Destination Detox

Although true destination spas are few and far between, Deer Lake Lodge & Spa (Montgomery, TX) fits the bill with organic treatments, spiritual enrichment workshops, a juice and detox program, and more. Situated on 50 acres, this healthy haven gives spa-goers the tools they need to live more balanced lives, both inside and out. They can also feel good knowing that the spa practices what it preaches, having adopted an eco-friendly philosophy that encourages spa-goers to treat the planet just as they would their bodies.

With that in mind, the lodge was built using repurposed shipping containers and features recycled asphalt and gravel walkways. In an effort to further lessen its carbon footprint, the spa relies on recycled rainwater, low-VOC paint, natural insulation, sustainable lumber, and LED lighting. “Organic and biocompatible cleaning supplies, spa products, and bedding have been chosen to promote optimal health for the body and the earth,” says acting general manager Tammy Pahel. The spa relies on local Sunshine Farm for the organic scrubs, soaps, lotions, and body butters that are available as amenities in the guest suites and cabins.

Located about 40 minutes outside of Houston, the eco-friendly retreat, with eight suites and three cabins, is just the getaway most spa-goers crave. “Guests are looking for holistic health options and to return home not only feeling cleansed and relaxed but also energized and educated about living enhanced and healthier lives,” says Pahel. Helping them to achieve their goals is a range of Life Enhancement therapies, such as Iridology ($150, 50 minutes), Biofeedback ($150, 50 minutes), Thermography ($150, 50 minutes), Sound Therapy ($150, 50 minutes), Energy Medicine ($150, 50 minutes), and Psychology ($150, 50 minutes).

Several of the therapies have their own designated treatment areas. Of the 12 treatment rooms, the Psychology Suite is intended for one-on-one therapy with Nicole Miller, Ph.D. The Chakra Bliss Suite, which features a variety of amethyst crystals and other gems, is used for chakra-balancing treatments. In the Biofeedback & Thermography Suite, Mark Randall, N.D., helps guests retrain their brains during biofeedback sessions. The spa also features an Acupuncture Suite, a Colonic Suite, an Iridology Suite, a Nail Suite, a Scalp Therapy Suite, two Massage Suites, a Ritual Suite, and a Duet Suite for couples.

According to Pahel, the goal of the spa is to holistically treat the total person—mind, body, and spirit. Guests can choose from among the three-, four-, five-, or eight-day cleansing spa packages. Each includes accommodations; one or more Colon Hydrotherapy treatments; daily yoga, life enhancement, and nutritional classes; and unlimited use of the spa’s vibrational equipment, heated saltwater pool, and more. Guests can also incorporate various a la carte spa treatments and cleansing therapies. “I have been in the spa industry for 23 years and have never created such an extensive treatment list,” says Pahel. Some unique services on the menu include Carboxi-Express ($65, 25 minutes), a facial that relies on carboxitherapy, a technique that uses CO2 to fight the signs of aging; Digestive Release Massage ($45, 20 minutes), which stimulates the colon; and Live Blood Analysis ($250, 75 minutes).

Unlike many other destination spas, Deer Lake Lodge encourages locals to experience its spa treatments and Life Enhancement therapies. “We also allow locals to purchase day passes to visit when we have special speakers for long weekends,” says Pahel. With nine full-time and 18 part-time staff members, the spa accommodates approximately 40 guests each day. At maximum capacity, it can handle 70. According to Pahel, one of her greatest challenges is getting the word out about the new spa. It is marketed to guests through the local Texas Spa Association, charity events, and health fairs. Thanks to a raw food chef who teaches daily classes and shares recipes, the spa also markets to raw food venues. To entice guests, the spa is also offering a 33 percent discount off all packages.

As for the future, there are plans to eventually add an on-site organic farm. “We are also considering hiring a beekeeper to develop our own retail line of scrubs, soaps, lip balms, and lotions,” says Pahel. In the meantime, the retreat is focused on motivating spa-goers to enact healthy change in their lives. 

Owner: Tracy Boulware


Spa Director:  Carrie Young


Opened: December 2012



90% female

10% male



12,000 square feet;

12 treatment rooms



$2.2 million



acupuncture, aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, cupping, energy work, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, makeup application, massage, nailcare, naturopathic medicine, nutrition consultation, outdoor treatments, prenatal services, Qigong, reflexology, sound therapy, yoga



Lymphatic Massage ($110, 50 minutes), Castor Oil Wrap ($99, 50 minutes), Magnesium Wrap ($99, 50 minutes), Magnesium Scalp Treatment ($50, 30 minutes), Ionic Foot Bath ($40, 30 minutes)



Magnetic Ritual ($250, 1 hour 40 minutes)



Dairy Dog, Natura Bissé, SpaRitual, Sunshine Farm



Tammy Pahel,  Spa Management Solutions (Miami)