The spa lobby feels like a place where 18th century royalty might gather. Think Versailles, but more comfortable, with a touch of Buddhist calm. The whole room glows gold, with a huge Oriental carpet, Moroccan lamps, comfortable couches and chairs, and a vaulted ceiling that seems to let natural light warm the space.
Royalty in A Robe
You could just sit here a while, just quietly taking in all the beauty, and feel like you had a spa treatment. But things get even better once you check in. A large male and female torso, inspired by classical Roman art, sit on either side of the spa reception, to indicate the men and women's locker rooms. Very witty!
There are 51 treatment rooms at Spa Encore, including 14 garden suites that can accommodate two people, in this 61,000 square-foot spa. Once inside, there is even more opulence and luxury, and the relaxation can really begin. There's a room where you can unwind, and either watch a fire that's literally built into the wall, or the flat screen TV above.
When you're ready to change into your robe, enter the actual locker room, where rich fabrics tied back with strands of shells line the doorways. Of course, there are private changing areas should you prefer that.
Spa Encore has all the relaxing amenities you would expect: showers, steam room , sauna, experience showers, and a room with hot and cold plunges, all beautiful. It's good to arrive early and make the most of your time here, because this is where you can really relax before your treatment even begins.
The area where you wait for your therapist is hung with Venetian glass chandeliers, and lined with blue, gold and white fabric that makes you feel like royalty in a robe.
The Spa As Temple
Spa Encore has a full menu of spa treatments, including basics like a fifty-minute custom massage for $160, Ayurvedic treatments like Shirodhara, a range of facials starting at $170 for 50 minutes, and a 75-minute desert stone massage for $260. I was there to try one of their signature treatmentscalled "Transforming Rituals."
The therapist picked me up and led me into an area that literally made me gasp because it was so beautiful. Usually you go back into a warren of hallways. This was a large room with two long pathways: each one was made of oriental carpet, enormous urns overflowing with water on either side, large Moroccan lanterns lighting the way, a large golden Buddha at the end. I felt like I was walking into a sacred space, or temple.
My treatment, Encore Escape ($370 for 105 minutes), took place in a Garden Suite, which has a shower area with natural light that makes the room much nicer. If you're having a couples treatments, it would be in one of these rooms.
One thing I liked about this treatment was the music -- it was Buddha Bar, instead of the sappy spa music I so often ask therapists to turn off. The Encore Escape began with compression movements, where the therapist pressed on my skeletal structure to help my muscles stretch and relax. I love these moves, which help prepare the muscles for more work.
Then she applied a hot, herb-filled poultice along my body's energy pathways. This is another way of getting heat and therapeutic herbs into the body.
Encore Escape: Heat Three Ways
She then applied oil to my body and started doing lomi-lomi moves, which is basically using your forearms for the massage. I'm not a huge fan of the forearm move, so I asked if she could adapt it to deep tissue massage, which she was happy to do.
She also used hot stones on the full length of my body, and put a heat pack on my back while she was working on my legs. This is a treatment for people who like heat three different ways!
At the end, she gave me a scalp massage with Ayurvedica oils, so expect to leave happy, but a bit greasy. Of course, you can always get that taken care of at the salon, which has ten stylists, 4 colorists, and plenty of people to give you manicures and pedicures.
The Spa at Encore also has two movement studios which offer spinning, yoga, Pilates, conditioning and meditation classes for $20. You can also get personal training services in the gym, or stop off at organic juice and smoothie bar near The Spa.
The Spa at Encore is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Appointments are available from 8 am to 7 pm. Resort guests can make their appointments any day. Non-resort guests can pre-book Monday - Thursday and call for same-day availability on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tel. 702-770-3900(spa).