Mommy and me spa day is Cape Cod girl getaway
Nothing says “girl bonding” like a spa day. This time, I did the bonding with my flesh-and-blood girls.
My girls are young ; ages 4 and 7 which might seem too young for such indulgence. What stresses could their little bodies need to release, after all?
But in the middle of a family vacation to Cape Cod, which is filled with lots of high-energy beach activities, I liked the idea of visiting the Cape Codder Beach Spa Resort and its Beach Plum Spa, with its specialty mother-daughter services.
The girls were game and they liked what they heard on the spa-services menu: The toughest choice would be deciding between the strawberry ice-cream or chocolate milkshake pedicure.
The Beach Plum began catering to this crowd when it opened seven years ago. It now has two other locations with Kids Spa Menus at inns in Massachusetts. When I got back to my desk in New York, I also found a press release announcing Eloise-themed mother-daughter treatments at the new Warren-Tricomi salon in Manhattan’s reopened Plaza Hotel.
Statistics from the International Spa Association confirm the trend, showing 17 percent of U.S. spa packages are offered for children under 13.
It seems my theory holds up: The only way moms get to have pampering done on a family vacation is to take the kids with them. It’s not cheap — each pedicure is $45; and I also don’t think of myself as one of these moms who treats her children as entitled equals, but it was a great way to spend the day.
Before entering the spa, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant, which had lots of young diners. The host stand was surrounded by a baker’s counter selling oversized cookies, and the kids received crayons along with their children’s menu. Their drinks even came with lids. The girls felt comfortable here.
The spa is across a courtyard where there are a playground unit and a volleyball net.
Once inside, the mood instantly mellowed with sounds of the sea coming through speakers. The decor ; soft leather chocolate-colored chairs and a ceiling dotted with subtle sparkles ; is inviting to guests of all ages, while not screaming “kid-friendly.”
I put on a plush spa robe and sipped an herbal tea. My girls didn’t fare quite as well; maybe they’re younger than the typical “daughter” clients — although I was assured they were not when making the reservations — but the best that could be done for a robe for 7-year-old Isabella was one of the strapless half-robes that women typically wear for facials. Little Ava just stayed in her T-shirt and skirt.
The lack of pint-size robes didn’t discourage the girls, though.
It seemed best to separate the two sisters if I were going to actually get any relaxing done, since when they were together, they were positively giddy. For our first treatments, I decided to take Ava with me for side-by-side, 50-minute massages, while Isabella had her toes done with our close friend and vacation host (who happens to have an 8-year-old son who wouldn’t be caught dead in a spa).
We went into the dimly lit massage room and nestled into preheated sheets on the massage tables. But at that moment when I should have let out a long sigh of relief, panic set in.
Would my always-on-the-go, constantly chattering daughter sit still for 50 minutes?! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before we got to this point.
“Ava,” I reminded her, “you have to sit still.”
She giggled. Oh great, I thought.
But I need not have worried. The massage therapists got to work, with reassuring words at first explaining that they’d start by applying some heavenly lavender-scented lotion on our backs and then move to our arms and legs. If anything tickled too much or was too much pressure, they said we were to tell them right away.
Ava said OK and that was the last I heard from her. I turned my head when I could to steal a peek of her and one time I broke the silence, asking if she was asleep. She was not. Turns out, she can relax and be calm under the right conditions.
On to the pedicure room, where Isabella was finishing up her chocolate-themed treatment. The best part was the fizzy chocolate ball (a Me!-branded moisturizing ice-cream ball that’s catching on in the beauty business) that made the room smell good and her feet feel better.
Her freshly painted toenails were jazzed up with a faux-jeweled toe ring that she couldn’t wait to show off for her sister. She also noted; several times; that she sipped hot chocolate during the treatment.
If You Go
BEACH PLUM SPA AT CAPE CODDER RESORT: 1225 Iyannough Road, Route 132 and Bearse’s Way, Hyannis, Mass., www.capecodderresort.com/spa_kids.php or (888) 297-2200. Kids Spa Menu includes Strawberry Ice Cream Manicure, 20 minutes, $25; Chocolate Milkshake Pedicure, 35 minutes, $45; Parent & Child Massage, 50 minutes, $180; Parent & Child Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage, 30 minutes, $150. There are also Beach Plum Spas with Kids Spa Menus at the Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa in Sandwich, Mass., www.danlwebsterinn.com, and the John Carver Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Mass., www.johncarverinn.com.