Best Ski Spas: Spa Anjali Westin Riverfront

Massaging the Message
Spa Anjali wraps wellness in a green package
B Y DAV I D  K . G I B S O N

SPAS — FOR ALL THEIR PHYSICAL, AESTHETIC, AND MENTAL BENEFITS — can be incredibly wasteful places. Piles upon piles of linens are used in drying off after showers that attempt to replicate waterfalls through the sheer volume of water they use. Rare herbs are gathered from questionable sources and infused into chemical concoctions. Exotic woods and stones are shipped from halfway around the world to build monuments to relaxation and simplicity. For all their consciousness raising, many spas aren’t conscious of the environmental footprint of a typical treatment. What to do, then, when you’re attempting to build a green luxury hotel? That was the challenge faced by the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon, Colorado, just down the hill from Beaver Creek Ski Resort.  The resort’s concept was to be a flagship of environmental stewardship — the first from the Westin brand — destined to be the first Silver LEED-certified hotel in Colorado. And with weary skiers as clientele, skipping the spa was not an option.

At the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, stewardship of the nature outside and the services inside prove that luxury can be eco-friendly.

So Spa Anjali was designed green. The gypsum for the sheet-rock walls was sourced from a local mine, and the river-stone accents were acquired locally. The floors are made of bamboo, the towels and sheets are woven of organic cotton or bamboo, and staff uniforms feature fabrics made with soybean and seaweed. A central water feature uses water recycled from the saltwater pool, which is friendly to both skin and the environment.

But there’s more to a green spa than a green building. General manager Suzy Johlfs knows that changing staff attitudes is equally important. “Some body treatments can use more than 15 towels if you’re wasteful,” she says, “but once they’re made aware, our therapists can halve that and still provide exceptional service.” Guests are also part of the waste-not ethos; the Green Check-In program gives a $10 discount on the first treatment to spa guests who come in the robes from their suites, saving the laundering of an extra spa robe. Earth-sensitive products are also key, and the spa was fortunate to find the Buzz line, made in the nearby Yampa Valley by Veronica Ross. Her products use indigenous herbs harvested sustainably, andRoss refills or recycles every container she uses.Y The menu is also indigenous, at least metaphorically. Three mountain journeys — Ayurvedic Himalayan, classic European Alpine, and the signature healing Rocky Mountain — offer different treatment paths.

It was healing I was after, particularly for skin damaged by sun and dry air, and so I slipped out of my room robe for a red-clover and honey body mask, which uses Buzz products. It was everything a great treatment should be, with an exfoliating scrub, a moisturizing mask, a vigorous shower, and massages of my head, hands, and feet.

And you know, I never missed those extra towels.