WHETHER IT’S making new friends or finally booking that trip to the Amalfi Coast, this year, you’re going to do it. At the top of your New Year’s resolutions list? A little more “you” time—something you’ve always had trouble sticking with. Don’t fret. We’re going to tell you how to make good on that promise. No, it doesn’t involve CrossFit. (But if you do want to work up a sweat, see here ). And no, you won’t have to take up the tango. In fact, at these spectacular spas across Arkansas, you barely even have to lift a finger.
Turtle Cove Spa
“Peace and quiet”—it’s a common thing to want. And most of the time, a hike up a familiar trail will do the trick to even you out. But sometimes, you might want to go somewhere else, someplace that’s just a smidge more, you know, robe and slippers. Enter Turtle Cove Spa. It consistently crops up on lists of the state’s best spas, and for good reason: Location, location, location. Tucked away in the secluded wilderness of Lake Ouachita, the spa’s big draw is its destination. Folks come here for a more fully loaded spa experience, often choosing to lay their heads at Mountain Harbor Resort, which houses the spa.
To get the most out of surrounding nature, opt for a couples hot-stone massage, where you’ll get knuckle-kneaded in an open-air pavilion framed by a rolling, tree-dappled landscape (weather permitting, of course). During chilly winter months, we’d suggest having your knots worked through by the warmth of a fireplace. (If this isn’t the perfect anniversary gift, we don’t know what is.) TCS also boasts body treatments like the “sunrise salt glow,” which involves a concoction of Dead-Sea salt, Arkansas honey, coconut oil and essential oils that sloughs away layers of dead skin. Gross? Perhaps. But as the name suggests, it’ll leave your body glowing.
The Crystal Energy Therapy kicks it up another couple notches, casting stones aside in lieu of crystals mined from Mount Ida. Settle into a vibro-acoustic sound table—which, in short, vibrates certain zones of your body in time with the music—as you get your body massaged with heated crystals. During the 80-minute pamperfest, which will set you back $198, you’ll also have weighted tuning forks restore balance in your body’s energy field. Aside from turning you into a puddle, the spa can also cater to your waxing needs. In other words, major head-to-toe TLC time. (turtlecovespa.com)
Real talk: When it comes to at-home skin-care routines, nailing down the exact formula that’ll make your skin glow can be a bit of a challenge. After all, skin care is not a one-size-fits-all practice, so sussing out drugstore solutions to your thirsty skin problems hardly ever does the trick, which is why it’s time to hand over the mic to the experts.
With three locations in Arkansas—in Bentonville, Bella Vista and Fayetteville—Premier Dermatology is rife with all sorts of high-tech gizmos that can soothe your ailing skin. Worried about that mole that recently reared its odd-shaped head after you spent too much time getting a little color on your face last summer? This is where you can—and you really should—get that checked. Need to get this Botoxed and that filled? Looking for help with splotchy skin, acne, wrinkles or cellulite? You’ll find all these remedies under one roof.
Aside from medical and cosmetic services, the centers in Bentonville and Fayetteville also offer relaxing spa packages that are less “ouch” and more “oh-yes.” For $200, you can book the spa’s “Relax and Recharge” package, which pairs a hydrafacial—a noninvasive procedure that exfoliates, cleanses and hydrates your face—with a 60-minute Swedish massage. No matter what you’re looking for, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to help you achieve Gwyneth Paltrow levels of skin dewiness. (premierderm.net)
Quapaw Baths & Spa
You’ve probably passed by the Spanish Colonial Revival-style building a bajillion times while schlepping around Hot Springs, and after a quick glance, perhaps you’ve said: Eh, not for me. But we’re here to argue that no trip to the aptly named “Spa City” is complete without actually experiencing what the Quapaw Spa has to offer. Hear us out. We get that the tradition of bathhouses and public bathing is not everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t confuse QBS with other operations along the strip where old-school practices are still de rigueur.
When the Quapaw Spa reopened in 2008, it was updated with all the trappings of a modern spa. Sure, you can still dip your toes in one of the four mineral-rich communal pools situated under a stained-glass skylight, but you can also opt for a more secluded tub-time session in the thermal waters of a private bathing room. Conversely, try out one of QBS’s newest menu items dubbed “MicroSilk Hydrotherapy.” Think of it as the equivalent of lolling about in Champagne fizz, in which oxygenated microbubbles sneak into your pores and flush out impurities and toxins and, supposedly, do wonders for your immune system.
Once you’ve booked your bath time—communal or private—you can clock 15 to 20 minutes at the Quapaw Baths’ steam cave. The cave, which accommodates about five people, has been a part of the facility since its construction back in the early 1920s. There are no steam generators here. The heat produced by the naturally flowing 143-degree water is enough to keep the air toasty. So here’s the $10 question (because that’s how little this add-on service costs): Are you ready to cave in? (quapawbaths.com)
One Thai Spa
There’s a lot to love about One Thai Spa. The spa’s services skew toward Ayurveda—an ancient Indian branch of mind-body medicine—with a focus on Thai massage. But here’s how you know you’re getting the real deal: Owner Oravee Williams cut her teeth in traditional Thai healing arts in her home province of Phichit, Thailand, and trained with master-level Thai massage therapists in the nitty-gritty of the discipline. Review all the services OTS offers, and you’re likely to spot sessions you won’t find at your run-of-the-mill, right-down-the-street spa. Take Tok-Sen, for example. The 500-year-old practice involves rhythmically tapping the body with—wait for it—tiny teak-wood hammers. (After a long hard week, we’re pretty sure this therapy will, erm, hit the nail on the head).
The most popular item on the menu, Chris Williams—OTS’s manager and Oravee’s husband—tells us, is the OneThaissage. This 90-, 120- or 180-minute session packs quite a punch, incorporating Cha-Loi-Sak (a 700-year-old ancient Thai massage technique), Tok-Sen, Thai herbal oil and Thai body work. Your massage therapist will also guide you through a series of postures (think: deep stretching, rocking and some more stretching) in what’s called “assisted yoga” or, as Chris calls it, “the lazy person’s yoga.” Another treatment worth a try? The Thai herbal Steam Tent, which involves spending some time in a cozy little cotton tent while breathing in warm air infused with a special medley of herbs sourced from Thailand. All to say, one visit’ll leave you covered in the detoxification department. (onethaispa.com)
Copper Well Retreat
When owner Dawn Eick opened the establishment close to two years ago, she envisioned a place where relaxation-seekers could spend the whole day catering not only to the needs of their bodies, but their souls, too. Which might explain why it’s so tough to squeeze Copper Well Retreat into just one category. It’s a destination spa without lodging (though Eick has plans to prop up a yurt in the backyard for wellness retreats). It’s a space that plays host to meditation programs and feng shui workshops. It’s a day spa where you’ll be treated to a slew of Ayurvedic massages and treatments, but also an equally invigorating, newbie-friendly sweat sesh. After a tête-à-tête, the folks at Copper Well Retreat will dream up customized sessions to fit your fitness goals. Want a slow-but-searing private yoga class where you’ll get to learn your Tadasanas from your Vrikshasanas? Check. In need of a more amped-up routine complete with squats, plyo lunges and what have you? You’ve got it.
After you’re all nice and sweaty, you can treat yourself to one of the institution’s custom massage sessions. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the spa’s specialty treatments, like its Fascia Blast + Sauna Detox combo. First, you’ll spend 20 minutes in an infrared sauna before being whisked away to a massage room for a site-specific Fascia Blasting, which promises to iron out your sore muscles with a spiky wand.
On the other hand, you could, you know, just stick with the sauna, or one of the spa’s many facial offerings. Or—and this is a spa favorite—try its foot-soak ritual, which cleanses the toxins from your body by touching your, ahem, sole. (copperwellretreat.com)