Arum Spa: The Hidden Gem Within Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head

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‘Do they have a spa I know nothing about?’ asks my friend as we are driving through the Shipyard area on Hilton Head Island toward the Sonesta Hotel. I nod somewhat absent minded.  Until a few days ago, I hadn’t been aware of a spa at my favorite hotel on Hilton Head myself. But after a week of family gatherings, eating out and walking beaches that were still busy with late summer tourists, I was looking for a chance to get away from the crowds, for some quiet time before I had to fly back home to chores and work that would keep me occupied without a break for the remainder of the year.

I found the link to Arum Spa slightly hidden under the Hotel tab on the Sonesta website and was lucky to get in for a spa treatment on my last day on the island.

The Sonesta Hotel, located at the South End of the island close to the beach, has been a favorite of mine ever since I first set my foot into their spacious lobby in 2013. The hotel had just gone through a $30 million renovation that added a swimming pool and a spa to the property. The drive through the Shipyard area with its many trees, well manicured lawns and natural landscaping always set my mind at peace, almost like a deep breath with a long exhale at the beginning of a yoga class.

Seacrest Patio and Terrace, my preferred lunch destination, is located off the hotel lobby, a spacious, elegant room that balances airy, contemporary design with an inviting, relaxed atmosphere.

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Seacrest offers a small and delicious lunch menu that is best enjoyed outside on the patio overlooking the pool area and the beautiful grounds of the hotel. I usually go for a walk at the beach but today I am in for a special treat: I am booked for an early afternoon treatment at Arum Spa. After enjoying an excellent seared tuna salad, I bid adieu to my friend and walk back through the lobby toward the spa, which is located on the second floor, right next to the stairs.

I open the glass door to the spa and am immediately greeted by a friendly spa receptionist who confirms my treatments.

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I am booked for a Swedish massage followed by the Arum Signature Pedicure. The receptionist leads me to the waiting area where get a chance to relax for a short moment before my massage treatment starts. The spa is small, there are no locker rooms, no fancy amenities, but everything feels cozy, friendly and warm, almost like coming home or visiting a friend’s place for a relaxed get together. After a few minutes Lizzie, my massage therapist comes around the corner and takes me into the treatment room.

The massage treatment was heavenly.

With long and gentle strokes, Lizzie manages to soothe the worst tensions in my back, manifestations of too many hours sitting at a desk, too much travel and too much giving into stressful situations at work and in life. I am already melting into the massage table when Lizzie applies hot towels to my back and takes my deeply relaxed state to a next level. The treatment leaves me grounded, rested and at peace. But there is more to come. In the salon area on the other side of the spa reception, April is waiting for me with an Arum Signature Pedicure!

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Equipped with a warm neck roll and a glass of lavender infused champagne, I climb into the pedicure chair, ready for my next treatment. The pedicure starts with a coconut milk soak followed by a nut oil sugar scrub that sets the tone for an amazingly relaxing foot treatment that combines grooming of nails with a lavish shea butter foot and calf massage. April’s warm personality encourages quiet moments in which I just take in the calming feel of the room as well as light conversations about spa products, island living and the beauty of early morning beach walks.

After my delightful salon experience I get a chance to chat with Hope, the spa director. Her passion for high quality spa products and treatments is contagious. We get into a longer conversation about Pure Fiji products, the main skincare line of Arum Spa treatments, about the importance of integrating spa treatments into everyday wellness and the fact that well manicured feet look good on guys too.

Since her first day when she walked into the construction site of the future spa with a hard hat and jeans, Hope has done a superb job developing a treatment menu and gathering a team that makes Arum Spa stand out from many other spas I have visited. Instead of extensive amenities that can sometimes feel impersonal and sterile, Arum Spa offers personal attention in a serene environment, excellent treatments carried out by attentive and experienced staff and a perfect setting for a relaxing island getaway.

Arum Spa is a hidden gem that definitely deserves a stronger presence on the Sonesta website as well as throughout the hotel. I am thrilled I found it!

Blissfully yours, Ulli

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To make your spa reservations at Arum Spa, visit their website.

Written by Ulli Lagler Peck

Ulli Lagler Peck

Ulli Lagler Peck is founder and owner of The Wellness Agency, a travel consulting firm that specializes in design, management and marketing of wellness retreats. The Wellness Agency works with hotels, resorts and spas around the world and helps them implement high-quality, authentic wellness programs that provide proven benefits for their guests’ health and wellbeing. Ulli firmly believes that wellness retreats open doors to a healthier, happier way of life and that everyone should attend at least one wellness retreat once a year.

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