Outside of Bath, there are few finer places to “take the waters” than Westchester County. Just north of New York City, and practically built for ladies who lunch, Westchester is the epitome of récherché relaxation, offering a wealth of spa and retreat options with a degree of sumptuousness rarely found off Fifth Avenue. So make like Jane Austen and dip into one of the county’s (and country’s) most luxurious spa and retreat destinations — for an hour, or a decadent day.
For Royal Treatment: THE RITZ-CARLTON
The Nitty Gritty: Let’s face it, sometimes we deserve to be Puttin’ on the Ritz. The spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Rye pledges to “make the world revolve around you” and then “gently slow it down.” The full-service spa delivers with a full menu of treatments that promises to annihilate every variety of stress, ache and complaint, including ones you consciously weren’t aware of — from “cranial tension” to short eyelashes to wrinkles and puffiness.
Why We Dig It: Whether you pop into the Ritz for a simple manicure, or a full head-to-toe buffing, you will leave feeling at the center of the universe, immune to perpetually pinging emails, honking horns and looming deadlines. Oh, did we mention that it is the largest luxury destination in the region — essentially a 10,000-square-foot playground for adults? So, yeah, there’s that, too.
Level of Commitment: Financially moderate (manicures start at $45 and comprehensive packages start at $225); spiritually light.
GPS: 3 Renaissance Square, White Plains, NY 10601. (914) 946-5500.
For a Spiritual Journey: THE WAINWRIGHT HOUSE
The Nitty Gritty: Located on a verdant patch of land hovering over the Long Island Sound, the Wainwright House is “a learning center dedicated to inspiring greater understanding through body, mind, spirit and community.” Focused almost exclusively on healing, peace and spirituality, the house is considered a sacred space, and provides a wide array of options through which visitors can optimize their health, healing and environmental awareness: from yoga classes to meditation and reiki circles, to lectures.
Why We Dig It: Unlike many retreat centers, the Wainwright House is a non-sectarian learning center, so visitors never feel an obligation to drink a particular brand of spiritual Kool-Aid. In addition to its holistic programs, it holds health expos, dances and is available to be rented for weddings and other events.
Level of Commitment: Financially light (some events are free, yoga workshops start at $20); spiritually heavy.
GPS: 260 Stuyvesant Avenue, Rye, NY 10580. (914) 967-6080.
For Easy, Fast Relaxation, stat: FOOTSIE REFLEXOLOGY
The Nitty Gritty: Like downing a shot of whiskey, hitting the Footsie Reflexology may not be an exercise in subtlety and sophistication, but it certainly gets the job done. No red carpet or bedazzled bling in sight, Footsie sports a simple, utilitarian line of chairs separated by beaded curtains. Instead of focusing on feng shui, the center has poured all of its energy into creating a complete retreat for your body, in one hour or less. The house specialty is foot reflexology, but full body treatments are also available, from acupressure to traditional Swedish massage to hot stones (separate treatment rooms are available for body work).
Why We Dig It: The origins of foot reflexology, the art of applying pressure to different portions of your foot — each one corresponding to a specific organ or gland in the body — date back 4,000 years to Egypt, China and India. All of the accumulated centuries of practice have paid off. Advocates swear by the circulation, digestive, immunity and mental health-boosting benefits. Footsie’s drive-thru approach to stress-management is refreshingly practical for those of us with little-to-no time to unwind.
Level of Commitment: Financially light (30-minute treatments start at $28, 120-minute treatments max out at $98); spiritually light. Frequent Footsie-ers get a $20 discount after five treatments.
GPS: 213 E. Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549. (914) 864-1673.
For More Than a Massage: AMARI MEDICALThe Nitty Gritty: Get your mind out of the gutter! Occasionally more than a few simple spiritual or physical plumps and tucks are necessary to achieve, er, inner bliss. That’s where Amari comes in: the medical spa offers the usual botox, peels, fillers and sculpting treatment, plus a host of weight loss and hormone replacement therapies.
Why We Dig It: Amari customizes its programs for clients so each person’s concerns are addressed safely and effectively. Metabolism tests, in-depth medical evaluations and blood tests can be conducted by Amari’s medical director before a program is created to address a client’s weight loss, wrinkle-busting or energy-boosting goals.
Level of Commitment: Financially intense (consultations are free, but since every program is customized, prices vary); spiritually free.
GPS: 1075 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale. (914) 722-3000.