Osthoff’s Aspira Spa Ranks High

Candles and flickering fire light the Aspira Spa
Candles and flickering fires light the Aspira Spa

I wrote the story below for CityRoomStories.com over a year ago, but wanted to add it to my own website after seeing a 2013 spa report.  Conde Nast Traveler magazine ranked the Osthoff Resort as the third best spa in the United States.  In fact, Aspira scored in the hundredth percentile for staff knowledge and service.  Pretty incredible to have an award winning spa at Elkhard Lake,  a tiny town in Wisconsin.

Aspira: On the Banks of Elkhart Lake

Aspira means ‘infused with spirit’ and there’s no better way to describe the holistic, healing spa at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  As soon as you walk in, you detect palpable energy while simultaneously sensing calm. The 20,000 square-foot spa was created as a place to take one’s journey – a place to move forward in nature and peace.

The Osthoff Resort in Winter
The Osthoff Resort in Winter

Lola Roeh, General Manager of the resort, was the force behind its creation and she is truly one of those special people who radiate enthusiasm, yet display elegance and dignity.  She quietly explained, “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, 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 subconsciencously perceived my upcoming massage as an opportunity to heal instead of thinking it self-indulgent.

I began by entering the therapeutic chromatub 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. These remained in place while she gave me a soothing full-body rubdown. This, the signature Sacred Waters treatment, was repeated when I turned over. By the time my therapist was finished, I was profoundly relaxed, just a bowl of mush.

Elderberry Facial
Elderberry Facial

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, but it shouldn’t be. The spa is a world-class facility drawing local treatments from the surrounding land and lake, well worth a visit.