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By Amiee White Beazley | December 5, 2012 | Style & Beauty
ABOVE: Small bites and treatment oils combine to make the Farm-to-Massage Table experience complete. BELOW: the new Farm-to-Massage Table treatment menu
It’s not often I take a day to myself. Leaving my husband alone with two rambunctious boys as I’m pampered, sloughed, massaged, mended—is a rarity. But on a gorgeous fall day in Aspen, duty calls. As I pack my bag, my husband raises his brow and asks, “What kind of assignment is this?” Enough questions, I have a meeting with a massage table.
Not too long after my escape, I’m pulling into the porte cachere at the St. Regis Aspen, where arguably the most decadent, dare I say, epic, body treatment is being offered at the resort’s Remède Spa.
The new Farm-to-Massage Table treatment is a one-of-a-kind wellness experience that brings the resort’s farm-to-table philosophy into the wellness world. The experience pairs spa treatments—in my case the complete works—salt scrub, paraffin treatment for hands and feet, eucalyptus cleanse, massage, body butter application, and scalp and hair treatment—with a food-tasting menu that employs the same aromas, textures, and flavors. In short, the body is treated with the same ingredients the mouth discovers. For food lovers, it’s akin to Nirvana.
Escorted into to the ladies lounge, I quickly change into my robe. Shorter on time than originally planned, I bypass the steam room, whirlpool, and “confluence,” a co-ed water element beautifully designed in local stone, and head straight to the spa waiting room. I spy dried fruits, nuts, and a selection of cookies. Though hunger calls, I’m anticipating the delights ahead and instead opt for a leechee coconut white tea from a line of skin-enhancing infusions by Tea Forte. I hold the mug close to my face, allowing myself to slow down, letting my skin absorb the steam. And as if on cue, Remède Spa Director Julie Oliff enters the room and introduces herself. “You are in for a real treat today,” she says. Along with St. Regis Executive Chef Thomas Riordan, Oliff created the five-course treatment and tasting menu using the best ingredients from local growers. Everything that touches guests’ lips or skin is of the purest origin.
Next I’m introduced to world-class therapist Annabelle Golden, who gives a primer on the two-hour treatment. I choose the scents of both my salt scrub and post-massage body butter. Three scents (cucumber-mint, oatmeal, milk and honey, and Cabernet-neroli) are on the day’s Savory Salt Glow Scrubs menu, each harvested from the Great Salt Lake and infused with grape-seed oil and fragrant essential oil. I pick the Cabernet-neroli. My therapist hand-mixes the customized salt scrub, and I choose lavender-vanilla body butter to pair with the post-massage dessert course.
Julie then unveils the appetizer selections. While only one appetizer paired with your chosen scents is the norm, she allows me to sample them all: A Spanish Cabrales cheese, strong and flavorful, served on a miniature toast point with bitter orange marmalade, a chilled cucumber-mint consommé, served in a shot glass with freshly picked mint and cucumber “caviar” garnish, and finally a bite of coconut-poached Maine lobster, topped with a mango espuma—a cool, satisfying mix of meaty shellfish and soft, sweet pureed fruit. I sample one of each and am escorted to a large treatment room, swathed in bark tones and serene low light. First up, a 30-minute, exfoliating scrub. It’s invigorating yet surprisingly relaxing, as Annabelle rhythmically works the salt onto my skin. I cringe at the thought of sunscreen, sweat-drenched biking clothes, and beauty products with which I’ve recently blighted my body. Under her work I’m molting, happily, and the light citrus fragrance of neroli fills the air.
After the scrub I rinse in the shower. Back on the table, she covers hands and feet in a paraffin wax, wrapping them to heat, soften, and ultimately hydrate the skin. Next begins the main course, a one-hour massage. As she works my neck and shoulders, I slip into what I call The Third Dimension: I’m awake (I think) but in such a deep state of relaxation it’s as if I’m in a trance. I have disconnected, but significant thoughts and visions flash in my brain. The hour slips by. I’m “grounded” with scents of essential oils, and brought back to earth. My therapist discards the paraffin wraps and places warm Eucalyptus “palate cleansing” compresses over my body. To my nostrils’ delight, the lavender-vanilla whipped body butter is unveiled, and she begins to apply, softening my skin. To complete the treatment, she massages food-grade, aromatic Moroccan Argan conditioning oil into my hair and scalp, the ultimate relaxation tactic.
With the lavender-vanilla perfume trailing me, I slip into my bathrobe and on to the warming room, where a glass of St. Regis’ “315” Dean Street Prosecco is waiting next to a tray of small desserts. I’m fitted for my oxygen session and covered in a cozy blanket. My thoughts begin flirting with what’s happening at home, so I dutifully divert my attention to the dessert plate. Chef Riordan pairs the lavender-vanilla body cream with a blueberry financier, topped with a luscious vanilla-lavender Chantilly sauce. Additional desserts that correspond with other body butter scents include the house-made almond biscotti dipped in dark chocolate and topped with an almond mousse, and my favorite, small oatmeal cookies drizzled with local honey. Yes, I tried every one, calories be damned. As I sip and nibble, other ladies who have entered the oxygen room eye my plate with curiosity and obvious envy. I can’t help but share.
I finally surrender to real-world re-entry. I shower and preen in the ladies lounge, and pack my take home of hand-mixed salt scrub. The instinct to check my voicemail kicks in, but alas, there’s no reception. An intentional relaxation technique imposed by the spa? Perhaps not, but appreciated nonetheless. The day, thanks to Remède, has a true fullness to it that won’t soon wash away. I feel nourished, inside and out.
Food/Drink stylist is suzanne lenzer