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 their own.

Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa does just that, as I discovered on a recent visit with my 11-year-old daughter, Chloe, and her friend, Gracie.

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 understatement.

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.

The 80-minute 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 tree.

Smelling like 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 girls.

Their choices 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.

Children are 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.

Summer at Stowe

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 helmets.

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 centers.

The hotel -- an overview

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 public rooms.

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 main building.

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 distance.

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 tub.

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

To contact reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].

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