There were only five of us on our afternoon hike amid the pines on a winding trail adjacent to a hilly golf course – me and my husband, a mother and her teenage daughter, and our knowledgeable guide. As our guide pointed out local flora and fauna, we learned the daughter was on her way back to the Royal Ballet School of London, enjoying a brief spa visit at the end of a pandemic-enforced stay in the U.S.
There are many such reunions like this at Sundara Spa, located in the Midwest on 80 acres of pine forest woodlands. Families with kids ages 18 and up, couples, and groups of friends come here to unwind and reconnect.
During a pandemic, when both parents and children are spending extended time at home and the school year for many college-bound kids is starting virtually, carving out time to get away together can be especially important. We all need a change of scenery in as safe a fashion as possible.
Given the solitude of Sundara, it’s difficult to believe the serene expanse is situated in the Wisconsin Dells, home to tacky tourist attractions, water parks and fudge shops. You won’t find anything of the sort here. Even the use of electronic devices is prohibited in public spaces.
In addition to the aforementioned hike, seasonal offerings include everything from mixology and culinary classes to aqua yoga and guided meditation. There is even an hour-long boat ride on nearby Lake Delton. Sundara offers these classes and activities (some change seasonally) included in the daily resort fee. Guests can also book tee time on the adjacent Wild Rock golf course.
Though there is an impressive fitness center on property, it remained all but empty during our stay. Relaxation is the central focus here, with a full service spa and salon, two pool areas (one with an indoor/outdoor pool and a swim-up bar), indoor and outdoor relaxation spaces, and accommodations you’ll be hard pressed to leave.
All overnight guests, and day guests who book a treatment for $65 or more, have access to the Purifying Bath Ritual – a pre- and post-cursor to spa treatments or a stand alone experience. Here guests rotate between an exfoliating shower, a steam room, the hot tub and cold plunge pool.
On its own or as an add-on to a spa treatment lounge for 45 minutes in the Salt Treatment Room, where you’ll inhale salt particles while surrounded by a salt crystal coated floor and salt tile lined walls. It’s reputed to be therapeutic but there is no denying the relaxing effects here and elsewhere on property.
One of our favorite times was simply enjoying the woods outside the full-service Nava restaurant after dinner besides the fire pits. A resident woodchuck felt comfortable enough to munch on leaves just outside the patio; a testament to the calming environment. Some guests elect to spend the day and even dine in resort robes and sandals but after months at home working in sweats and PJs we opted to dress for the occasion.
Indoor spots, such as the Radiance and Relaxation rooms, and the Woodland Reflection Room, afford guests a place to read, meditate or snooze in a chair, while the Suvela Room is reserved for complete silence. Outdoors, the Meditation Trail and Hammock Retreat just across from the main entrance to the property felt a world away, surrounded by chirping birds and gently swaying tree limbs overhead.
Though Sundara Spa first opened in 2003, a recent renovation doubled its size and its offering of guest rooms, ranging from Premier rooms up to newer Woodland Retreats, where we felt right at home on our private balcony, complete with a good sized hot tub and gas fireplace. Retreats can be joined to Woodland Suites for groups, and there is a villa on property that sleeps eight.
You can order three meals a day to room service, eat them in Nava Restaurant, or eat them poolside (in season). Masks aren’t required during meals, spa services or by the pool but they are required in all other public spaces. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the property and temperatures are taken as guests check in. Rooms are cleaned extensively between guests and daily housekeeping service is on hold for now. (You can request additional room amenities by phone).
As our hike ended and we parted ways, we overheard mother and daughter planning the rest of their day – a brief respite together during a time when such moments are treasured all the more.
For more information on Sundara Spa visit www.sundaraspa.com or call 888-735-8181. For specific questions regarding content, please reach out to Carla Minsky (firstname.lastname@example.org, 920-979-3420 @sundara.spa #sundaraspa #energizeyoursoul