I love Providence, but sometimes, I love being away from Providence. Whether it’s an afternoon in South County spent by the shore, or a weekend mini-break, a moment to recharge my batteries is essential for my peace of mind. The thing is, though, that I’ve been thinking about this whole getting away thing all wrong: I don’t actually need to leave to feel like I’ve had a vacation. This is what I learned one Sunday afternoon at the Spa at the Biltmore.
The Biltmore is the city’s only hotel with its own spa – so if you’re taking a staycation, you can shlep from your room to your treatment room in your robe if you so choose but it’s also easy to visit just for a treatment, and they’re pretty good to locals. Valet in the hotel garage is free with spa treatments, and they offer a 20% discount on services to Providence residents.
When I walked in on a Sunday in early fall, I really needed a break. It was one of those weekends that don’t really feel like weekends, filled with obligations and things that had to get done. The scene on Washington Street as I walked to the hotel wasn’t pretty, either. Big crowd, lots of sirens and flashing lights – the kind of thing you’d rather not have to see at all, never mind when you’re trying to give yourself a time out from your life. Needless to say, I was frazzled when I walked into the spa. But as the receptionist walked me through the makeup application space to the elevator, and brought me upstairs into the treatment area, my temperature changed. The spa space feels like another world. Dim lighting, built-in fountains, neutral colors, serene music playing – everything felt hushed, but in a good way. Once I made my way into the changing room, switched my clothing for a treatment robe and sat down with some cucumber water in the waiting area, I was ready to relax.
Barbara greeted me, and brought me to the room where she’d be giving me a Biltmore Signature Facial. She had warmed the space before I got there, so I basically slid into the treatment bed, closed my eyes and let her do her work. I wish I could tell you more about what happened next, but I was so blissed out from the moment the facial started that I don’t remember much. It’s a total “sorry, not sorry” moment. Barbara was extremely thorough, asking me about my normal skincare, giving me a few tips for better home maintenance (she always tells clients to cleanse twice, to really get the junk out of your skin) – but she did it in such a quiet, gentle way, in between moments of acupressure on my face, neck and scalp, that it didn’t take me out of my zen trance.
With the change of seasons in full swing, Barbara focused on hydration and promoting cell turnover, to get rid of my dry summer skin and reveal a fresh face for fall. I left with a glowing face and a quiet mind. Plus, my skin looked so great that I went straight from the spa – with no makeup – to the Hot Club, for one last sunny afternoon cocktail by the water. I wanted to savor every minute of relaxation.
The Spa at the Biltmore | 11 Dorrance Street | 455-3100