Travel: Escape Plan 

Two of Virginia's new spas offer a home away from home.

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Lansdowne, which has been catering to conventions and groups since 1991, recently unveiled a $55 million renovation that included the creation of the serene Spa Minerale. Located in Leesburg, about two hours from Richmond, the resort sits on more than 500 acres of rolling countryside about 40 minutes from Washington, D.C.

The mammoth lobby spills into several cozy seating areas with fireplaces and plush sofas. The cosmopolitan country-manor ambience features muted greens and sandstone shades punctuated with rich browns and deep reds. The curved staircase at the end of the lobby leads to the resort's two main dining areas, which are separated by a soothing floor-to-ceiling waterfall.

The new 12,000-square-foot spa is located on the lower level of the resort, near the fitness center and the indoor pool. Before signing in at the spa, we ventured outside to scope out the new water complex. A stone bridge and waterfall connect two pools — one with a water-slide and water activities, the other for quiet relaxation.

When it was time for those three R's, we slipped into the serenity of the spa. The warm, natural colors and crystallized rocks that decorate the marble entranceway reinforce the tranquil atmosphere. We rested in one of the spa's quiet, comfy relaxation rooms while we waited for our massages. A table in the room served as a refreshment center, with pitchers of iced water, tea and juices, and mixes of nuts and dried fruits.

The spa has 13 treatment rooms and include a couple's suite and a salon for men and women. Some of the other women waiting for their spa treatments were in town for a girls' weekend. Many had spent the day being pampered. I have to say that the shoulder and neck massage I treated myself to was the perfect prescription for tight muscles. I also indulged in a much-needed makeup lesson in the salon.

Services range from hydrating and detoxifying body masks and mineralizing wraps to customized massages and signature manicures and pedicures. A shop offers an array of signature Spa Minerale products inspired by Virginia's indigenous botanicals. Products include salts, scrubs and muds.

Before our trip to Lansdowne, we learned of another spa option that's an easy drive from Richmond. Not to be outdone, The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach has also opened a new spa. Located on 26 landscaped acres, the Inn is the only resort-style property in Hampton Roads. Traditional in design and décor, the Old World-style resort features elegant furnishings and antiques throughout the property.

The 10,000-square-foot Flowering Almond Spa includes six treatment rooms — one is a couple's room — and a full salon. Treatments range from signature facials and manicures to massage therapy. One of the highlights of the spa is the private conservatory that overlooks the lake. The conservatory is a peaceful marble-clad sanctuary — think candles, relaxing music, cascading waterfall and plush seating — where guests can rest and unwind between treatments. The heated indoor pool is an added bonus.

The spa connects to the resort's expanded outside aquatic complex with a lakeside zero-gravity pool. The newly renovated fitness center nearby sports free weights and cardio and elliptical equipment.

Like Lansdowne, the Flowering Almond Spa will also carry its own line of spa products.

With our relaxing weekend in Lansdowne just a memory, we're already planning another girls' weekend. This time we'll head east to The Founders Inn. HS

For more information on the spas visit www.lansdowneresort.com and www.foundersinn.com.




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