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The Berkshire's Best ~
The Mood...the Music...the Magnificent Cranwell Resort and Spa ~ Is it for Men? by Linda S. Manning / Photos by Paul S. Manning
Located high on a hill the magnificent Cranwell Hotel built in 1894. (Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf
Club ~ Lenox, Massachusetts)
Women are vane, men are too! In fact,
men are the latest growing population of spa attendees lapping in the
luxurious for women only spa treatments. Men are seeking facials and
scalp massages, deep tissue sports massages, manicures and masculine
pedicures. Entering into the world of being pampered, men are soaking in
the lavish life of defined personal attention through spa treatments.
Today men are choosing to be pampered,
to take care of their skin, to exfoliate and polish their body, and to
rejuvenate their inner being. The trend today is to incorporate men's
treatments along with treatments offered for women. in the same spa,
sometimes as a couples retreat, sometimes just because.
I never thought it would be possible,
my husband the fitness and nutrition aficionado, the real man who
doesn't seek the enjoyment of lotions and spa treatments, to agree to
experience not only one but two luscious treatments at The Cranwell
Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox, Massachusetts. Give him a state of
the art exercise facility and he will spend the entire day lifting and
pulling, pushing and pressing to transform his body into the ideal male
specimen. To indulge in a facial or bath or massage was beyond his
comprehension. Was, is the operative word here.
I was a little tense before our entry
into the world of indulgence, worried he would run out at the first
possible moment. But we both agreed to two hours of pampering. I let him
choose from the men's menu, which offered a variety of for men only
treatments. He chose ones he thought he'd like, the Men's Facial and
the Emeralds of the Sea Bath. I decided on the Grand Mosaic. We entered
the elegant comfortable atmosphere together.soon to depart to go our
separate ways into the state of luxurious pleasure.
I entered the women's lounge and was
engulfed by dimmed lights, lush seating, lit candles and a warm fire.
Having wonderful thoughts of my approaching two hour experience and the
full enjoyment I would receive from the personalized attention, I
couldn't help but to have glimpses of my husband dancing through my
head. Hopefully he would obtain pleasure from his tailored treatments as
much as I would mine.
I know women look forward to and know
how to indulge in the pleasures of massage, manicure, and a full service
spa. The blanketed attention is more than welcomed.
As I lay on the massage table the fine
aromatics of lavender and rosemary filled the air, I immediately felt my
body relax. Soft music played in the background, candles flickered
through the air presenting yellow and gold hues and a feeling of warmth.
The Dry Float Grand Mosaic was
carefully choreographed by an experienced esthetician. Using a mixture
of pepper, thyme and rosemary, the exfoliation began. After bringing new
life to the skin and refining its texture I was prepared for the next
stage, the heavenly combination of light massage using oils and shea nut
butter then without delay, followed by a masque using what she called
white fluff. At that point I was profoundly tranquil. After a quick
shower to remove the masque, the next stage was a one of a kind
experience, the Dry Float.
Having experienced a Stone Massage in
San Diego, a Mayan Bath in Mexico, and a Deep Tissue Massage in
Barbados, what was to come delighted me in every way, entirely distinct
from any other treatment.
The table was covered with three
layers, one of a heavy synthetic float like material followed by two
layers of light fabric. I was asked to lay my arms across my abdomen as
the blankets were wrapped around me. The float was filled with warm
water and began to expand. As it filled, it formed to the shape of my
body, enveloping me into a sea of warmth. The table itself lowered and
as it did a feeling of weightlessness surrounded my body, removing any
pressure on the joints and muscles and bones. I relaxed in a blanket of
warmth and was transported into a world of heavenly splendor. A gentile
and slight rocking removed all thoughts and completely relaxed my mind
When the table was raised and the
blankets removed my skin glistened from the oils and butters used, a
complete hydration filled the crevices of my thirsty skin. I wondered if
my husband enjoyed his facial. Was he now surrounded by a sea of emerald
and azure water? My thoughts quickly centered on my next phase.
Lastly, the fifty minute Swedish
massage was skillfully mastered and executed by using light long strokes
on the muscles improving circulation and encouraging well being. It was
the grandest of all and the two hours flew by so quickly.
After I dressed and returned to our
glorious suite, beautifully appointed, spacious and clean, I couldn't
wait to see if my husband had returned. He had not. When I gazed around
the room a delicious tray of cheese, fruit, and crackers complimented by
a private label Cabernet Sauvignon by Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club
had been placed on the desk. It was a pleasant surprise, well needed at
this particular moment. I opened the bottle of wine, poured myself a
glass and waited for him to return.
An Afternoon Treat
He returned a few minutes later with a
smile on his face, a relaxed demeanor and a bag filled with products for
him to sample. I was almost afraid to ask what he thought, but knew just
by the expression on his face it had been a pleasant experience.
Fortified with a healthy glow, he
offered to explain his experiences. He loved the facial and took me
through the steps of deep cleansing and exfoliation. He further
explained how the hot towels aided in opening his pores, therefore
removing any impurities of the skin. I was surprised how quickly he
mastered a new vocabulary, far from sets, repetition, and bench
pressing. He wasn't done yet, after the head, neck and scalp massage, a
complete skin hydration, scrub and masque were applied followed by
sealing the skin with a toner he stated.
In conversation, Esthetician, Mary
Farrell Cianflone explained that men came to the spa primarily for a
massage after a day of golf or a hard workout at the Fitness Center.
He learned the fitness center offered
sessions with a personal trainer, body composition and a variety of
instructed classes. Now this was right up his alley, a language he knew
Since he is geared towards nutrition
and organic products, the blend of pure seaweed extracts and natural
oils offered by his next treatment, Emeralds of the Sea Bath was
pleasantly accepted. He explained to me the combination would activate a
natural process of elimination of toxins, a phrase he knew well. The
massage was his first and he marveled at the full pleasure received.
Paul's philosophy is now geared
towards full body service, from fitness, to nutrition, to cleansing,
massaging and exfoliating. 'My greatest motivator is to retain youth,
become younger by next year, and to capture time in a bottle. I think I
know now how it is accomplished.'
We agreed our treatments were first
rate and were off to experience the two mile jogging path around the
perimeter of the estate. The path is not for the faint of heart since it
is located directly on the main streets. Careful not to step out of line
as the cars whizzed by, we concluded our walk as quickly as we could in
preparation for dinner.
After waiting several minutes for our
hostess to realize we were there for dinner, we were seated in the
elegant Wyndhurst Restaurant, one of several on the property. Enjoying
an appetizer of Terrine a la Maison, a pate of wild mushrooms, duck and
warm brie garnished with celery root in a puffed pastry and topped with
a sprig of rosemary, we tantalized our palette with many flavors and
textures. Next the grilled vegetable salad seared and topped with a
Boucheron Goat cheese brought back memories of the south of France.
While the main entrée of Seared Hawaiian Marlin encrusted in a coriander
crust and served with a mango cerviche was accented with crispy lotus
root and drizzled with a coconut curry sauce surrounded by spicy Thai
rice was a flavorful dish. Now we know why the award winning culinary
team is highly regarded as one of the best.
Our day ended too soon. There is so
much to experience at The Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club and we
vowed to return for a longer stay. So, is the spa for men?? I have a
true believer, 'yes it is,' stated my husband, 'see for yourself.'
Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club, is
a leading four season resort in the heart of the regal Berkshire
Mountains. Here you will enjoy one of the world's best spas as awarded
in 2004 by the 100 Best Spas of the World guidebook Offering plush
accommodations, elegant dining, exceptional amenities and winner of
numerous awards and accolades, Cranwell in just 2 ½ hours from New York
City and Boston. Located in the historic New England Village of Lenox,
Massachusetts, an elegant mansion built high on a hill in 1894, the
Mansion boasts membership in the prestigious Historic Hotels of America.
Recipient of the coveted Four Diamond
Award for excellence from the American Automobile Association, the
380-acre resort features 107 distinctive guest rooms and suites, a
spectacular 18-hole championship golf course, the nationally renowned
Golf Digest Golf School, spacious meeting and banquet rooms for
conferences and weddings, and the new 35,000 square-foot Spa at Cranwell
with a state-of-the-art Fitness Center and glass-enclosed indoor heated
pool and walkways.