My oldest daughter was 5 years old the first time she had her nails painted at a nail salon. Her smile reached from ear-to-ear and her eyes danced with excitement. She reminded me of what I must look like to others when I return from a destination spa, one of my favorite trips to take. I made a promise on that day to take her to her first destination spa when she turned 16.
Fast-forward 11 years and that same girl is now approaching her sweet 16 birthday and I’m happy to say I fulfilled my promise with a weekend getaway to the Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, Connecticut, approximately 30 minutes from Mystic, Connecticut. Once again, her smile reached from ear-to-ear and her eyes danced with excitement.
The trip had an over-abundance of pampering as it should, but it also provided a precious gift that I rarely get to enjoy now that my big girl is a busy teen with her own life. It gave us time alone to talk, to laugh and to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company at the Inn.
Just over a two-hour drive from both New York City and Boston, The Spa at Norwich Inn in Southeastern Connecticut is a perfect weekend getaway from this region. On the drive there and back, we discussed summer plans, friends, school and her music, and I even shared some of my travel stories. We stopped along the way at the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton, Connecticut, and the Tanger Outlets in Westbrook, Connecticut, because, second to spa time, shopping is high on our list of favorite things to do together. Both outlets are approximately 30 minutes from the spa.
The Spa at Norwich Inn is first and foremost a spa for pampering, with the long list of spa treatments and amenities including everything from facials and massages, to body wraps and nail services. Fitness classes are also on offer, with plenty of a la carte options available, but my daughter was more interested in the hot tub and the frozen yogurt at the spa bar.
The spa asks guests to bring swimsuits, but they supply one-size white robes, which we walked around in while indulging in massages. We enjoyed the Duet Massage together, and my daughter tried the Teen Massage while I signed up for the Swedish Massage. We also enjoyed manicures and pedicures, as well as the hot tub, which certainly warmed our cold bones during one of the harshest winters to hit the East Coast in years. We took a meditation class one morning and a Progressive Relaxation class one day that actually had us both fast asleep at one point.
Guests must be at least 14 years old to enter the spa area and enjoy treatments, services and fitness classes. Parents also need to accompany guests between 14 to 16 years, and proof of age may be required.
The small size and homey feel of the property also makes it an ideal introduction to the spa life for teens. The Norwich Inn features 100 guestrooms and suites. Our suite was large with plenty of space, with one king bed and a living room with a sofa bed. Amenities include flat-screen TVs and DVD players.
Onsite dining is available at the Inn, too. The first night we ate at Kensington’s, which features fresh, local ingredients on its menu. My daughter was thrilled to pair her virgin piña colada with Tiramisu espresso crusted filet mignon with mascarpone whipped potatoes, while I attempted to be healthy with delicious scallops that came with a plantain mash. The second night we ate burgers at the cozy Ascot’s Pub. Kensington’s also offers a daily buffet breakfast, which fueled us for our daily activities. Complimentary afternoon tea and wine tastings are offered, as well as sandwiches, salads, smoothies and frozen yogurt at the spa bar.
Healthy Cooking Classes are offered and we ended up getting a private lesson with Executive Chef Lee Masten since we were the only two participants. He showed us easy ways to integrate healthy options into cooking and talked passionately about the Inn’s herb garden and its bees that make the property’s honey. I was hoping to inspire a desire to cook in my daughter, but I guess the lack of culinary skills is genetic.
Back home now and into our usual routine, I miss the simplicity of walking arm-in-arm in our twin robes and the spontaneity of heading for the hot tub right before bed. Most of all, I miss our one-on-one time and how I was able to remove the reality and stress of real life for my little girl (and myself) if only for just a little while. I know, however, that an annual tradition has been born. Perhaps, next year when my youngest turns 14 she will join us and our pampering duo will become a trio.
– Stacey Zable
Stacey Zable is an award-winning veteran travel writer. She specializes in family travel, spas, cruises and luxury travel. Visit her website, staceyzable.com, for more information.