Spa escape

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Listen up, girlfriends: Augusta, Maine’s capital city, isn’t a tourist destination, not by a long shot. It is, however, a great place for a spa escape. No, really!

I met a gal pal there for an overnight at The Senator Inn and Spa, a motel and conference center just off I-95, on a strip of sprawl and adjacent to one of the big box clusters. Given the location, I wasn’t expecting much of spa, but was looking forward to the escape.

What a sleeper (no pun intended)! The Senator’s had a full-service spa for 10 years, and that tenure shows both in design and services. It’s part of  well-equipped health center with an indoor mineral pool, aerobics studio, and weight and exercise rooms.

Not an afterthought wedged in, the spa is thoughtfully designed and spacious.  Locker rooms are on the pool level, but an elevator whisks up to the second floor, where entry is restricted to spa guests with access keys. A couch and chairs are grouped by a fireplace in the waiting lounge,  and there’s a small dining ell for those who wish to order a meal. Now let me be clear: It’s not an ultra fancy spa in extra amenities or decor, but it is comfortable and nice spot for an escape (with girlfriends or with spouse).

I achieved a zen-like peace during my Zen Harmony Organic Facial, a 90-minute treatment complete with scalp, hand, and foot massage. Way different from any other facial I’ve had; this one used a Japanese massage technique that was kind of chop-chop on my face. Despite that, I drifted off to la-la land for most of it. And the results: Definitely achieved the glow,  the elimination of quite a few worry lines, and a nice state of relaxation. (Honestly, if they could have just rolled me onto a gurney and wheeled me back to my room, I would have achieved total bliss).

My friend had an aromotherapy massage that left her floating. Her first comment: “I should have booked an hour-and-a-half, not just an hour, I didn’t want it to be over.”

The range of services is quite extensive, including various massages, facials, and body treatments, and for a hotel spa, prices are quite reasonable: Most one-hour services are $89, with a basic massage at $69.  Longer services, such as my facial, are around $139. For a real splurge, consider the Day of Relaxation package for $325, including facial, body wrap, massage, pedicure, lunch, and a recovery drink.

Better yet, mke it an overnight. Rooms range from standard ($99-$159 d) to suites with separate living room area, fireplace in the bedroom, and Jacuzzi bath ($179-$259). The Cloud 9 restaurant is ultra casual, with a nice brick over area. I can vouch for the crab cakes (so good, I not only had them at dinner, but as as an eggs benie the next morning).

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