I had my first endorphin overload at the spa at the Cranwell Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts. The truly remarkable thing is that those "feel good" hormones were able to rise above the flood of other wacky hormones washing over me. You see, I was just a little bit pregnant at the time of my visit to the spa, a few days after the 35,000-square-foot, $9 million addition to this mountainside resort opened on April 11, 2002.
I know what you're thinking--"You can't be just a little bit pregnant!" True. But it's that first stage of pregnancy that slams a woman with uncontrollable cravings and the daily realization that life as she knows it will cease to exist in a few short months. There has never been a time in my life when I've felt a stronger compulsion to spoil myself, and Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club (check rates at Kayak.com) in western Massachusetts turned out to be the perfect place to do just that.
The 380-acre Cranwell Resort, with its historic mansion and 18-hole championship golf course, was already one of the Berkshires' premier lodging properties prior to the addition of the spa, which provides added reason to visit year-round. A member of Historic Hotels of America, the resort offers 107 rooms and suites, including 13 in the Cranwell Mansion, the 1894 Gilded Age "cottage" built by Vanderbilt relative and furniture magnate John Sloane. For those who intend to spend significant time at the spa, though, particularly in cold weather months, the best choice is a room in one of three buildings attached to the spa--the Carriage House, Olmsted Manor or the Founders Cottage.
I awoke to a typical April rain shower, so I was glad that my suite in the Founders Cottage allowed easy, indoor access to the spa. Water Aerobics was the first item on my spa agenda, so I simply tossed the spa robe in my room over my bathing suit and headed down the corridor to the breathtaking indoor pool. Actually, it is the panoramic mountain views from the pool that are spectacular. The pool is enclosed within a crystal atrium with 20-foot-high glass walls. The moderate, 50-minute session left me feeling more buoyant than I had in months, even though pregnancy was weighing mostly on my brain and not on my body at this early stage.
Shalene, my massage therapist, met me and escorted me down the "Quiet Hallway," where a transformation begins to take place even before spa guests enter a treatment room. My Prenatal Massage was gentle and flowing, and I soon succumbed to an overwhelming sense of peace and well-being that was a far cry from the state I had been in just the evening before--near tears due to an unfulfilled craving for shrimp cocktail!
Of course, you don't have to be pregnant to desperately crave a day of pampering and tranquility. The menu of spa services at the Cranwell Resort is diverse, and all massages, facials, body treatments, yoga and fitness classes, manicures, pedicures and hair services can be scheduled a la carte by resort guests. If you're staying elsewhere in the Berkshires, you can still enjoy a day package at the spa that entitles you to the use of all spa facilities including the indoor pool and fitness center.
Photographs © 2002 Kim Knox Beckius, licensed to About.com, Inc, with the exception of Spa Cafe photo, which is reprinted with permission of Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club.