Mountain air has an ethereal quality. Thin and wispy, it’s at the same time both energizing and curiously exhausting. Traveling can have the same effect at any altitude, but traveling to Beaver Creek Mountain, whether it’s over the mountain pass from Denver or the much shorter journey from Eagle County Regional Airport, can leave the voyager drained and in need of revival.
Enter Spa Anjali at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain. We had the pleasure of enjoying a treatment there during a summer visit some years ago, but news of a remodel piqued the curiosity and necessitated a return journey to check out the refreshed space. We had the opportunity to sit down with Assistant Spa Director Kristin Ligouri to discuss some of the changes.
The most notable update for a return guest would be that the spa reception has now been separated from the corridor by a curved wall. Kristin explains that expanding the retail space was important, and the wall encloses the reception area within a contained sanctuary, rather than a thoroughfare, so guests could begin unwinding as soon as they arrived. The boutique has been expanded to include more organic products with a focus on local Colorado producers (such as Phiafrom Denver and Isun from Telluride), and a rather drab tan wall has been replaced with a vibrant living wall of low-maintenance succulents.
The relaxation loungers, previously smaller spaces designed for single gender spa-goers, have been combined into a co-ed facility (wet areas remain separate) which is more spacious. Kristin explains that the smaller space could get crowded, especially when bookings were less balanced between genders (spas are generally more heavily patronized by women).
When asked about which treatments a weary traveler might prefer, Kristin mentions that the selection of services is quite deliberate—inspiration comes from the healing traditions of the Rocky Mountains and other alpine locales such as the Alps and Himalayas. Those not accustomed to the altitude should avoid deep tissue work; Kristin particularly recommends the Moor Mud Wrap and Honey Dream treatments for those acclimating to the thinner air.
Environment is a big topic of conversation; the spa draws from the local environment as much as possible. Essential oils for the Ponderosa Pine Therapy Red Clover and Mountain Honey body mask are locally sourced in nearby Gypsum. The spa also takes great pains to be environmentally conscious; foregoing plastic water bottles for compostable cups, and minimizing the use of electricity with pneumatic table adjustments.
Although not the most typical spa treatments, Spa Anjali’s ayurvedic blessings have become popular, even with some spa-goers who are used to more traditional treatments. The three treatments: Muladhara – Down to Earth Blessing; Manipura – Shine from Within Blessing; and Ajna – Peace of Mind Blessing focus on balancing a specific chakra.
During our previous visit we enjoyed the Manipura, which means “beautiful, shining jewel” in Sanskrit, and focuses on the navel chakra. The belief is that when the chakra is properly open and balanced, that one will “shine from within”. A comforting warm moor mask and Himalayan poultices are applied to achieve this, and it’s certainly an out-of-body experience – they nearly had to scrape us off the table when it was over.
Where the Manipura suggests radiance, the Muladhara invokes grounding and security within one’s environment. Muladhara is the “root chakra” at the base of the spine, which is the foundation of our most basic needs for security and survival. The treatment began with a warm foot bath and Himalayan salt scrub. The spa technician explained that the treatment begins with the feet because they are our base and vessel for the path we take. The Himalayan salt is a rock salt, which unlike sea salt comes from deep underground where the polluting free radicals and positive ions that we seek to banish.
She also explained that the treatment begins with cupping, once to rid the body of negative unwanted thoughts and feelings, and once to gain desired thoughts and feelings. The room fills with the subtle essence of frankincense smoke and the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl. The treatment ends with a slow massage focusing on the muladhara chakra with grounding oils of vetiver, ginger, patchouli and jatamansi. The treatment ends with a prayer of hope for guidance and balance as we continue our journey on our path. The promised “sense of stillness” certainly took hold, and we again almost needed to be scraped off the table. It’s recommended to take all three chakra blessings on three separate days. “Anjali” is a Sanskrit word meaning “divine gift” and that was certainly the feeling that was taken away.
The spa is open seven days a week during the season, and many body treatments are available in increments of 50, 75, or 100 minutes. There’s also a full salon offering nail, hair, makeup and waxing services. Acupuncture is also available, although 24 hour advance booking is recommended. Body treatments start at $140; the Himalayan Journey Chakra Blessings are $235 for 100 minutes.