When we think ‘day spa,’ we think beautiful things - fluffy robes, gentle, ambient music and blissful massages. As lovely as this is, let’s be honest - we usually go out for a ‘real meal’ around treatments, don’t we?
Now, you can put the ‘day’ back in ‘day spa’ and enjoy fantastic regional food and luxurious treatments without taking that fluffy robe off! The High Country is home to two premier day spas who make the most of exquisite seasonal produce and talented makers just outside their doorstep. With a shared ethos surrounding simplicity, paring back and health from the inside out, The Spa Beechworth and The Onsen Retreat and Spa, Dinner Plain, are mindfully ensuring a truly holistic health experience whilst delivering a delicious sense of ‘place’ in all they do.
But before we get to the obvious - the menu - owner of The Spa Beechworth, Deb Donkers has taken the concept of food in day spas one step further. Fuelled with a love for the Beechworth wine offering and desire to create something absolutely everyone can enjoy, Deb has become a maker herself.
“The Spa Beechworth products came about because I’d seen a massive amount of guests with allergies come through the spa which meant they couldn’t use everything," she said.
"I felt like they were missing out on one of the biggest parts of the spa, which is smell. “We wanted to create something that was just lovely, safe and an aromatic journey and we just couldn’t find anything, so we thought ‘we’ll just make it!’”
Now with 52 lifestyle and body products available exclusively in the NorthEast Region, the spa also offers a very special, unique treatment wine lovers in particular are bound to appreciate.
“It’s a gorgeous treatment, it has a beautiful smell,” Deb said.
“All the products are focused on grapes, with the treatment including a scrub, soak and massage. We use the crushed and dried grape seeds for exfoliation. In the bath salts we use Murray River Salt as the base with epson salts and grape seeds for aroma. The vino oil has grapeseed as the base with pomegranate, black pepper and sweet orange. We call it a skin drink!"
For those itching to feel the stem of a champagne glass, you’ll be pleased to know The Spa Beechworth offers a range of local wine and beers to be indulged around your treatment, along with fresh, seasonal food specifically focused on gut health.
“We believe that to have great skin and a functioning body you have to turn inwards,” Deb said.
With the long awaited accommodation at The Spa Beechworth set to welcome guests as early as this August, stays at the spa will evolve to provide food for all meals of the day.
“The concept will be around food that heals - food as medicine, and share plates,” Deb said.
For those looking for a delectable paradise in the snow, rest assured Mountain Kitchen owner Alison McEwan has you covered. Guests who receive food as part of their package, or choose to order food around their treatments at the Onsen Retreat and Spa Dinner Plain will enjoy customised service ensuring all needs (and wants!) are met.
Having managed The Onsen herself when it first opened, Alison knows exactly what the lucky spa guest needs in between a luscious facial, dreamy massage or soak in the outdoor 40 degree onsen.
“The most important thing to remember is light meals are better,” she said.
“Let's say a guest is having a three hour package. I’d suggest they have their food after the first hour - perhaps a Tobacco Road prosecco and a platter of dried fruit, nuts, a King Valley Fine Foods dip, some baked items - maybe a frittata - cold meats and Milawa cheeses.”
Mountain Kitchen food is famous around Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham for its “just like mum made” qualities, which is fitting seeing as many of Alison’s mouthwatering recipes actually came from her own mother.
“The main ethos behind it is it’s homestyle food, it’s not complicated food,” Alison explained.
“We come back to a lot of childhood classics - things like the honey joys and our sausage rolls - they’re all recipes from my mum. It’s hearty, warming food.”
Whether you choose the Winter wonderland of The Onsen Retreat and Spa, or the truly holistic and luxurious Spa Beechworth, be sure to indulge in treatments with food - and maybe a cheeky prosecco or two!
The Spa Beechworth: Vino - An indulgent sensory journey
This supercharged vino infusion will rejuvenate your body inside and out. A head to toe exfoliation prepares your skin, ready to soak in the full goodness of our nourishing antioxidant rich wine infusion. Immerse yourself in a private soaking tub for a complete hydrating experience, followed by our signature grapeseed massage to remove any last traces of stress.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
The Onsen Retreat and Spa: Onsen Snow Ritual
Includes aromatic herbal exfoliation, signature massage, organic facial, light platter, spa gift, bathing in the Japanese inspired pools.
Duration: Allow 3.5 - 4.5 hours
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