A Nourishing Getaway ~ Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara
I’d been there before, but the place was totally different than I remembered; we even got lost looking for the entrance to the spa. But that gave us the chance to explore the resort grounds. Instead of being near the beach, the Grotto Spa is set back from the road among majestic cedar and arbutus trees.
Gabrielle, our concierge, showed us the elevator, next to the impressive two-story “water wall,” that would take us to the treatment rooms and Treetop Tapas & Grill cafe — where robe attire is required. My curiosity was piqued.
A quick change into our spa “uniform” of swimsuits, slippers and oversize chenille robes, and we were off to experience the Grotto. I lazily floated in the mineral pool, gazing through the generous skylights and windows at the forest beyond. Mum sat politely on the edge of the pool in conversation with another guest.
This woman said she loves coming to the Grotto Spa for special occasions, since a visit removes the pressure of wondering what you’ll wear for dinner. Again I wondered what the third floor would be like. We performed the circuit of pool to hot tub to icy shower and after 45 minutes were feeling refreshed and ready for our treatments.
Upstairs, in a lounge next to the restaurant, we helped ourselves to herbal tea and plates of organic fruit and hungrily eyed the menu for the Treetop Tapas & Grill. The eatery is a unique concept: an exclusive restaurant for spa patrons with a playfully relaxing robe-only dress code and endless tapas. But food wasn’t for us just then, since Mum was about to receive her first facial (and I was about to have the most memorable one of my life).
Together in the side-by-side treatment room, we were pampered with Eminence Organic Skin Care products from Hungary, in a seven-step facial. Cleanser, tonic, exfoliant, and masque were expertly applied with a caring touch and clear overview of what was being done. The estheticians (thank you, Jacquie!) worked as pros, perfectly in sync, which kept disruptions like running water to a minimum.
While the Seven Herb Treatment Masque did its magic soothing and nourishing my skin, Mum and I were each treated to a partial body massage. Not only of the décolletage, as you’d expect, but also an invigorating massage of the arms and legs while our feet were wrapped in hot steamy towels.
Overall, the Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara was an unexpected getaway. My only suggestion would be for them to find the perfection in all that they do; little things seemed off, such as the relaxation music a bit too loud and the lights a touch too bright in the lounge. If management finds the balance between fun and tranquility, they’ll have a perfect, unpretentious concept — one that shows how beautiful the West Coast can be if you slow down, focus on wellness, and share your time with people that matter (like my mum).
Grotto Spa, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort
~ Jennifer Cowie, Spas of America. When not at the spa, Jennifer helps people find additional sources of time, money and energy within their lives and businesses. www.jennifercowie.com