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Back in the day, banks were built with a grandeur and strength in both material and design.
These magnificent shrines to commerce were built with tall granite columns, marble counters and brass cashier cages. The structures spoke of trust, reliability and permanence.
Fast-forward to the next century, and enter the world of credit cards, ATM machines and online banking.
The permanence of those banks as imposing buildings remains, but many have been renovated into new establishments, such as clubs, coffeehouses, condos, restaurants — and even a spa.
Money-related puns abound with satisfied patrons at The Sewickley Spa, who often tell the owner that they got a wealth of a wonderful treatment with rich pleasures. Given that their pampering took place in a former bank vault, there’s no better way to describe it, says Dorothy Andreas Tuel, owner of the Ligonier spa that is housed in a former Mellon Bank building.
“People really get a kick out of it,” she says. “It’s a conversation piece as well as a relaxing treatment.”
Andreas Tuel — who also owns The Sewickley Spa at Sewickley, and The Sewickley Spa at Wisp Resort in Maryland — opened the Ligonier location in 2001. She says she was thrilled to discover that the Mellon Bank building was available, after looking around Ligonier for a new spot.
With plenty of open spaces, the bank building was easy to convert into a spa, she says. The building, with its granite columns, still retains some of its turn-of-the-century bank look, and some banking remnants — like a $20 bill from the 1940s — were found during the renovation. Inside the spa, visitors can get pampered with more than three dozen treatments, mostly skin and body therapy.
The Sewickley Spa, 112 N. Market St., Ligonier. Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.