Nantucket Nurturing

The Wauwinet, a historic 32-room Nantucket inn flanked by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Nantucket Bay in Massachusetts, is the epitome of the New England aesthetic. The elegantly appointed Cape Cod-style escape, which has Relais & Chateaux designation, is chock-full of country pine antiques and stylish accents, and the expansive grounds are bursting with brilliantly colored blooms and fragrant herbs that are invigorated by the bracing sea air. Guests spend their days reclining on the inn's emerald lawn watching sailboats glide by and dining at the acclaimed on-site restaurant Toppers, a longtime winner of Wine Spectator's Grand Award for its impressive wine cellar. Spa by the Sea is an equally charming addition to the property. Opened in May and located across from the inn, the 1,400-square-foot, four-treatment-room retreat is situated in a seaside cottage that was gutted and rebuilt to house the spa.

The picturesque Great Point Lighthouse can be seen from the shores of the Wauwinet's expansive private beaches.
The picturesque Great Point Lighthouse can be seen from the shores of the Wauwinet's expansive private beaches.

"Because we cannot build any more structures on the premises, we had to look within the property itself," says spa director Kelly Flynn. Thus, the cottage, which was owned by the inn and had been previously used as a four-bedroom rental property, was determined to be the perfect spot for the new spa. "The idea really came from the guests' wants and desires, something they felt was missing in terms of their experience," says Flynn. "A spa is something that guests have come to expect."

Reclining on the inn's plush lawn is an ideal pre-and post-treatment relaxation activity for spa-goers.
Reclining on the inn's plush lawn is an ideal pre-and post-treatment relaxation activity for spa-goers.

To meet these needs while still respecting the understated elegance of the inn, the spa was designed to be a simple yet sophisticated extension of the resort. It features crisp white walls, light wood floors, beach-inspired accents, and plenty of windows complete with billowing curtains that open to reveal views of the ocean and surrounding property. A flower-filled garden with comfortable lounge chairs and a bright indoor relaxation area featuring plush Kashwére chaises provide guests with serene spots to decompress both before and after treatments while they listen to the waves crash on the beach nearby. Flynn says the spa concept centers around the elements of sea, sun, sand, and sky, which are also the names of the four treatment rooms. As such, the accent colors found throughout the space are blue, green, and beige. "We incorporated these elements into the spa menu as well as in the design choices," she says. "I feel that this spa is a place where guests can truly relax and receive excellent treatments and superior service. It's really an extension of the hotel experience, and the space is peaceful, quiet, relaxing, and serene."

Beach-inspired accents put guests in a seaside state of mind while they await their treatments in the relaxation area.
Beach-inspired accents put guests in a seaside state of mind while they await their treatments in the relaxation area.

As an homage to the property’s seaside location, the menu features a number of marine-inspired treatments, such as the Ultimate Caviar Facial ($230, 90 minutes); the Ocean Mist Facial ($155, 60 minutes), which incorporates organic sea minerals; the Atlantic Seaweed Body Wrap ($155, 60 minutes); and the Nantucket’s Salt and Sea Scrub ($75, 30 minutes; $155, 60 minutes), which is one of the most popular items on the menu. The island is also known for its abundant cranberry bogs, which were the inspiration for the signature Cranberry Crush Body Treatment ($155, 60 minutes), an exfoliating and hydrating session that uses fresh cranberries, organic raw cane sugar, and a blend of floral and fruit essential oils. The resort also boasts a bountiful herb garden, and several treatments, including the Wauwinet Garden Facial ($155, 60 minutes) and the Wauwinet Garden Body Wrap ($155, 60 minutes), use fresh ingredients culled from the property. "A lot of thought went into the menu," says Flynn. "We really wanted it to speak to the environment around us. We also felt that it should be simple and uncomplicated."

Ocean views provide an added air of luxury to spa treatments.
Ocean views provide an added air of luxury to spa treatments.

To provide these treatments and more, the spa uses Anakiri and Kerstin Florian as the products of choice. According to Flynn, both lines offer simple, effective skincare and bodycare products, creative treatments, and extensive training programs. Because the spa, like the inn, is only open from May to October, Flynn says it was necessary to work with companies that are able to educate a relatively new staff each season. "Because we reopen every six months, we need training every spring," she says.



The extensive training has resulted in an extremely capable team, according to Flynn. The spa staff is made up of two estheticians and four massage therapists. While the spa could technically accommodate around 45 guests per day, Flynn says it is averaging 11 to 14 treatments daily, most of which are performed between 3 P.M. and 6 P.M. "The inn offers so many activities for guests to participate in throughout the day, and our complimentary breakfast is also incredibly popular, so most guests show up after spending the day outside and before dinner," she says.

When guests do arrive, however, they know what they want and expect stellar service, which is why, for now, the spa is only available to guests of the Wauwinet. "They are very educated spa-goers who have been to spas all over the world," says Flynn. "Our clientele is primarily from the New England area, their income is generally between $1 and $2 million dollars, and they own luxurious cars and clothes. They have high expectations and demand superior service."

Thus far, it appears that those demands have been met. The success of Spa by the Sea has resulted in the opening of a spa at The Wauwinet's sister property, The White Elephant, which is also owned by Nantucket Island Resorts and located near Nantucket's picturesque harbor. That three-treatment-room, 1,000-square-foot space debuted in August and will be an integral amenity for The White Elephant, a waterfront property that is open year-round.

In the meantime, Flynn says she hopes to build on the success of Spa by the Sea's first year by introducing new retail products and working even harder to market the spa to Wauwinet guests in the 2008 season. "Because the spa is only open to our house guests," she says, "it is about enticing them and letting them know about it by really getting creative."

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