June 6, 2009
Review of The Lodge at Woodloch
The Lodge at Woodloch is a luxury destination spa in the lakes region of Northeast Pennsylvania. The Lodge is the vision and reality of John and Ginny Lopis, a husband and wife team who are noted in the spa industry for spa design, development and management.
The front desk, located at the Spa's entrance, is spacious and was empty each time we passed through. The receptionists were casual, yet professional and incredibly warm. The furnishings reflect the same oversized and casual feel of the rest of the resort - a sort of casual, yet upscale country club. We were signed in and on our way to the women's retreat in no time, led by a friendly spa attendant who promptly gave us a tour, spa sandals and assigned us to a locker which was already stocked with a robe.
Large locker room with keyless entry wooden lockers. There were 10 private shower rooms with their own changing area and vanity, each stocked with towels, bath mats, and shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Shower caps, razors and feminine hygiene products were readily available in the general locker room area. Products used throughout the spa were Gilchrist & Soames Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary. Everything from the hand soap to the lotion to the shower products was an invigorating blend of rosemary and mint. The area was super clean and spacious.
Minimally decorated rooms are average size and painted in light colors. Many of the treatment rooms had in-room showers. There are no windows in any of the treatment rooms that I saw. The salon had windows with great views. The treatment rooms were clean. Guests can choose from 5 soundtracks of music.
Cucumber and lemon infused water. Mighty Leaf hot teas. Fresh fruit. Trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Bottled orange and apple juice. The hot and boiling water for the tea dispenses directly from the faucet.
Other Spa Facilities:
The best part about the spa: the Aqua Garden, Sun Terrace, and outdoor horizon-edge whirlpool.
The Aqua Garden is a co-ed indoor pool area that can be used for swimming but is also the location of the water classes. This area also features two massaging waterfall whirlpools - one at a 6 height of 6 feet (harsh and surprisingly windy) and one at a height of 3 feet (perfect, I could have stayed there all day).
Just outside the Aqua Garden is the sun terrace. A beautiful, natural setting with lounge chairs, radiant heated concrete floors and umbrella tables. I sat out there one morning and counted the squirrels and chipmunks that came within a few feet of my chair. This is also the location of the horizon-edge whirlpool - the water seems to flow over the edge and into the landscaping below.
In the women's sanctuary, there is a eucalyptus steam room, a dry sauna and a whirlpool, all with views of the outdoors. A screened-in relaxation porch with lounge chairs is the perfect place to curl up with a good book before or after a treatment.
After your treatment, your therapist leads you to the co-ed Whisper Lounge on the first floor of the spa. This is where all of the treatment rooms are located. There is a tea bar, lounge chairs facing a wall of windows, a fireplace, magazines and blankets to warm up under. The best part? Doors leading to an outdoor area with rocking chairs facing the forested area behind the lodge. We encountered one small problem: we got locked out of the Whisper Quiet lounge when we went outside to the porch. Fortunately, a maintenance worker let us back in and we didn't have to walk around the outside of the lodge in our robes and slippers.
There is a fully equipped fitness center and 3 studios for body classes. The entire area was clean and well maintained. We had a little trouble finding the fitness center, which is located upstairs from the main spa. This seemed a little disjointed and a bit of a distance away from the locker rooms and other spa facilities.
No deals were offered on spa treatments, but we took advantage of a Midweek Magic deal and a lodge credit promotion where guests staying before 5/31/09 were entitled to $50/person/night in Lodge credits that could be used toward spa treatments and other purchases at The Lodge.
My first treatment was a Natural Sage Gommage. Here is the treatment description from the website:
Dry Brush, Polish, Moisturizer.
Gentle but invigorating, dry brushing fosters the perfect conditions for the massage application of warm Seaweed Rebalancing Serum. Concentrated algae extracts remineralize, detoxify and rebalance. Freshly powdered sage is applied in gommage fashion to further exfoliate your skin. The warmth of sage-infused towels and the massage application of antioxidant body lotion will leave you feeling cleansed, vibrant and oh so soft.
50 minutes $120
Loved this treatment! The dry brushing was a new experience that I'd been curious about. It doesn't hurt, but it is slightly abrasive and very invigorating. The "gommage" was also new to me. My therapist, Sherie, crumbled sage over me, and then rubbed it over my skin. She removed the exfoliant using warm towels that had been soaking in sage oil. The smell of the fresh sage combined with the sage towels was heavenly. Only a more thorough full body massage would have made this treatment more heavenly.
For my second treatment, I had the Lodge's signature Awakening the Senses Facial. Here is the treatment brochure description:
Experience the synergy of our signature facial, as aromatherapy, chromatherapy (color therapy), healing sound, choreographed two-disc stone massage and delightful flavors blend with profoundly effective skin care. Designed to increase the skin's capacity to function more efficiently, a gentle marine peel, age-defying complex serum and two nutrient-rich masks restore the skin and promote moisture balance, tone and clarity. A facial experience you will long remember! For all skin types. 75 minutes, $175
The treatment name and description sure did sound interesting, so here is the reality of the treatment. For the aromatherapy, I was given a choice of two massage oil blends to be used during the facial massage portion of my treatment.
For the chromatherapy, Danielle had 6 colored fabric discs arranged on the treatment bed when I entered the room. She asked me to choose a color - I choose purple. She read a description of what the color purple signifies (creativity, for one). She then told me that we would bathe the room in my color choice. The fabric disc was placed over a light, but it really just made the room darker and not bathed in purple.
For healing sound, I could choose among the 5 tracks of recorded music according to my preference. I chose traditional spa music. My therapist, Danielle, told me that there used to be a CD associated with this treatment.
The choreographed two-disc stone massage was a facial massage using the aromatherapy oil and two small discs with the centers cut out. Danielle massaged my face using the oil and the stones. It felt nice - but I wondered if so much oil on my face would negate the effects of the facial.
The delightful flavor was a wrapped chocolate covered strawberry. This was certainly a welcome treat that completed all the senses, but there was also a tray of chocolate covered strawberries in our room upon arrival.
Overall, the treatment was a little hokey. I left feeling it wasn't a great value and that the components didn't really add up to my senses being awakened. I can't say that my skin has shown any improvement in the days post-facial.
My mom had two treatments also: A European Deep Cleansing Facial ($120, 50 minutes) and a pedicure ($85, 50 minutes). Her opinion? Both treatments weren't as enjoyable as the facials and pedicures she receives at less expensive local day spas back at home. Certain components of these basic treatments seemed to be missing.
At checkout time, the hotel front desk staff asked how we enjoyed our stay. Sincere and honest feedback is important to me. I filled out a comment card indicating my thoughts on the treatments and on the value of the treatments and told the front desk staff that there were a few things that I mentioned in my comment card. They assured me that they would share this feedback with the owners and with the departmental staff.
At a destination spa, meals are typically included in your package. The Lodge at Woodloch is no exception. The Intro to Spa Package and the Complete Spa Package include 3 meals daily, plus snacks from the tea bars located in the spa and near the front desk. Dinner on the day of your arrival, plus breakfast and lunch on the day of your departure is included. Since we planned to leave at lunchtime the next day, the front desk staff suggested that we substitute our departure day lunch with our arrival day lunch. It was a Sunday, so the dining room (Tree) was comfortably occupied with guests who had spent the weekend and were checking out.
We were offered menus with 2 appetizer choices, 2 entrée choices (Bison Burgers and Veggie Burgers), 2 juice blend choices and 3 smoothie choices. We also learned that we could help ourselves to the buffet instead of ordering off the menu. We checked out the buffet and opted for that instead of ordering off the menu. There was a printed menu of items on the buffet, but most individual items weren't labeled and some could not be identified. There were a number of salads, a salmon wrap, soup, vegetables and very small portions of desert - chocolate mousse in a shot glass and single bites of cake. If it sounds like I'm complaining about the portion size, I'm not. I really liked the concept of small bites of dessert to end the meal. It also