By Debi Lander
Aspira means ‘infused with spirit’… and there is no better way to describe the holistic, healing spa at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The moment you enter, you are met by palpable energy and a strong sense of calm. The 20,000 square-foot spa was created as a place to take a journey – a place to move towards nature and peace.
Lola Roeh, General Manager of the resort, was the force behind the spa’s creation and she is truly one of those special people who radiates enthusiasm, yet displays elegance and dignity. “Aspira was borne on the banks of our lake, considered sacred by the Native Americans who lived here. Shaped like an elk’s heart, the lake bestows its powerful natural energy upon all who encounter it. Our logo, a three-spiral symbol from the ancient Uighur civilization, identifies this as a mind, body and spiritual journey.”
In my travels, I have been fortunate to receive treatments in a number of top ranked spas, but honestly Aspira reigns. The meditation sanctuary, designed with concentric circles and the elements earth, wind, fire and water, anchors the facility and evokes contemplation. Guests are invited to stay in the serene environment — the heart of the spa’s mission — as long as they wish.
Walk down the hall and your feet notice a softness that ebbs from the hand scraped wooden planks on the floor. Pass ancient fossils, tribal ornaments, symbolic artwork and trickling fountains before entering rooms that inspire an aura of self- care. I subconsciously perceived my upcoming massage as an opportunity to heal instead of thinking it self-indulgent.
I began by entering the therapeutic chromatub (the only one in the US) which contains 260 underwater air jets and colored lights. Sound vibrations filled the air and reverberated through the water. I was soon overcome with a feeling of bliss, soaking away my worries and muscular aches. I also received a deep tissue hydro-massage through a special pressurized hose. Next, I proceeded to a room with an adjustable massage table arranged beside a fireplace of glowing embers. My therapist placed hot deerskin bags filled with water drawn from Elkhard Lake on my chakra points — the bags remained in place throughout my soothing full-body rubdown, then was repeated when I turned over. By the time my therapist had completed the signature Sacred Waters treatment I was profoundly relaxed, a bowl of mush.
The next morning I returned to Aspira for an Elderberry facial. This special service incorporated macerated wild elderberries that were gathered from the hillsides and woods near the lake. My skin was gently scrubbed, exfoliated, treated with a nourishing mask and then infused with moisturizers. While the aroma-soaked mask penetrated my face and neck, I received hand, foot and scalp massage. Aahh, these services are truly stress reducing.
Aspira professionals offer Reiki healing treatments, myofascial release, energy work, lymphatic treatments, chakra balancing and an array of other massages and facials. They introduced the concept of a SpaSuite: an all-encompassing spa experience with changing rooms, treatments room, showers and relaxation area in one large private suite.
Guests may also receive salon services such as manicures, pedicures, waxing and hair styling. Yoga classes are schedule throughout the day within the confines of the tranquil spa.
Aspira lies almost hidden within the vast Osthoff Resort complex. The spa is a world-class facility drawing local treatments from the surrounding land and lake, well worth a visit.
Photos courtesy of Aspira Spa unless otherwise noted.