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Destinations: Wellness within reach

Luxurious spas within a day’s drive

By Karen Moraghan

Regardless of your personal goals or wellness intentions for 2020, taking a spa trip to help kick-start the process might be a smart way to go. While spas are typically associated with pampering, many facilities offer therapeutic, healing therapies that will get your mind and body ready for a healthy new year.

The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton

With water so vital to the sense of wellbeing here in Lowcountry, it’s no surprise that it’s a common denominator at many of these spas located within a day’s drive (which we’ve identified as about five hours from Hilton Head). It’s also no surprise that many of the best spas in our region are affiliated with top resorts. Here are a few to try.


The Spa at Sea Island Resort (Sea Island, Ga.)

The refined seaside setting, Georgian southern comfort, and gentle trickle of water set the tone at this Forbes Five-Star spa. An experienced staff, world-caliber fitness offerings, labyrinth walk, and customized therapies round out the total package.

This spa has embraced innovative technologies like HydraFacial MD, a hydra-dermabrasion treatment that uses a patented Vortex Fusion system loaded with peptides and hyaluronic acid to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, and hydrate all at once while delivering instantaneous results. Optional enhancements include LED light therapy, lymphatic drainage, or DermaBuilder in 30-, 60-, or 90-minute treatments.

While not inexpensive, the experience is first-class and set up to accommodate all audiences—women, men, couples, pre-natal, even kids and teenagers—through its menu of treatments and other offerings.


Sand & Sea Spa at Wild Dunes Resort (Isle of Palms, S.C.)

Located on The Village Plaza in the heart of Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms near Charleston, Sand & Sea Spa offers a relaxed island ambiance that leaves guests feeling balanced and calm.

Among the more interesting treatments on the menu are the Warm Seashell Massage (smooth, warmed seashells used during a therapeutic massage), CBD Renew & Relax (an anti-inflammatory CBD compound promotes relaxation and pain relief), and the Dilo Rescue Wrap (body treatment featuring oils from the tropical dilo tree, believed to aid in skin cell regeneration and help skin issues like eczema and sunburn).

Or, try the Oxygen Infusion Facial which uses oxygen under hyperbaric pressure to infuse a serum of modified hyaluronic acid, essential vitamins, botanicals, antioxidants and amino peptides into the skin.


The Spa at Omni Grove Park Inn (Asheville, N.C.)

It’s the subterranean setting that makes The Spa at Omni Grove Park Inn so memorable — 20 underground water features, including numerous mineral-based pools, set amid cavernous rock walls, arches, tunnels, and two therapeutic waterfall pools. There’s even a lap pool lit by 6,500 fiber-optic stars on the bottom and playing underwater music. After enjoying the inhalation rooms, saunas, and eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, grab a warm blanket, snack, and hot organic tea and settle fireside in a cozy, oversized chair.

The Spa’s signature treatment is a blissful 80 minutes called Fire, Rock, Water and Light, which includes a rejuvenating full body exfoliation, softening soak, healing body masque, and Vichy waterfall massage.


The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee (Greensboro, Ga.)

While modest in size, the intimacy of The Ritz-Carlton Spa makes the experience something special. Adjacent to the hotel and 19,000-acre Lake Oconee, this state-of-the-art sanctuary offers more than 90 health and wellness treatments, many of them utilizing ingredients indigenous to the area such as rosemary, pine, fir, and geranium, along with extracts gleaned from gemstones such as smithsonite and malachite.

The 24-hour fitness center is fully equipped with Peloton Bikes, Technogym Strength Stations, Precor Cardio Units with televisions, as well as a 700-square-foot movement studio (classes include golf conditioning, body sculpt, aqua fitness, and yoga), plus an indoor lap pool.