For most adults, sleep-away camp is a childhood memory looked upon with fondness, nostalgia, and perhaps a little bit of gratitude that days of cramped quarters and cabin living are a thing of the past. But at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation (Greensboro, GA), the best parts of camp are combined with the impeccable service, accommodations, and amenities for which The Ritz-Carlton is known. The culmination is an inspired escape that is ideal for the entire family, from action-loving children to grown-ups who are still kids at heart. Located on the shores of Lake Oconee, Georgia’s second largest lake, the 251-room resort is set deep in the woods and, like the perfect sleep-away retreat, offers guests the chance to partake in tennis, swimming, boating, golfing, jet-skiing, hiking, and more. Unlike traditional camp, guests seeking serenity and solace can relax and unwind in The Ritz-Carlton Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation. “What truly sets us apart is our lodge-like atmosphere, evoking summer camp memories of youth, and the lakeside setting, which encourages relaxation and rejuvenation,” says spa director Sherrie Huebner.
According to Huebner, the spa is outfitted in dark woods and natural tones to reflect the same cozy lodge feeling found in the hotel. In fact, it’s a place where some guests may choose to while away an entire day, blissfully forgoing more active pursuits. “Our spa facilities are beautiful, calming, and extremely comfortable,” she says. “It is a wonderful location to spend the day receiving treatments, lounging, and relaxing.”
The 26,000-square-foot spa features 19 treatment rooms, including one couples’ suite and four wet treatment rooms, men’s and women’s relaxation areas, an indoor lap pool, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, a relaxation terrace, a salon, and a spa boutique. The menu is inspired by both the location and the seasons. For example, many of the ingredients that are indigenous to the area, such as fir, geranium, pine, and rosemary, and malachite and smithsonite extracts, are used in services. Among the menu’s highlights is the Oconee Rain ($175, 50 minutes), which is performed in the Vichy room and emphasizes the elements of fire, water, air, and earth, which were important to the Creek Indians who used to live in the area. The treatment begins with a lavender dry brushing (air), then warm lavender-infused stones (fire) are placed on key touch points while the scalp is massaged. A warm rain shower (water) further calms clients while cool eucalyptus stones (earth) strengthen the body’s energy pathways. Another guest favorite is the Renewal Manicure and Pedicure ($170, 1 hour 40 minutes), in which the green corn festivals celebrated by many southeastern
tribes are honored with the renewing service that involves a mixture of ground corn and honey to exfoliate, hydrate, and renew rough, dry hands and feet followed by a locally made clay mask and shea butter moisturizer.
S’mores-filled evenings around the fire are a must at The Lodge, and a series of Campfire Treatments were inspired by this ever-popular activity. Throughout the fall and winter, spa-goers can partake in a variety of options, including the S’mores Body Glow ($165, 50 minutes; $215, 80 minutes), which begins with a whipped honey graham cracker scrub and includes a drizzling of warm dark chocolate softening serum, a waterfall rinse under a Vichy shower, and an application of a sweet-scented moisturizing cream. A s’mores kit is provided to let guests take the experience home. Other Campfire Treatments include the Cider and Cinnamon Pedicure ($85, 50 minutes), which includes a hot cider soak and a cinnamon oil massage, and the Down and Dirty Facial ($135, 50 minutes), which involves a shea-sugar scrub, a pumpkin puree-infused mud mask, and an application of a stone crop moisturizer. Other wintertime offerings include the Moor Mud Detox Wrap ($225, 80 minutes) and the Winter Surrender ($175, 50 minutes; $240, 80 minutes), which involves a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage; a hand and foot scrub; and an invigorating back massage.
Since it opened in 2002, the spa has been a mecca for guests, accommodating 220 to 250 people daily, with a max of 275. Though locals can take advantage of spa memberships and make up approximately 25 percent of the spa’s business, the majority of visitors are drawn from Atlanta, which is just 75 miles away, and other parts of the southeast. Among the most compelling enticements is the experienced team, made up of 50 mostly full-time staff members. “Our spa employees are chosen based on skill but also for their passion for making our guests feel welcome and comfortable,” says Huebner. “Many employees have been here since The Lodge opened ten years ago.”
Guests are also drawn to the tasty spa cuisine, including smoothies, salads, and a variety of bento boxes, and the expansive retail offerings. “We have a very wide range of products in our retail area, including skincare, bodycare, haircare, candles, apparel, essential oils, bedding, and even scoop-your-own bath salts,” says Huebner. The ongoing menu updates and offerings entice guests, as well. “We continuously develop new ideas and treatments that create awareness and appeal,” she adds.
Up next for the spa will be the creation of an apothecary concept that will allow guests to help customize their own scrubs and wraps. But no matter what guests come to the spa to enjoy, they take the resort’s mantra of “linger longer” to heart and soon discover that The Ritz-Carlton Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation is the perfect place to make camp.