Even the smallest plot of earth can cultivate fresh ingredients for treatments and treats alike. As such, custom gardens and green spaces are blooming at spas around the globe. Both clients and practitioners are digging this earthy trend and enjoying the benefits of getting back to nature by enjoying the serene setting and incorporating fresh ingredients into spa services. “Having an onsite garden allows us to select the freshest ingredients daily,” says Teresa Blackwell, spa lead and apothecary consultant for Awili Spa and Salon at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. “Awili is an apothecary-style spa, so we hand blend our spa products to use in a variety of treatments. Guests can enjoy the beauty of Maui and be inspired by our local plants and even include them in their custom products.”
At the Spa at the Boulders (Carefree, AZ), guests can wander through the herbs and succulents and clip their favorite to be included in a drink or one of the signature body treatments as part of the Organic Garden Exploration, a self-guided and complimentary option. “The organic garden is the very essence of the Boulders and its uniqueness,” says spa director Danielle French. “Being able to provide our guests with all-natural organic options is giving them the opportunity to truly take care of their inner wellbeing.”
Even city spas can reap the benefits of a healthy harvest with a skyscraper friendly twist on the garden-to-treatment-table trend. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles features ingredients picked from its rooftop garden in seasonal specials to ensure guests have a Garden-to-Glamorous experience. Similarly, Guerlain Spa at The Waldorf Astoria New York has found sweet success with its rooftop garden and apiary. “Incorporating the one-of-a-kind herbs from the rooftop garden, we are able to enhance our offerings while still maintaining the integrity of the Guerlain products in our facials, massages, and body treatments,” says spa director Angela Portella.
Along with providing guests with fresh-from-the-garden ingredients, these types of experiences enhance visitors’ sense of place by uniquely connecting them to the region. The Herbal Wrap at Rancho La Puerta (Tecate, Mexico) incorporates indigenous ingredients gathered from the garden immediately before the service. Steaming hot linens steeped in traditional local Native American herbs, such as California sagebrush, eucalyptus, and rosemary, wrap the body in authentic and aromatic bliss.
Still other spa gardens provide guests with meditative benefits. At Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort (Santa Fe, NM) guests are encouraged to get their hands dirty with Therapeutic Gardening in the restorative and healing gardens and greenhouse. “They experience the meditative quality of gardening, connecting with the earth but also connecting with themselves,” says executive director David Hans, Ph.D. “Gardening helps to quiet the mind and calm the nervous system, so guests feel grounded once again.”
Spa gardens and their healing qualities are growing like weeds, and spa-goers aren’t required to have a green thumb. “We take advantage of all aspects of the garden,” says French. “We can transform a typical spa service into a natural healing experience by connecting the outside organic elements internally with the spa, and this helps to bring a sense of life and nourishment to each treatment.”