Waterfalls designed to provide therapeutic back massages. Mineral pools and lap pools of varying temperatures. Eucalyptus steam rooms. As I toured the spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn, I kept thinking one thing — I'm glad I brought my bathing suit.
This relaxation spot has been on my to-try list for years, and I finally had an excuse to make a visit for articles I'm writing for American Fitness Magazine and Urban Lux. (Time for my disclaimer: this spa visit was comped, folks.)
The Grove Park is a historic hotel in Asheville, N.C., that is known for its whimsical stone work, which extends to the spa area. This spa is multi-level and is filled with hidden coves and nooks and crannies for getting lost in relaxation, so plan to spend a whole afternoon — if not an entire day — even if you are only getting an hour-long treatment. (BTW, there are often spa day passes available that allow you to enjoy the amenities even if you're not getting a treatment.)
After putting on my slipper and robe, I snuggled up next to one of the many fireplaces (both indoor and outdoor) located throughout the relaxation rooms and coves. When it was time for my Grove Park Classic massage, my therapist, Carol, came and got me.
Before the massage started, she did an excellent job of asking all of the right questions about the amount of pressure I preferred, which type of music I wanted to listen to, and which type of oil I wanted for my treatment. (I picked the citrus-infused "detox" option. What can I say — I'd had a really "fun" evening the night before at the hotel's piano bar...)
For the next 50 minutes, Carol worked her magic and there were even some hot towels thrown into the mix to further melt my muscles into butter. A side note — I loved the massage tables here. Carol was able to maneuver it so that my upper and lower body were at just the right angles.
After the treatment, I was escorted to one of the relaxation areas where I wrapped myself in a heavenly snuggly blanket and enjoyed a cup of plum and cinnamon tea, which is a must-have while you are visiting. In addition to the hot tea, you'll also find complimentary waters, nuts, and fruit available throughout the spa. And there's a spa cafe that offers more filling options like wraps and salads.
The next few hours were spent reading in front of fireplaces, floating around in the pools (don't miss the outdoor heated mineral pool — it's the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the mountains), visiting the steam room and sauna, and doing some deep breathing in the meditation garden. (You'll have to see it to appreciate it.) I'd squeezed in my workout earlier in the day, but the spa also has its own fitness center, if you're so inclined. And I have to say that this is one of the best spas I've seen for couples — lots of corners to cuddle in, if you know what I mean.
So what's the verdict? A definite "fit." If we hadn't had dinner reservations, I likely would have taken the spa staff's offer to stay until it closed at 9 pm. No joke, ya'll — what makes this spa special is all that it offers in terms of amenities. So, get your money's worth and make a day of it.