New-age Spa Escapes

Horses as therapists, bamboo rods as massage aids — just another day at the spa.
Homestead Spa
Photography Courtesy of The Homestead Resort

A sunset toast isn’t something you expect to find on a spa menu. But then, nature becomes part of the treatment come summer at Spa Amira at The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor. Each weekend at twilight, “Sippin’ Sunset” sells out for its provided glasses of wine on a secluded deck overlooking the Manitous, says Sallie Krepps, spa manager.

But guests also gaze at Lake Michigan while doing yoga poses and listen to the sounds of a waterfall and bubbling creek while enjoying an outdoor massage. A new canopy will extend the experience to even drizzly days.

“It’s very remote, up on a hill,” Krepps said. “Once summer hits, there’s landscaping and flowers. We’ve had people say it reminds them of Maui.”

Expect scents of summer even indoors at the Crystal Spa at Thompsonville’s Crystal Mountain Resort. To the South Pacific is where you’ll be transported with the new Pure Fiji line that uses a base of virgin coconut oil, a moisturizer that Spa Manager Stephanie Scott calls one of the safest and most effective on earth, especially for preventing sun damage. It’s luxurious, too, especially when slathered on as part of the Pure Fiji Couples retreat — a hydrating massage, followed by private coconut milk soak for two (

Bonding with the rest of the family is easier too, at spas across the state. Crystal’s new policy welcomes kids ages 9-17 any day of the week in response to guest requests, while the Solace Spa at Boyne Mountain hosts Family Nights the third Tuesday of each month and also is holding art workshops in early summer.

Treatment techniques are changing, as well. Both ancient and renewable, heated bamboo is the latest hit on spa menus, including that at a new Spa at Boyne Highlands — great for working heat into sore muscles, much like a rolling pin. And increasingly, treatments focus on the mind as well as body (

The New Buffalo Inn and Spa, for example, offers guided meditation for stress relief, and also a massage coupled with aromatherapy and chakra meditation (

But the standout has to be the Equine Journey at the Inn at Bay Harbor, where horses are used as therapy aides. Spa-goers find themselves standing in the middle of a fenced-in pen at one point, attempting to guide a horse’s movements with the power of their mind. Time with the highly-intuitive prey animal is more revealing than one might expect. Are you fearful in new situations? Open or closed with feelings? The horse picks it up.

You’ll know by end of a session that throws in a traditional spa treatment — just as the therapist horse would surely recommend (

Inn at Bay Harbor
Photography Courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resort

Beyond Par

Garland Lodge and Resort in Lewiston is attracting even more golf-and-travel adventurers with a little more pampering. The four-course Resort has partnered with Waterford-based Terry King Salon and Day Spa to introduce the new White Cedar Spa at Garland.

“That area near Gaylord is beautiful,” said Terri King Kauth. “A spa is exactly what Garland needs. We’re pleased to be a part of this venture.”

White Cedar Spa features three treatment rooms, two hair stations, hot stone and deep tissue massages, facials, body waxing, manicures, pedicures and hair styling. Learn more at

— Randy D. Prichard

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