Ah, Spa-ing at Crystal Mountain Resort

Kendra Williams, Midwest Living travel editor and contributor to Michigan Travel Ideas, spills the details from her recent enviable spa experience at the Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa.

I’ve been to many spas throughout the Midwest, but none of those prepared me for my experience at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville (45 minutes south of Traverse City.)

The pristine outdoor meditation garden where I sipped on cucumber mint water and nibbled on mixed nuts studded with dried cherries.

Opened in 2009 and considered the only LEED-certified spa in the Midwest, the 11,000-square-foot Crystal Spa exudes pampering, tranquility and the serenity of nature. Frosted glass doors have long twigs somehow frozen inside the base of them. Ceramic tiles in shades of taupe, brown, tan, surprising hits of lavender iridescence accent in the huge showers.

Rolled white towels line a shelf and there are curling irons, blow dryers, makeup mirrors, cotton balls, toothbrushes and toothpaste in the women’s locker room. A hostess asks me what size shoe I wear, and based on that, leads me to a locker filled with towels, a fluffy white Sherpa fleece robe and sandals in my shoe size. I choose a four-digit code to lock my locker, then pad out in my robe to the mediation area. It’s a huge sitting room with a long gas fireplace at one end and a crystal-bubble-style chandelier on the other. I step out into a meditation garden with three stone water towers, lounge chairs and a jetted in-ground hot tub.

The bubbly and inviting hot tub in the meditation garden.

I was asked to arrive half an hour early and am so happy I did. I had plenty of time to get into my robe, settle into a lounge chair, sip some cucumber-mint water and nibble on mixed nuts studded with dried cherries. It’s all about getting into the relaxed frame of mind before your treatment. I definitely did.

For my treatment I choose a fresh air facial ($95 plus gratuity). Sherrie, my clinician, compliments my skin (the only time in my life when “pasty white” is a benefit) and leads me downstairs to my dimly lit treatment room. Piano music tinkles through the room as I settle in the heated bed. Sherrie returns and mixes the wasabi mask and carrot puree cream for my facial. After Sherrie applies the wasabi mask, she wraps my face in hot towels and gives me a hand and foot massage while the mask works its magic. At this point, I decide the staff would need a crowbar here to pry me out.

The treatment lasts for 50 magnificent minutes. Afterward, I put on my robe and linger in the meditation garden. I stay out here for nearly an hour, content to listen to the bubbling water fountain a little while longer before returning to my busy day.

Kendra Williams has been a writer and editor for 15 years. She is currently the travel editor at Midwest Living Magazine and oversees the magazine’s annual newsstand-only travel bookazine, Best of the Midwest.