Story by Barbara Angelakis
Photos by Manos Angelakis
Castle Hotel & Spa
400 Benedict Avenue
Tarrytown, NY 10591-4330
Toll Free: 800-616-4487
Perched high on a hill in the picturesque Hudson River village of Tarrytown, is the Castle Hotel & Spa. And yes, it really is a castle! It was built at the dawn of the 20th century from stones locally quarried, but designed to replicate old-world Norman style fortifications like those found in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Castle features a watch tower, crenelated turrets, arches, wood beamed vaulted ceiling, and original Gothic windows with heraldic coat-of-arm motifs. Missing only is a dungeon, but that’s forgivable since the lower level is occupied by an extensive wine cellar… much better suited to the 21st century. I’ll save the fascinating history of the Castle for another story as the recently opened THANN Sanctuary Spa was the reason for my visit.
THANN originated in Bangkok, Thailand, and is well-known throughout Asia. It is recognized as one of the top spas worldwide, but little-known here in the U.S. All that should change with the opening of THANN spa at the Castle Hotel. THANN’s primary raison d’être was to develop a holistic premium line of all-natural hair and skincare products using botanicals and plant extracts scientifically demonstrated to produce noticeable healthful benefits. The spa was a logical line extension where the philosophy of appropriate manipulation of the body combined with their products would produce results that could be documented.
My curiosity was peeked at what THANN might offer that was different from what I have experienced visiting spas elsewhere, and so I waited eagerly for the spa to be completed. Finally last November I was invited to the Grand Opening Reception where I met Jiro Sato, President of Sankara Hotels & Resorts, the new owner of the Castle and responsible for bringing the THANN spa to the U.S.
The spa is housed in its own attractive, but not remarkable, building just below the Castle. It is not particularly reminiscent of its home country Thailand… but the décor and ambiance certainly was. The interior was simplicity and elegance matched only by the warm welcome of the staff. There were unusual touches that were Oriental in feeling such as the stand-out multi-colored lounge chair in the reception area; the rattan workings on the wood chair frames also in the reception area; and the fascinating lamp shades throughout, fashioned out of natural raw silkworm cocoons. The soft hollow cocoon shells are strung together to form attractive shades. The overall impression of the spa is one of calm, soothing comfort, aided by the pallet of soft grays, tans and black. And while the party was very nice and the culinary team put together a delicious assortment of Asian-themed hors d’oeuvres, I could not wait for an opportunity to experience the exotic services they dangled before us, such as Thai massage on a massage mat placed directly on the floor, Nano Shiso detox, and an extensive menu of other traditional and non-traditional choices.
My chance came in the spring when Manos and I drove the short distance to Tarrytown and ascended the hill to the Castle. After a wonderful dinner in the Garden Room and an overnight stay in one of the 31 individually appointed guest rooms and suites, I entered the spa after a groaning board made-to-order breakfast which is included in the price of the room and is a reason, all its own, to visit the Castle.
After completing the requisite information form I was fitted with non-slip flip flops and asked to select one of three aromatherapy scents to be used during my treatment. The Oriental Essence (Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass essential oils) had a lovely citrus scent; Aromatic Wood ( Nutmeg, Orange and Tangerine essential oils) had a rich woodsy scent; but Sea Foam (Peppermint, Thyme, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus essential oils) was just right to clear my head from seasonal allergy congestion. Once my selection was made I was led to the women’s complex of dressing room, showers, toilet facilities, steam room and Jacuzzi. The clothing optional area contains a bathing suit spin dryer in addition to THANN hair and body products and other amenities.
It is recommended that once you have donned your dressing gown and showered, to take a few minutes in the steam room to relax your stressed muscles before any body work. After the steam, repair to the waiting area where beverages and freshly made snacks are waiting. A word on the waiting area: its co-ed and beautifully appointed with large chairs and chaise lounges looking out over the broad expanse of green that surrounds the building. I sat sipping a warm cup of ginger/pear tea while contemplating my upcoming Nano Shiso Therapy combo treatment; 60 minute lymphatic-drain massage and 70 minute anti-aging facial. I never heard of Nano Shiso before and researched it before going to the spa. Apparently Nanoparticles are tiny crystals that travel though the epidermal layer to provide the utmost in skin protection. Shiso is a naturally growing plant initially used in Japanese and Asian dishes and macrobiotic foods. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid, with anti-inflammatory properties that have an anti-oxidant effect. THANN has incorporated Shiso’s healing properties into their full product line.
I was approached by a tall, dark, handsome, gentleman who introduced himself as James. James was an experienced licensed masseuse when he came to THANN. But, in order for him to be able to perform their specific regimen, he was sent to Thailand where for six weeks he was taught the THANN way. So I was in good hands as James led me into one of the treatment rooms which was permeated with the Sea Form scent I had chosen. First was a foot bath in a large wooden tub after which I was instructed to crawl in between the silken sheets on the massage table. The massage was unlike any other I have experienced, as the body was worked both sides together, instead of one side and then the other. The touch was slow and gentle with small strokes and no power point jabs. James told me the detoxing effect would continue to produce results even days after the treatment. Too soon the treatment ended leaving me feeling wonderful but wishing for more. Moving on to the next part of the combo… the facial, James turned me over to Kristen, an aesthetician practiced in the THANN protocol.
Before beginning, we discussed my specific concerns about my skin so that she could concentrate on those areas. Kristen began making little tiny movements starting at my chin and slowly working up to my forehead. After the first peel I lost concentration and allowed myself to sink into a deep reverie. When Kristen whispered “your done” I felt “oh no” could an hour have passed so quickly. Not yet fully alert, I slowly moved back to the waiting room to relax and savor and reflect on my THANN experience.
Many styles and types of treatments are offered at THANN Sanctuary Spa; traditional as well as Thai inspired. Also special and seasonal packages are frequently offered. For a list of services and packages visit www.castlehotelandspa.com
© May 2014 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.