Not every hotel offers helicopter service, but then, not every hotel is the Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown, which was justly part of “The Royal Treatment,” the first issue of WAG under Westfair ownership (February 2011).
You board your whirlybird from a helipad on either the East or West Side of Manhattan, landing at Westchester County Airport and tooling over to the hotel in a town car — “a bottle of the bubbly,” as general manager Gilbert Baeriswil puts it — in tow. Then it’s off to a tour of the wine cellar, a four-course meal at the hotel’s outstanding Equus restaurant and an overnight stay in one of the luxury suites.
“It’s a nice little bit of pampering, right?” the très charmant Baeriswil asks, rhetorically, of course.
Did we mention that this new package includes a treatment at Thann (pronounced “tahn”) Sanctuary Spa that the Castle officially opened a year and a half ago as part of its revamping under new management? (Sankara Hospitality oversees the Castle, along with Sankara Hotel & Spa on Yakushima Island.)
Business at the spa is “fantastic,” Baeriswil says. “We are very pleased with the way it’s going. What is remarkable is the way the local market has embraced us, too.”
That’s apparent during another blissful visit to the spa, where the solidly booked clientele includes a couple who married at the Castle and are back for a fifth anniversary celebration of massages (though not a couple’s massage, which they could’ve had indoors or under the gazebo outside looking east over Westchester County), followed by dinner at Equus.
“What is unique is the Thai massage,” Baeriswil says, “stretching out and relaxing the whole body.”
Two years ago, WAG was introduced to this under the expert hands of Samantha Feig, who is still with Thann. This time, we try an anti-aging facial and yoga class, both with Anna Maria Poniros, who is a licensed aesthetician and a registered yoga teacher with an M.S. in nutrition from Columbia University.
The yoga class offers a fascinating contrast with one taken earlier in the day at Life Time Athletic in Harrison. In that class, we flowed from pose to pose, the high dry heat helping to create a kind of water-dance. Poniros’ class is classic hatha yoga — slow, sustained movements that are connected, as in the LifePower Yoga class, by resonant, diaphragmatic ujjayi breathing. The result is the sense of emptying out fear and replenishing yourself with calm and strength.
That is the effect, too, of the 70-minute Nano Shiso Anti-Aging Facial, featuring nanoparticles, tiny crystals, Age Inversion Face Cream and oil-free sunscreen SPF 30 with Nano Shiso and white tea extracts to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and revitalize the skin. The 30-minute Detoxifying Lymphatic Facial Massage, which has the added benefit of really opening up the sinuses, includes a hand and foot massage during mask treatment that uses the new Eden Breeze (rose and jasmine), the scent we chose during a brief health discussion at the beginning of our spa journey. (The others are a minty Sea Foam, a citrusy Oriental Essence and a spicy Aromatic Wood that men favor.)
It’s not just the treatments. It’s the 8,600-square-foot space itself — the bronze-colored showers; the common lounge with its tranquil garden view, its pots of tea, its mini spring rolls and tiny rectangles of banana bread; and the divans that make it so oh-so-easy to plunge into a book like Linda Carroll and David Rosner’s superb “Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry.”
Euphoric, we treat ourselves to dinner on Equus’ terrace, where we devour a lobster club and fries, sip a summer cocktail of Prosecco and Stoli Raz and watch a mama bunny chase her wascally wabbit of a baby — who likes to nibble the strawberry plants — around the garden.
Can there be anything more to add?
A smiling Baeriswil says, “You must come see it.”
For more, visit castlehotelandspa.com.