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SuePur Destinations:

Making a Spla-lash at the Red Mountain Resort & Spa


by Susan Purdy


Spas seems to be rubbing everyone the right way these days.  Sheryl Sciro, president of the media division of Spafinder, says spas are growing so quickly in the U.S., that 2000 day spas are expected to be operating this year, up from only 20 in 1980, and 220 resorts, nationwide, now have full spa facilities.  Sheryl finds that, Women, especially those between the ages of 35 to 60, love visiting a resort spa because it is a safe space, where they can meet interesting people, and take off all the 'masks' - no suits, no makeup, no titles. 

So Im in vogue. I love the resort spa experience, with the various treatments offered, the soft adventure sports, and the camaraderie of other women.  And, I just discovered a great spot that delivered the full spa experience and didnt break my budget. 
The Red Mountain Resort & Spa, in Ivins, Utah, is like  summer camp for adults, only you dont have to put name tags in your underwear.  Set a few miles from the town of St. George, Shape Magazine called this beautiful oasis, The best outdoor fitness program located in the most scenic area of any spa.  But what makes this experience special is the staff;  warm, friendly, and especially helpful, they made me feel at home the moment I checked in.  Red Mountain guest, P.J. Prevo, from Evanston, Illinois, agrees with me.  Thats why she has been coming to the spa for eight years.  I find this environment very caring, and very low key.  The focus is on well being, and I like to stay 4 to 5 weeks.  My husband joins me for two weeks, and when he leaves, I stay on.  I meet the most wonderful people and each time Ive made one or two good friends that Ive stayed in touch with.  We often try to book the same weeks the following year.

Single women make up 70% of the guests here, and the Ya Ya Sisterhood atmosphere also extends to room reservations.  Red Mountain will arrange roommates for you, or you can come with your own posse and stay in a room for three or four. I made my spa appointments when I booked my reservations, a convenience I appreciated, as some spas will not take reservations until 48 hours before arrival.  And, the two most expensive treatments that I selected, were included in my package rate.  I signed up for a one-hour summer-special $29 massage; a Desert Rose Facial - said to be especially good for aging or sensitive skin;  reflexology - a healing technique based on the theory that all body parts, organs and glands are associated with reflex zones or points; and the house special treatment, the Red Mountain Revitalizer.

This last treatment would have knocked my socks off, had I been wearing any at the time.  I was so relaxed afterward, I could have slipped under a closed door. My 80 minute treatment began in a tiled room, where I lay on a table, discreetly covered by two towels.  My hair and scalp were massaged using a Cimburi bark extract.  I still dont know what Cimburi bark is, but it felt wonderful.  A mini-facial followed, providing just a hint of what was to come during my regular facial, and then I was exfoliated.  Ive been exfoliated before, but this time, my skin looked and felt as soft and silky as a teenagers.  (All small exaggerations are due to the state of euphoria I felt, and in no way reflect on the credibility of the rest of the story.)  It was the ultimate spa experience, and I considered whisking Stephanie, my therapist, back home with me.

One afternoon, I met Deborah Evans, the General Manager for Red Mountain Resort & Spa.  This native Texan knows her stuff.  She has been a chef, massage and spa therapist, author, educator, and has a 20 year work history in the spa and health retreat field.  She is instrumental in bringing the latest health innovations to Red Mountain such as special evaluations and tests.  I left with a personal profile and an aerobic evaluation, which showed  I had been exercising at too fast a rate, and by slowing down, I would burn more fat.  My tester, Mary Ann Smith, also explained, For every pound of fat you have on your body, your body requires 3 to 5 calories to keep it alive.  For every pound of muscle, your body requires 35 to 75 calories a day to keep it alive.  So the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn, and the faster you lose weight.

Spa guest, Sophia Aprahamian, a real-estate broker from California, joined me in several activities.  One morning we hiked the Petrified Sand Dunes in the Red Mountains with our guides Lori and John.  The red rocks were naturally sculpted like narrow tiers on a wedding cake, with swirls of burnt orange icing creating a colorful vista against the blue sky.  Three hours flew by, which amazed me as I had never hiked up the side of a steep hill, let alone a mountain.  But it was easier than I thought, especially with Loris helping hand reaching out for me on occasion.  They suggested we go hiking the next day, but I was satisfied that I  had pushed my envelope that day, and could now rest on my laurels.  Besides, there was so much to do that I wanted to spend time on some of the many other activities.

I attended a wire sculpture class and made a necklace of beads, wood, and wire.  Lets just say Tiffanys has nothing to worry about.  I sat in on several lectures given by soft-spoken psychologist,  Dr. David Tate. We gathered in a large gazebo, fitted along the roof line  with nozzles that let out fine mists of water in the warm air, to cool and refresh us.  It was magical.  We spoke about The Inner Game of Life and we spoke of relationships, especially our relationship with self.  I learned to meditate, and came away feeling refreshed and renewed.  In one of his printed hand-outs, Dr. Tate shared the story of Nadine Stair, 85 years old, from Louisville, Kentucky, and I will share some of it with you:

Id like to make more mistakes next time.  Id relax.  I would limber up.  I would be sillier than I have been this trip.  I would take fewer  things seriously.  I would take more chances.  I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.  I would eat more ice cream and less beans.  I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but Id have fewer imaginary one.  You see, Im one of those people who live seriously and sanely hour after hour, day after day.  If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.  I would go to more dances.  I would ride more merry-go-rounds.  I would pick more daisies.

I left Red Mountain feeling rejuvenated both in body and mind, and I cant wait to return.  Perhaps Ill see you there.


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