The best part of living in a tourist area (the Poconos), is that there are a lot of little gems waiting to be discovered. For me, this gem has been right in front of my face for 13 years. I've driven by Utopia Salon & Day Spa countless times, but let me be honest, I never really gave it a second thought based on the outside. I guess you could say, I judged a book by its cover. Utopia Salon & Day Spa is located on the busy highway of Route 6 in Hawley, it's also right by an intersection for Wallenpaupack school district and Turkey Hill (where all of those tourists going on Lake Wallenpaupack are gassing up their boats.) When one of my favorite spas was totally booked, I decided to do a quick search of others in the area. Utopia was the first to pop up. I looked at their menu and saw that they were completely affordable and when they said they could get me in next day, I was stoked. It was when I pulled into the parking lot that I realized there was a lot more to the building than you could see from the road. When I entered the back of the building, I was taken back by how beautiful it was inside with its local flare of wood floors, stone fireplace and wood beam ceilings. I waited for my pedicurist, also named Shannon, and was greeted and taken down to another room to pick my lacquer. All of the polish was Morgan Taylor, and I chose Well Spent, a purple creme. I was then led to the pedicure room which is a quiet, intimate room of 3 pedicure chairs and a bench to sit on for polish drying. I sat in the chair nearest the window that looked out to some trees. I remarked to Shannon, that sitting there, you would never know that the intersection was just a few feet away. Utopia's spa pedicure ($47) consists of 55 minutes of calf and foot pampering. Aside from the typical nail clipping, buffing, polish removed and reapplied, your feet and calves are exfoliated with a citrus sugar scrub and then a hydrating green minty masque is applied. Before painting my nails, Shannon gave my feet a nice massage (honestly I probably would've paid more for her to do it longer because it was so relaxing!) The pedicure chair is a massager and I sat there in pure bliss while it kneaded out my sore back muscles. Something I particularly loved about Shannon was that she was not an over-talker. We've all experienced those kinds of people at least once or twice while spa-ing where the person giving the treatment just won't stop talking. Shannon spoke when I asked questions, made light conversation, but didn't make silence feel awkward at all. I just felt completely relaxed. When I book my next pedicure, it will definitely be with her. If you happen to be in the northern tier of Wayne or Pike counties near Lake Wallenpaupack, I recommend stopping by Utopia Salon & Day Spa for some extra pampering. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!
One of the many reasons I love living in the Poconos, is that there are a variety of things to do. Since the area is a popular tourist attraction, especially now that the Jersey Shore is still being rebuilt, there's not too much you CAN'T do in Northeast PA. Back in 1998, Mount Airy Lodge was the location chosen for my honeymoon with my first marriage. Unfortunately it did not live up to expectations when it came to cleanliness, activities and overall impressiveness (and I'm sure my ex-husband would agree.) Soon the Lodge became an eyesore and an undesirable place until the DeNaples family were given a gaming license and completely demolished the old Mount Airy Lodge and crafted an amazing luxury experience that is now Mount Airy Casino Resort. The transformation is amazing. The resort is continuing to transform as it adds outdoor cabanas and a pool to their luxury spa. I recently had the opportunity to stay for a weekend with my fiance. This is my review: Mount Airy Casino Hotel: The hotel at Mount Airy Casino is stunning. As soon as you walk into this AAA Four Diamond Award hotel, the air smells of vanilla. I loved it because casinos and the smell of cigarette smoke typically go hand and hand. This was refreshing, especially seeing that the casino entrance was just above check-in. There is an elegant waterfall feature in the center of the lobby with sparkling blue lights to illuminate the water and a seating area to the left and right. On the right hand side there is this amazing art design of fire, giving the illusion of a roaring fireplace. Just down the hall from the hotel elevator is the entrance to the spa. We stayed on the 5th floor and our room had a gorgeous view of the 18-hole championship golf course across the street. Even when laying on the posh bedding, you could still see the hillside of lush greenery and the well-maintained course. All rooms are non-smoking, although that didn't keep the person staying in the room next to us from smoking in the hallway. The rooms are spacious and the bathroom was luxe. It was very quiet with the exception of a few enthusiastic guests in the middle of the night discussing their winnings in the casino as they strode down our hallway. If you place the do not disturb sign outside your room during the day, housekeeping respects your privacy and won't come in. They do leave a note hanging on your door that if you want them to come back, they will. Le Sorelle Cucina: This is Mount Airy Casino's luxury Italian Restaurant. It only opens at 5pm and requires a reservation. The interior design and artwork depict the DeNaples mother and sister's in paintings, as well as the DeNaples family crest. The DeNaples name may come with a bit of controversy in our area, however, you can't help but appreciate the warm, friendly and family atmosphere of Le Sorelle Cucina. A variety of warm rolls and drinks are served immediately, appetizers (Insalta Caprese and Roasted Beet Salad) came out about 20 minutes later and dinner arrived approximately 1 hour after being seated (Chicken Parmesan and Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops). The food was out of this world and delicious. The serving size was generous. However, it did seem the 40 minute wait from when we received our appetizers (which only took 5-10 minutes to eat) until dinner was served was a little too long. We had two waiters, who were very friendly and attentive throughout our meal. Betty's Diner: This is Mount Airy Casino's 50's style diner. It has a jukebox playing duwop (and a lot of Cher) at the front of the restaurant, as well as a poster-sized picture of the old Mount Airy Lodge. The photo is a reminder of the stark contrast of old and new. The diner is open 24 hours and is affordable to most guests. We ate breakfast here, which was delicious with an attentive waitress, but food here also took a while to receive (although less time than Le Sorelle.) Portion size is good and we left feeling full. Red Steakhouse: This luxury steakhouse has an incredibly decadent feel to it. Upon entering, there is a piano to the right of you with live entertainment on Friday's and Saturday's that can be heard throughout the restaurant. Since Red Steakhouse and Le Sorelle Cucina are adjacent to each other, they share a lobby with a bar separating the two. While both restaurants themselves are completely separated, there is this amazing 10-person room, with frosted glass doors on either side that can be reserved, in the back center of the restaurants. Guests who reserve it, can choose from the menu of either restaurant. Additionally, there is another private room off to the back right that has a curtain that can be used to make the room more private. There was a bachelorette party going on in this room while we dined there. (Bachelorette parties were a common theme during our stay with many happy brides-to-be on the casino floor, and hosting private parties in the hotel rooms.) Dinner begins with warm rolls, butter and a hummus red pepper spread. My fiance ordered the Classic Cesar Salad as an appetizer, but I chose to skip an appetizer here. The steakhouse was very busy on the evening we ate there and it took 1 hour 15 minutes from the time we sat down and ordered until we received our meal, while we had two people waiting on us, only one was really attentive. We both ordered Filet Mignon, which was mouthwatering and cooked to perfection. I had a side of asparagus (delicious!), baked potato (literally the largest potato I have ever seen) and roasted wild mushrooms (out of this world in a sauce that tasted almost sweet and cinnamony.) He chose to get steak fries as his side, which paralleled the size of my baked potato. For dessert, he chose the cheese cake and I had the chocolate mousse pyramid. Both desserts were decadent. The resort has other places to eat as well, such as the Noodle Bar, Starbucks and the Buffet. So you are not without options for the type of food or price range. Spa & Salon: My favorite place of all (of course!) The spa and salon is open to both resort guests and non-guests. The first level of the spa consists of a boutique, hair and nail salon and top of the line fitness center. You take the elevator to the bottom level where you'll find a gorgeous waiting room with a water feature, the steamroom, sauna, changing rooms, showers, bathrooms and women's lounge. The air is scented and you feel immediately relaxed. Bamboo Massage with Allison. I was in heaven with the amount of pressure Allison used (medium to deep), as my neck and upper back are always in constant pain from working at my desk all day. You are given the option to include aromatherapy into your massage and I chose Purification, which is an oil from Young Living. First Allison uses her hands to massage one quadrant of your body, then repeats the massage using bamboo sticks. The ends of the bamboo sticks are covered with fabric so that it doesn't hurt you. The bamboo provides a much stronger and deeper massage than Allison does manually. She was very accommodating when it came using a lighter pressure for a few sensitive spots (like my neck and the underside of my knee.) This type of spa treatment is definitely for those who do like a stronger, more aggressive massage. (Which I do.) I would definitely return in the future and request Allison for another massage! spa treatments, some unique and some traditional. 18-hole Golf Course: Aside from this, I have to say that Mount Airy's golf course is fun, challenging and absolutely gorgeous and well-kept. The views are also spectacular. At one point there was a small pond aside a hole that had huge bass in it! You could see their huge shadows from atop the hill. At another hole there were mother and father geese with their new babies waddling by a pond. I liked that this course wasn't predictable, but also appreciate that it isn't for a beginner like myself! It was probably by the 7th hole that I felt more "warmed up" to the clubs I was using and began to really hit the ball far down onto the green. My fiance had a great time as well, which is making me consider giving him a round of golf here for Father's Day. Casino: While neither my fiance or I gamble, we did marvel at how large the casino floor was. Gaming tables are in the center with slots surrounding them on all sides. There are also high value slots in their own room, as well as high playing tables in their own rooms as well. One side of the casino allows smoking and the side closest to the restaurants do not. The air does not smell of cigarettes though, which is great for a non-smoker like myself. There is also a nightclub here as well called Gypsies, and entertainment galore every weekend. Mount Airy also is a great place to hold indoor and outdoor weddings, as well as the reception. The outdoor space is alongside the large pond adjacent to the golf course. I can only image how beautiful this must be! If weather is not accommodating, they have ample space indoors to hold the wedding as well. On the day we were leaving it was raining and they were setting up for an indoor wedding. I was hoping I would've caught a glimpse of the bride! All in all, it was a great weekend at Mount Airy Casino even despite a few hiccups. I would definitely recommend booking a weekend here, or if you live locally as I do, checking out the spa, golf, casino and nightlife. For all upcoming events and casino/hotel details see www.mountairycasino.com. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure: This review was made possible by a media trip.
I am a big believer in monthly facials. I wasn't gifted with perfect skin and in order to keep a younger looking appearance sans plastic surgery, taking care of my skin is a priority. I love going to The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA (and there are others around the country too) and have had their Four-Handed Massage and Minkyti Facial before, so I was all for experiencing something new. As I just turned 37, I became most interested in a new facial they are performing there involving the NuFace toning device. I've heard a lot about NuFace and I'm familiar with microcurrent technology, so I was ready to see if it would work for me. This facial starts off like any other facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, using products from Amala skincare to cleanse and exfoliate (from the Rejuvenate collection), then NuFace's Conductivity Gel is applied. As the esthetician smoothed the NuFace device ($325) on the right hand side of my face and under my chin, I felt absolutely nothing. I even began to wonder if it was on, assuming I was supposed to feel my skin tingling. However, once she got near my hair line, especially my eyebrows, that's when I began to feel a tinge here and there. Whenever you are getting a facial (or any spa treatment) it's good to speak up if you feel any discomfort so that the treatment can be adjusted. Once I told my esthetician that I was feeling small pin pricks, she applied more gel and that remedied the situation. The esthetician moves the device with the contour of your face and the microcurrent is delivered to lift and firm the skin. As we age, we lose about 1% of our skin's elasticity each year. So if you want to avoid going under the knife, this is a great way to reprogram your muscles. (I asked if it would work on my chest too, but she just laughed. I was serious though!) After about 10-15 minutes of using the device, she then spritzed my face with the Optimizing Mist and applied Amala's Rejuvenating Face Cream. I was told that it takes about 8 treatments to see a complete difference, then maintenance with the device about 1-2 times per week. However, I did notice that my skin felt a bit tighter, especially above my eyebrows and in between them. I had the esthetician take a before and after picture and you can see that the wrinkle I have between my eyebrows is much less and that the skin above my eyebrows does appear to pull them up slightly. While I didn't purchase NuFace (the kit is about $325) I was still happy with the results. The facial itself is $70. What do you think? Have you tried NuFace for yourself? If you are local here in Northeast PA, please visit The Woodhouse Day Spa via their website or Facebook fan page. If you happen to book a spa treatment, let them know you heard about them from A Girl's Gotta Spa! Not local? You can still find The Woodhouse Day Spa nearest you by visiting their corporate website. Ps. They sell Farmhouse Fresh products in their boutique! I've tried their Honey Heel Glaze....AMAZING.
Monthly facials are a necessity, not a luxury. As I'm inching my way to 40 (I hate thinking about it), I know this now more than ever. Not only do you get a really in-depth cleaning of your pores, but it sure is a great way to relax and let go of the stressors that have been plaguing you. The last time I was at Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA for my Four-Handed Massage, I came across Amala skincare in their gift shop. I've heard amazing things about Amala and even began working with them. So I had been dying to find the time to get an Amala facial. Woodhouse Day Spa uses Amala skincare exclusively for their facials, and when I asked Woodhouse's manager Rebecca which facial would be best for me, she recommended their signature spa treatment, the Minkyti Facial ($95). It's 80 minutes of pure bliss. Bonnie was my esthetician and she was incredibly nice and such a wealth of information when it came to skincare. Besides creating a custom blended mask for me, the Amala products she used were: Rejuvenating Cleansing Milk Rejuvenating Face Polish Rejuvenating Serum Rejuvenating Treatment Oil Hydrating & Rejuvenating Eye Creams Rejuvenating Face Cream Rejuvenating Neck & Decollete Treatment Can I even say how amazing the Rejuvenating Treatment Oil felt? I know most people with combination skin may shy away from any product with the word oil in it, but this really is not greasy and won't make your skin slick as an oil field. Instead, your skin will feel the most soft and supple it has ever felt. During the facial you honestly feel like your face is transforming from a caterpillar to a butterfly. If you've ever experienced an Amala facial you know exactly what I mean! When my facial was done and as I was getting re-dressed in the changing room, I saw my reflection in the mirror and was amazed. My skin was literally glowing. I wish I had my camera on me because it was the only time I felt I looked amazing without makeup--that's how good my skin looked! When I was leaving I stopped by the gift shop to grab myself a Chenille Robe from Colorado Clothing Company (most amazing bathrobe EVER) and some artisan soaps from Hugo Naturals. Woodhouse Day Spa has such a great gift shop, I could spend hours in there alone. As I was leaving I learned that this Spring Woodhouse Day Spa will begin having microcurrent facials using NuFACE. I've heard amazing things about the NuFACE device, so I can't wait to try it! If you've had a facial at Woodhouse Day Spa, used Amala skincare products or have even used NuFACE, please share your experience in the comments! Be sure to Like A Girl's Gotta Spa! on Facebook and follow A Girl's Gotta Spa! on Twitter!
Whether you are a local in Northeast PA or just visiting on a seasonal basis, there are some great spas in the area worth checking out. While tweeting with fellow NEPA'ers on Twitter a few months ago, I asked which spa was the best in the area. The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston was mentioned a few times. Seeing that A Girl's Gotta Spa! (sm), I knew I had to make the hour-long trip from where I am in the Poconos over to Kingston to experience what they call the "four-handed massage." The Woodhouse Day Spa can be found on the very bustling Wyoming Avenue just off Rt. 309. But don't be fooled by the busy road as the spa, set in a Tudor-style house, has no sights or sounds of the road once inside. Once you walk through the over-sized doors, you are welcomed with the aroma of lavender in a dimly lit retreat full of soothing sounds. I could honestly feel the difference from the stress of the outside world to a more relaxed state once inside the spa.Â I was guided upstairs, bypassing a glass stained window and window box, and entering a room with ice water, fresh tea and plush chairs while I waited for Jenn and Mary to bring me into the duet room. I noticed there was a doorway at the back of this room with a small glass encased porch for guests to sit in and relax, as well. Once I received my microfiber/microchenille robe...which I will tell you is the MOST comfortable robe I have ever worn...I entered the duet room filled with the fragrance of lavender and vanilla. Jenn and Mary went to work giving me the most amazing and relaxing massage ever. They paid special attention to my upper back, as I had requested on my guest form, and avoided my sprained ankle. I warned them that it was entirely possible I would fall asleep during the 50 minute massage, and I have to say there was a few times where I dozed off. After the massage I went down to the gift shop and saw the robes were for sale (hi Mom, birthday present please!) as well as Primavera aromatherapy products (used during theÂ massage), amala skin care, Supracor Spa Cells, handmade soaps, as well as mineral makeup. Maurita, the owner, and Rebecca, the manager of the spa, both took the time to introduce themselves as well. Thanks to my twitter followers for recommending The Woodhouse Day Spa! I can see why everyone highly recommends them! See www.Kingston.WoodhouseSpas.com and their Facebook fan page for more information.