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Posted by on Feb 28, 2007 in Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Southern Comfort, Charleston Style

Southern Comfort, Charleston Style

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Hard as it is to tear yourself away from the pleasures of The Spa, many of Charleston’s delights are just outside the front door. Stroll along the tree-lined streets and cobbled lanes, peek at gardens through iron-grill gates, check out the crafts in Market Hall, and the sweetgrass baskets local women weave on Meeting Street.


It’s no surprise that southern hospitality, gentility, and the languorous soul of Charleston are hallmarks of The Spa at Charleston Place as well as of that delightful city itself. What other spa enchants little girls with lollipop manicures and pedicures, and young gentlemen with facials, mothers-to-be and mothers-and-daughters with bonding experiences, brides-to-be and their soon-to-be grooms, CEO’s and Aqua Men. They all come under the careful cosseting of the full-service European-style retreat in the Charleston Place Hotel.

The multi-million dollar Spa is set on the fourth floor where sunlight streams onto antique Mexican stone tile floors, blond wood fixtures, and black-and-white seashell prints. First opened in 1999, The Spa recently added five new treatment rooms, including one for couples and a wet room for Vichy showers, for a total of ten treatment rooms. A wide variety of facials, pedicures, manicures, exotic body scrubs and wraps, hot stone and aroma therapies, shiatsu, Thai, neuromuscular, sports, and pregnancy massages are all available. In fact, the menu of treatments is so extensive it’s hard to find one that isn’t offered.

First, of course, are the massages, most of which don’t need further explanation. They include Swedish Massage (50 min/80 min) $110/$170; for couples (50 min/80 min) $220/$340; Deep Tissue Therapeutic Massage (50 min/80 min) $120/$180; for couples (50 min/80 min) $240/$360; Warm Stone Therapeutic Massage (80 min, $175); Aromatherapy Body Massage (50 min/80 min, $125/$185), combining Swedish massage with your choice of aromas; and Foot Reflexology (40 min, $85). Stress Relief Massage (25 min, $65) concentrates on the neck, back, and shoulder area; Prenatal Massage (50 min, $110) improves circulation and releases lower back pain, water retention, and congestion.

You can add more relaxation to a therapeutic massage with a self heating compress of unique thermal, marine mud ($25).

Skin Care Treatments


Among eleven skin care treatments, four are The Spa’s signature therapies:

Clean Sweeps Resurfacing with Micro-Dermabrasion Facial (50 mins, $170) is considered an effective alternative to laser and chemical peels. It is a non-invasive, gentle epidermal abrasion in which natural micro-crystals are propelled across the skin to reduce the appearance of age spots and sun damage, and smooth the onset of fine lines and wrinkles. The finely abrasive action stimulates the production of new cells, collagen and elastin, so the skin looks more even-toned and healthy. For best results you need a series of treatments, although immediate results can be seen after the first session.

Age-Defying Facial (50 min, $130). This therapeutic treatment is designed particularly for women who have entered or gone menopause and the complexion changes that occur. The Spa’s B. Kamins facial products are created with an advanced formulation of Bio-Maple (described as the source of life for skin) designed to strengthen and reinforce the skin’s elasticity. Fine lines are reduced and the facial promotes smoother, stronger, and more luminous skin.

Spa Prestige Anti-aging Facial (80 min, $225). This is an intensive facial treatment to combat the effects of stress, too much sun and/or air travel by bringing back dull, tired skin and aiding resilience, revitalizing skin tone and texture and helping to smooth out fine lines.

Ultimate Bliss Treatment (50 min, $180) is a dream treatment with two therapists working on you simultaneously, addressing two of the most abused areas of the body. One gives you a European Facial, the other on tcharleston-7he 25-minute signature Bare Foot in the Spa exfoliation with a honeysuckle scrub (who says feet can’t smell fabulous?). Similarly, From North to South (50 min, $130) combines a back and neck massage with the Bare Foot in the Spa treatment.

Other choices include the European Facial (50 min, $110), Deep Cleansing Purifying Facial (80 min, $155), Royal Facial with Glycolic Treatment (50 min, $130), Delicate Defense Facial (50 min, $110) to calm delicate blotchy skin and allergic, reactive complexions. Eye and lip contouring, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, and collagen masks may be added to any facial.

With all this attention to the face, the rest of the body is by no means forgotten. Skin Buffing Back Treatment (50 mins, $170) and Back Purification (50 min, $115) ensure that the back view for both sexes is as good as the front.

Body Treatments are where Charleston’s aromatic fruits and flowers find their niche, especially in the body scrubs. Customized Body Scrubs (50 min, $135) are the centerpiece, each an exfoliating salt scrub infused with the aromas of peppermint and rosemary, or magnolia, or lavender, or tangerine. A Flavor-of-the-Month Body Scrub is a sugar scrub, made fresh each month using such natural ingredients as fresh herbs, exotic oils, and spices. And the Chocolate Cake Body Scrub mixes chocolate oil, Dead Sea salts, Vitamin E, and sweet almond oil for the skin softening treatment. All the body scrubs end with a half-hour body massage.

The other signature treatment is Magnolia Moments (80 min, $175). Following a body buffing, an application of magnolia flowers and moor mud envelops the body in unexpectedly soothing warmth, easing stress while nourishing and balancing the skin.

Other treatments include a French Body Polish (50 min, $120) to remove dead skin cells; Seaweed Detoxifying Body Wrap (50 min, $140).

 Bare Foot in the Spa (25 min, $70) can be enjoyed alone and the Foot and Leg Rescue Treatment (25 min, $70) relieves aches and puffiness associated with poor circulation.

Among an enticing menu of hand and feet therapies is the Champagne of the Sea Pedicure (70 min, $75) that, yes, starts with your sipping a glass of champagne while a rich cocktail of exclusive marine complexes work together to help remove dead skin and recharge the skin’s ability to hold moisture.


For Men Only

At The Spa men get an unusual amount of attention with a choice of various deep cleansing and anti-aging facials, body scrubs, man-i-cures and pedicures. One particularly intriguing therapy for men is On the Green Detox Treatment (50 min, 140), recommended for smokers and frequent travelers, that is based on hundred-year-old seaweed therapies given in European Spas to detoxify and purify the body.

Junior Treats

Whether to satisfy young spa enthusiasts or to ensure a generation of future spa devotees, The Spa has earmarked the under-12 age group – boys as well as girls- for special attention. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

There is a Lollipop Manicure (25 min, $30) and Lollipop Pedicure (30 min, $30) for the younger set. The Cinderella Treat (50 min, $75) combines a 25-minute facial with a Lollipop Manicure. The Young Gentleman’s Treat (25 min, 40) is an energizing 25-minute facial. Preparing kids for more grownup treatments is the Bear Scrub (40 min, $65), an invigorating hydrotherapy body treatment that combines an exfoliating honeysuckle scrub and a light massage under the Vichy shower.



In addition to all the treatments there is a comprehensive health club featuring a heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool with a glass roof that retracts for outdoor sunbathing, plus a spacious Jacuzzi, steam rooms, sauna, and a children’s splash pool. The gym is equipped with free weights and state-of-the-art Cybex, Life Fitness and Stairmaster cardio machines. Professional trainers lead classes in aerobics, fitness, body sculpting, Pilates/yoga, and even power walking through the historic district, and are available for individual instruction (30 minutes, $30; 1 hour, $65; 1 hour per couple, $100).

With such extensive health facilities at hand, it’s no wonder The Spa features a number of Mind, Body and Well-Being Programs.

Body Firming (95 min, $190) is a detailed exercise program designed to firm the lower body and reduce the appearance of cellulite. It is followed by a Seaweed Detoxifying Body Wrap to help promote deep tissue detoxification and boost your metabolism.

The Yin and Yang package (2.5hr, $230) combines Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates to help balance your Chi (life force energy). For the uninitiated, Tai Chi has been referred to as Yoga in motion , a moving meditation and a powerful key to relaxation, increased focus and concentration. A Warm Stone Therapeutic Massage completes the experience.

Journey into Fitness (95 min, $170) evaluates your fitness profile, and customizes an exercise program for your needs, goals and lifestyle to follow at home or on the road. It ends with a classic European Facial.

Charleston Spa Stretch (80 min, $150) is a 30- minute stretch class that teaches you how to exercise for more flexibility. It includes a classic full body Swedish massage.

Water Play (95 min, $180) is a challenging aquatic workout designed to optimize the resistance of water to help increase strength, stamina and flexibility. The Rescue Facial rounds out the session.

To help sort your way through the numerous offerings, The Spa offers a number of packages. Mini Get-Away (2.5 hr, $225) combines a European Facial, Swedish Massage, and Manicure. With the Ultimate Spa Day (6 hrs, $485) you ll get a Royal Facial, Magnolia Body Scrub, Swedish Massage, Lavender Manicure, Lavender Pedicure, and Spa lunch served pool-side.


Celebrating Special Events

Specific specials include a Mother-to-Be (2.5 hr, $255) package that offers a Pre-Natal Massage, European Facial, and Bare Foot in the Spa. The Mother-Daughter Get-Away (3.5 hrs, $375) combines a European Facial, Manicure, Spa Pedicure, and Spa lunch served at pool side, while the Graduation Treat (2.15hr, $185) includes a European Facial, Manicure, and Spa Pedicure. The CEO Get-Away (4 hrs, $295) includes the Gentleman’s Luxury Facial with Private Eye Treat, Deep Tissue Therapeutic Massage, Feet First, and Spa lunch served pool-side, while the Aqua Man (2.5 hr, $255) has an Essential Relaxing Body Scrub, Change-of-Oil facial, and Man-i-cure.

For pre-wedding stress, there is the Bride-to-Be (5 hrs, $395), with a European Facial, French Body Polish, Swedish Massage, Manicure and Champagne of the Sea Pedicure, and a Spa Lunch served pool side. The Groom-to-Be (4.5 hr, $375) gets a Change the Oil Facial, Essential Body Scrub, Deep Tissue Massage and Man-i-cure, also with a Spa Lunch served pool side. And I haven’t even mentioned The Ultimate Bride Package ($1,115) that begins six weeks prior to the wedding, or The Groom’s Countdown Package ($685) that starts four weeks before the wedding.

For people who never want to leave, The Spa serves an ambitious low-calorie menu poolside and on the sundeck featuring fresh local seasonal produce and slow grilling over aromatic woods. On the menu you might charleston-9find the likes of Johns Island heirloom tomato gazpacho with red and yellow chilled tomato soups and cilantro shrimp salad or jumbo lump crab and watermelon salad with hydroponic watercress, pickled cucumber and black radish with kiwi kaffir lime leaf dressing.

Hard as it is to tear yourself away from the pleasures of The Spa, many of Charleston’s delights are just outside the front door. Stroll along the tree-lined streets and cobbled lanes, peek at gardens through iron-grill gates, check out the crafts in Market Hall, and the sweetgrass baskets local women weave on Meeting Street.

Visit the houses, gardens and churches of Charleston’s Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, due in large part to its 3,000 notable buildings. Horse-drawn carriages will take you further afield to the Battery and Charleston Harbor, from where you can see Fort Sumter. Three centuries of tradition and heritage are everyday life here.

Charleston is also a year-round festival town. The spring calendar offers Charleston Food + Wine Festival (843-763-0280) March 1-4, 2007; Festival of Houses and Gardens (843-722-3405) March 15 – April 14, 2007; and the famous Spoleto Festival USA (843 579 3100) May 25-June 10, 2007. Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau (843-853-8000) can help with plans.

Charleston Place Hotel, the city’s premier hotel, has 440 rooms with early American period furnishings and marble bathrooms; the Private Club occupies the two top floors where the Private Lounge serves complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and after dinner cordials and desserts; doubles from $249-559. The hotel also has an upscale shopping promenade with bold-faced designer labels, outdoor garden dining, and the acclaimed Charleston Grill. 205 Meeting Street, (800-611-5545, 843-937-8522 for the spa).

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