Enjoying a therapeutic massage or an invigorating facial is a fabulous way to shake off the winter blues and welcome the New Year. Thankfully, the South Shore is home to numerous excellent spa destinations that offer a range of pampering treatments. We uncovered five of the latest and greatest spa trends being offered in the region that turn relaxation into an art form.By Maria Allen
THE WELLNESS RETREAT
Destination spas have long been associated with remote desert hideaways and island escapes. But increasingly these relaxing retreats are cropping up in more populated areas. Take the newly opened Mirbeau Inn and Spa at The Pinehills in Plymouth, for example.
Modeled after a French country manor, the 50-room Mirbeau Inn and Spa is designed to give guests the feeling of being on a European vacation, without having to step foot in an airport. The luxurious 14,000-square-foot on-site spa offers a full range of services and cozy treatment rooms with fireplaces. But the opportunities for relaxation go beyond massages and manicures. For whenever a person comes in for a spa treatment, they have the option of staying to enjoy the rest of the facility for the entire day.
A signature feature of the spa is its large Resting Area. With rock walls, dim lighting and vaulted ceilings, the space looks and feels a bit like an underground grotto. The centerpiece of the room is a large free-form foot soaking pool, surrounded by luxurious cushioned lounge chairs. Guests can relax in this area before and after treatments; some take the opportunity to nap, while others sip cocktails. Additional spa amenities include spacious locker rooms with eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, a fitness center offering a range of complimentary group exercise classes and an outdoor Aqua Terrace, which features a large whirlpool spa, fire pit, comfortable seating and a bar. Whenever guests get hungry they can stroll upstairs to dine at the inn’s Parisian-inspired bistro overlooking Monet-inspired gardens.
MIRBEAU INN AND SPA
35 Landmark Dr., Plymouth, 877-647-2328
SOOTHING WITH SALT
Salt has been used for centuries in parts of Europe and the Middle East for its healing qualities, but it has only recently begun to gain popularity within the spa community in the United States. Rather than ingesting the salt, it is applied to the body externally. The Beach Plum Spa at the John Carver Inn in Plymouth offers several therapeutic salt treatments using Himalayan salts. In addition to being a natural skin exfoliant, salt has natural antimicrobial properties and is used to detoxify and rejuvenate the body. It is said to support a healthy immune system, improve mental alertness and help neutralize an overabundance of positive ions in the body.
Guests at the spa can enjoy an Organic Himalayan Salt Scrub with Essential Oil, which uses a nourishing blend of Himalayan sea salt, seaweed, pumice, acai and guarana, blended with essential oils, to exfoliate and moisturize the skin. There is also a Himalayan Salt Wrap. Therapists begin by stroking the skin with a Himalayan salt massage stone and then apply a luscious layer of Himalayan salt peel elixir. This purifies, detoxifies and stimulates the lymphatic system. The individual is then wrapped in warm blankets while the elixir hydrates, exfoliates and balances the pH of their skin. Experts claim the results of this treatment are comparable to the effects of “juicing” for three days. Spa guests can also enjoy a Chakra Dead Sea Salt Bath. Soaking in the spa’s Jacuzzi tub and sipping a cup of herbal tea, the worries of the world seem to float away.
THE BEACH PLUM SPA
25 Summer St., Plymouth, 888-906-6181
FARM TO FACIAL
The secret to success at Violet Skin Boutique in Hingham is found in their all-natural skincare line, which harnesses the curative powers of the natural world. Soothing moisturizers, creamy soaps, face masks and toners are all handmade by owner Violet Mkhitaryan, a trained biochemist, and her daughter, Susanna Nassar. The products are made without added fragrances or preservatives and are based on formulas that are generations old; some recipes were passed down from Violet’s grandmother in Armenia, others were sourced from ancient Eastern European beauty books. Many of the ingredients used to make the skin products, like aloe, gardenia, peonies and fresh herbs, are grown in Violet’s garden. Other components are purchased locally and are always organic.
Violet Skin Boutique offers a range of spa services but their most popular treatments are facials. These gentle, soothing treatments are ideal for the cold winter months. Face masks are customized to the client’s specific needs and made fresh, right before they are used. Many of the face and body creams contain organic oils, like jojoba, amaranth, grape seed and pumpkin seed oil, which are very hydrating. Rose oil, honey, oatmeal and seabuckthorn oils are utilized for their anti-aging properties. Chocolate facials and Flax seed facials are popular treatments for rosacea and dry skin.
VIOLET SKIN BOUTIQUE
99 South St., Hingham, 781-383-6662
The experienced staff at Oasis Day Spa, which is situated at the base of an attractive stone building in Weymouth’s Columbian Square, offers a wide range of services, but only recently began offering clients a new type of therapeutic massage treatment called Bamboo Fusion. Invented by a woman named Nathalie Cecilia, a master of Bamboo Massage Therapy, this cutting-edge massage technique is an innovative way to provide deep relaxation.
The Bamboo Fusion tools are made of 100 percent solid bamboo. Similar to a hot stone massage, the friction from the application of the tools on the skin promotes relaxation and a gentle, soothing heat. Various sized bamboo pieces are used to manipulate and roll out the skin, and muscles are massaged with kneading and crisscross movements. Aromatic oils can be used to provide further relaxation. A combination of moderate and deep pressure provides myofascial release, easing the tension held by over-stressed muscles. This type of deep-tissue massage is especially effective at working out knots. Bamboo Massage melts away muscle tension and leaves you feeling completely rejuvenated.
OASIS DAY SPA
108 Pleasant St., South Weymouth, 781-340-5730
THE MAN CAVE
Spa days aren’t just for women anymore. In fact, many local spas offer services specifically designed for their male clients. But while the look and feel of most spas is designed to suit the tastes of their female customers, The Black Tie Spa and Barbershop in Norwell caters primarily to men. The atmosphere of the Black Tie Spa is welcoming and masculine; reminiscent of an old-fashioned barbershop. Visitors are immediately struck by the abundance of dark wood and the black leather chairs in the hair salon.
The spa offers traditional grooming services and state-of-the-art spa treatments. While they wait, clients can sit back and relax in a comfortable chair beside built-in bookcases and a cozy fireplace. They can catch the latest game on a big-screen television or flip through a sports magazine. Customers can choose to come in for a simple haircut or treat themselves to a little pampering; like having their hands soothed with a Black Tie Manicure, or feel the stress of the day melt away with a deep-tissue body massage. The guys can also get facials or spend a little time relaxing in the steam room. Women often buy gift certificates for their husbands, fathers and brothers so that they too can enjoy a day of pampering.
BLACK TIE SPA
62 Accord Park Dr., Norwell