrub and, lastly, a massage with vanilla-scented
shea butter, an oil obtained from the fruit of the African karite
dessert, I left the adult spa area to bring the girls to their
treatments, which take place in separate rooms outside of the spa
area. The purpose of segregating children under age 16 from adult
spa-goers is to keep the atmosphere in the spa area serene for
those guests who relish their relaxation time.
As most spa-goers
know, spas dont usually offer body treatments to children -- salon
services like manicures and hair-braiding are more the norm -- so
we were curious to see the options available to the
included the Kids Massage, $90; Massage Sampler, $90; the Aroma
Massage, $90; the Mini-Massage, $50; the Rose Bud Wrap, $100; and
the Mini-Maple, $100.
All of the childrens
treatments, which are available to guests ages 7 and up, are 45
minutes long, except for the 20-minute Mini-Massage.
Chloe and Gracie
chose the Rose Bud Wrap. Their treatments were scheduled
consecutively because a guardian must be present in the treatment
room during the procedure. Children are required to wear bathing
suits. Therapists are of the same gender as the child.
encouraged to check in a half-hour early in order to enjoy the
outdoor hot tub and steam sauna, and they are reminded to drink
plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Parents should keep
in mind that they will be sitting with the children during their
treatments -- in my case, two 45-minute treatments back-to-back --
and should plan accordingly.
Whatever you do, make
sure to schedule enough time to visit the Aqua Solarium, a co-ed,
glassed-in room with a hydrotherapy waterfall and Hungarian Mineral
soaking bath that also offers views of Mount Mansfield.
A frequent visitor to
Vermont during ski season, I was visiting Stowe for the first time
in summer, and, like many of the other guests I met there, I was
surprised to discover that summer is the busiest season.
The sports center at
the property serves to help guests plan such outdoor activities as
hot-air ballooning, private hiking and biking. In winter, the
center organizes snowshoe tours.
We opted for a bike
tour, accompanied by a guide who outfitted us with bikes and
The hourlong ride
wound its way along a paved bike trail across from the property,
past cows and horses grazing in pastures, over narrow bridges and
even past a corn maze where passersby were invited to try to find
their way through a field of gigantic corn stalks.
Indoors, the adults
among us could have taken advantage of a number of fitness classes,
from yoga and Pilates to spinning and kickboxing, in five fitness
The hotel --
The main building of
the family-owned property, which is the first thing you see upon
arrival, features two wings of guest rooms and suites as well as
the spa, which opened in August 2003, two restaurants and numerous
We dined at both
on-property restaurants: the Four Diamond Winfields Bistro, which
has been awarded the Wine Spectators Award of Excellence, and the
more casual Charlie Bs Pub & Restaurant.
Both eateries offer a
range of menu items for health- and weight-conscious guests as well
as gourmet items, including a chocolate fondue for two.
Guest rooms and
suites number 120 in all, including the Meadow Townhouses, which
opened in 2000 and are sprinkled around the property.
We were booked into a
two-story townhouse, which turned out to be a great choice for the
three of us, situated as it was about a five-minute walk from the
We liked the
spaciousness and family-friendly amenities it offered, including
two oversized, upstairs bedrooms; three bathrooms; a full-size
living room with a pull-out couch and a fireplace; a dining area;
and a full kitchen.
The townhouse also
featured three televisions, a second fireplace in my bedroom, a
washer and dryer and ski lockers for winter visitors.
What drew us
immediately, however, was the deck, which led out onto meadows and
a fountain, creating a pretty picture against the mountains in the
Although a van is
available to transport guests to and from the townhouses, we almost
always walked, enjoying the scenery, complete with putting green,
childrens playground and water features.
Because most children
like to spend time in hotel swimming pools, we spent our first
evening after dinner -- and every evening after that -- in the
outdoor pool getting acquainted with other guests and their
children. In addition to a heated,
outdoor pool -- which stays open even in winter -- the girls also
swam in the adjacent indoor pool and luxuriated in the hot
Chloe and Gracie also
discovered the game room, outfitted with a pool table, Ping-Pong, a
television with video games and a lounge area with a
fireplace. The lobby, while cozy, also
offers appealing nooks with a chess table, a jigsaw-puzzle table, a
computer station and a gift shop.
Rooms and suites are
priced from $150 per night for a standard room in low season to
$977 for a three-bedroom townhouse in peak season. For a more private experience, guests can choose to
stay in the original Baraw Family Ski House, which has four
bedrooms, four bathrooms, two fireplaces and a kitchen, dining and
living room. Stays at the ski house range
from $450 to $730 per night, depending on the season.
The property offers
ski packages at nearby Stowe Mountain as well as golf and meetings
promotions. About 12% of bookings are
through travel agents, and the property encourages individual
visits from retailers at a discounted rate.
For more information,
call (800) 253-2232 or visit www.stoweflake.com.
reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].