Travel

6 Surprisingly Affordable Spas in Denver

The best spas in Denver won't break the bank.

Photo courtesy of The Beer Spa
Photo courtesy of The Beer Spa
Photo courtesy of The Beer Spa

A city that prides itself on wellness of all forms, Denver is a place where you can find spas and relaxation virtually around every corner. The services available are vast, from full-body massages and tub soaks to infrared saunas, acupuncture, or just a simple mani-pedi. But self-care shouldn’t mean you have to break the bank-which is why we’ve scoured the range of spa offerings in and around Denver to find you the best, most affordable ones. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just having a really good Saturday, any of these six spas are worth booking an appointment.

Photo courtesy of The Beer Spa
Photo courtesy of The Beer Spa
Photo courtesy of The Beer Spa

The Beer Spa

Five Points
Beer and relaxation have been intertwined since the creation of beer itself. In an homage to the beer spas of the Polish Alps, owners Damien Zouaoui and Jessica French combine a taproom and shop with spa rooms featuring massive hops-soaking tubs, infrared saunas, cold blast showers, and a special room dedicated to zero-gravity massage chairs. Doing the whole circuit is sure to leave you feeling refreshed, reinvigorated, and may just introduce you to your new favourite local brewer.

Indulgences Day Spa
Indulgences Day Spa
Indulgences Day Spa

Indulgences Day Spa

Sunnyside
Whether you’re looking for a 30, 45, 60, or 90-minute massage or one of Indulgences’ signature body treatments, it’s an excellent place to spend some time and de-stress. There are a plethora of enhancements you can add to your massage, from hot towels to paraffin treatments to warm stones and CBD, but the serene-smelling, ultra-hydrating (or exfoliating) wraps-like the French Rose Clay or Oatmeal and Vanilla-are the services that truly shine here.

Eden Spa
Eden Spa
Eden Spa

Eden Spa

Golden Triangle
If a warm, botanical space that could also double as design inspiration for your apartment sounds like a place you’d like to relax, find your way to Eden. The dreamy biblical garden comes to life in this wellness space where you can melt away stress with a custom massage (your choice of Swedish or Deep Tissue), facials, and full-body wraps and scrubs, depending on your particular wellness need. We suggest adding on the aromatherapy to your massage or a peel or microdermabrasion to your facial. But the real-deal here is opting for one of the spa packages that combine multiple services for a day of complete and total restoration.

Woodhouse Spa - Denver
Woodhouse Spa – Denver
Woodhouse Spa – Denver

Woodhouse Spa

North Cap Hill
With a long list of available services here, it’s possible to spend a full day (or several days) healing every part of the body from head to toe. From pre-wedding relaxation and rejuvenation to couples massages or even if you’re going solo, there’s a service here to make you feel just right. And, the neat thing about Woodhouse is that you can find the perfect massage, service, or treatment package based on a list of curated “moods”-are you looking for the ultimate calming experience, or do you want to feel energized upon your departure? Whatever is feeling good to you is possible here.

Luna Massage And Wellness
Luna Massage And Wellness
Luna Massage And Wellness

Luna Massage and Wellness

Ballpark
For affordable, a la carte spa services, Luna is the place to go. Maybe you only have a 30 minute window on your lunch break for a foot massage, or perhaps you’re looking for an afternoon of luxury-in which case, we suggest opting for the three-hour luxury package, which includes a custom massage of your choice, a foot facial (or full-body salt scrub) and a facial, too. Add on hot stones or steam for an experience to remember.

Body Massage Wellness Spa
Body Massage Wellness Spa
Body Massage Wellness Spa

Body Massage Wellness Spa

Central Business District
At this spa, you can curate exactly the kind of relaxation you need with highly customizable services and packages. Aside from customized therapeutic massages, you can also choose a customized clinical massage from one of several areas-advanced sports therapy, neuromuscular, and structural integration-to heal your body in just the right way.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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