Seven Splendid Spas

Rejuvenate and Renew in the Southeastern U.S.

By Hope S. Philbrick

We believe you deserve and need a relaxing break.

That’s why I tested out seven spas and their signature treatments on your behalf—yes, it’s all for you, dear readers.

Whether you get one treatment or book a longer stay at a resort spa, after being pampered by professionals you’ll definitely leave feeling better than you did when you arrived.

It worked for me, every time.

Meditation Courtyard

The Spa at The Chattanoogan

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Not-To-Miss Treatment: The Flowing River Massage incorporates soothing strokes that relax the body and the mind ($55 for 25 minutes; $80 for 50 minutes; $125 for 80 minutes.)
Spa Amenities: Recently renovated with beautiful results, The Spa’s dark colors and dim lighting set the stage for pampering. In addition to four treatment rooms, you’ll find a steam room, sauna, whirlpool, indoor pool, fitness center and relaxing terrace where you can enjoy a complimentary drink before or after your treatment (you can also order lunch). The gift boutique features products with all natural ingredients.
More Reasons To Go: Chattanooga’s only AAA Four Diamond full-service hotel boasts 199 beautiful guestrooms and suites, three outstanding restaurants and a huge conference center. The hotel is within walking distance of the city’s museums, galleries, retail stores, restaurants and The Tennessee Aquarium.
Ideal For: Weekday conferences, romantic weekends, mother and daughter retreats, overnights with friends.
More Information: Call 423-424-3779 or visit

The Spa at Oak Haven Resort

Sevierville, Tennessee
Not-To-Miss Treatment: The Bamboo Fusion Massage promotes relaxation with its unique use of warm bamboo sticks that reach deep into muscles to relieve tension and stress without the pain and soreness of traditional deep tissue massage ($70 for 30 minutes; $100 for 60 minutes; $130 for 90 minutes).
Spa Amenities: Follow-up your treatment relaxing in the sauna.
More Reasons To Go: Spacious cabins are outfitted with all the amenities of home (perhaps more) and offer breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Before or after your spa treatments, enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub on your cabin’s private screened porch. Find entertainment nearby with golf, outlet malls, Dollywood and other attractions in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
Ideal For: Large groups, such as friend or family reunions.
More Information: Call 865-453-6650 or visit

Relâche Spa and Salon at Gaylord Opryland

Nashville, Tennessee
Not-To-Miss Treatment: The Soothing Stone Massage incorporates warm smooth stones to loosen tense muscles and invites deep relaxation ($160 for 50 minutes; $205 for 80 minutes). The Classique Pedicure hydrates, exfoliates, buffs and polishes feet and nails to sandal-wearing perfection ($70 for 50 minutes). (Treatment prices reduced $10 Mondays through Thursdays.)
Spa Amenities: The steam room, sauna, relaxation lounge, hot tub and pools provide inviting excuse to spend an opulent full day at the spa.
More Reasons To Go: Gaylord Opryland, the flagship property of Gaylord Hotels, is a wonderland boasting more ways to answer the question “what do I do now?” than some towns. Explore nine acres of indoor botanical gardens, take a boat tour on the quarter-mile indoor river, shop at dozens of stores, feast at 20 award-winning restaurants and more. Even more entertainment options abound in nearby Nashville, including the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Belle Meade Plantation, Tennessee State Museum and Cheekwood to name just a few.
Ideal For: Romantic escapes, girls’ getaways, conferences, multi-generational family reunions, individual retreats and vacations with friends.
More Information: Call 615-458-1772 or visit

The Spa at Ross Bridge, an Aveda Spa and Salon

Birmingham, Alabama
Not-To-Miss Treatments: By hitting pressure points on the feet during the luxurious scrub, the Moroccan Pedicure is an invigorating way to revitalize more than just your step, plus it leaves your toes looking as pretty as they feel ($75 for 45 minutes).
Spa Amenities: The spa’s quiet room, sauna, whirlpool, steam room and plush relaxation lounge invite lingering and offer multiple ways to refresh and renew.
More Reasons To Go: Get treated like royalty at this AAA Four Diamond resort that was modeled after a Scottish manor. Named “One of the Top 500 Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2008, the ambiance suggests a faraway time and place but guest rooms are equipped with all the modern conveniences. Located on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the 8,191-yard championship Ross Bridge golf course beckons to casual and serious players. Don’t golf? Some of Birmingham’s best shopping is nearby.
Ideal For: Double dates and couples’ getaways.
More Information: Call 205-949-3041 or visit

The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Amelia Island, Florida
Not-To-Miss Treatments: Heaven in a Hammock is, as the name promises, a perfect blend of massage and rhythmic rocking ($190 for 60 minutes).
Spa Amenities: In keeping with the resort’s AAA Five Diamond rating, spa butlers deliver personalized services while you relax in the steam room, sauna, cascade whirlpool, plush relaxation lounge, indoor pool or adults-only outdoor pool.
More Reasons To Go: Boasting a spectacular Atlantic Ocean view, this sophisticated sanctuary makes it easy to find your bliss. Savor a behind-the-scenes dining experience inside the kitchen at Salt, the on-site five-diamond restaurant, get personalized instruction to improve your swing at the Anne Cain Golf Academy or explore the barrier island’s rivers and marshes on a kayak tour.
Ideal For: Romantic or girlfriends’ getaways.
More Information: Call 904-277-1100 or visit

The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation

Greensboro, Georgia
Not-To-Miss Treatment: The Oconee Rain treatment incorporates the four key elements celebrated in Creek medicine: fire, water, air and earth. A warm vichy shower imitates rain while warm lavender and cool eucalyptus stones are used to melt away tension ($175 for 50 minutes).
Spa Amenities: Arrive early or linger after your treatment in the relaxing lounge, hot tub (with its own fireplace), steam room, sauna, cold plunge pool, outdoor terrace or private showers.
More Reasons To Go: A haven on the shores of Lake Oconee, this luxurious AAA Five Diamond resort boasts stunning décor, rich amenities, exceptional service and impressive attention to detail. The 35-acre resort rests under towering pines. Each of the 251 guestrooms offers a private terrace, feather bed and dozens more pampering amenities. Golf 99 championship-caliber holes, hike for miles, indulge at the Linger Longer Steakhouse, or enjoy a segway tour.
Ideal For: His and her escapes, multi-generational family vacations and girls’ getaways.
More Information: Call 706-467-7185 or visit

The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Cary, North Carolina
Not-To-Miss Treatment: The delightful Hot Stone Massage incorporates traditional Swedish techniques to relieve muscles and achieve deep relaxation ($155 for 50 minutes; $175 for 75 minutes).
Spa Amenities: Rejuvenate in the steam room, sauna and whirlpool; meditate in the serene courtyard; or retreat to a poolside cabana.
More Reasons To Go: At this AAA Five Diamond hotel you’ll find a peaceful oasis overlooking a tranquil three-acre lake and be lavished with the regal treatment you absolutely deserve but too rarely experience. Savor first-class dining at Heron’s, tee off at a championship golf course, explore the wilderness trails at The Umstead State Park, or head into Raleigh and monitor progress on the capitol city’s $3 billion renaissance.
Ideal For: Romantic and individual retreats.
More Information: Call 919-447-4170 or visit

****Odds Of Encountering Children: Slim. Most spas do not allow children, but rules do change so confirm in advance before booking a getaway.

-Photos Courtesy The Umstead

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive—researching a spa may be her ideal work day. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not at her desk, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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