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A Spa by the Sea

Head to The Cliff House Resort & Spa for a Room and a Massage with a View


Cliff House Ogunquit Maine Picture

The Cliff House in Ogunquit, Maine, has welcomed guests since 1872.

(c) 2002 Kim Knox Beckius
New spas are sprouting up all over New England, but only one offers a free "bonus" that can enhance any spa treatment--the sight and sounds of the tumbling sea. The Cliff House Resort & Spa in Ogunquit, Maine, opened its oceanview spa in May of 2002, and the setting couldn't be more perfectly suited to pampering. The historic resort, which first welcomed guests in 1872, is perched dramatically atop Bald Head Cliff, where ocean views are incomparable, and the melodic percussion of waves tapping rocks is guaranteed to lull you into a state of calm.

Whenever I'm near the ocean, I breathe more slowly, think more clearly and sleep more deeply. After eight days of driving nearly 2,000 miles through Maine along some of the state's bumpiest backroads, I couldn't wait to land at The Cliff House for three days of recovery by the sea.

Though the resort itself caters to all variety of travelers, the new spa building, its 32 spacious guest rooms, its indoor and outdoor pools and whirlpools, its meditative labyrinth (click photo above for slide show), its fitness mezzanine, its Spa Cafe and, of course, its spa treatment rooms are all restricted to those 18 years and older. Our room faced the bold cliffs, and at night, with our windows and balcony door open, indeed the only sound was that of the rolling surf. All rooms in the spa building have private balconies--be sure to request a room on the ocean side.

My road-weary body already felt better after a peaceful night's sleep, but still, the thought of being able to simply pop downstairs for an array of spa indulgences was incredibly appealing. "I have to go get naked now; it's for work, of course," I said to my husband as I scampered off to my 9 a.m. Maine Wild Rose Wrap appointment. Oh, the things I must do in the interest of diligent travel reporting!

The Maine Wild Rose Wrap, like other body treatments offered at the spa, uniquely utilizes indigenous Maine flora. A detoxifying Juniper Berry Wrap and an anti-aging Blueberry Body Wrap, which I was assured does not turn you into an Oompah-Loompah, are also available.

My skin-softening Maine Wild Rose Wrap began with a vigorous, total-body skin exfoliation, followed by a Swiss Vichy shower. My therapist, Phoenix, told me that the 12-head shower is so delightful that often, turning the water off is the only way to extricate spa patrons from its steamy confines. I promised I would try to behave when the time came to move on to the next phase of the wrap treatment, but I'll confess… it was terribly difficult to reach for a towel after what seemed like too few minutes of twirling in slow circles within this amazing "surround shower." After being slathered with wild rose oil and essences from head to toe, I was draped with heavy blankets and left to quietly soak up the marvelous scent while my skin softened with each passing second. Normally, Phoenix said, spa guests are wrapped tight as a burrito, but due to my pregnancy, the treatment was adjusted to keep the temperature from becoming too warm.

"You smell like a rose," my husband said when I met him for lunch at a table overlooking the cliffs and the sea. "You say that like it's unusual," I teased, too mellow to care whether other diners also noticed my potent perfume.

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