Where To Go, What To Do?

January 31 2006, 12:05 PM

As I prepare to jump from one huge, stressful project straight into a brand-new huge, stressful project (with several smaller project deadlines mixed in between, just for fun, you know?) I'm starting to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. By the middle of February, I should be able to come up for air. I'm thinking vacation. And not one of those busy-busy, sightseeing, go-somewhere-and-be-active trips. I want a "relaxing getaway" -- such an overused yet underachieved goal. So of course, in between bouts of real productivity, I've been surfing the 'net, looking for ideas and deals. A few interesting items: The Colorado "resident rate" at the Sky Hotel in Aspen. For $250 per night I could stay in this very posh, stylish spot and pretend that I normally rub noses with the rich and famous. It's super swanky, decked out in ultra modern style and offers ski-in access to Aspen Mountain. I'd be more about the poolside and fireside scene than the slopeside activities, so... maybe not. Then I remembered all the neat little Victorian hotels in Ouray, Colorado (the "Switzerland of America") , including one hot springs lodge that offers private access to a steam cave and springs in the hillside behind the hotel. The Wiesbaden Hot Springs and Lodge sounds great, but the rules are very strict - no smoking (not a problem) no pets (not bringing 'em) and no kids (also okay). Still, it ends up sounding a little stuffy, and the drive to Ouray in the winter can be a tricky one, so again... maybe not. Once I got the hot springs idea into my head, I started leaning toward a spa somewhere. Preferably with hot springs or steam baths or something equally likely to turn my knotted-up muscles into butter. And since I'm not much of a ski bunny (way more of a lodge bunny) I thought maybe I'd head south toward the sun. Ojo Caliente hot springs in northern New Mexico is only about 5 hour drive, and my trip there last summer was great. But it's more of a commune-with-nature spot than the posh pampering I have in mind. Close, but not quite right. Then I heard about this: the Absolute Nirvana spa in Santa Fe. This is an Asian-inspired spa, tea room, and gardens, and the owners also run three different bed & breakfast inns within walking distance. And since I've never been to Santa Fe (art galleries! turquoise trinkets!) it sounds like a great idea for a long weekend. I'm looking at the spa packages, including one called the Javanese Lulur - a jasmine oil masssage, a body scrub with yogurt, honey, and "lulur" a traditional Javanese paste made with sandalwood and rice powder, followed by a steam bath and a long soak in a private rose-petal bath. Yum. I'm intrigued. I can book a room at the nearby Madeleine Inn -- one of the only Victorian style homes in Santa Fe -- and enjoy the breakfast and wine social they serve up daily. So far, so good. Now I just need to get through the next couple of weeks. It definitely helps to have something fun to look forward to.