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Frankly, My Dear…

By Dianna Sanchez
Posted On May 07, 2012

Southern charm is just one reason a visit to The Spa at Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina

By: Barbara Perkins

In Charleston, South Carolina, where the first shots were fired in the “War Between the States,” the echoes of history are loud and clear. On King Street, just off the city’s main retail drag, is the Wentworth Mansion, built in 1886 and still standing today. Originally designed as a private residence, its 21 guest rooms boast fireplaces with original hand-carved marble mantels, king-size sleigh beds, inlaid design floors, whirlpool tubs and Tiffany stained glass windows. Gathering with other guests in the parlor for early evening cordials, Scarlett O’Hara would have felt completely at ease. We certainly did. The rest of the property is just as inviting.

A stroll across the landscaped grounds leads to the 1,000-square-foot full-service spa. Set in the mansion’s restored former carriage house, the spa’s authentically rustic atmosphere is inspired by the building’s history. Retaining its original 14-foot-high vaulted ceilings and exposed wood beams, the space also includes the original concrete flooring that perfectly complements exposed brick walls, both of which run the length of the spa’s long narrow hallway. Vintage art and heirloom furniture provide the finishing touches that help transform the space into a cozy retreat. Its small scale ensures a personalized, intimate experience rarely found in larger spas. Most of the gracious and attentive staff lives locally, and their convivial first-name approach works well in the warm and inviting reception area.

Compact yet complete, the spa offers a typical plethora of treatments: Massages, wraps, body scrubs, waxing and the like. Among the spa’s signature treatments is a two-hour “Rub and Wrap” that uses a detoxifying ginger and lemongrass body wrap combined with warm oils in a full-body multi-modality muscle melting massage. The tangerine, lavender and eucalyptus exfoliating body scrub is another favorite, followed by a close third: The lime and cedar wood oil aromatherapy treatment for scalp and neck. Other standouts include the Wentworth Gentlemen’s Facial, a deep cleansing treatment designed specifically to reduce the roughness of the skin, and The Wentworth Couples Retreat. Loosely translated, it means just about everything on the spa menu is available to be enjoyed in a treatment room for two, complete with a dual-headed shower.

For the most part, guests here are less inclined to select the fancy and far out offerings and prefer instead to gravitate toward these treatments, so we followed suit—and were not disappointed.

Long considered the area’s go-to-gal for facials, local skin guru Patty Pascal has set up shop here and amassed a legion of fans. Count us among them. Her customized facial-slash-fatigue fixer begins with a warm southern welcome as you are ushered into her inner sanctum, cocooned in a thermal blanket and set to lay on a fluffy bed that instantly begins to dial down your stress.

To address our particular needs, Pascal went with a 90-minute microdermabrasion treatment. Cleansed, soothed, toned and rejuvenated, the treatment left our face clear and smooth, while our neck, upper back and shoulders were elated to have come along for the ride. A first-rate fix that lasted for weeks, Pascal generously sent us packing with an individually prescribed, easy to follow, at-home regimen… and one final tip that we will now share with you: “Before you leave, be sure to make a point of climbing the balcony of the Wentworth Mansion and take in an unrivaled view of Charleston harbor. Visiting the city without taking in this breathtaking and historic sight would be a sin … y’all.”

The Spa at Wentworth Mansion
149 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 724-6555