By Kim Cooper Findling
Regional spa resorts beckon for a restorative visit in early Spring.
At Lithia Springs Resort and Waterstone Spa, soaking in the onsite natural mineral waters is as restorative—and as recommended—as the signature spa treatments. Soak before your treatment, soak after your treatment, soak as many times as you can while you’re at this charming and rejuvenating destination resort.
Lithia Springs Resort is tucked at the base of a steep hillside of oak and alder just north of Ashland in Southern Oregon, at a site that has been a gathering place for thousands of years on account of the eponymous natural mineral water aquifer that runs underground. My daughter and I arrived on a Friday evening at dusk. The resort’s grounds were alit, illuminating a tight grouping of grey and white buildings, verdant landscaping, gazebos, arbors and fountains, with a fire pit welcoming front and center. “It feels like Alice in Wonderland,” my daughter said, and I had to agree. The resort seems miniaturized and sprinkled with small touches designed to delight—a jaunty frog sculpture, a koi pond with a bubbling fountain, a tree hung with glinting crystals, and pops of paint colors in Easter egg brights on doorways. Indoors, the vibe is ultra-modern, with whites, metals and post-modern furnishings. The overall takeaway is comfort with touches of whimsy and luxury.
Guests at the resort soak in the natural mineral waters in a variety of ways. The outdoor saline swimming pool and jacuzzi tub are delightful, though these days, both are sourced from city water. However, the pure healing waters the place is famous for are still available to guests through any tap on the premises. Fill a private soaking tub in a guest room and sink into waters said to produce a lasting sensation of deep relaxation and detoxification. Or just take a sip—all drinking water on site is piped from the mineral waters underfoot and bears the eggy smell of sulfur as testament. It’s not exactly delicious, but one still feels oddly healthy while gulping it down.
For dinner, we drove the short distance into Ashland, a town that grew up around the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Here, old English style balances contemporary shopping and dining, along with access to nature by way of the lush, labyrinthine 93 acres of Lithia Park. Dinner at the Brickroom on the creek included wild-caught sockeye salmon and ginger coconut soup, after which we returned to the resort for our first—but not last—soak in the mineral waters.
Our destination the next morning was Waterstone Spa, which employs an organic skin care line from Hungary called Ilike, with whole fruit and herb pulps as primary active ingredients rather than herbal extracts. My esthetician called my European-style botanical organic facial a “raw food diet for the skin.” After an hour of the relaxing treatment, imbued with citrus scents and soothing music, I emerged to find my daughter sunk in a couch in a happy puddle after her signature massage. Soaking in the mineral waters, we were told, accelerates the toxin release from a massage treatment. We weren’t going to argue, so after homemade apricot scones and lemon curd at the daily tea service, it was another dip in the healing waters of Lithia Springs for us.
Lithia Springs Resort | Ashland, Oregon
Visit these other destination spa resorts around the West
The Allison Inn & Spa
Amid the foothills of the Willamette Valley, surrounded by green rolling hills lined with grape vines, lies a resort that brings Tuscan style and elegance to the Pacific Northwest. The Allison Inn & Spa is the perfect stop for relaxation amid Oregon’s wine country. Stop in for the new Himalayan salt body scrub or opt for the Deep Forest Escape, a body treatment featuring pine, juniper and bergamot body oils. From the couple’s massages down to the facials, manis and pedis, The Allison uses products made from local ingredients that provide fresh, natural scents reminiscent of the surrounding landscape.
The Allison Inn & Spa | Newberg, Oregon
Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa
Breaking waves, stark cliffs and even a whale spotting or two; alongside the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa provides the entire coastal experience, fit with sandy dunes and salty air. The spa, known as Tidepools, has an experienced team of massage therapists and estheticians who offer a full range of treatments. The Tidepools Muscle Recovery massage is a perfect way to soothe sore muscles after a yoga or workout session, both of which can be done at Tidepools. Other treatments incorporate heated basalt stone therapy, and there are also massages specifically tailored for pregnant women.
Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa | Pacific City, Oregon
Stillwater at Teton Springs Lodge
The Teton Springs Lodge, a resort surrounded by the Teton Valley, nearby mountain peaks, rivers and forests, looks like a scene out of an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Stillwater, the resort’s spa, offers a range of body and facial treatments as well as expert hairstyling and coloring. Stillwater’s massage therapists and estheticians cater each treatment to the needs of individual clients, making each person’s experience a unique one. Before or after any treatment, guests can rest in the Zen Relaxation Room to clear their mind and enter a state of deep relaxation. The entire spa is blessed with unmatched views of the nearby Teton Valley landscape.
Stillwater at Teton Springs Lodge | Victor, Idaho
Bring Self Care Home with these AAA Discounts & Rewards Partners
Silvies Valley Ranch
In a land where cows outnumber people ten to one, Silvies Valley Ranch combines the best of rural living with modern luxury in Oregon’s cowboy country. In this Old West frontier, guests find tranquility at the Rocking Heart Spa, a facility with ambiance inspired by Indigenous art and the high desert landscape. The massage, facial and body treatments feature natural and organic ingredients and recipes inspired and used by nearby Indigenous cultures. Break a relaxing sweat in the cedarwood sauna, which features eucalyptus-infused water poured over hot stones to create steam that opens pores and promotes healthy skin.
Silvies Valley Ranch | Burns, Oregon
Salish Lodge & Spa
The Salish Lodge & Spa overlooks one of the Pacific Northwest’s crown jewels, the 268-foot waterfall Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State, west of Seattle towards Snoqualmie Pass. Resting on the cliffs above the falls, the resort provides guests a front-row view to 34,000 cubic feet of water a second cascading over the cliffside. At the spa, guests are greeted with calming aromas of eucalyptus and cedar and sights of exposed wood, large windows and tons of greenery. The spa at Salish offers massages and facials, as well as less common treatments including the barefoot Japanese ashiatsu massage, the Polynesian lomilomi massage and a Thai inspired massage that includes stretching and pressure point treatment.
Salish Lodge & Spa | Snoqualmie, Washington
Kim Cooper Findling is the Editor in Chief of Oregon Media and the author of eight books, including Day Trips to the Oregon Coast: Getaways Ideas for the Local Traveler.
Keep AAA with you on your next trip, download the App
Use the AAA Mobile App to:
- Request roadside assistance
- Get directions
- Book a hotel or rental car
- Find the cheapest gas prices near you