Lionshead’s expanding spa scene |

Lionshead’s expanding spa scene

Caramie Schnell
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Spa at Arrabelle1 KA 04-24-08

LIONSHEAD, Colorado ” In a valley that has been described as a “spa mecca” by a few local spa managers, new spas have the difficult task of distinguishing themselves from the pack.

Four out of the nine spas featured in the October edition of Luxury Spa Finder magazine hailed from Eagle County. One thing is certain, for a mountain area, the spa scene here is quite competitive. Despite this, Toni Maggiore, the new manager of the RockResorts Spa at The Arrabelle, said she didn’t consider opening another spa here to be a daunting task, especially since she’s worked in spas in New York and California, both highly competitive spa markets.

“It was an untapped market more than anything else ” especially in Lionshead,” Magiorre said. “In Manhatten, where I worked for 10 years, there were spas everywhere, on every corner, and all amazing. Here, there are a few that are really nice, but this area, especially Lionshead, really needed the spa we just opened.”

When Maggiore moved to Vail in October, she spent the five months before the spa opened personally visiting nearly every other valley spa. Her experiences helped her develop Arrabelle’s spa menu. The process is fairly simple, she said.

“You really kind of look at the competitors, see what they’re offering and do a fresh take on it and fill a niche that’s not being filled,” she said.

At the same time, Magiorre began looking at skincare lines not being used at other spas to find unique, exclusive products. She worked with skin care companies like Arcona, Naturopathica and SOMME Institute ” the main products the spa uses ” to design treatments for this area, as well as the spa’s clientele.

“When people go to different areas, they’ll need different things,” Magiorre said. “By the beach you’ll need different products then here, where it’s very dry. Our focus is on hydration and sun-damaged skin because of the altitude.”

Bringing in alpine-inspired treatments like the Alpine Trail, which incorporates natural, indigenous ingredients like silver sage, mint and rosemary, was important to Magiorre.

“When people come to an area and especially hotel guests coming from Texas or New York, they want a true and indigenous experience,” she said.

The spa’s signature treatment, called Vin Chaud (Hot Wine) Indulgence, combines the anti-aging properties of wine into a full spa experience, complete with a wine salt glow scrub, followed by an application of pinot noir body cream and a full body massage with Mourvedre massage oil. The mini facial uses a fume blanc cleanser, a merlot exfoliating puree, apertif hydrating mist, Tuscany serum and a chablis infusion. The final treat is a glass of wine.

“It’s one of those treatments that’s very nurturing to the spirit,” she said. “It encompasses the whole spa experience with a scrub, wrap, massage and facial for those people who haven’t had that experience who want an extended treatment to escape.”

Inside the 10,000 square foot spa, the decor is contemporary ” curving leather chaise loungers dot the large woman-only area which includes a hot tub, steam room and sauna. Four, floor-to-ceiling waterfalls provide the soothing background sound of running water. The men’s locker room boasts similar ammenities, along with a large flat-screen TV.

“We really wanted to make a traditional, European spa environment with a jacuzzi and steam room ” just a full relaxation center,” Maggiore said. “At some facilities (the relaxation areas) are kind of an after thought but we wanted it to be a focal point so people will spend a lot of time and relax.”

Couples can enjoy a spa treatment together in the large, comfortable couples room complete with a shower at one end and a deep geisha tub at the other. The couples treatment, called Couples’ Escape (50, 80 or 105 minutes), is very popular, Magiorre said.

“They receive chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne with it; it’s a really nice treatment,” she said.

The relaxation room, which separates the women- and men-only areas from the 11 treatment rooms features fresh flowers along with a selection of dried and fresh fruits, nuts, energy bars and ice water.

Bring on the relaxation.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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