Hang on to your kale, as farm to table is moving from the dining room into the spa. While many top spas have been offering organic treatments for some time, they’re taking it one step further with treatments using fresh herbs and citrus grown on-site. Freshly picked lavender, eucalyptus, and honey are cropping up in everything from handmade scrubs to face masks.
This comes as little surprise to Mia Kyricos, the chief brand officer at Spafinder Wellness Inc., who sees it as a convergence of multiple trends. “People are very conscious about what they are putting inside their bodies, as well as on them,” she said. “Consumers are also looking for authenticity as well as a one-of-a-kind experience in a spa.”
Spas which incorporate farm to table treatments often allow guests to choose their own herbs to customize their treatment. At The Boulders in Arizona, guests can head outside to the resort’s garden to handpick herbs that will be used in their treatment, while therapists at the Lake Austin Spa Resort bring a cart full of herbs into the treatment room.
What’s the benefit of choosing your rosemary or eucalyptus? Plenty. “It’s a hyper-personalized beauty experience,” said Kyricos, “and it’s made fresh on the spot.”
For Trisha Shirey, the Director of Flora and Fauna at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, the fresh herbs grown on site—which include chamomile, rosemary, sage, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender—offer crowd- pleasing natural scents as well as healing properties.
“Rosemary is invigorating and great for sore muscles, while lavender can help you get a better night’s sleep,” she said.
Shirey also said the power of scent cannot be downplayed.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had customers say that the smell of lavender brings them right back to the South of France, or rosemary reminds them of Greece,” says Shirey. “The sense of smell helps make that connection to a memory.”
Here’s a look at a handful of hotel spas incorporating farm to table spa treatments.
The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles
This luxury, LEED-certified hotel has views of the LA Skyline as well as the Santa Monica mountains. The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles also features a rooftop garden, where mint, sage, rosemary, and basil are grown along with orange, lemon and lime trees. Many of these ingredients are used in the hotel’s spa, which has an old Hollywood look. The “Garden to Glamorous” treatments, available March 1, combine freshly picked herbs blended with coconut oil. The Coco-Lime Manicure and Pedicure starts with a scrub of virgin coconut oil and raw sugar, while the Lime Refresh Facial starts off with a lime masque. Fresh coconut water and lime cookies are also available in the spa.
Buttermilk Falls Inn + Spa, Milton, New York
Located in the Hudson Valley, the Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa has just 18 rooms and is located on a 75-acre farm. Forty-five of those acres are taken up by Millstone Farms, which grows stone fruit, Swiss chard, kale and watermelon (seasonally). There’s also a livestock barn with heritage breed chickens and peacocks, as well as an aviary house. The spa uses solar and geothermal power, and incorporates home-grown herbs, honey and even pumpkin in its treatments. The signature Millstone Farm Facial includes a mask made with the farm’s honey, as well as a homemade cucumber-honey toner. Pumpkin, an antioxidant, is the star ingredient of the Pumpkin & Spice Body Wrap.
CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa, Anguilla
This luxury resort looks like it was plucked from Santorini and transported to the Caribbean, thanks to its white-washed buildings and blue roofs. While most Caribbean resorts import the majority of their food, CuisanArt has its own hydroponic farm, housed in an 18,000 square-foot greenhouse. Crops include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and bok choy as well as herbs such as parsley, chervil, thyme, sage and mint. Fresh ingredients from the farm are harvested daily and incorporated into the Venus Spa’s fresh treatments. At the Fresh Scrub Bar, guests can customize a salt or sugar scrub combined with their choice of herb, including fresh lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, or mint. The hydroponic cucumber and aloe wrap helps soothe sunburnt or dry skin, using freshly picked cucumbers.
Epicurean Hotel, Tampa
The Epicurean hotel was conceived as a foodie paradise, and is home to a wine bar, patisserie and “Epicurean theatre,” which offers seminars and demonstrations on everything from cupcake decorating to beer tastings. Food is also a star at the hotel’s Evangeline Spa, which has a living herb wall, featuring cilantro, mint and other herbs. Spa therapists can use these ingredients in treatments such as body scrubs, and a spa sommelier is also on hand to help create custom spa products for use during the treatment, or to take home. As an added bonus, complimentary wines and desserts are also provided to spa guests who would like a little more kick than what cilantro can offer.
The Boulders, Carefree, Arizona
Located just north of Scottsdale in the Sonoran desert, the Boulders, a Waldorf-Astoria hotel, is surrounded by 12 million year old (you guessed it) boulders. The hotel’s 5,600 square foot organic garden features naturally flowing water, a pond and two outdoor dining areas. Elevated planter boxes are used to grow lettuce, carrots, celery, heirloom tomatoes for the hotel’s restaurants and bar, along with maize, hackberry, and Sonoran eggplant. The fruit offerings are just as abundant, ranging from prickly pear, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, and a mission fig tree.
The 33,000 square-foot Waldorf-Astoria Spa uses plenty of seasonal fruits in its seasonal body scrubs. In the fall, guests can indulge in a pear and green apple scrub while cranberry and pomegranate are star winter ingredients. Springs brings blueberry soy while the summer is all about cucumber mint. Guests can also relax in the outdoor garden and clip a favorite herb which can be used in their spa treatment or a cocktail.