Self-Care at the Sankara Spa
Life is remarkable but at times – irksome – and living in the city that sells itself as “one that never sleeps” is both a blessing and a curse. Self-Care is often the remedy to alleviate the chaos, and for me, that self-care solution lies in services at a Spa.
Whether you believe that “spa” is an acronym for the latin phrase “salus per aquam” (translation: “health through water,”) or that the origin of the term spa is a gift from the town “Spa” in Belgium, known since the 14th century for its baths. Most spa visitors will agree that the modern day spa is a haven to escape, relax and recharge in a shorter, more cost effective manner than taking a full-on vacation.
Even though I reside near some of the best spas in the world, I spend a great deal of time looking for out-of-city options where I can engage in a full-on sensory experience, and there are not that many…
I decided it was time to “Get out of Dodge” and head somewhere, anywhere I could within driving distance.
Fleeing to find some ‘Ohm’, I hopped in my car and headed to the Sankara Spa in Tarrytown, New York.
The Sankara Spa
The Sankara Spa is known throughout Asia as, “an oasis of peace and tranquility.” A piece of that peace exists 25 miles north of New York City within the exquisite Castle Hotel & Spa. I had not heard of the Sankara Spa, nor had I ever been to Tarrytown, New York, but a brief search online showed a variety of services and amenities that sounded like they had the makings of a fun mini break.
Facial treatments like the “Ultimate Age Defying Facial,” and the “Sankara Luxurious Customized Facial” – both one hour and executed using the Naturopathica Skin Care Line – looked interesting.
“The Body Scrub” that brightens and restores dull skin with exfoliation and natural hydration potions leaves skin silky and smooth in just one hour. That sounded fabulous!
BUT my mind was really wandering to a massage, specifically Reflexology. This one-hour service promised to address “congested areas” of my body through my feet, accompanied by a relaxing foot and lower leg massage.
My spa service also allowed for some wonderful complimentary experiences, including the use of the Relaxation Lounge, Fitness Center, Jacuzzi, AND most importantly, the on-site pool. While my access to the pool was complimentary, I was able to purchase additional pool passes for my son and husband so that they too could have an activity, a place to beat the heat and some much overdone “Father-Son Time.” What a spectacular experience to find so close to home.
When we arrived at the Castle Hotel & Spa, we were greeted by the valet, where we left our car. Entry to the Castle feels appropriately royal.
We were given directions to the spa, which is slightly down the hill from the castle.
As we strolled to the spa, we could not help but stop and admire the landscaping. The flowers in bloom and crisp green shrubbery made New York City feel a million miles away. The boys picked up their swim passes and headed to the pool and I checked-in for my service.
The spa is deceiving in size at the entrance. The waiting area at the front desk is minimally decorated and showcases Naturopathica and Thann products for sale, along with some burning incense and a reception desk.
Following check-in, I was escorted through a dark door to a dimly lit hallway and down several halls with several turns. I was shown the Jacuzzi, Women’s Relaxation Room and Co-ed Relaxation Room. I ended my tour in the Women’s Locker Room.
Here I was provided with a dark brown robe and slippers, asked to change and invited to relax in the Jacuzzi, Women’s Relaxation Room or Co-ed Relaxation Room. Naturally I did all three.
The Jacuzzi was empty, pristine and warm. Taking a quick soak was a nice way to decompress and get in to “Spa Mode”, if you will. After the soak, I headed to the Women’s Lounge and helped myself to some sparkling water. The beds and chairs are plush and cozy and everything is quiet.
It was nice, but I felt I needed to see more of the Co-ed Relaxation Lounge. It was so striking upon my tour, I just could not wait.
Co-ed Relaxation Lounge
Wow! The best lounge that I have seen in a long time. The ceilings are wood paneled and the five elements represented through the décor: earth, tree, fire, water and air in the most balancing way I have seen during my spa experiences.
My view was of beautiful green trees and the earth was grounding and breathtaking. I was alone in the lounge and decided this was a perfect location to practice some light yoga: hip openers and ‘downward dogs’ seemed appropriate here. I was ‘in nature’ but in the most luxurious, enclosed and air-conditioned way possible!
A visit to the kitchenette allowed me to enjoy a cucumber water. Coffee and tea are also available, as are a variety of healthy snacks.
When my masseuse arrived to greet me, I was already feeling very pampered and it seemed the experience could not get any better.
The treatment room was not elaborate. The décor is minimal, and dark. Brown sheets, brown walls, nothing very remarkable, but very calming, very clean and very serene.
My treatment began with a foot bath and a consultation followed by the service. I really appreciated that the masseuse focused on the pain that I had been experiencing. I also appreciated the communication on the pressure he used. I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew, the 60 minutes were over. After my service I said “Good bye” and headed over to my family at the pool.
Holy Cow! This pool is gorgeous and the Pool Bar that serves lunch reminded me of being in Mexico! Designed with light peach paint and terra cotta with mosaics and wrought iron, I somehow found myself in another country! How on earth was I so close to home?
I spoke with the Bar Manager, Jorge, for quite a while. He makes every drink by hand from fresh fruits and vegetables. He uses a mortar and pestle right in front of you and mashes the ingredients. We were fortunate to have our own private tasting of some of his creations. Jorge showed us how he creates a Jalapeno Mojito, which was my favorite because I love Jalapeno!
My husband sampled what he said was the “BEST Bloody Mary Ever” made of fresh tomato, horseradish and secret spices. We both sampled a Peach Margarita made with fresh roasted peaches that were just cooling from the oven, made with some peach schnapps and tequila.
My son enjoyed a punch made of fresh ground fruits and club soda; no alcohol, of course.
We also ordered some bites to accompany our impromptu tasting.
The charcuterie board was “OK”, the oysters very good, and my son LOVED the French fries; he is quite the connoisseur.
The most memorable and noteworthy part of the experience was lounging by that pool, feeling like my life was a million miles away. A short ride back to the City and I was back in reality, but ready to face the world with a renewed sense of energy.
What I was most impressed with was that this spa allowed for a family day trip with something for everyone. I highly recommend looking in to seeing if this is the right day trip for you and your crew.
Castle Hotel & Spa
400 Benedict Avenue
Tarrytown, New York 10591
The Castle Hotel & Spa is affiliated with Manhattan Bride Best of 2018, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Historic Hotels of America and Forbes 2018 Travel Guide.
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.
She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for www.thelaughinmommy.blogspot.com.
In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.