Destination Spa Guide

Even if you’ve just driven up the hill for a quick weekend away from Denver, there’s something about visiting a spa on vacation that seems especially indulgent. We scouted out a range of high-country spas—you know, for some extra encouragement to schedule that appointment you were already dreaming about. Plus, we revisit some tried-and-true urban favorites, scope out spas with a twist, and give you the 411 on spa etiquette. Go ahead. Get pampered. You deserve it.

November 2012

Elements of Touch Wellness Spa at River Retreat • Estes Park

Go here for: A comfortable and unpretentious place to unwind. This locals’ favorite is everything a big hotel spa isn’t—and we love that. Located on a woodsy cul-de-sac a few minutes from town on the banks of the Big Thompson River, the spa is a pleasant distance from the bustle of Estes Park, but close enough to be convenient. Owner Ravit Michener will welcome you like one of her family while maintaining the right balance of professional courtesy. Spending time at this low-key sanctuary makes you feel as if you were in your own home (read: no unnecessary airs or superfluous luxury). And there’s something unexpectedly relaxing about that.

Get pampered with: The Dead Sea Mud Wrap ($85). If you need a little skin detox or a mood boost, this is the treatment for you. After a gentle skin buffing, your therapist will gently slather your skin with 5,000-year-old mineral-rich mud from the Dead Sea, heated to your specifications. While you’re wrapped in a warm cocoon of blankets, the heat will open your pores, allowing toxins to escape and the mud’s healing nutrients to seep into your lymphatic system; a craniosacral scalp massage further releases the tension. A warm toweling off and full shower will leave you feeling like a shiny new penny.

Quick tip: Don’t shave for 24 hours before your wrap to avoid a stinging sensation as your skin absorbs the salts in the mud.

Make it a weekend: The spa is actually attached to (yet separate from) the Estes River Retreat vacation home, which sleeps up to seven. Rent it for a girls’ weekend or couples’ retreat and your spa-going will be as easy as wandering down the stairs.

Schedule it: 970-586-6597, estesriverretreat.com/spa.html