Winter in the Northeast is long and cold. After more than 15 years in New York, I have developed many methods of coping (toddies, combat boots, cashmere tracksuits), but the main one being: escape. While Mexico in February sounds awe-inspiring, it’s not always practical, especially in these weird times. So when I can’t fly somewhere hotI drive to a comfortable place where I can warm up. For example: an all-day spa where I can let off steam in the sauna and then curl up by the fire for the night? Yes and yes. This year, my boyfriend and I discovered Aurora’s Inns Spa, which fit the bill and provided an unforgettable luxury retreat at the last minute.
Let’s start with the Aurora Hostels. As the name suggests, there are actually five sprawling mansions spanning the property plus two restaurants, a village market, an activity center with daily yoga, a demonstration kitchen offering cooking classes and of course… the Spa. Fireplaces and cozy nooks are everywhere, each inn decked out to the gills with its own personality. Mackenzie-Childs quirky designs give one of the Rowland houses an Alice in Wonderland quality, while the recently opened Zabreskie house feels more like a seaside retreat. ocean, EB Morgan House Is it that face Cayuga Lake, and its stone architecture from the 1800s may inspire fantasies of living in another era.
The artwork, however, is as modern as it gets. The owner of the complex, Pleasant Rowland, is the founder of a small (huge) doll business that you may have heard of. american girl. Luckily for us, she has invested part of her fortune in an impressive art collection which is displayed throughout the property. Expressionist, modern and pop art by David Hockney, Wolf Kahn and Helen Frankenthaler, to name a few. We toured the art, I took a surprisingly lovely yoga class and had dinner there. However, my favorite dining experience of the weekend was in nearby Geneva. FLX board, where we indulged in a multi-course wine tasting and “celebration dinner” type feast for the senses. If you can get a reservation, do it.
And now, for the real reason we came… the spa. Opened only about 6 months ago, the spa is a tranquil 15,000 square foot paradise. On the advice of the receptionist, we arrived 3 hours before our 4pm massage appointments in order to fully immerse ourselves in the experience. And let me tell you, we didn’t waste a minute. The spa and his coffee are free for anyone purchasing a treatment. We started with a dreamy lunch in the very contemporary cafe, which included unlimited servings of raw vegetables and dips, soups and salads, roasted vegetables and healthy snacks galore. If only they’d let me take the fancy chairs home, I would have.
From there, we put on our giant, fluffy spa bathrobes and settled into a lounge chair to digest. Eventually we did several rounds between the sauna and the steam room before moving on to the hot and cold pools and the outdoor waterfall. We lay down, we took naps, we swam, we sweated, we got soaked, we read by the fire, we had another snack and before we knew it; it was massage time. 80 minutes of medical massage later and I came away relieved of my shoulder pain and feeling spoiled, grateful and a little crazy.
Who knew this kind of relaxation was available so close to the crowded streets of New York? Well, now you do.
Nathalie Declève aka “Natty Style” is a New York based holistic personal stylist. Natalie brings style and clarity to the wardrobes and lifestyles of men and women around the world. Effortless, confident, thoughtful. Find her on Instagram @natty_style.
[Photos courtesy Inns of Aurora]