The Lodge at Turning Stone and Skana Spa

By on April 1, 2012
Skana Spa

In Verona, thirty miles and just a few Thruway exits east of Syracuse, The Lodge at Turning Stone is a haven among the dizzying array of activity at The Turning Stone Resort Casino. The Lodge squashes the notion of what a typical casino hotel is like. With its separate entrance, complimentary valet parking, and refreshingly smoke-free environment, you just might forget that it’s connected by attached walkway to the rest of the bustling casino resort. This is super convenient if you want to take in a show at the Showroom, dine in one of the abundant restaurants, attend an event at The Events Center or if you can’t resist the lure and excitement of the gaming opportunities.

My sister and I are overnight guests at the resort – no husbands and kids allowed. It’s our first sister’s getaway and it’s so convenient – halfway between our homes in Syracuse and Utica – that it just might not be our last.

The glitz-free guest rooms at The Lodge have a subtle masculine feel. They have quite possibly thought of every amenity: there is even a full-sized golf umbrella in the closet. All 96 suites are spacious – the smallest at 550 square feet – and many feature balconies or terraces. Frosted glass French doors separate the bedroom from the invitingly spacious living room with cozy seating options. The smart layout of the pass-through bathroom features a dual-headed shower, soaking tub, a trendy vessel sink and a full spectrum of heavenly scented bath products from L’Occitane. Plush bedding, warm woodwork and pops of rich crimson create an inviting respite you’ll look forward to returning to each evening.

The welcoming open design of the great room is almost completely surrounded by windows, creating a sense of airiness and grandeur. Beautiful views overlook the golf course and the pristinely manicured garden in all of its spring glory. This is the heart of The Lodge where you’ll find nooks for reading, lounging, casual conversations or relaxing by the fireplace. At turndown, soft music plays, slippers are placed bedside and the ice bucket is filled.

If you’re staying at The Lodge, Skaná Spa (skah-nah) is just a short stroll from your guest room. If you’re staying at one of the resorts other three lodging options, it’s an easy walk from anywhere on the property. Day guests are welcome at the spa too. Skaná is the Oneida word for “peace” and peace and tranquility are exactly what you’ll find. Prepare to be spoiled here: the spa attendants are among the friendliest in the industry. They will take excellent care of you and nurture you throughout your entire visit. Plan to spend the good part of a day at Skaná – sauntering from the herbal infused steam room to a cooling shower, to the sweat-lodge inspired sauna and light-filled whirlpool in a prescribed five-step circuit that detoxifies, opens pores and relaxes you before or after your treatment.

The beauty of visiting Skaná on a Friday afternoon is that I have it mostly to myself. It’s a busy graduation weekend at local colleges and multi-generational families are taking full advantage of all that the resort has to offer, proof-positive that luxury can be family friendly.

Inspired by the natural surroundings and the Oneida Nation culture, not a single detail at Skaná deviates from this theme. Nature is evident everywhere you look: In the botanical print fabric on the lounge chairs, in the artwork adorning the walls, in the frosted glass embossed with leaves and the botanical print wallpaper and curtains.

Even the chandeliers represent blossoming florals. The centerpiece of the bright and airy spa lobby, surrounded by windows, is a spectacular circular fireplace. Everything is designed circularly and curvy to mimic nature.

Amenities are first rate: Okab spa sandals – loved for their comfort, fit and superior slip-protection in the wet areas of the spa, spa robes the color of golden-hued sand and the nourishing healthy spa snacks. The infused spa water changes with the seasons, and is always delicious, and hungry spa goers can refuel on dried fruit & nut mix, fresh fruit, bottled water and Native American teas.

For an over-the-top experience, schedule time in the ultra-private VIP lounge at Skaná. You’ll enjoy access to a gated herb garden, a lounge area with a hidden flat screen TV, side-by-side deep soaking tubs, a shower à deux, your own steam room and sauna and treatment room for two.

I’m wondering how my therapist, Michael, will react when I tell him that I won’t be joining him in the hallway outside the treatment room. After all, he did tell me to relax and take as much time as I need before hopping off the treatment table and slipping back into my robe. I’m going to recommend that he just wheel the warm and cozy massage table right into the relaxation lounge, with me still ensconced in it’s many layers of plush comfort. I’m not trying to be difficult, but the eighty-minute poultice massage I just experienced has left me completely relaxed and quite possibly incapable of carrying on with my day.

The prior afternoon, I was escorted to a spacious two-room treatment suite for a White Pine Foot and Body Treatment. My treatment began with a foot soak in Bourbon Vanilla Foaming Bath Milk. A medley of heated towels was placed over my eyes, under my neck and on my feet. I was spritzed with cooling lavender and honey mist and then scrubbed from fingertips to toes with Kerstin Florian’s Turkish Scrub with Eucalyptus. A full body massage with Deep Forest oil followed, formulated with pine and a luscious blend of other essential oils. At Skaná Spa, one treatment is more luscious than the next. After all this relaxation, we were about to embark on another truly gratifying experience, only this one involved food.

Our eight-course dinner at Wildflowers was an extravagant indulgence. It’s an extraordinary dining experience the caliber of which is normally only found in large cosmopolitan cities. . A personalized scroll menu, steamed hand towels between courses and an intermezzo of lemon sorbet created a dining experience that we won’t soon forget. Service is crisp and efficient with a welcome lack of formality, pulling out all the stops to ensure that every element of this culinary event is at it’s finest. Our dinner server entertained us by reciting the menu as if performing a monologue on stage, pausing at all the right moments for questions.

Diners can expect the freshest available local ingredients on a menu that changes rapidly with the growing season. When you are done with your main course, you’ll be too full for desert, but order it anyway. The childhood memories tasting is five bites of sweetened bliss: banana split, peanut butter gelee mousse, raspberry rice krispy treat, cookie dough truffle and S’more truffle. At Wildflowers, one dessert course isn’t enough. The second dessert course, a final gift from the chef, includes a chocolate surprise (we won’t give away the “surprise” element – let’s just say it’s a combination I hadn’t considered) and a rich liquidy cheesecake shooter.

Michele McIntyre is a freelance spa, travel & wellness writer who is happiest when lying face up on a treatment table or writing about her spa and travel experiences. She lives near Syracuse, NY with her husband and son. She is a regular contributor to Today’s Central New York Woman Magazine and is a National Spa Examiner for Examiner.com. Michele’s adventures have been featured on a variety of websites including a stint as a guest spa blogger on Tripology and as a storyteller on TripAtlas.

 

Michele McIntyre

About Michele McIntyre

Michele McIntyre is a freelance writer who covers spas, travel, fitness, wellness, beauty and healthy living/eating. She is happiest when lying face up on the treatment table, writing about her spa and travel experiences or testing new products to share with her readers. She lives near Syracuse, NY with her husband and son. Michele is a regular travel contributor to LivingBetterat50+ and has written for Today’s Central New York Woman Magazine and online at Tripology, TripAtlas, and Splash Magazines Worldwide. Michele blogs about the spa and travel industry, and anything else she can think of, at everythingspa.wordpress.com. When she isn't writing about or visiting spas, Michele loves traveling, hiking, skiing, camping, yoga and reading. If any of these pursuits can be combined with a visit to the spa, even better! Michele can be reached at [email protected]

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The Lodge at Turning Stone and Skana Spa