Stay in Touch

by Nora Zelevansky

During pandemic lockdowns, people lamented the absence of all sorts of experiences: restaurant dinners, movie screenings, far- flung trips, live performances. So, naturally, dedicated spa-goers, accustomed to regular facials, bodywork or even just five-minute pedicure foot massages, found that gaping hole to be especially cavernous. After all, what they were missing wasn’t only lavender mists and the resulting glowing skin; it was also physical contact in the absence of hugs from friends and loved ones. It was a moment to decompress and release tension in someone else’s care.

That’s why, when Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa first reopened, the staff immediately noticed how ardently guests were craving connection, along with a moment to “switch off and relax.” So, they concocted a new Return to Touch treatment menu, which includes multiple bodywork experiences, but also extended alone time for the visitor to simply bask in the calm of the suite. Touch is so important, especially in times of struggle. “It’s a feeling of connection,” says Kathleen McNichols, the director of spa. “With everyone having felt so isolated over the past year, they’re holding on emotionally to so many things, so we wanted to create a space for guests to just be, and be taken care of by someone else, in order to feel that renewed sense of connection.”

The spa itself, which was redone in 2019 just before the pandemic hit, sets the perfect stage for that deep exhale. Beside the hilltop pool, with rows of vineyard grapes as background, the space has an elevated farmhouse feel with lofted ceilings, natural woods in geometric slats, light neutral tones and sunlight streaming through expansive windows that look out onto a cushy open-air deck.

The new touch-inspired signature treatments include a 90-minute choose-your-own-intention Restorative Relaxation journey with a sea salt scrub, body and scalp massage, but the pièce de résistance is the 120-minute Self-Care Package, in the Farmhouse Suite, with a private outdoor deck with soaking tub and solarium shower. This much- needed escape from reality begins with an exfoliating sea salt body scrub with organic herbal extracts followed by a mineral sea salt open-air soak and, finally, a 60-minute “stress-reliever” massage.

Guests can choose either a Happy Heart (with ylang-ylang, cedarwood and patchouli) or Calm Mind (with lavender and sage) aromatherapy scent to be incorporated throughout, giving the experience an extra magic touch. carnerosresort.com

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