By Julie Earle-Levine
Where: The Spa at Glenmere Mansion
What: Hammam Bathing Ritual
Why Bother: Glenmere Mansion, a hilltop Italianate estate set on 150 acres in the Hudson Valley (one-and-a-half hours’ drive from New York City), delivers an upper-crusty, “Downton Abbey”-like fix. There’s plenty to do — you can stroll the gardens designed by Edith Wharton’s niece, admire the original frescoes or read in the beautiful library, with its modern art collection.
Now there’s yet another reason to visit: a gorgeous, newly opened 8,000-square-foot spa with a hammam, bathhouse and five treatment suites decorated with jewel-toned tiles.
Mindy Terry, a partner in Creative Spa Concepts who currently lives in Thailand, developed an extensive spa menu for Glenmere that offers traditional Turkish treatments and bespoke beauty, including a Mediterranean salt wrap and couture facials. Guests can choose their own product blends, with scents like Italian orange, wild Indonesian ginger and French lavender.
For couples, there’s the Hammam Bathing Ritual, in which you lie side by side in the marble bathhouse and hammam. The treatment is heavenly, and echoes the traditional Turkish ritual. The jazz, perhaps, needs to be switched out for something more hammam-appropriate — or better still, there shouldn’t be any music, so the only sounds are scrubbing and sloshing water.
While you lie on a heated marble “belly stone,” therapists use traditional mitts (kese) and castile soap to scrub away winter skin. Foamy, silky bubbles are applied and warm water repeatedly poured on the body. The effect is a floaty, dreamlike state and, surprisingly, not one of being waterlogged. It may be the gentle pouring of the water, unlike in Istanbul where it can feel like a torrent.
The suites, including a couple’s suite with fireplace and side-by-side soaking tubs and tables are fully self-contained. The hammam, a vitality pool with a waterfall, and steam and sauna are in the same spacious bathhouse, making it easy to go from one to the next and maintain a relaxed state.
Guests can float up to their rooms post-treatment, or to the relaxation library, a soothing space with plenty of comfy chairs and private areas to recline. It’s more of a library feel than meditation lounge, where you can read, play games or rest by the fireplace. The pearl jasmine tea is the perfect post-spa refreshment.
How Much: Hammam Bathing Ritual, $195 for 60 minutes.
Go to glenmeremansion.com or call (845) 469-1939.