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Posted by on Aug 31, 2004 in Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Historic Private Island: The Sagamore Resort and Golf Club

Historic Private Island: The Sagamore Resort and Golf Club

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One jazz-age relic that looks and plays better than ever is the Sagamore golf course, a 1928 Donald Ross creation.


ith its idyllic location on a 70-acre private island, the historic Sagamore Hotel commands a panorama of Lake George and the stately Adirondack mountains. The three-story wings of the main hotel feature rooms and suites, most decorated in a Colonial Revival style that blends seamlessly with the d cor of the grand lobby spaces. A few of the lakeview suites feature a wonderful, upscale Adirondack theme. The condo-style Lodges comprise another 240 rooms, half of these spacious suites with fireplaces and terraces, most with dead-on lake views.

From the opening of the original hotel built back in 1883, the Sagamore has been a summer sanctuary where world-weary city folk reconnect with nature. On the walls of the corridor that leads to the spa and fitness center, you ll see displayed wonderful vintage photos of boating parties and an uncomfortable-looking wood and leather rowing machine that

attest to this hotel s history of promoting wellness through genteel outdoor activities. Hotel literature from way back in 1889 charts the distance to row, walk, hike, or drive to various scenic locations like Shelving Rock or Indian Falls.


This year, quite in sympathy with its regatta-ing past, the Sagamore has just added a comprehensive program of sailing lessons given on brand-new, specially designed, easy-to-sail boats taught by the Offshore Sailing School. In addition to indoor and outdoor tennis and racquetball courts, a heated swimming pool, and jogging trails there is also a rock-wall climbing facility and a nearby marina offering fishing charters, water skiing, wind surfing, sailing and parasailing. In the winter, there are cross-country skiing, ice-skating, and sledding, as well as a daily shuttle to Gore Mountain for downhill skiing.

In the 3,800 square-foot Fitness Club, the wood and leather rowing machines of yesteryear have given way to a Concept II Rowers, Stairmasters, Lifecycles, Windracers, True Treadmills, and a 12-Station Cybex Strength Training Circuit. Among the various cardio and strength training classes offered, the sixty minute water classes like Aqua Fit, Aqua Strength, and even Aqua Yoga draw raves for their intensity these are not your average just paddling around in the pool. Personal Training (50 minutes, $60), Body Composition Analysis (25 minutes, $30), and a personalized Exercise for Weight Loss (50 minutes, $60) program are available by appointment.

One jazz-age relic that looks and plays better than ever is the Sagamore golf course, a 1928 Donald Ross creation. The entire golf course saw a total renovation completed in the 1990 s, including new cart paths and drainage, as well as an artful restoration of the greens, according to Ross s original architectural plans. Stroll from the hunting-lodge style club house to the first tee, perched 90 feet above the green, enjoy the view of Lake George way below and you ll realize you may be in for a bit of a roller coaster ride; this 6,890 par 70 winds over and around brooks, trees, and boulders, playing to a testing 130 slope.

After some healthful exertions, a retreat to the spa is in order. Moderate in size by today s standards, the Sagamore s spa has seven rooms for massage, three for facials, and one double room for wet body treatments, and hydrotherapy (inhalation steam, sauna, hot tub, chill bath, multi-head showers) in both the men s and women s locker rooms. Some of these amenities are noticeably fine; in the hot tub, jets were remarkably powerful, and the 104 -105 temperature was absolutely perfect. (The unsupervised hot tub in the pool area is maintained at a lower 102 -103 .) In warm weather, massages are also offered lakeside, on the dock. Spa pedicures and manicures are offered in the Sagamore Salon, along with hair care and waxing. Plans for an expansion of the spa are in the works.


The Sagamore Spa has a menu of massage therapies, body treatments, facials, as well acupuncture, nutritional analysis, intuitive counseling, and palmistry on a consultation basis. Signature treatments such as the Sacred Earth Healing Ritual (100 minutes, $195) draw inspiration from the traditions of local Native Americans, employing medicinal herbs and aromatic steam along with a full-body lymphatic drainage massage to rid the body of toxins.

One treatment that is as popular with big, burly men as it is with ladies is the Adirondack Hot Stone Massage (75 minutes, $145; 18% gratuity is added for a total of $171.10). After massaging the skin with essential oils, the therapist presses heated basalt stones into tense muscles. With gentle pressure, the heat of the stones penetrates deep into sore muscles; the sensation is not unlike the heated seats in many sports cars, but the relaxing effect is far more profound.

A licensed facialist, Spa Director Sue Butterfield takes a holistic approach to caring for the face in a selection of treatments dubbed Wellness for the Skin. Beyond the basics of cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing, facial treatments incorporate a variety of healing massages, and the multiple benefits of all-natural Jurlique products from Australia. As the first step in facial cleansing, Jurlique s Aromatic Hydrating Concentrate in Lavender or a choice of other scents are water soluble forms of essentials oils that combine the effects of aromatherapy as they soften the skin.


Jurlique products are integrated into the Reiki Facial (75 minutes, $145), the latest innovation at the Sagamore Spa. Brainstorming with her staff and Reiki master Carolyn Agosta, Butterfield created a therapy that combines toning and cleansing of the skin with the powerful energy work of Reiki, to release toxins and leave the charkas of the head and body in balance.

As you recline with legs elevated, inhaling the lavender from the warm compress, you realize this is much more than a facial, as your therapist begins the ritual by getting in touch with you, and your energy centers. Throughout the treatment, esthetic applications toner, mask, moisturizers are done with series of light and firm touches on the face, or long strokes from the chin to the cheek. With attention to the neck and shoulders as well the face and head, you emerge feeling relaxed, energized in a way that seems to erase the tension from your mind and body as well as your face.

High season rates prevail through October 15, but be sure to check the hotel s website, for discount offers, special events like the Spa at Home Weekend, and shoulder season packages like the Mother & Daughter Retreat (3 days/2 nights with 125 minutes of spa treatments, one intuitive consultation, one 50-minute health and healing workshop, yoga and tai chi classes starting at $379 per person.)

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