5 Spas in Indian Country Using Luxury Accommodations and Native-Based Treatments

Vincent Schilling

Who doesn’t like to be pampered in a luxurious setting? The feel of a warm whirlpool or sauna, followed by a relaxing massage or any selection of exfoliating treatments to melt our troubles away, could be just what the proverbial doctor ordered. Anyone considering a vacation for themselves and their loved ones should consider spa-related accommodations.

In the highly competitive world of hotels and resorts, Native-themed spas based in Indian country are setting themselves apart by offering not just luxury, but treatments and services connected to Native culture.

Utilizing such elements as sage, strawberry, white pine, cedar, stone and pomegranate, and by implementing Native techniques of healing and care, these spas are gaining serious traction, awards in the industry while also seeing a boost in national rankings.

Here are five spas thriving in Indian country due to their efforts to bring Native-themed pampering and healing to the world.

The Ska:ná Spa

The Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, owned by the Oneida Nation, is home to the Ska:na’ Spa. Ska:na’ is the Oneida word for peace, and this spa combines soothing treatments and modern amenities with American Indian cultural themes to create a unique spa experience which implements such things as sage, white pine, sunflower and strawberry in treatments that celebrate the nation’s Haudenosaunee-based culture.

According to Ska:na’ manager Shane Bird,  “Unlike other locations, we have the ability to create a unique environment. And that’s what we’ve been aiming to do. And as Oneidas traditionally honored the strawberry as the first fruit of the season, we have incorporated that into our treatments.”

One such treatment is the body polish, which according to Bird, “is a delicious, fruity treatment rich in antioxidants, alpha-hydroxy acids and Vitamin C. It offers a gently exfoliating, refreshing and moisturizing experience for the skin and body.”

Other treatments include Sage and White Pine Massage, Sage Stone Massage, Sunflower and Mint Foot Cure a Strawberry Sugar Scrub and a From the Earth Mud Wrap, and a Balancing Waters Ritual involving hot and cool water treatments as well as many more packages and spa related offerings.

Such a wide range of offerings at Ska:na’ has earned Turning Stone a plethora of awards, including a 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Casino Spa and Best Golf Spa, a Golf Magazine and Premiere Resorts 2012 Silver Medal Award, and Spa Finder Wellness Readers’ awards for Best Spa for Men, Best Casino Hotel Spa, and Best Spa for Golf.

The Ska:ná Spa – The Turning Stone Resort and Casino, 5218 Patrick Road, Verona, NY 13478

Spa Ssakwa’q’n

The Coeur d’Alene story is brief in the gaming and resort world, having only been around since 1993. But according to their website and in the words of the Coeur d’Alene, “our story is timeless in the world of traditional Indian hospitality.” Since the creation of its resort, the facility has had six expansions.

In the Coeur d’Alene’s Spa Ssakwa’q’n, customers can benefit from a wide range of Native-themed treatments, including a Ssakwa’q’n Body Polish, a Mountain Rain Shower Scrub and Wrap, a Wild Rose Nourishment with gentle grain exfoliation and shea butter and a Sacred Forest treatment to combat muscle and joint pain using warm oil blends of Arnica and a scalp massage.

Other luxuries include a Native Cherry facial that uses cherry herbal enzymes to hydrate the skin and a Ssakwa’q’n Facial that includes a steam clean and healing masque. Another facial is the Lupine Meadows, a regenerative technique that utilizes pear-fig and herbal enzymes.

Coeur d´Alene’s Spa Ssakwa’q’n, Coeur d’Alene Casino, 37914 South Nukwalqw Worley, Idaho 83876

Tamaya Resort & Spa

Between Santa Fe and Albuquerque lies the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, which has over 350 guestrooms, three pools and views of the Sandia Mountains.

First on the list of ‘necessities’ here is the Hydrating Pomegranate Enzyme Facial. Using the healing juice of a pomegranate, guests can hydrate their skin with vitamins and antioxidants. Then the treatment exfoliates your skin with natural fruit enzymes and pomegranate extract and a blend of oat protein, essential minerals, and B vitamins for cell renewal.

Next might be the Coconut Lime Body Bliss treatment that begins with a relaxing Swedish massage with lime aromatherapy oil and ends with an aromatic scrub to exfoliate and refresh your skin with the healing power of coconut oil.

Or there’s the Purifying Pomegranate Manicure & Pedicure, which uses Vitamin E and Shea Butter to soothe and nourish the skin.

According to one guest, Anne B. on Yelp, “I got a spa treatment while I was here and thought the spa facilities were first-rate.  The Spirit Path treatment was good. . .  I will say that my skin felt baby soft after the treatment.”

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, 1300 Tuyuna Trail, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, USA, 87004

Wild Horse Pass Resort & Aji Spa

According to their webpage, the AJi Spa “is more than a place where the stresses of daily life are released. It’s a place where lives are changed... the lives of guests who transcend the barriers of discomfort by Healing the Body, Mind and Spirit… and the lives of the children of the Gila River Indian Community who directly benefit from every guest that passes through our doors.”

Closely overseen by tribal elders and implemented by Pima and Maricopa tribal members, Aji offerings include “Healing” by Belen Stoneman. Using traditional massage, polarity and ancient healing doctrines, Belen’s healing hands utilize techniques of medicine healers of the Pima Tribe that have been handed down for centuries.

There’s also the Pima Medicine Massage, that uses energy anatomy and ancient techniques that is designed for ultimate relaxation and spiritual healing.

In addition to the above are a Native herbs cleansing wrap designed by Pima Caretakers, an ancient shegoi and salt pedicure and a wide range of facial and massages to exhilarate and bring back youthful looks.

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Aji Spa, Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, 5594 West Wild Horse Pass Blvd. Chandler, AZ 85226

The Salish Lodge and Spa

Overlooking Snoqualmie Falls, just 30 minutes east of Seattle and Bellevue, the Salish Lodge & Spa offers a variety of treatments using Pacific Northwest ingredients, including massage, skincare, and body therapies, partnered with Sodashi, meaning wholeness, purity and radiance.

The Spa has won numerous awards and honors, including Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 50 Hotel Spas in the United States.”

After a fantastic lunch at the dining room or spa with a lunch provided by an 800-square foot organic vegetable garden, guests can benefit from a honey treatment using honey from their own sustainably grown bee farm.

Such treatments include a herb and honey body scrub with organic herbs and honey from their own garden, a honey and oatmeal scrub for exfoliating and the Honey from Heaven for the Hands and Feet treatment.

The Salish Lodge and Spa, 6501 Railroad Avenue SE, Snoqualmie, WA 98065

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