A Spa a Man Can Love?
We all know that spas don't tend to be man caves. There's nothing macho about walking around in a soft fluffy robe, about sipping water infused with cucumbers or citrus, or contemplating the condition of your pores. Spa cuisine is also not something that's designed to appeal to a strapping appetite -- you can't score any swagger points by eating steamed veggies. And that's before you get to yoga, meditation, and aerobics classes -- all wonderful activities, but not something a guy's guy is going to brag much about.
John and Ginny Lopis, owners of The Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania and spa industry veterans, knew this too, and so when they opened their own spa, about 90 minutes from New York City, they decided to purposefully make it a place where a guy would feel comfortable. This comes through in the décor of the common areas, which, true to its name, is lodge-inspired, with a bit of a feel of a traditional study thrown in too -- there's lots of wood, metal and rich cozy upholstery. This also comes across in the range of activities available -- the spa is set on 75 wooded acres, and it has its own lake, so activities include hiking, mountain biking, kayaking -- and there's a golf course right across the street. What's more, the food that's served here is certainly in the genre of spa cuisine -- healthy, lower fat, calorie conscious -- but it's not about deprivation: there's a full wine list, for instance, desserts, chocolate and treats. Ginny Lopis jokes that they think of it as a five-star ashram.
When you walk through into the spa wing, you're in more familiar territory, but it's new-age light and bright, but still, nothing aggressively pink or feminine anywhere -- except maybe in the treatments, for instance, the Lavender Garden Dream, which is a polish, wrap and fully body massage or Chamomile Flowers, a body polish and moisturizer.
Even with all of this man-bait in place, the clientele is, as you'd expect, mostly women. When I visited a few weeks ago, I noticed many mother-daughter, girlfriend getaway types of spa-goers -- but I also spotted more than handful of men, holding up their half of a vacationing couple. The menfolk were a bit furtive, and not much evidence during the day, as I took a class called "Breathe and Change Your Life", stretched in yoga, and jogged in the woods. But early one morning, as I watched knots of women striding with great purpose on the spa's fitness trail, creating flashes of neon lime and bright pink power-walking through the trees, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted one guy, going off to fish in the lake, his pole over his shoulder.
Gallery: Man Spa: The Lodge at Woodloch